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Shawn Corey Carter – better known by the Brooklynite’s rap moniker, Jay-Z – has always had style. Need proof? Google Image Search pictures of him in the 90s – the Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Enyce sweaters, the Yankees merch, the pumped-up denim jackets et al – and it’s pretty much the look every teenage boy is trying to mimic today. But it’s in the past few years, in which the hip-hop legend both turned 50 and became rap’s first billionaire, that he’s approached fashion with new audacity. No sign of crisis here.
Take the pepto-pink (or as he corrected a fan, ‘mauve’) suit he wore to a Grammy garden party in 2018; or the even hotter pink suit he wore (sans shirt) to perform on-stage in South Africa. In fact, for a man who was once solely to be seen in streetwear, he’s been wearing a lot of good suits lately – never skinny, always baggy – whether mint-green double-breasted Dries circa the Apeshit music video, or a Beyoncé coordinating baby blue, accessorised with Ray Bans and a bandana. He’s been wearing a lot of those bandanas, too – which might just be this summer’s perfect accessory (not least for controlling post-lockdown hair growth).
Such sartorial experimentation has made the elder Jay-Z something of a summer style icon all his own – after all, from long weekends in his Hamptons hideaway to weeks spent island-hopping on the Italian Riviera, he knows how to holiday and what to wear when he does. It means men of all ages have something to learn from hip-hop’s statesman as the weather turns: embrace colour unequivocally, buy a bandana, and when all else fails accessorise with Carter’s failsafe accessory, a New York Yankees cap.
“Remind yourself. Nobody built like you, you design yourself”