HOW 2 DRESS LIKE THE CAST FROM BOARDWALK EMPIRENovember 9, 2010
So 2 weeks or more ago, I’m sitting in Highland Cigar enjoying a lovely cigar and scotch when in comes a friend of ours named Ben. Ben is a great guy, very well read, and of course always looking for that next style trend. He sees me and immediately makes his way over. “Reggie, I’ve been looking for you. I need your help.” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that
“Wassup Ben” was my short and quick reply. “Well, you know I’ve been wanting to use your styling service but wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to look to be… well I found it! I want to be dressed like the cast of Boardwalk Empire”. Clearly, I’ve been waiting for this one
Its 2010 Stylistocrats! It’s easy to see especially with HBO that Television is the new film. This is the message of HBO’s new series, Boardwalk Empire. For those who have not seen it, its structure is based on Atlantic City in 1920, sure, all supremely decadent and gangsterfied — but make no mistake about it: this is Hollywood fashion at its finest.
Ive done a lot of research on this program and found out that costume designer John Dunn has created in Steve Buscemi Nucky Thompson character after someone who is bold without fear, a literal trend-setter both attitudinally and in those colors and patterns.
Now, these last few months we’ve been telling you all to express yourself with tweeds and bold color, but exploring America in the Jazz Age can be a different animal. The visual contrast — of class and clothes is in full focus with Boardwalk’s most important interplay, between Nucky and his driver-turned-protégé, Jimmy Darmody. Looking the part is important in these times, and when Nucky offers Jimmy a job upon his return from the war, he also gives him $1000 to buy a suit — an amount that, in 1920, would’ve lasted any laborer an entire year. But Jimmy turns it down (the cash, not the job) if not because he’s stubborn than because he looks good anyway.
Meanwhile, Nucky’s charm and flamboyance is clearly an irritant to our villain, the government agent Nelson Van Alden, who doggedly upholds the law in severe dark suits (now you know he needs some color added ). But that being said, even Van Alden indulges in jewel-toned ties in keeping with the boardwalk flash:
Its amazing because we even get to see a complex levels of ethnic segregation in dress as well:
The Italians come in heavy from Chicago and New York, with lots of fur and brocade — save a young Al Capone, in the same woolen drab as Jimmy — full of colors and patterns to reflect cultural differences in a not-so-subtle way.
And then there’s the African-American dandy Chalky White!, played by Michael Kenneth Williams, aka Omar from The Wire: is seen in a lot of styles that can only be tackled by many if you want high-water pants, belted suit jackets, breeches, the works. If you look at the recent New York Fashion Week show we just covered, you will see that many wearable elements on the horizon: double-breasted jackets (Perry Ellis), bold three-pieces, pastels and bright colors from Tommy Hilfiger, even knickers (and I’ve been telling you all about them for years).
Style tips to remember:
Nucky wears a collar bar. The collars actually needed controlling back then, so the collar bar was very popular. We did have a particular collar specifically designed for Nucky, though: a period collar that has a little keyhole cutout in the center — when you close the collar with the collar bar, there was then a little hole that the necktie would come out of. No one else was allowed to wear that.
We can’t go back in time, but we can appreciate their taste. Rounded club collars, cuff links, collar pins, tie bars and tweeds can find a warm place in your wardrobe. I wouldn’t recommend wearing everything at once, which would be overwhelming, but adding a few touches to each outfit. We like the small collar with rounded corners collar look if gives you a mafioso swagger with a modern man look. We’ve already explained how to wear dress shirt accessories before so check out our older blog posts.
And for our friend Ben… Let us know when you want your appointment, as we will make you over Stylistocratic Empire Style!