Friday, March 30, 2012

Sharp Stylings #33: David Bailey

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.
There are those figures of the 1960s Swinging London scene who photographed beautifully. And there are those figures of the 1960s Swinging London scene who knew how to photograph beautifully. This guy, well... he fell into both camps:

David Bailey was one of several photographers who helped capture so many iconic shots of the Swinging Sixties scene. Some of his subjects included Andy Warhol, Michael Caine, Jean Shrimpton, The Beatles, and the notorious Krays. And as many of you probably already know, he was the basis for the London photographer (played by David Hemmings) in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up.

But I'm sure this is all old news to all of you who are up on your Mod studies. Let's get to the task at hand and that's admiring Bailey's sharp styling in this photo! Whenever I look at this photo, the first thing I notice is the way his button-down collar fits over his perfectly-knotted tie. The shadows in this image really help bring out the texture of that shirt collar. And the pointed button-down aspect makes for a clean, sharp look.

Now let's spend a moment on his paisley-esque tie. For one thing, it's got some width to it. Personally, I like my ties to be a bit wider when they have a detailed pattern worth displaying, especially when it's a pattern like this. Secondly, look at the shape of that knot: tight, narrow, and symmetrical, protruding slightly from the collar. And lastly, a perfect dimple peeking out of his knot. That, my friends, is how you wear a tie.

Of course, the suit he's wearing brings the whole image together. A dark piece which allows the pattern of the tie to stick out, 3-button with the bottom one undone, lapels with a well-done notch, and a great fit, overall. And the last detail to note: that watch resting under his cuff. I'm sure the Parka Avenue blog can appreciate that touch!

David Bailey shot so many people in the 1960s, helping to capture images and poses that many still try to imitate today. You know what else is worth imitating? David Bailey's look in this photo!

That's it for today and I hope you all have a most stylish weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sharp Stylings #32: Paul Weller (Early TSC Period)

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.

So yeah, after the last post, was there any doubt about who I'd be featuring for today's Sharp Stylings?

I know I get down on Paul Weller at times, but that's only because I just don't see him as a Teflon 'Modfather'. The guy's made some bad mistakes in his life, both musically and fashionably. But, I think I've also given him much-deserved props, because he has been a tremendous influence on so many people and has also done a lot of good, both musically and fashionably. He's a complex figure with efforts to admire and efforts to criticize.

But let's go back to a time when he was full of promise, on the cusp of his post-Jam effort, The Style Council.
Yeah, yeah, I know some of you are already lost in his magnetic gaze. Snap out of it, already! Geez, we get it... the guy was an attractive young man. He had great hair at this time, perfectly short with just the right amount of sides for the length of this particular hairstyle. Man, if I tried pulling this off, I'd end up looking like a Monchichi.

I also dig on the polka-dot shirt he's got on, offering a nice '60s Carnaby touch. Sharp bit of loud detail in an otherwise muted outfit. But the focus here is on that fantastic white overcoat, perfect contrast to the dark clothes underneath. No parka here, my friends! I think it was these early Paul Weller photo sessions that first started turning me off to parkas. I mean, why walk around in a grubby army coat when you could be bustin' out the style with a piece of Modernist flash like this?

Yeah, I know a couple of years later, he'd be dumping this look. But he did find his way home again, eventually.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

In Defense of The Style Council

Time has not been kind to The Style Council. Heck, I don't think the 1980s were kind to The Style Council. They were a pretty polarizing group, especially to Mod folk then and now.
Front cover of The Style Population, a TSC Christmas card.
Many people dislike them for the musical genres they dabbled in and the dilution of their original Mod(ernist) leanings. Others love them for taking those risks and even credit Paul Weller with broadening the Mod musical spectrum (or letting him get away with things other bands could not have gotten away with). Personally, I'm mixed on the band and have been trying to give their whole catalogue another shot, coming at them with a different frame of mind in my older age.

But first, let's jump in the ol' time machine for a bit so I can think back to when I first heard them... diddly-doot...diddly-doot... diddly-doot... Ah yes... It was back in high school, at a time when I was deep into my Jam obsession and still identifying more with the punkish elements of a lot of those Mod revival bands. One day, I came across a copy of the Absolute Beginners movie soundtrack which included the Style Council song, 'Have You Ever Had It Blue?' (thanks to Le Drugstore 1968 for correcting me on the title). I knew this was Paul Weller's band after The Jam and couldn't wait to finally hear what they were about.

