If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this video of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” on Saturday Night Live.
Watched it the whole way through? Good.
We here at Henry A. Davidsen are big fans of Mr. Timberlake’s new image. His transformation from a teen idol in N’Sync to this most recent iteration of his solo career has been nothing short of drastic. Everything -the clothes, the hair, you name it- has matured. He (and likely his management team) realized a while back that his original fan base of teenage girls was aging just like he was, and he couldn’t remain stuck in teeny-bopper mode forever. Hence the transformation.
The JT Time Machine
The beauty of it is that the transformation has been in a direction of classic style. Looking at his outfit in the video, we could easily put Timberlake in a time machine set to 1935 and he’d fit right in. This is a compliment because the period between the two World Wars in America is known to be the best-dressed in the country’s history. To help us understand the swagger of Rat Pack-like proportions going on here, let’s break down his outfit:
- The Jacket: See how wide those peaked lapels are? These are not the trendy 2.5″ wide lapels we’ve been seeing on the pages of GQ for the past few years. These are timelessly classic and indicate a willingness to stray from the pop culture pack. Also, note the besom pockets
- The Cummerbund: A cummerbund is a fine item. Typically we advise them with shawl-collared tuxedos, but it’s very well done here. It’s a classic way to cover your pant waistband and maintain an unbroken vertical line when the jacket is buttoned. Exceptional choice.
- The Bow Tie: That’s a butterfly bow tie. It looks like he tied it himself. This is awesome.
- The Shirt: Typically we’d advise a simple white shirt with a turndown collar for a tuxedo (especially since he sings, “…all dressed up in black and white…”), and we’re not sure why he went with this greenish/grayish number. It doesn’t look bad per se, but it’s “technically” incorrect. As a way to make him stand out from his band and backup dancers, though, it’s effective.
- The Shoes: Black and white spectators? Amazing. This is a nod to both Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson, two expert dancers who knew the value of drawing attention to their feet while on stage.
The lesson to be learned here? Careful management of your image in addition to a working knowledge of classic style is a recipe for success in terms of looking your absolute best. The word “swagger” is thrown around a lot nowadays, but we feel that Mr. Timberlake has truly captured the meaning of the word in his Saturday Night Live performance.
Not bad for a kid from Tennessee.