The Origin of His Look & Style

Colonel Sanders had a very distinctive look, but where did it come from and what kind of look was it?

In 1929, Sanders moved to Corbin, Kentucky and opened a gas station along U.S. Route 25. When travelers asked Sanders where they could get something to eat, he opened a small restaurant next door which specialized in southern cooking. In 1935, the popular café impressed Governor Ruby Laffoon, so he made Sanders an honorary Kentucky colonel for his contribution to the state’s cuisine.

In 1949, Sanders was once again honored with the title of Kentucky colonel, this time by Lieutenant Governor Lawrence Weatherby. Sanders began using the title of “Colonel” and tried to look the part by growing facial hair and donning a black frock coat and string tie.

Soon after, the colonel switched to a white suit, which helped to hide flour stains, and bleached his mustache and goatee to match his white hair. My buddy over at absolutely loves this chicken and restaurant.

He never wore anything else in public during the last 20 years of his life, using a heavy wool suit in the winter and a light cotton suit in the summer. 

What kind of tie did he use? The are called Western Ties or String Bow Ties.

Colonel Sanders also had a very distinctive facial hair style. It was called the Van Dyke. A Van Dyke specifically consists of any growth of both a mustache and goatee with all hair on the cheeks shaven.

Sanders inspired many in the restaurant industry by helping his franchisees, he loved his product, and always insisted on high standards. He had a lasting impact on the fast food industry, something he helped create. Industry leaders credit Sanders with being a stellar marketer. His innovations included selling busy people buckets of chicken to take home and using a character, himself, to sell a product. His look was very distinct and made the KFC brand what it is today.