Spotlight on Frank Sinatra, Style Icon

When you hear the name Frank Sinatra, you may conjure up images of the “rat pack,” Las Vegas, blue eyes or 1950s Hollywood. But what many people today don’t realize is that in his heyday, Sinatra was not only known for his singing and acting, but also for his style.

As he sings in one of his famous songs, Style, “You either got or you haven’t got style. If you’ve got it, you stand out a mile.”

What aspects of his style made Frank Sinatra stand out from the Hollywood crowd? Here are some of his trademarks.

The suit

It’s hard to say whether it was the time period, or Sinatra’s specific style, but he was rarely seen not in a suit — and he actually favored tuxedos. He is renowned for quipping, “For me, a tuxedo is a way of life. When an invitation says black tie optional, it is always safer to wear black tie.” As for color, Sinatra mostly preferred black after dark, though on very rare occasions, he experimented with dark gray and blue suits.

The hat

It’s rare to see a photo of Frank Sinatra without a fedora, tilted slightly to the right. While fedoras had gone out of style for a while, today they are back in, so if you want to add a dash of class a la Frank Sinatra, a fedora is a good way to go. But be careful when you tilt it — it takes a special kind of panache and confidence to pull off that look.

The cufflinks

In addition to wearing suits on a daily basis, Sinatra was known for his cufflinks. It was his favorite piece of jewelry, and probably for this reason he recommended wearing shirt cuffs extended half an inch from the suit’s jacket sleeve. Today, many professional men also wear cufflinks on a daily basis — it gives them the opportunity to snazz up their ensembles while still looking classy.

The shoes

For Sinatra, wearing shoes with scuff marks was akin to leaving the house with no shoes at all. He recommended that shoes should be shined as frequently as necessary — even if you need to do it on the “underside of a couch cushion.”

The pants

Avoid wrinkling your pants at all costs — even if this means not sitting down too often. For Sinatra, this might have been easier, given that his acting and singing meant he was on his feet regularly. For men who work sitting at a desk all day, this might be a bit more difficult. However, Sinatra does recommend that if you must sit, don’t cross your legs — that will help to avoid wrinkling.

Perhaps the most distinguished characteristic of Sinatra’s style was his attitude, and this of course, is hard to imitate. Sinatra possessed a unique style, class and personality, which, when combined together, made him the leader of the rat pack and the style icon that he is today. Still, if his style is something that you like, it never hurts to try to emulate positive qualities in someone you admire.

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Originally published at on April 13, 2016.