012014_MLK_HED

Today, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His legendary civil rights leadership, of course. But also, because this is Kempt, his sartorial elegance. Behold, a look back…

Five historical style lessons from Martin Luther King Jr.:

012014_MLK_1 Always Look Sharp: Before boarding buses in Birmingham or trains in Cincinnati, participants in the March on Washington were advised to dress as if they were going to DC to close a deal.

012014_MLK_2Invest in a Good Watch: King Jr. was rarely seen not wearing his trusty Rolex Datejust with Jubilee bracelet.

012014_MLK_3 Have a Smart-Looking Pair of Eyeglasses: Even if they aren’t prescription. That’s right, long before Urban Outfitters played it out, MLK would sometimes slip on a pair of thick-rimmed glasses just for the look.

012014_MLK_4 Wear a J. Press Tie: Here’s a great story on the time MLK stopped into the original J. Press shop in New Haven and was gifted a tie—that he would wear every so often—as told by Richard Press to Ivy Style.

012014_MLK_5 Buying Shoes Can Be Revolutionary: One of King Jr.’s earliest memories of racism was when his father took him to buy shoes and they were asked to shop in the rear of the empty store. King Sr. demanded they be served in the front of the shop or they’d leave—as they stormed out of the shop. And a seed was planted in young Martin’s mind.

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar