Photo from en.wikipedia.org
The Style Sisters and I disagree about lots of things, but we all love the classy, sophisticated jazz singers and crooners who did (or do) songs from the Great American Songbook—vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Mel Torme, and Tony Bennett. Especially Tony Bennett, who celebrated his 90th birthday on August 3.
We heard Tony sing once in Columbus, Ohio, and were struck by his dignity, poise, and graciousness. Such a gentleman, in every sense of the word—gentle, well-mannered, self-effacing, elegant, and dignified. We also loved his beautiful gray suit. The fit and cut looked something like this. [O, please click! It’s a beautiful photo, but I can’t insert it here because the copyright police might come roaring up in the Black Maria take us all away!)
Tony’s always had an eye for suits, as you can see if you look at photos going way back to his early days in his hometown of Astoria, part of the borough of Queens, New York. It’s still home to many Italian-Americans—his real name is Anthony Dominick Benedetto. (By the way, we’re borough mates—I spent my first few years in Queens—and believe it or not, one of Tony’s cousins lived on our street! Six degrees of separation . . . )
As Tony told Melissa Ruggieri of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2011, “I believe in style. I don’t like the new styles. I like quality and being civilized.” Seems his uncle was a tailor and his mother a seamstress who suffered if she had to make a cheap dress as Tony did if he had to work with music that he didn’t like (which I don’t think happened too often).
“Funny,” Tony said in the Journal-Constitution interview. “ I see Cary Grant or Astaire on the screen and their clothes never look dated. They always stay in style.”
So do you, Tony. Happy Birthday.
Categories: Fashion & Music