ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Frank Sinatra's Style

Updated on September 15, 2017

When Sinatra sang “you've either got or you haven't got style” in Robin And The 7 Hoods, it was with the light-hearted confidence of a man who'd got it. And he'd always had an eye for natty threads. While growing up he earned the nickname “Slacksie”, and the charge account he had at Geismer's department store, set up by his mother, encouraged him to see certain items of clothing as “spiffy, nifty and swell”. Later he would confess to being “a symmetrical man, almost to a fault” and that “my clothing must hang just so”. This is a man who would have two men lower him into his trousers before taking the stage so that they would have no creases.

His sense of style changed with the times. In the 1940s Sinatra, standing at around 5ft 10 in, wore big double-breasted jackets with shoulder pads, baggy trousers and floppy bow ties. These raffish accessories near the top of an unfeasibly slender frame, often sewn by Nancy, became icons in themselves.

In the 1950s his style was visible in his suits. More than one hundred and fifty of them were cut for him by Sy Devore, tailor to the stars, or Carroll & Co, both of Beverly Hills, and he had rules about colours: no brown to be worn after dark, but only black or, at a push, dark grey. His favourite suit was the sharp one he wore in Pal Joey, and to show it off in the promotional shots he slung his coat over his shoulder. In the 1960s he imported his suits from Savile Row. (In private Sinatra displayed a penchant for pastel colours; his clothing could be pink, lilac or lavender. But his favourite colour was orange; a typical example is the jumper that he wears in his first scenes in Ocean's 11).

And then there were the hats. Sinatra had dabbled with them since childhood. But in the 1950s they became a permanent feature -partly as a tribute to the style of Humphrey Bogart, partly as a way of covering his receding hair- and iconic. He wears a snap-brim of some description on fifteen of his twenty Capitol album covers, at a variety of angles, and expressing different moods: the hat perches spryly on Swing Easy, is pushed back in open-hearted resignation on In The Wee Small Hours but points straight ahead on the winking face of Come Dance with Me!, a bullish part of Sinatra's confident invitations. “It was like an extension of him”, said his daughter Nancy.

And then came the tuxedos. “There is no better Sinatra”, ran the album liner notes of The Main Event, “than the Sinatra in a tuxedo”. He wore a beautiful white tux for his Hollywood Bowl appearance in 1943, but in the Vegas years he stuck to black. He told the author Bill Zehme that “a tuxedo is a way of life” -and shared some tips. “My basic rules are to have shirt cuffs extend half an inch from the jacket sleeve. Trousers should break just above the shoe. Try not to sit down because it wrinkles the pants. If you have to sit, don't cross your legs”. This would elevate his performance into a formal occasion. Sinatra knew that if he walked onto the stage in anything else he would diminish himself and disappoint his audience.

Which was the best style of Frank?

See results

In the late 1960s, when fashion changed, Frank dallied with the prevailing styles: a white polo neck here (on the cover of his 1968 Christmas album), some love beads there (on Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing) and even a Nehru jacket (also on this 1968 TV special). All were brought off with some dignity. But in the 1970s, after his comeback, there were disappointments: big open collars flapping over shapeless sweatshirts emblazoned with “Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back”; dowdy baseball caps, as far too many photographs demonstrated; and an appalling $3 golf hat on the cover of Some Nice Things I've Missed. It was good to see Frank so relaxed but this inclination towards everyman leisurewear did not suit the Chairman of the Board.

During the concert years from 1974 until 1994, the tuxes stayed -but the wigs got worse. They weren't too bad in the 1950s and 1960s: discreet widow's peaks or grown-out crew cuts. He even went without for a time, in the early 1960s, but soon afterwards came the comb-over, which got shorter at the end of the decade and shaggier in the 1970s. By the 1980s his rug had evolved into a brushed-forward silver rake that was extremely distracting.

But even on stage in his latter years, when wielding his microphone and whipping the cord, immaculately tuxedoed, he contuined to cut a geriatric dash.

© 2013 Lorenzo27


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)