2 April 2011


There's something rather intimidating about that whole fat guy in a shellsuit-packing-heat look we have come to know and chillingly enjoy from stuff like The Sopranos, Casino et al, the hitmen who go out and whack some unfortunate soul or fat rat fuck whilst looking like an elderly fat uncle from Wakefield. But these chaps know how to turn it on when it matters, sharp fitted suits - even on the rather rotund ones still look great, clean white collars, silk ties, cufflinks, big gold watches and of course some nice hardy shoes straight off of a fucking shine box. The wiseguys, mobsters, goodfellas from the silver screen, a classic style, their own style, from the films you have most certainly seen, to some you may not have. Most of which will probably feature Frank Vincent in some shape or form. Their uniform is pretty easy to pick out, a time honoured style of dress. Evolving over time, from the classic James Cagney hoodlum who looks as good today as he did back then to Bogart and Capone (and Fat Sam) suits in the '40s, to leather jackets in the '50s and '60s, Gotti's shiny suits in the '80s, to the modern look of sportswear, Fila and pistols made familiar by our favourite telly villains. The look has changed from the sharp silk shirts and savvy suits of the Corleone's to the debt collectors of modern day New Jersey. The Wiseguy is a fairly easy one to categorise, the smart, the casual and the rather relaxed, when mixing it all up, leather jackets are popular for that middle ground, the boy about town, they've all got one, and some damn ugly shirts which look like the kind of thing someone with bad eyesight would still leave on the sale rails at High and Mighty, but don't tell them I said that, please. Here's a look at the clothes that made the made men. Suited and booted: an air of excitement, an undercurrent of danger.
The stereotypical look of the dapper don, the whistle. The look you're familiar with from cinema and mugshots in the press, the courtrooms, the fancy dinners, the casinos. Dressing up all flash is a sign of high living, personality and ambition. For a bold and classy appearance, a tuxedo for that Don Corleone steez - red rose and pussy cat optional, dark business suits and dinner jackets - pinstripe, herringbone, plaids, silk shirts and ties, waistcoats and 'Guido' shirts as seen in Goodfellas with the long tight narrow 'Tony' collar, sharp suits, double and single breasted, accessorised by a smoking cigar, cuff links and a pinky ring for the that all important Paulie Walnuts point. Shiny leather shoes, saddle shoes, brogues and loafers, a sturdy sole in case you have to stamp on some pucchiacha's head after he bust your balls for the third and fatal time.
The Leather jacket: smart, but casual.

A nice leather jacket is a staple for any well respecting goodfella, usually in black or tan, tailored style; cut like a blazer with two buttons, short in length, but long enough to 'come heavy' i.e. conceal a pistol tucked in the waistband at the back side. Often seen over a floral or patterned shirt, knitted shirt or heavy cut striped polo, and sometimes coupled with a garish patterned shirt only the likes of big T could really get away with, ever. Always tucked in, even with a girth the size of nearly born quintuplets underneath, a leather belt and some slacks, it is essentially the dressed down look, but smart enough to still look effortlessly cool when smashing a pistol over the bridge of some cafone's nose.

The Shellsuit assasin: ironic sportswear, not for runners.

The above says it all, they look like friendly younger Grandads, they'd not be out of place schlepping around a Benidorm golf course in that get-up, but look closer, it's all considered -disposable gloves and shooters, so, they look straight out of an old people's home, OK, okay, a retirement community, but they are pro's, it's the choice clobber of the cold hearted killer. Ironic suburbanite sportswear, a running suit or shellsuit to you and I. They don't do any kind of athletics, but it's a comfy look for a jaunt across town to pick up some debts, terrorise a mortadella and carry out that all important hit. Old or young, with a button or just a cugine it's the top choice of the modern day whacker. Be afraid, poison ivy is the least of your worries, here comes some bullets.

The wifebeater: aka the Guinea-T, the Italian dinner jacket.
It was James Caan's turn as Sonny Corleone that gave rise to the Dago-T or wifebeater to coin the more offensive terms, a sleeveless tank top or undershirt as they might say Stateside, a vest to you an I in Blighty, we got Rab C Nesbitt, they got Marlon Brando in a Streetcar named Desire. A crucial mob accessory, always teamed with a chain, a cross of Christ, optional sweat and baked ziti stains, upper arms are visible showing tattoos of youthful exuberance and hints at times gone by, a guest of the state or doing service to one's country at sea. Essential lounge wear, seen at times of stress, cooking or fucking.

Inspired by: The Godfather, The Sopranos, Mikey and Nicky, A Bronx Tale, The Public Enemy, Casino, Goodfellas, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Donnie Brasco, Ghost Dog and Boardwalk Empire.

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