From the naked androgyny of his eponymous 1979 album, to his emotional last appearance in Atlanta last week, Prince Rogers Nelson set his own path in both style and music. To understand how and why he achieved such a unique journey, it’s important to understand a little about his relationships with two key factors in his life: god and sex.
Born into a Seventh Day evangelist family, he later converted to Jehovah’s Witness, and although his sexual preferences were never clear, he regularly alluded to bisexuality. However, he also famously spoke out against same sex marriage in 2008 – although he claims he was misquoted. These themes of sexual and moral ambiguity run throughout his lyrics and musical style, and didn’t so much spill out but exploded into his wardrobe.
Since this is a tailoring blog, I will of course be focusing on Prince’s suits. However, it’s important to highlight that to do so is to focus on the conservative side of his style, since has worn some of pop’s truly radical outfits over the years…
King & Allen honours the life and style of Prince – The Last Dandy Megastar
That being said, his suit collection is a marvel to behold. As a clothing medium, The Suit has remained popular and relevant because it is so hard to adapt. Yet Prince used it as a blank canvas, time and again creating unique and exciting pieces. Pieces that, thanks to the depths of his talent (and the mythical status that will be assured by his early death) shall remain in the mens’ style cannon forever…
With cultural preservation in mind, below are a few of my favourite suits from across the years:
Prince’s Life in Suits
Not the last purple suit you’ll see on this list, but the only one with a matching fedora and crazy hand pointy gesture.
The Joan Collins sunglasses, the rockabilly hair and the bright red three piece detract from the fact that to wear your shirt collar up is in itself quite a statement. If you disagree, try it tomorrow!
It’s purple, it’s silk, it’s low-cut double breasted and it has white buttons. What’s not to love?
You’re not a true dandy until you wear a white silk blouse with an oversized custard velour suit. Fact.
Channelling his inner Bowie with another low-cut double breasted – this time in white, with complimentary white and white.
The cut and style are that of a classic two piece suit, but the cloth and colour transform it completely. And the guitar matches!
Wow. Just wow.
The suit itself is unremarkable, but the accessories turn it into a true showpiece.
Pretty in Purple. Note the velvet collar and matching buttons.
Breaking all the rules of how a diminutive man should dress: bright colours, high cut double-breasted, long jacket and low slung guitar.
Narrowly avoiding the Wimbledon ball boy dress code, Prince breaks more small man dress rules in a huge pair of white flares.