Friday, November 4, 2011

Sharp Stylings #15: Modern Jazz Quartet

We can learn so much from yesterday’s fashion icons.  And living in a post-Mad Men world means we can even enjoy aspects of current male fashions! Every Friday, I’d like to start your weekend off right with a little style inspiration from either then or now. Hopefully, my fellow Mod enthusiasts will find the whole or some detail of the whole to appreciate and maybe even adopt.

I always feel a little guilty after every 'Mod Gone Wrong' post but feel I can redeem myself a little with these Friday 'Sharp Stylings' writings. After getting down on the rich man's parka a couple of days ago, I hope this more than makes up for it.


Dang, you just got hit by the stylings of a little band I like to call The Modern Jazz Quartet! From 1961, this photo features jazz greats Percy Heath, Milt Jackson, John Lewis, and Connie Kay. Now I'm no good with jazz writings (for that you'd have to visit the A Modernist blog), but I can tell you these guys have put out some of the best jazz records of the 1950s-1960s with such hits as "Django" and "Bag's Groove." But I'm sure you already knew that.

What I want to concentrate on is just how great these guys look in matching grey suits with soft, lightly paisleyed ties. Last week, I praised Gabor Szabo's use of contrasting patterns and colors, but here we have to give it up for the more subdued, monochromatic look the MJQ are displaying. It's those little pops of paisley that make these outfits so subletly cool.

I'm sure most people picture a Mod guy in a black or dark suit with a tie just as dark. However, because of that standard look, it's always surprising and refreshing to see someone show up in lighter colors, whether it be cream-colored suits, baby-blue suits, silver suits, or, heck, white suits. But for me, an even cooler detail is a lightly-colored tie! Whenever I see a buddy of mine show up a light tie, I'm thinking of ways I can slip it off them and into my pocket for my own future use. (Be warned, friends...)

And here, the MJQ play it mellow with colors and minimal patterns in their outfits. Nothing here screams out at you because really, when you look this good, you don't need to be loud.

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