While the self-taught pianist was known for his unorthodox skills on the ivories, his dress sense couldn’t have been more of a contrast. Monk rocked a suit pretty traditionally and with few thrills. The white shirt and dark tie to accentuate the tailoring’s sharpness, while a tiepin makes a good addition to tame wayward ends. Where Monk did offer a flourish was with his hats. He wore the hell out of those things. It didn’t matter if it was a leather skullcap, full fur or an alpaca beanie – he always looked on point.
Baker might have had the voice of an angel, but he certainly didn’t behave like one. With his James Dean features and hard-living habits, he was the prototype for the modern-day rock star. And, without the aid of a celebrity stylist, he managed to dress like one too. The buttery-voiced crooner kept it simple. While none of these items shine on their own, in combination the quality merino knit, slim-fit jeans and tidy shoes make a winning trio.
So much of this legendary drummer’s outfit is wrong, but in true jazz style, playing erroneous notes in the right order makes the sweetest tune. The roll neck could be a serious faux pas, but the sting is taken out of it by layering it under a dark knit while the checked blazer adds an interesting pop of pattern with the neutral tone of the mac keeping everything under control. Roach really hits a sweet note though with his accessorising. The finishing adornments of sunnies and the trilby give this ensemble its cutting edge.
Coleman pioneered the visceral, squawky genre of free jazz. And his pared-down wardrobe choices reflect some of that rawness. The white shirt under a classic knit is spot on for a casual first date or post-work pint. He’s kept it smart too, with tailored black trousers but you’ll look equally as slick teaming this with a good pair of dark denims. If you’re of a heavier build, try a short-sleeved polo shirt to cut back on any added bulkiness when layering.
Celebrated as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Davis changed his style both musically and sartorially all through his near 50-year career. He blew his way from bebop to hip-hop wearing everything from dapper tailoring to sexy silk lounge pants. Never did he look cooler than he does here, however. So contemporary is this double-breasted number that it could quite easily be straight off of this winter’s catwalk. If you don’t want to go all-out on an expensive designer number, there are decent offerings for this on the high street that are easier on the wallet.