Icons of Style: The Performers
Published on October 24, 2012
Musicians have had a symbiotic relationship with fashion and culture long before the days of the 7”. The tailored black suits of The Beatles, Dylan’s classic Wayfarers, and Springsteen’s faded leather jackets are a few examples of style that have become as recognizable as the opening chords of “Like a Rolling Stone”. Spanning genres and generations, style can be as timeless as a song. Inspiring us all to set our own sartorial compass and follow it, we salute the legendary musicians, as well as a few new ones, who champion personal style as iconic as their music. A few of the performers: Bob Dylan Woody Guthrie served as inspiration for Dylan’s earlier song arrangements and workman attire. In time, we would see Bob switch over to electric guitar and favor pea coats, shirt collars buttoned to the top and Wayfarer sunglasses while never losing his signature mass of disheveled hair. Johnny Cash Wearing all black from head to toe accompanied with coiffed hair and attitude. Johnny Cash kept it simple, no need to say more. Miles Davis The legendary jazz musician’s ever-evolving trumpeting style was parallel to the way he dressed. During the ‘40’s, Miles would play in conservative Brooks Brothers suits with a plain white dress shirt underneath. The Ivy League inspired phase of the ‘50’s is what some recognize the most, opting for chinos, penny loafers, and sport coats from a Cambridge, Massachusetts haberdasher. After this, Miles started to prefer slimmer cut European suits throughout the ‘60’s. Frank Sinatra Sinatra is the representation of old school swagger at its best and once sung, “you’ve either got or you haven’t got style,
if you’ve got it you stand out a mile.” The Chairman of the Board was rarely seen in public without being dressed to the nines in a tailored-made suit or tuxedo. He set the sartorial precedent for all subsequent performers to follow.
A true showman, “The Prince of Motown” would wear the smartest tailored suits of the time during his earlier performances. Through the course of his career, Gaye would gradually transition from his suits into more casual attire such as denim shirts and shearling lined jackets. Regardless of what he was wearing, his style was as genuine as his music.
Additional well-dressed acts: The Beatles, Andre 3000, and Tom Waits.