How to Be a Classic Man

classic man

How can I be a “classic man”?

If you pay any modicum of attention to what’s happening in hip-hop, chances are you’ve heard Jidenna’s ‘Classic Man.’ From USA Today to Esquire, the song and its artist have garnered widespread coverage. I daresay it’s inspired more than a new wave of music – ‘Classic Man’ has the makings of a movement. Considering the recent release of the remix video, featuring guest verses from Kendrick Lamar and cameos from Janelle Monae, Ty Dolla $ign, Hit Boy, and Issa Rae, now is the perfect time to explore the question on all of our minds: 

What exactly is a ‘classic man?’

Well, as Jidenna told The Breakfast Club,

 “A classic man is a man who carries himself with dignity, a certain amount of poise, discretion, excellent taste…I believe that it really is a celebration of integrity…You’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves.”


What does that look like?

Check out the ‘Classic Man’ video – a four-minute celebration of Black beauty and achievement. 

Ok. I’m into this. How can I look like a “street, elegant old-fashioned man?”

I’m so glad you asked. Most of us don’t have musician money, but you can achieve this look even on an entry level paycheck. Jidenna’s style has a few key elements – sharp shoes, vintage jewelry, African print shirts and accessories, and most importantly, fitted suits. He thrift shops, which is a great way to find amazing pieces at rock bottom prices, so check out your local Goodwill or Salvation Army for second-hand. In the meantime, here are some resources to get you started on developing your new look: 

The Suits

Check out these tan and printed suits from Jos. A. Bank (for under $100 each!) 


Or, if you’re really ‘bout that budget life, cop two suits for $99 at Suit Your Man


And whatever you do, do NOT sleep on Target, where each of these pieces are under $100. 


Once you’ve got the suit, you’ve got to get the fit. 

Ask around for recommendations for a good tailor – or find one through Google. Then check out this article for tips on how to maximize your experience. 

Too busy to locate and get to a tailor? zTAILORS will come to your home or office, measure you, pick up your clothes, and deliver them when they’re finished. #NOEXCUSES 

The Shoes

Jidenna Shoes 

Click the link to find similar shoes from Stacy Adams for $90. Or get the Payless version for only $40. 

Shirts, accessories, and jewelry


Etsy is my go-to spot for custom clothing and vintage or African-inspired accessories. 

Find vintage style brooches here and here

Check out African-inspired jackets in brown and black and this Kente cloth tie, bowtie, and pocket square

And of course, you’ll need a cane, like this handcrafted walnut and oak one. Or, if you’re fully committed to recreating the video (and you’re willing to pay for it), you’ll want the brandy smuggler walking stick with hidden flask. For your…water. Because every classic man needs to stay hydrated. 

I’ve got the look. I’m officially a Classic Man.

Not quite. Being a classic man isn’t just about looking fly. As the original classic man says,

“You can wear a v-neck and jeans and Timbs and a fitted Yankee cap and you’re a classic man. You can wear a mechanic outfit and you can still be a classic man. It has nothing to do with the price of your garment. It has everything to do with your character.”


In Conclusion:

Being a classic man means having dignity, poise, discretion, taste, integrity, and character (preferably with a fresh haircut, African print accessories, and a beautifully tailored suit).  

Now that’s a movement I can get behind.

Stephanie Hairston

Word ninja, improv actress, & lover of all things geek. Living in the tension between wanting to be Drake and trying to be Lecrae.

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