Characteristically driven by an intrepid business sense and an unwavering ambition that is permanently set to the task of full organizational legitimization and boundless overseas expansion, the Shelby's (namely Tommy) are (as such) hellbent upon creating a powerhouse establishment to be reckoned with that has an umbrella of operations with arms that touch every level of society — both domestically and abroad; politically and economically.
A truly intoxicating affair and rugged Brummie gangster drama at heart that has transitioned from cult favourite to mainstream juggernaut in its short lifespan, the series could not come with a more wholehearted recommendation as it is indeed a thoroughly entertaining, well-written, highly stylized, and dramatically riveting ride from beginning to end that is topped off by a smashing soundtrack that keeps you on the edge of your seat and begging for more once the credits roll over to the tune of Nick Cave an the Seeds thoroughly well positioned Red Right Hand (of which is included for your listening pleasure below).
All that having been said, and with a (promised) future of international intrigue, a family of the brink of internal destruction (and on the way to prison), a leader who has seemingly lost touch with his roots , a country estate in Warwickshire to call home (that invites an expansive formal wardrobe to suit it its many functions: black-tie, cocktail parties, etc.), and an insatiable desire for both complete political/social upheaval and boundless (legitimate) business expansion, the future of the Shelby clan — and this brilliantly written, stylized, and acted drama — looks bright indeed…
Speaking of which, as well as its period piece predecessors (particularly Downton Abbey and Mad Men), it too has (slowly) managed to ingratiate itself within the scope of the popular social consciousness and in doing so has managed to catch the sartorial eye of many a gentleman (and lady) worldwide — the latter of which sparked the creation of this very style feature.
Howbeit, the overarching signature style that defines the brothers Shelby (and other characters at-large) is one that is at its core, and when placed in direct comparison to Mad Men's culture (and fashion landscape) altering cosmopolitan sophistication and Downton Abbey's aristocratic (modern) impracticality, more firmly grounded in applicational utility and tangible accessibility when discussing immediate concerns such as ease-of-wear (and wardrobe adoption) for the masses at large (read: the average man).
Sartorially marked by their military-inspired regimentation of both country heritage and smart city wears, the well-edited practical essentialism that belies the quintessential stylings of the Shelby clan is one in which effectively renders each individual piece capable of being worn interchangeably with one another in what is a variety of fashionably guises and subtle (yet considered) arrangement's. Insofar as such, you could say that it is an aesthetic that is accommodating to most any body shape, flattering in its overall ease-of-wear, and capable of imbuing a touch of endearing heritage charm into the modern gentleman's everyday wardrobe.
With that notion percolating squarely in mind, here's how to ascend the Peaky Blinders sartorial throne in style whilst you sport your finest tweed habiliments, band (or grandad/Mao) collared shirts, 3-piece heritage suits, and quintessential newsboy caps — the latter of which should naturally be devoid of any hidden blade mind you (irrespective of whether the Blinders themselves actually employed them in reality or not).
Imparting a whole new (tangible) sartorial dynamic to the phrase "dressed to kill" whilst being ever the masters of tastefully structured personal uniformity, the Blinders (as a gang at-large) are rather adept at leveraging the signature components of their wardrobes to optimal effect in due course of not only distinguishing themselves from the masses but as a means to further assert their grip of power and dominance over all those around them.
Adopting (as it were) a signature wardrobe that not only reflects their surroundings, lofty ambitions, hardy sensibilities and working class heritage but one that has enabled them to successfully ingratiate themselves within the higher echelons of society, the style of the Blinders will forevermore be tied to that of one key signature piece: the weaponized tweed/herringbone newsboy flat cap (with a sewn in razor blade in its peak/brim) eponymously regarded to as the "Peaky Blinder" .
Quintessential blinder notwithstanding, the gang is (sartorially) renowned for its predominantly muted, humble and dependable working class contingent of exquisitely tailored heritage checked (i.e. herringbone, houndstooth, etc.) tweed (and wool/flannel) suits, hardy 3/4 length tweed overcoats, industrious work boots (with brogue detailing), casual henleys, formal braces and (Bengal-stripped) band-collar shirts of which are affixed with both stiff (starched) detachable club-collars and (most often) collar studs (ties and bowties are also acceptable).
All sported with a distinctive form of characteristic rakish aplomb, in totality the overall collective look — which marries sportive country wears with smart city attire — is one marked by a unique take on accepted social conventional (read: habiliments viewed respectable worn in an otherwise socially defiant manner), underscored by Romani (gypsy) family heritage, and driven by a (chip on the shoulder) working class provenance that have all sartorially manifested into a classically structured wardrobe renowned for its (period apropos) stylishly rugged essentialism and its tonally muted characteristic nonchalance.
Now, as for the modern gentleman whose yearns to emulate this masculine aesthetic and to adopt it as he sees fit, it is critical that they (you) keep in mind that the key to sensibly leveraging this ruggedly handsome look to flattering effect lies not in religiously wearing a full, three-piece herringbone tweed suit and every accentuated accoutrement outlined above but rather in approaching it all with a subtle hand and an eye for the finer details.
To that account, what distinguishes a stylish homage from a costumed affair is deliberate moderation on all fronts. So, endeavour to pick one, or perhaps two (or three if you have the sartorial gravitas) of the key signature components and wear them alongside your everyday quintessential wardrobe standbys (jeans, waxed jackets, etc) to fashion looks that are equal parts homage, traditional and contemporarily fresh.
That being said, if you are the peculiar sort who fancies copying (piece-for-piece that is) the personal uniforms of brothers Thomas and Arthur Shelby or perhaps rather that of their (on-and-off again) London ally Alfie Solomons do read on as the following segment was fashioned to appease just such (truly enterprising) desires.
