Jazz Age Tailoring feat. Mike Davis

November 13th, 2013

Mike Davis is a true Jazz musician and performer, down to his throwback 1920s style.

“My personal style has been connected to music for a long time… For the first two years of music school I tried to go with the flow of my peers, learning more modern styles of jazz and trying to look more current. But once I started getting into the music of the 1920s & 1930s, and working with bands that embraced a ‘vintage’ look, I felt right at home. I like the way I sound playing older music, and I like the way I look wearing fuller-cut clothing, bow ties, spectator shoes, etc. The music and the clothing of that era came more natural me, and together they made each other better…

I hate the idea of changing outfits just to play music; that’s a costume. I’d rather just live it. Clothing should make you feel comfortable being yourself: I like clothing that makes me look older and connects me to the music I play. I realize a lot of pieces/outfits I wear are not for everyone, but that’s what I’ve always enjoyed about Articles of Style; how boring would life be if we all looked like models in the same catalog?”

AMEN brother.

On that note, here’s a sample of Mike’s romantic throwback style. He’s an old soul and a true gentleman, moustache and all.

    1. Perfectly Full-Cut


    Photography shot with the Canon EOS 70D digital SLR camera, with Dual Pixel AF technology and built-in Wi-Fi

    Mike completely owns the full-cut look of the 1920s. In that era, the more cloth a man wore the more powerful he was – or at least the richer he was (since cloth was expensive and became more and more scare during war periods).

    “Alright, I know this one’s loud. But on a sunny day, playing outdoors, this totally makes sense. It’s certainly noticeable – and it’s supposed to be.

    I’m on a lot of gigs lately where the dress code is simply ‘jacket and tie’, so I can really do whatever I want. I always offer to tone it down, but the bandleaders that hire me usually like the addition to their show. As someone once said; ‘they don’t have to listen to you, but they do have to look at you’.”


    “The proportions of these  bespoke trousers were modeled after a pair from the 40s. I love the added visual interest of multiple pleats with a full break… There’s an elegance to way the fabric drapes and moves.  That natural movement in cloth can be lost with very close-fitting clothing.

    Some of my biggest style icons are William Powell and Clark Gable in the 30s, when full-cut (but well-fitting) clothing was in style.”


    “This jacket was a bit of an impulse purchase…it’s too bright for evening shows, butI think it really flatters my skin tone in daylight.”


    • Pink Jacket by Against Nature
    • Beige Windowpane Pants by Against Nature
    • Blue Contrast Collar Dress Shirt by H&M
    • Yellow Striped Knit Tie by Brooks Brothers
    • Red and Blue Patterned Pocket Square by Brooks Brothers
    • Black and White Leather Loafers by Allen Edmonds

    2. No Phones Please


    “I’m very aware of lighting and how different looks will show up in the spaces where I perform. This look is something I’d wear for a gig in a dimly-lit space: dark suit, black shoes, white shirt, and I’m really into silver ties at night… The tan and blue windowpane in this suit fabric stands out in daylight, but is barely visible at night.

    This is my first custom suit from Against Nature, where Natty Adams has been very flexible with my vintage-inspired silhouettes. He, along with the amazing photographer Rose Callahan, recently included me in their book I Am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman.”


    “A collar bar is instant vintage style (especially if you have the authentic eyelet-point-collar shirt).

    With my phone turned off during a show, I can check the time on my pocket watch, which I wear every day so I remember to wind it.”


    Nothing anchors a full-cut trouser in a beautiful menswear fabric like a pair of freshly-shined captoe brogues.


    3. Class Act


    “Every jazz musician needs a tuxedo. I’m required to wear black tie several times a month, and several times a week during the holiday season.

    The silhouette of this tuxedo is so different from what’s popular today: fuller sleeves, higher waist, and wide trousers with no taper. But I like the way it looks on me; it’s different in a fun way.”


    “On most ‘tux gigs’ I can’t get away with adding any color, but I can still set myself apart with a different cut… Although, I liked Wes’ suggestion of gold-and-turquoise shirt studs to match my trumpet valve caps!”


    Peak lapels on shawl lapels, again!

    This time the waistcoat has a subtle contrast, in an elegant textured silk.


    I never thought of ordering a full-cut tuxedo. But this look from Mike has me seriously reconsidering.

    A proper fitting full-cut tuxedo is just so classy and confident.



    Thanks for reading and special thanks to Mike for participating!

    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style

    Photography by Westley Dimagiba.

    • http://undefined Dick Lickerson

      I personally love this style. This is what I call “Django (Reinhardt) Unchained”.

    • http://profblack.blogspot.kr/ Professor Black

      This is a very exciting post. Thank you for sharing Mr. Davis’ style.

    • John B

      The windowpane suit is amazing and the wide(r) lapels and ties really suit him. I must admit that at first I didn’t like the tuxedo, but it kind of grew on me. I’d still prefer slimmer pants though.

    • Lasse

      In first post he looks like a clown..

