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Paolo Martorano on Dressing John Pizzarelli

I’m often asked about our clients who are in the public eye, whether they are in the performing arts, politics, or are gentlemen of letters and the like. Customarily I demur, out of respect for their privacy, but every so often, I’m fortunate enough to work with an individual whose wardrobe is a key component of their professional disposition, and who generously grants me permission to comment publicly about what they wear.

I’m really pleased to be making clothing for John Pizzarelli, whom I believe many of you know for his achievements as a Grammy award-winning jazz guitar virtuoso, vocalist, producer, and songwriter. One of the hardest working men I know, John plays gigs on stages and clubs worldwide, usually with his trio, but often with a ‘big band.’ He also performs a celebrated cabaret show with his lovely bride, the acclaimed Broadway principal, recording artist and lyricist Jessica Molaskey. If you have the chance, don’t miss them at Manhattan’s storied Café’ Carlyle during their annual engagements there — it’s a genuinely unmissable New York experience.


John is a sartorial enthusiast, as well dressed a guy as I’ve ever worked with. He’s always dapper in bespoke suits, or jacket and trouser combos — and, remarkably, almost always sporting a tie. John is, in fact, one of those rare gentlemen who travels -- by plane, train, or automobile -- properly kitted out, and he absolutely rocks a dinner jacket or tuxedo.

One of the things I most admire about him is that, although always well turned out, he prefers to avoid the trappings of the dandy. He hews closer to Fred Astaire than, well, just about any of the many (many) overt dandies who populate many quarters of show business today.

Classic cuts and understated colors, subtle accents, and well-chosen accessories are simply more important to him than wearing something that shouts when he enters the room. It’s like that old saying “It’s better to create a vacuum when you leave than cause a spectacle when you arrive.”

Although as a seasoned performer, John most certainly understands the importance of making an entrance; in his own words:

“I count on looking unique on my bandstand. On any given night, I’ll be wearing my blue Paolo Martorano Bespoke suit. I’ll look out over the audience and see there may be other blue suits out there, but I subjectively think mine is the most beautiful — and I absolutely know none of those suits out there are made quite so specifically, personally, and unique to the wearer as mine.

And it’s not just the measurements and fit — although those are pretty much perfect — it is how it’s been made for my body, for the way I move, for the way I live; it’s that I know it has been crafted as specifically to my personality. That comes not just from the personal service or elevated craftsmanship that Paolo delivers, or from the fact that Paolo helps me select the fabrics and colors that suit me best but, critically, that the suits he makes for me reflect my core self so perfectly.

Let’s face it; there are just not many things in life that you can say that about.

As I pull my jacket on I always feel that I am ready to go. To go to work, or step on a plane, fully confident that I look not just well-dressed — but that I present the ultimate, absolute, best version of myself.

After that, the rest is just about swinging.

And that makes the entire difference when I count off my trio!”


Photos: Jaci Berkopec

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