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?”
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.”
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.