      • JD
        • the duke of dorset

          dictionaries – wonderful things:

          Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 8th edition

          di • gress
          BrE / daɪɡres /
          NAmE / daɪɡres /

          [intransitive] (formal)
          to start to talk about sth that is not connected with the main point of what you are saying
          di • gres • sion / BrE daɪɡreʃn ; NAmE daɪɡreʃn / noun [countable,  uncountable]

          After several digressions, he finally got to the point.

          see where i’m going with this?

    • Carabruva

      Just curious: how tall is Mike? Hard to tell given the proportions and rise of his clothes, but I’m interested.

    • Olerud_4_life

      Dont like the style. At all, but much respect to his perspective and originality in how he wants to present himself. Need more like him. And he plays the trumpet, the instrument of pending war. Wish I still played it.

    • Nick

      Ok I’m going to address the elephant in the room. You can’t grow a mustache. Please shave it for the sake of the children.

    • Kathleen Boyer

      I think he looks amazingly handsome and very Clark Gable-ish.

    • Gazman

      I’m wondering, is this his day to day attire or did he wear this clobber just for a photo-shoot or when on stage? Not my bag but more power to him. It’s good to see someone going away from the skinny silhouette which has become all too common these days.

    • jasonk

      I really enjoyed all these looks! The idea of wide legs and a slim shirt pairing has been intriguing as I imagine a functional silluette. I wonder what you (tsb) and your readers think about a wide leg with more of a break? I cant stand the thought of dragging my hem on the ground!

      • jasonk

        His pants acually do not drag! Oops.

    • http://anorexicescapades.com BougieHippie

      I enjoy seeing different people’s aesthetics when it comes to men style. Some guys instantly want to say menswear is boring however Crawford manger to have a defined style, that’s retro and use a lot of “it” pieces from men’s runways today.

      I like your signature chain as well. Good job, guy!


      • Jimi Brady

        You should be aware that some people are severely triggered by the content on your website. It would be prudent to stop advertising it on TSB.

    • Randy

      I agree that the pants are a touch too full. Otherwise, this guy is killin it :)

    • AK

      This is a very self-aware, stylish, and confident chap. I admire his moxy.

    • http://www.gent.ro Viorel

      Some people say: „I decided on a pair of shoes and started to create my outfit from there”. Mike started from the trumpet.

    • Nick

      Wasn’t too crazy about the first suit, but the others looked great. I especially love the idea of cufflinks to match your valve caps. Though, that might be a little match-y? I also like the subtle texture difference of the waistcoat in the tux.

    • http://whitneynicjames.com Whitney

      I love a good vintage/throwback look and he nailed all the looks. The fact that he embraces this era so effortlessly is great! I like the patterns, as well as his shoes. Very well groomed and a true unique sense of style!


    • http://undefined Mr E

      His throwback looks more fitting with a little Photoshop.

      See if you agree with me: http://postimg.org/image/epz83p5er/

      All apologies to Mr Crawford.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        hah nice…except you can’t see the awesome colors in that suit.

        Also, Westley is out NYC photographer.


        • http://undefined Mr E

          True, but the same limitations currently affect all vintage photographs; we’ll never know how great the clothes because we can’t see them fully.

          My apologies to Westley for the error.

      • http://tsbmen.com Alex Crawford

        Ha that’s awesome!

        • http://undefined Mr E

          Thank you.

          His styling was screaming for the vintage photo feel.

    • Gary

      Nah. Okay if you’re going for a costume, like you’re an extra in Gatsby or you’ve got a gig as a trumpet player in a swing band. But… no.

      • http://undefined Jeanscuffed

        But….he IS a trumpet player in a swing band….with many gigs….so YES!

      • http://www.tsbmen.com Westley Dimagiba

        did you read the article?

    • LouCaves

      I must say, Mr. Davis, you own it.

    • M-O

      That second outfit is outstanding.

    • Martin

      I always have mixed feelings about this kind of look: On one hand I feel it’s way too anachronistic and as a result has a kinda costume-y vibe; but on the other hand, he does look fantastic :)

    • Miguel G

      That second suit is absolutely nasty (in a good way). The waistcoat, lapels, subtlety of the pattern/color is perfection. It also appears to be the most “form-fitting” of all the fuller cut suits. Great style.

    • Shawn

      Although I admire his willingness to ride his own ride, I must say that I find the pants a little bit to full. The pleated ones in look # 1 look really good but I think they’d be better maybe 1 or 2″ less around the ankle. I do love the full break though.

    • http://undefined A Martinez

      This guy rocks! I’m not into fuller cuts for myself..but this style is very becoming. Great Style Mike!

    • http://undefined Robert

      I love Against Nature’s take on styling. From the cuts, to the color palettes, to the individuals that don their brand. Timeless and classic, but with a sense of “fashion-forwardness,” as I see the cut of cloth coming back to a more “full” fit in menswear.

    • Dante

      His shoe game is on point.