"Man of Style"
February 1999
by David Wallis


"Hey, that's me," gasps comedian Jon Stewart, face-to-face with his increasingly popular mug, here plastered on a Broadway bus shelter. "How creepy," Stewart mutters, rushing off. There's no time for the 36-year-old New Jersey native-turned-Manhattanite to contemplate his ebbing anonymity. Stewart recently took over the anchor desk of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, starred in two films -- The Faculty, a horror flick by Robert Rodriguez, and Playing by Heart, a romantic drama with Gillian Anderson-- and published a critically acclaimed collection of humorous essays entitled Naked Pictures of Famous People. It's a wonder that Stewart has time to dress at all, let alone dress with flair. "Somebody once told me, 'Simplicity is the essence of vogue,' and I would have to agree," he says. "I know how to wear a suit, I just don't own 20 of them... and I never wear anything double-breasted -- takes too long to button."

InStyle: When did you first realize that people judge you by what you wear?
Jon: When I was in the 12th grade all the guys I hung around got into the chorus of Pajama Game. There was a song in the show called "Steam Heat." We had to wear tuxedos, and since it was a high school production we couldn't afford spats, so we had to put white tape around our shoes to make them show up on stage. Everybody was meticulous about it except me. I wrapped my shoes up so that it looked like I had an ankle injury or gout. I remember everybody making fun of me.

InStyle: If you were 6-foot-2 instead of 5-foot-8, how would your life have been different?
Jon: I don't know if I would have tried so hard. I grew up in a house of all boys. You had this vision that life would be peach pies and candy creams if you were 6-foot-2. But if I had been physically bigger, I would have wasted even more energy than I did, thinking I was going to make sports my life.

InStyle: How would you compare L.A. and New York?
Jon: People in L.A. dress like they are about to go on TV. In New York they look like they are going out for a slice of pizza.

InStyle: What did you wear in your 20s that you wouldn't wear now?
Jon:T-shirts that have stuff written on them. I'm not into logos either. I like clothes that are simple. Why don't designers make clothes simpler? You buy a jacket, and it has eight hundred pockets and zippers.

InStyle: Do you like perfume or makeup on a woman?
Jon: Not really. I like women who don't look like they're trying too hard. That goes for their personalities as well.

InStyle: You've been described as a flirt. Where did you pick up that skill?
Jon: It came from not getting laid much in college. There's a very fine like between flirting and stalking. I learned to tone that down, so I flirt.

InStyle:  You're going a bit gray. Does that bother you?
Jon: No, it helps me make that big move from comedy into law. I'm very excited about it. Finally, I'll be Cously for my opinions.


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