Howbeit, here is an inspirational style guide for three of the Peaky Blinders biggest movers and shakers as well as a succinct "how-to-guide" on carrying over 5 of their key wardrobe features into the modern era …
Preferring a monochromatic colour palette of blues, greys and blacks that is timeless in its appeal, Tommy’s choice wardrobe is equal parts practical, authoritative, and socially defiant in its applicational intent and unique character.
As such, you will find nothing peacockish nor flamboyant in his highly-regimented uniform as he lords over the Peaky Blinders with an intellectual "Red Right Hand' and a sophisticated charm that renders him a roguish hero to some, a cunning strategist to others, and an ambitiously unbridled monster to nearly all (save his family and loved ones).
Known for his smart, uniquely subtle styling, Thomas routinely employsa three-piece tweed (or flannel) suit in the city (as well as countryside) in which he wears most often with a 3/4 length overcoat (reminiscent of a Chesterfield or frock coat), a band-collar striped dress shirt with a detachable club collar, a distinctive gold collar stud/eyelet(on occasion he does wear a tie), a herringbone newsboy cap, a sharp haircut, and a pair of patent black leather, front laced half boots.
On the accoutrement front, he is impartial to a polished gold pocket watch and not much else (aside from his endless supply of cigarettes).
Faced with such a harsh reality, Arthur nevertheless (through trial and error) refashioned himself as a dutiful (and loyal to a fault) right-hand man to his younger brother with a unique style that is his alone.
Renowned for his signature bow-tie — a piece which no other Shelby brother employs — and a impeccably groomed moustache, the rest of Arthur's style falls in direct line with that of Tommy's in that he prefers wearing (often pinstriped) three-piece suits, collarless shirts, henley's, braces, a newsboy cap, and leather workwear boots.
Overall, you could say that his style is a touch more experimental then that of his siblings albeit in a very subtle and tasteful manner that enables him to stay sartorial in sync with the gangs signature formal country aesthetic at-large.
From his patented black wide-brimmed hat (or on occasion a derby or trilby) through his desire for sporting an ornately resplendent collection of gold jewelry and accessories, Alfie’s style is very much (see a pattern forming here?) in the same hardwearing working class vein of the Shelby brothers albeit with a handful of alternative twists.
For example, where the Shelby’s prefer a collarless grandad (or band-collar) dress shirt Solomon prefers a more practical and easy wearing point-collar dress shirt that he often wears by completely buttoning it up sans a tie (the original air tie?) alongside that of a pair of eye glasses fashioned upon a necklace and a ring on nearly ever finger upon both his hands.
Aside from that, he too is much alike the Brummies in that he finds solace in a monochromatic palette as well as heritage tweeds, wools and flannels (opting rather for wearing the trousers and waistcoat as separates and not as three-piece suits like the Blinders) and a choice selection of braces, and cap-toed leather work boots.
That said, his style is certainly unique in its direct (signature) comparison to that of the Peaky Blinders…even if it does indeed share many structured style similarities.
Buoyed by an easy-to-wear, investment worthy wardrobe that is universally flattering in its traditional silhouettes as well as pleasing it its simple tonal aesthetics, a riveting soundtrack that could not be more suitable to the ongoing affairs on screen, and acting + writing that is arguably second to none, it would not be a stretch to state that Peaky Blinders is not only well positioned for future dominance but fully deserving of all the critical acclaim it has received thus far for good reason: it is just a smashing good time.
Tack on a rabid global fan base that resides in 163+ countries and the prospect of worldwide assimilation of the (modern) Shelby enterprise at large is all but guaranteed erstwhile its sartorial influence becomes further primed for expansion in a like-minded manner much akin to that of Mad Men — albeit at a much lesser extent.
And that, I'm sure, is something we can all rest assuringly in knowing as we look forward to series 4 and 5 in the upcoming years.
: THE WOMEN OF PEAKY BLINDERS :
Narrative uncertainty aside, what is however not up for debate is that dramatic artistic turns such as these often become instrumental catalysts for industry wide change at large insofar as much as they manage to curry enough favour and gain so much notoriety that they thereby become capable of pushing the experimental scopes of the average man's creative spirit into an otherwise unexplored sartorial depth.
Take for example what Mad Men did for the modern era of menswear in taking what was the average sartorially aloof man of the mid-aughts and transforming him into a highly cultivated modern gentleman whose signature wardrobe evolved from ill-fitting box suits and oversized hoodies into a perfectly tailored, slim-fitting oasis of sartorial finery — its residual effect on the movement that has dominated the menswear scene (and wardrobes of gents worldwide) for a solid decade is proof to the fact of its influential ripple effects.
Naturally, this of course brings me full circle to that of the Peaky Blinders and its rugged yet tailored heritage workwear, which if truth be told is not for everyone and is sure to appeal only to a certain discerning set.
That said, it has not had (nor ever will have) the same sort of effect on the way gentlemen choose to attire themselves on a daily basis like Mad Men did. Why? Simply because tweed suiting a (loud or subtle) checks can seem quite polarizing to some whereas (Mad Men's) crisp white shirts and simple/solid navy and grey flannel (and wool/cotton) suits have broad appeal.
Nevertheless, and by strict order of the Peaky Blinders, I dare you to not to try on a handsome Prince of Wales checked suit or a rugged tweed sport coat and not feel immaculately polished and game for just about anything….
What do you think of the Peaky Blinders? How about their style? And, do you currently own any tweed garments (or any of the Peaky signature pieces for that matter)?
Chime in below with your opinions…
Also: If you fancy finding out which Peaky Blinder you are most alike then this quiz can properly sort you out.
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