I got back to my record player, took the disk out of its sleeve, put the record on the turntable and prepared to be rocked with Mod power! After the song was over, I sat there bewildered. Something wasn't right. I re-played 'Have You Ever Had It Blue?' just to make sure. Yup, either my record needle was busted or the LP sleeve was mislabeled because this didn't sound like anything Paul Weller would have been involved with. Of course, it turned out I was wrong.
My wife's official Torch Society membership card, proving she was a Style Council fan before I was a Style Council fan.
It took about another year for my mind to open up a bit and the next Style Council song I sat down to listen to was 'My Ever Changing Moods.' This was the song that hooked me. After coming to terms with the fact that this was definitely NOT the sound of The Jam, I realized that, hey, it still sounded pretty good. Totally different, but good.

Over the next couple of years, I got even more into The Style Council, buying up their singles and LPs. As can probably be expected, not all of it was a hit with me. There were a lot of misses, some of which confused the heck out of me. (i.e., The Jam's lead man being okay with using drum machines?)

Over time, I think The Style Council has taken huge blows for many of those misses and I'm not necessarily going to disagree. Their attempts at rap songs, JerUSAlem, use of synthesizers and other effects, frosted blond hair, many parts of Confessions of A Pop Group... but I'm not here to pile on even more things to dislike about The Style Council. Instead, I'd like to take a different approach and offer up what I think are the
Top 10 Things The Style Council Did Right... Maybe.

1. A Return To A Mod(ernist) Aesthetic

I will go on record to say that Paul Weller was probably at his most 'Mod' during the very beginning of The Style Council, even more so than during his time with The Jam. (Now excuse me while I duck to avoid any flying shoes or tomatoes.) Fully influenced by Colin Macinnes's Absolute Beginners, he embraced café culture and '60s French stylings, eschewed parkas for rain macs, left behind a punkier sound for a jazzier one (for the most part), and really polished off his suit look. While many revival bands were probably still blasting out their mod angst singing about crowds and numbers, The Style Council smartened up and cleaned up their look and sound. They promoted a more well-read identity through their lyrics and sleeve-notes. And they tried incorporating a more jazz-based sound into their songs, again, for a good chunk of the time. Whether they succeeded or not is up to interpretation.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to pass and they eventually swayed away from this aesthetic. They left behind their Absolute Beginners leanings in favor of trendier, contemporary styles and sounds. For instance, Paul Weller (next to Mick Talbot), started off looking like this:
... and ended up looking like this:

2. Hammond Instrumentals
Paul Weller may get all the attention, but Mick Talbot, The Style Council's organist, was no slouch. According to Paul Weller, one of the reasons why he clicked with Talbot so well was that he "wanted that particular [Hammond] organ sound, because I've always like The Small Faces, who used it." Well, even though they were about as far from a Small Faces sound as you could get, they still released some pretty great Hammond instrumentals, including songs like 'Mick's Up', 'Mick's Company', and 'Mick's Blessings' (okay guys, we get it... trying Micksing it up a bit, why don't you?). Most of these songs appear on their earlier records, as Talbot eventually traded in the Hammond for a (gulp!) synthesizer, changing the band's sound overall on their later albums. It's too bad they didn't use more of these Hammond-driven songs later in their career as they probably could have provided a stronger bridge into the Acid Jazz era.

3. 'Solid Bond in Your Heart' 
I can't tell you how many times I rewound and played this video when I had it on an old bootleg VHS:
Everything thing about this was great, from the Northern Soul beat of the song itself to the dapper Mod outfits on Paul and Mick. So many things screamed 'Mod' to me in this video: Paul Weller's arrival on his scooter, Mick acting as soul DJ, a roomful of people getting down to soul sounds.

The first time I saw this video, there were only a handful of Modish types left in my area, so seeing all those people dancing in the video was as much a case of wishful thinking as it was to Paul and Mick. I mean, man... now that I think about it, this was a downer of a video! Both guys show up to the gymnasium looking forward to a day of soul-steppin' with their huge crew. Instead, they're the only two people who show up, and proceed to spend their entire allotted time at the gym reminiscing about the good old days.

