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 "I think it's time to show these boys how to dress," Andre 3000 says ...



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 Cam'ron scoffs at the dandies, Farnsworth balks at the
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 Bentley's Glossary of Terms

 MTV News writer in 360°

 From Young-Boy Hot To Grown Sexy: My Day With Farnsworth Bentley

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— by Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Sway Calloway, Curtis Waller and Joseph Patel

"This is a pocket square. I feel like I'm walking down the street butt naked if I don't have one."
- Farnsworth Bentley
Farnsworth Bentley feels all "creamy" on the inside. The former employee of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and handler/psychiatrist of Bad Boy's Da Band has found bliss: He's at Carroll & Co., one of his favorite Beverly Hills haberdasheries ("Haba-dash-ery. Look it up," he snoots), and has come across a basket filled with a bushel of pocket squares.

"You can call it a 'hankie' but it's a pocket square," he heckles, rolling his eyes. "We're just gonna start right here. This is a pocket square. I feel like I'm walking down the street butt naked if I don't have one. You put on a jacket, you have a pocket here [on your chest], you put a pocket square in it. Please, please, please ladies and gentlemen. What if you spill something on yourself? What if you make a lady cry? You need a pocket square. This is A-numero-uno. I just want to make sure that I get this beat down in you."

Just last year, calling the man whose hallmarks include a bow tie, parasol and braces (the ones holding up his pants, known by the common man as suspenders) a forerunner of hip-hop style would garner you a snarky glare and a shiny pair of bracelets courtesy of the fashion police (somebody call 911!). Because in 2003, hip-hop style meant one thing: the throwback. As late as last fall, you couldn't go to a hip-hop concert, mall, or even take your shorty to a movie without seeing a myriad of guys wearing $300-plus old-school jerseys and caps to match. The craze, which began to take shape in late 2001, quickly evolved from a competition to find the most obscure sports-franchise jerseys into a rap-world fashion staple.

But that was last year.

Lo and behold, 2004 is not even halfway done and hip-hoppers are changing their clothing steelo up. Believe it or not, many of your favorite microphone holders are dressing more like Mr. Bentley than they are like ball players.

"After experimenting with certain types of looks for so long, now we're on the gentleman's era," says Big Boi, who was one of the first artists to start rocking throwbacks around the time Outkast's Aquemini LP dropped in 1998. "It's more of a grown man's style. The whole throwback thing, we crunked that up. But now it's time to start looking like an adult."

 


 
Farnsworth Bentley dresses MTV News writer Shaheem Reid
See Shaheem in 360°
"I think style is another way of talking," says Big's partner Andre 3000, whose fashion choices have spoken volumes over the years. While we've become accustomed to seeing the Atlanta native ignore convention in favor of donning such doozies as white short-cut wigs, furry pants and popcorn-vendor outfits, lately the singing MC who's cooler than cold has been trying out the dandy attire.

"The gentleman's movement is in effect," Dre continues. "I think somewhere along the line in hip-hop and R&B, we lost a lot of class. I think it's time to show these boys how to dress, most definitely."

It's all over the videos, (Jay-Z's "Change Clothes" and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," Cassidy's "Get No Better," Twista's "Overnight Celebrity," R. Kelly's "Happy People," to name a few), industry parties (Usher's New York Confessions album-release fiesta) and at concerts (peep the shirts at the Ladies First outings). Even going out to the multiplex, you can catch guys getting gussied up.   

"The music reflects the way people dress and vice versa," says Kanye West, who's been making the short-sleeved Polo collared shirt, sweater and blazer part of his regular attire. "When Onyx was out, people used to wear clothes like they didn't know if they was going to get blood on them by the end of the night or not. When Biggie was out, everybody wore Versace. Now it's kinda like throw on a button-up shirt, throw on a Polo. Look good. Turn the lights down, chill with your lady."

Mr. Bentley will tell you the gentleman's movement is all about being "grown sexy."  Having the right cologne, the manicure, the pedicure, the lotion, the etiquette and the gallant attitude toward women to go along with the attire is all part of the game.


Next: Jay-Z leads the revolution, and Jermaine Dupri says stop dressing like Bow Wow and start rolling like Mr. Drummond ...
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Photo: MTV News

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  Jay-Z
"Dirt Off Your Shoulder"
The Black Album
(Roc-A-Fella)


  Cassidy feat. Mashonda
"Get No Better"
Split Personality
(Full Surface/J Records)


  R. Kelly
"Happy People"
Happy People/U Saved Me
(Jive)


  Jay-Z
"Change Clothes"
The Black Album
(Roc-A-Fella)


  Twista
"Overnight Celebrity"
Kamikaze
(Atlantic)


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