HOW TO DRESS LIKE SAMMY DAVIS JR.
Born Samuel George Davis Jr. (December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990) he is an American singer, musician, dancer, actor, vaudevillian, comedian and activist for black rights. He was born in Harlem within Manhattan of New York city to a pair of Afro-cuban vaudeville dancers. Early on, he learned most of his musical and dancing talents by joining the family act when his parents separated - he was taught mostly by his father and uncle.
During World War 2, he was drafted into the US Army and was put into the special services branch where he would use his abilities to put on performances for his fellow troops. A prodigiously talented singer, dancer and instrumentalist, after he was honorably discharged, he continued to record blues albums and performed in nightclubs with his family act, hitting it big at 1951 at Ciros's when their original act of 20 minutes was extended to a full hour at the enthusiastic request of the celebrity-filled crowd.
Davis was almost killed in a 1954 car crash in San Bernardino that cost him his left eye. He would wear an eyepatch for six months before being fitted with a glass eye. During his recovery he began studying Judaism and he converted in 1961.
In 1956 he starred on Broadway in Mr. Wonderful, and by the late 1950s he also became a member of the famed Rat Pack alongside Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
Together they performed at the night clubs in Las Vegas, and at the height of the movement, they would refuse to work at segregated venues to make sure their act will always include Sammy, which ultimately led to the integration of nightclub hotspots like Las Vegas and Miami Beach. They would also make a string of films together like Ocean's 11 (1960), Sergeants 3 (1962) and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)
Davis's style would revolve closely around having his outfits fit his stature, as all good stylists must do - in this case his slim frame is only 5'3" tall.
When performing, Davis would usually favor two-button sharkskin suits with narrow lapels and equally trim ties typical of ‘50s fashion, in keeping with the "dress code" and "look" of the Rat Pack. When given the choice to accessorize however, Davis loves to be flamboyant - he loved bright flowery or ruffled shirts and lots of flashy jewellery
Outside the limelight however, Davis would favour button-down Oxfords, V-neck sweaters, Harrington jackets, and trousers tailored to the hilt. Indeed, his pants were never restrictive, and Davis was careful to make sure their lines are uninterrupted from top to bottom to keep his figure trim.
(Davis performing on stage, about late 50s. Note his carefully tailored pants)
(Davis with a Leicaflex, about 1967. Sammy was an avid photographer)