Frank Sinatra, Liederkrantz Hall, NYC - Circa 1947
Style: Some have it, and others are like me – complete void of any trace. It’s a blend of taste and smarts that brings it out. For the lucky few, style is effortless – natural like breathing air. But for many, it’s a sure bet that the clothes combo picked out in the morning would made a stylist laugh.
But in the 1940s it seemed as if everyone had style, especially musicians.
The United States’ Library Of Congress has an entire collection of photographs taken by William Gottlieb in the 1940s, highlighting the stars of Jazz. By looking through the 1600 photos in the collection, it’s pretty clear that part of being a jazz musician in that era meant dressing sharp. The suits were cut with flair, and the dresses also hugged a curve or two. Ties had character. Everything was shiny, pin striped, or accessorized to the stratosphere. It was definitely a time when people cared about how they looked, instead of an era for some that my mother-in-law describes as “Looking like you’re doing yard work.”
In the 21st Century many of us – well mostly me anyway – could learn a lot about what to wear, simply by going through these photos.
Doris Day and Kitty Kallen, Central Park, NYC, ca. Apr. 1947
Chico Alvarez and June Christy, ca. 1947
Irving Kolodin, NYC, between 1946 and 1948
Dottie Reid, NYC, between 1946 and 1948
George Wettling, NYC, between 1946 and 1948
Imogene Coca, Mary Lou Williams, and Ann Hathaway
Fran Warren and Gene Williams, NYC, ca. Oct. 1947
Eddie Condon, NYC, ca. Oct. 1946
Joan Brooks and Duke Niles, ca. Apr. 1947
Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, NYC, ca. Sept. 1947
Sarah Vaughan, Café Society, NYC, ca. Aug. 1946
Stan Kenton and Eddie Safranski, 1947 or 1948
June Christy and Red Rodney, Club Troubadour, NYC, ca. Sept. 1947
Earl Hines, NYC, ca. Mar. 1947
Ann Hathaway, Washington Square, NYC, ca. May 1947
Joe Marsala, ca. June 1947
Louis Prima, NYC, ca. June 1947
Sylvia Syms, ca. June 1947