Now, I don't know whose memory we're actually watching in this video, but either Paul remembers Mick being a loser with the ladies or Mick has some pretty low self-esteem. The most bummer part of the video? A bunch of teens waiting for these two friendless twenty-something old fogies to clear out so they can use the space. Heck, I'd be heading off to wallow in my early-onset mid-life crisis crying into a cup of cappuccino, too. But at least they're still dressing cool at this point, right?

4. The Cappuccino Kid
I got into The Style Council at around the same time I was heavily into Beat writers and, yes, I used to dream of moving to San Francisco to spend my days in North Beach. So, you can imagine how easily it was for me to accept the idea of a 'Cappuccino Kid.' I used to sit in my bedroom in La Puente, CA thinking about how cool it would be to walk around those San Francisco streets, dressed up in suit, tie, and sunglasses, with a copy of Desolation Angels under my arm, on my way to Caffe Trieste.

As you can probably guess, I enjoyed reading the liner notes and back sleeves of Style Council records, digging on the Cappuccino Kid's ramblings. Sure, they could be silly and pretentious, but so was I as a teen. For me, the Cappuccino Kid combined Modish sensibilities (um, he mentioned sta-prest a couple of times!) with what I perceived to be a Beat outlet (writing poetry while sipping espresso).

I'm not that young kid anymore... but I'm sure there are many young people out there, today, digging on Beat literature as if they were the first to discover it. And they may be the type of kids who would still get a kick out of the Cappuccino Kid.

For me, things are different now. I still dig Beat writers and all, but I haven't read them in years. I now live a block away from a Caffe Trieste in my neighborhood, and as much as I enjoy having breakfast there with my wife, it's nothing like what I envisioned as a teen. Instead of struggling writers counting up change for a cup of coffee, it's filled with yuppie couples and children running around eating their pastries. And these days, my work is about a 15 minute walk away from North Beach and sometimes I do walk up there in a suit and tie. Only I leave the books at home and skip drinking coffee at the original Caffe Trieste in favor of having cocktails or wine at Tosca Cafe, Vesuvio, and Specs.

5. Tracie
Yes, I'm going there.

I picked this record up based solely on the "Style Council-Related" sticker on the plastic sleeve. Tracie Young was the back-up vocalist on The Jam's 'Beat Surrender' and also provided back-up on The Style Council's first 45 ('Speak Like A Child') before moving on to a (short-lived) solo career produced by Paul Weller. The record above is totally silly and I totally dug it!

Now, I will admit that the #1 reason why I probably liked this song was because of Tracie's big, beautiful eyes. I didn't know any better and thought she was some Mod girl Paul Weller had found. (Granted, this was probably how Mod girls in the '80s, at least in LA, were dressing at the time.) There really wasn't anything 'mod' about her, but I didn't care. I was completely smitten. I'd have a crush on her up until seeing Tiffani-Amber Thiessen on Saved By the Bell my future wife outside a movie theater.

6. The Cover of 'Our Favorite Shop' 
The album cover to Our Favorite Shop is just fantastic: a hodgepodge of Modish memorabilia scattered throughout the shop while Paul and Mick loiter on. Sure, Paul's sporting a pretty 1980s haircut (same hair I'd have in my early new wave days) and Mick's wearing a 1940s-looking suit with white loafers, but for the most part, they look pretty slick. I mean, dig them creases on Weller's trousers.

But even more, dig everything in that shop! Ties, scarves, Al Green poster, Tamla Motown 45s, Kenny Burrell and Sly Stone LPs, Rave magazine with The Small Faces on the cover, '60s paperbacks to die for... I can keep writing, but I'd rather spend the time just absorbing this record cover. Oh yeah, and the LP's pretty good too. Except for maybe 'The Stand-Up Comics Instructions.'

