Why Jay-Z Is Getting More Stylish With Age
Jay-Z on route to the Roc Nation Brunch, New York, 27 January. Photograph by BlayzenPhotos/BACKGRID
Three dapper looks from the rapper this week.
We singled out five stylish gentlemen for special attention at last weekend’s Grammy Awards, but it was perhaps remiss of us to ignore Jay-Z, who seems to have stepped up a sartorial gear. Over the course of 24 hours, he appeared in three notably dapper outfits. Let us explain, by way of a chronological deep dive into the situation.
On Saturday evening, the Brooklyn-born rapper attended the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala in Times Square, New York. It was an evening worth dressing up for – he was collecting a Salute To Industry Icons award. Jay-Z chose to wear a made-to-measure dinner suit by the New York tailoring brand Musika Frère. The double-breasted suit, which was made from olive-coloured corduroy and had broad shawl lapels, was unusual yet somehow low-key. The rapper wore it with a white shirt with studs, a generously sized bow tie and black chisel-toe Oxford shoes. Should the jacket have been a smidgeon longer? Given Jay-Z’s height (he’s 6ft 1in), it might have been improved by another row of buttons on the chest, but the overall effect was, we felt, an ideal combination of being both dressy and relaxed.
Jay-Z at the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala, New York, 27 January. Photograph by Pap Nation/Splash News
The next day he attended the Roc Nation brunch at the One World Trade Center. As the founder of Roc Nation, which represents stars of music and sport, Jay-Z was the centre of attention, and he dressed accordingly. His outfit comprised a mid-grey single-breasted three-piece suit, with a double-breasted waistcoat, a snow-white shirt with a pinned collar, a grey cashmere tie, a gold tie bar, a pale grey fedora and a black overcoat. What, on paper, sounds like a business outfit was transformed into a show-business outfit by that super-formal waistcoat, the eye-catching tie bar, the pinned collar, the way the fedora was tilted to the back of the head and the theatrical manner in which the overcoat was draped over the shoulders. Long-term Jay-Z fans may have been reminded of the cover of his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, released in 1996, which captures him in a black suit and fedora with a white tie and scarf.
Later on Sunday evening, Jay-Z and his wife, Ms Beyoncé Knowles, appeared at the Grammy awards with their daughter, Ms Blue Ivy Carter. The rapper donned a black Tom Ford tuxedo, but rather than team it with a shirt and tie, he wore it over a black rollneck. This outfit was both on trend and utterly inspired. Combined with his new slightly grown-out hairstyle, the look was confident, natural, relaxed and stylish. In the best possible way, it made him stand out from the sea of white shirts, black bow ties and dinner jackets.
Mr Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jay-Z and Mr Jay Brown at the Grammy Awards, New York, 28 January. Photograph by Mr Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Sunday’s Grammy Awards weren’t a great night for hip-hop in general, or Jay-Z in particular. He went home empty handed, despite his album 4:44 receiving three nominations. In the style stakes, however, he was the clear winner.