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Born Dino Paul Crocetti, (June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) Dean Martin is an American actor, singer and comedian, best known for his laid back demeanour, charisma and self-assurance in everything he does - his signature relaxed, warbling, crooning voice in his hit songs, his roles in film, and his appearances on radio, television, and show business. This ultimately earned him the moniker "The King of Cool", and we will be examining how you can emulate his "cool" dress style


Dean in his early days

Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Dean's early years was immensely varied and colourful to say the least, having worked as a bootlegger, a steel worker, a casino worker and then a blackjack dealer, a boxer, and amateur musician. It was through his amateur singing gigs and varied businesses with club owners that gave him his first professional singing gigs with local bands.


dean martin suit

(Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis during an promotional shoot for their NBC broadcast, 1955)


The mid-40s saw Dean teamed with Jerry Lewis to form the Lewis-Martin show, with the zany Lewis constantly bouncing off the unflappably smooth Martin in a partnership that spanned 10 years at night club shows, radio and television shows, then film. In the summer of 1956, the duo split for irreconcilable differences and parted ways to pursue different career paths

Dean with his friend Frank Sinatra
(Dean with his friend Frank Sinatra during one of the countless dinner parties they attended in their heyday, around 1961)

Because Martin was a multi-talented performer who was already experienced in show business, he was quick to make a comeback. After his early success in the war drama "The Young Lions" (1958), he went on to land multiple acting roles in films of the following years, including the Vincente Minnelli drama "Some Came Running" (1958) where he first acted alongside Frank Sinatra. He would also lend his singing talents and relaxed cool vibe not just to his familiar venue of night club shows in Vegas, but also radio and TV shows.


Dean Martin's record album

(one of Dean Martin's many record albums, this one recorded with Capitol Records in 1957)



dean martin costume

(The Rat Pack, August 1960. From left to right, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior (center), Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop)


It was during this period, that Dean managed to be part of the infamous Rat pack through his friendship with Sinatra and the other members Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and others. They were an informal group that would do shows together in Vegas and would also star together in a few films like Ocean's Eleven (1960), Sergeants 3 (1962) and Robin and the 7 hoods (1964). Dean's association with the group managed to help him build his signature persona as a smooth, easy going, free wheeling boozing playboy even though in reality he often drank apple juice in place of whiskey at his shows and was a dedicated family man

Dean Martin during a recording session of "Sleep Warm"

(Dean Martin during a recording session of "Sleep Warm" with Capitol Records, Frank Sinatra conducting and with arrangements by Pete King. Approximately October 1958)



It was around this period that Dean's single "Everybody Loves Somebody" managed to beat the Beatles at their height on the top spot of the 1964 billboard charts, despite the fact that the 50s crooner years are giving way to the early rock and roll scene of the 60s - his single will stay high on the "Pop-standard singles" chart for eight weeks. His other well known songs are "Ain't That a Kick in the Head", "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You, "The Door Is Still Open to My Heart", and "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On".

dean martin fashion
(Dean Martin in the recording studio, 1960s)
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Perhaps Dean Martin's most famous act was his show on NBC network called "The Dean Martin Show". Running from September 19 1965 until April 5 1974, the hour long variety show features him singing solos or duets with his guest stars, and included his comedic antics from his nightclub performances. His shows are usually unrehearsed so most of his reactions are genuine, and Dean had attributed his success to his unpretentiousness - in fact, any mistakes he made and recovery from them will go directly into tape.

dean martin suits
Throughout his various stints and acts as a multi talented entertainer, Dean made sure that he will forever be the cool, casually understated straight guy among his famous peers in the Rat Pack - whether to contrast with Sinatra's intense perfectionism or Davis's extravagant fervour. His dress style reflects his attitude very much so, trying to be as elegant and stylish with as little effort as possible. Here we examine his dress style throughout the years

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(His role as the drunken, work-shy playboy host for the show had him don a tuxedo throughout the show's nine seasons, so he had plenty of time to hone his look down exactly how he likes it while remaining comfortable and effortless in wearing them)
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(the exact styling of his tuxedo changed over the years in keeping with the era's latest trends, but a few similarities still exist. For example in solidarity with his fellow Rat Pack members, Dean would always try to include orange or red in his outfit. In this case, he includes an orange pocket square with his tuxedo)
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(Sticking with timeless designs and occasionally making a few concessions to the trends of the era)

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(Dean Martin takes a break during a recording session in Los Angeles, California approximately 1958 possibly recording a Christmas special)

While Dean isn't as dedicated as say his friend Sinatra in following a certain style, there are a few very specific tailoring tips he uses whenever he gets his suit or outfit made, whether it be by the Rat pack's unofficial tailor Sy Devore or else where:  collars should be made a little taller to minimise his long, thick neck and the sleeves a little bigger to hide Dean's big hands, which he bruised and battered during his early boxing years)



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