7. Their 'Orange Album' Period Wasn't All THAT Bad
Yes, yes, you're cringing, I know it. The 'Cost of Loving' era of The Style Council, probably their most disliked. Oh, I get it. Trust me. These songs came out at a time when contemporary American R&B music was at its most over-produced and bland. I remember that music when I was a kid and I did NOT like it. Unfortunately, Paul Weller did like it at the time... a lot. So years later, when I first heard this album, I felt betrayed by Paul Weller and The Style Council (even though this album was already several years old by that point).
But I have been giving it another listen lately. No, I still don't love it, but I also don't hate it. As far as pop songs go, especially for that time period, some stuff on there isn't that bad. For instance, 'Cost of Loving' and 'Heavens Above' are pretty good songs overall. (I know, I know.) It's just all that '80s technology that gets in the way. (Full disclosure: my mom used to always play Anita Baker around the house when I was a kid and I grew to love it, which may be why I've learned to accept some of these songs.) And one of my all-time favorite TSC songs, 'Wanted,' is from this time period. Maybe it's because it sounds lifted from The Isley Brothers' 'Who's That Lady', but I've always really liked that song. Compare for yourselves:

Y'know, I'm really surprised that after all these years, some Mod band hasn't taken up the challenge of re-interpreting The Style Council's The Cost of Loving. Or imagine if one of these new soul bands actually re-did this as a real soul album? Hey, if J.J. Abrams can 're-imagine' Star Trek and  Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings can re-work Janet Jackson's 'What Have You Done For Me Lately,' then somebody can show people how good this album could be without all those synthesizers and programmed drum beats!

God, maybe I am getting old. I just wrote some positive words about The Cost of Loving.

8. Strong Political Stances
I was a naive little kid spending the 1980s worrying more about what kind of damage my little brother could do to my Transformers collection than I did about what kind of damage Reagan and Thatcher were doing to the world. But hey, childhood! Paul Weller & Co., however, were at that perfect age to see what was going on with the world and to try doing something about it.

You may not have agreed with their more leftist viewpoints, but you have to give them credit for trying to get their ideas across through the power of pop (not rock) music. Seriously, how many dance songs do you know of with lines like:
Are you gonna get to realise
The class war's real and not mythologized 
(From 'Walls Come Tumbling Down')

Sure, many of their political songs are dated these days. Things are different today than they were 25 years ago (better or worse is up to your own interpretation). And yes, they should have followed Bob Dylan's habit of keeping political songs universal instead of specific to the times. But y'know what? As much as I love Dylan, I just can't dance the same way to 'Masters of War' as I can to 'Walls Come Tumbling Down.'
(Plus, I gotta give The Style Council credit for opening my eyes to one of the French Revolution's most notorious figures, Jean-Paul Marat, thanks to his famous 'flick of the finger' speech on the back of the Café Bleu LP. I wish more pop bands assumed they had a more literate audience.)

9. Simon Halfon's Designs
What The Style Council lacked in consistent sounds they made up for in consistent design, thanks to their graphic designer, Simon Halfon. Influenced by Blue Note's Reid Miles's use of sans serif type and monochromatic images, Halfon created a great Modernist identity for the band early on. Even as the band morphed away, stylistically, from a Modernist look into more contemporary fashion styles, Halfon kept the look of their albums, singles, and posters pretty consistent, while still moving his own style forward. He kept things clean and modern with limited color palettes, sparse imagery, and the aforementioned sans serif fonts.

10. Good or Bad, They Moved Forward
Love them or hate them, you have to admit that they did try to progress musically. Starting off as late-'50s-looking Modernists trying to capture a jazzier sound, they ended in t-shirts and neon shorts playing contemporary pop music... in about 4 years. That's a pretty huge progression in any pop band's life. Take a look at how most 1960s bands shifted from an R'n'B sound and look to psychedelia in the about the same amount of time. These days, most bands don't really change all that much. The Pearl Jam of today is probably the same Pearl Jam of 20 years ago, only with less hair. The Style Council of 1983 was a vastly different band than The Style Council of 1987.

Again, the direction they moved into might not be your cup of tea (I'm mixed), but they took that risk. That's pretty ballsy in my book. Unfortunately, they were a product of the technology and music trends of their time. Drum machines, bass synths, and the influence of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis production techniques took them in an area I still haven't grown to fully accept yet. But I give them credit for being brave enough to try it. Moving forward was a great idea in theory. Too bad they were just a victim of the times. (By the way, NOT moving forward isn't a bad thing either. Some bands find a sound that works for them and just spend their career improving upon it with great results, i.e., the Daptone bands, Nick Lowe, Nicola Conte, etc.)

And, let me say now that, NO, there's nothing necessarily 'mod' about moving forward. I know people out there may think that by virtue of changing with the times they were, in fact, being 'mod' or living 'modernist' ideals to the fullest, but I disagree. Just because what they were doing was modern for the time does NOT necessarily mean it was 'mod'. Remember, 'mod' was never short for 'modern'. (Heck, if that was the case, everything modern today would be 'mod.')

That said, The Style Council's choice to build upon their sound and change with the times or move forward was not necessarily a bad thing for them. You and I may not have been into it, but for them, it was all growth. And from what I've been reading, Paul Weller's still growing.

And ain't nothin' really wrong with that.

[For further Style Council readings, try these links:
1. Wholepoint Publications for all your Style Council needs.
2. The Anorak Thing's experiences with The Style Council, Part 1 & Part 2 (A counterpoint to this post that is very well written and super funny!)
3. The It Sparkles blog with some fantastic scans of TSC memorabilia.]

Style Council-era Paul Weller, walking away from the ugly look of parkas and (ugh) boxing boots. Unfortunately, the slicked-back hair and highwatered, cuffed pants aren't much better. (Thom Browne must have loved this look, though.)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sharp Stylings #31: John Steed

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'm sure everyone has 'Avengers' on the mind, what with the upcoming superhero movie and all. But let's go back to a couple of Avengers not affected by gamma radiation or super-soldier serums. No, these Avengers just had smarts, martial arts skills, and flash gear to help in their fight on crime. And speaking of flash gear, let's concentrate on the Sharp Stylings of The Avengers' John Steed!

Just check him out rockin' the bowler hat, 3-piece suit buttoned all the way down, upside-down umbrella, pocket sq-- wait, WHAT?!? 3-piece suit buttoned all the way down?? After last post's tirade, how did this get a Sharp Stylings nod of approval?

Even I couldn't believe it when I saw it! John Steed, played by Patrick Macnee, looking stunningly cool, even with all his jacket buttons fastened. Maybe some tailors out there can help me out with this one. Look closely at his jacket... it's almost as if it was tailored perfectly for allowing that button to be done up. There's no tugging around the waist and the jacket still flares beautifully away from the hips.

Now please don't get carried away after seeing this photo. Just because John Steed's buttoned all the way down, I still do NOT recommend following this look.

First off, you ain't John Steed! Once you start solving crimes and taking down villains with a sexy super-spy like Emma Peel by your side, then you can try getting away with using all those front buttons. Secondly, unlike John Steed's jacket which looks like it was made for this look, chances are your jacket isn't designed for the full button-down.

John Steed... exception to the rule?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Bottom Button

To button the bottom button or NOT to button the bottom button... naw, that's not really a pressing question. Besides, the answer's simple: NOT to button the bottom button. (Say that 3 times quickly.)

I see a lot of Mod fellows out there buttoning down their suit jackets all the way from top to bottom, but that's just not the way to go. Here are the reasons I see as to why you should leave the bottom button alone:
  1. It's tradition. Sure, not all traditions are worth following, but, um, this one is.
  2. In general, suit jackets are designed to leave that button undone.
  3. Trust me, you'll look so much less uptight with that bottom button loose.
Let's start with a little historical overview of how this look began. The man credited most with beginning the tradition of leaving the bottom button of a suit jacket unbuttoned is King Edward VII, who reigned from 1901 to 1910. According to Eric Musgrave's Sharp Suits book, Edward had "an obsession for clothes" and "was the first menswear icon to be seen regularly by the general public." He is known for popularizing various fashion trends including the first modern dinner jacket (tuxedo), cuffs (turn-ups) on trousers, and the open bottom button. And why did he leave that button open? Well... as seen below, he was a big guy. In an effort to feel more comfortable, he relaxed that last jacket button, thus inspiring many sycophants to follow, leading to a tradition that still continues to this day.
King Edward VII, looking sharp and relaxed.
Well, Mods don't follow tradition, am I right? They're a rebellious sort who follow their own rules of dress. Hey man, I hear you. But here's the problem: thanks to the tradition started by King Edward VII, most suit jackets today are designed to leave the bottom button undone. According to the Art of Manliness blog, modern suit jackets are actually made to flare away from the hips with the bottom button unbuttoned. Otherwise, the fabric of the jacket pulls around your waist awkwardly. The Permanent Style blog also mentions this design detail in the construction of a suit jacket. Their advice is to always keep, at least, the middle button done up, but never the bottom button. Your jacket will sit more naturally on your frame with the bottom button loose.

Looks like The Small Faces got the memo! (From Magic Mac.)
Of course, if you insist on keeping all buttons on your jacket done up, well... knock yourself out. Keep in mind though, it's a pretty uptight look. The thing about good style is that it should look relaxed, not overdone. With all your buttons buttoned, you'll look stiff and closed in, like a giant cylinder. Plus, since jackets aren't designed for buttoning all the way down, the lines of your jacket will look awkward on you with that pulled fabric around your waist. Oh and here's a test for you: try reaching into your trouser pocket while the jacket's buttoned all the way. Yeah, look at all those horrible folds! And really, how does one sit down all buttoned up?
The Lambrettas photo from the Magic Mac blog. Notice the difference in how their jackets drape.
Now, there is one exception to this rule: if it's really cold and windy, AND you don't have an overcoat on, AND you're coming down with a cold, then button up all those buttons! But other than that, I hope you'll think twice next time you are buttoning up your jacket. And if some of you Mods out there still insist on doing away with this rule, take solace in the knowledge that you're not alone (granted, this is in reference to the vest buttons).

I leave you now, but want to let you know that, yes, I too used to button all the way up before I got a clue. So don't feel bad if this is something new to you. It was new to me once too.
Mod Fail at age 20! Bottom button done up and look at how the jacket pulls.
When in doubt, think of your buttons this way from top to middle to bottom: "Sometimes. Always. Never."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sharp Stylings #30: Nicola Conte

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.
Sorry for the lack of posting lately but, well... sometimes when you get home from work you have the choice of sitting in front of a computer or sitting on the couch with a book. The couch and book have been winning lately.

But I always have time for appreciating good style.  And you know who has some slick style for appreciating? Why, Italian bossa nova jazz man, Nicola Conte:

However, it's not just his style worth digging, but how he carries it. Sure, he's got some nice threads on and all, but what really sticks out to me is how nonchalant he is in them. There's a certain casual elegance happening in this photo.

I don't know about you, but in the past, I have been accused of being... uptight. (I know, right?) Just because you toss on a tie with a suit jacket, people think you're as starched as the shirt you're wearing. Not true, baby... many of us know how to kick out a hang when necessary. Many of us like to mellow out easy.

Just check out Conte above, throwin' a cross-legged lean, ready to ease in to a night of good vibes. He's sporting a nice cream-colored jacket (3-button front, I think), dark pants, socks, and shoes, soft blue shirt (top button undone), and (my favorite detail) a patterned scarf tied round his neck. It's not often I do the scarf tied around the neck anymore, but it is something I need to revisit after seeing this photo. It's a fancy look but, at the same time, comes off looking a bit loose and easy.

Nicola Conte's wearing a look that just begs for a cocktail in hand and some swinging light jazz playing nearby. Well, what do you know? Here is his providing the soundtrack with vocalist José James:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sharp Stylings #29: Lee Morgan

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.

Lee Morgan, lost in thought: 

Admittedly, I am a little mixed on his outfit here. Can't say I'm super excited about his loose corduroy pants, but he more than makes up for it with that sharp blazer and crisp tie. That blazer is beautiful, from the way it hangs from the top button down to the subtle pin-striping of the fabric. The tie's a simple one, thin with a conservative pattern, but fits perfect with the jacket.

As I said before, not really into the cords and I'm wondering if his shirt is short-sleeved based on the lack of cuff showing under his jacket sleeve. I can't really recommend that look, but I tell you what... if you can play a horn as powerful as Lee Morgan does on his track, 'Cornbread,' then you get a pass!

Now that's some mean soul jazz!