What do you think when you hear the following words: Mafia, 1930s, Italian, Gangsters or Mafiosi?
I feel like we both probably thought of men with suits, hats and so on. Isn't it funny that the first thought coming to mind isn't criminals but what those men were wearing.
Perhaps because what those men wore were part of their characteristic, unmistakable with enormous recognition. I do not want to focus on the criminal aspects but what makes the style of those men so recognizable and why is this specific style still present up until today.
If I think of the Mafia clothing style I immediately think of the 1930s, perhaps because the suits were succinct. The details were incredible and no one could recognize who's upper class or who has less money. Wide shoulders, ties, high fitted trousers, and the right number of pockets or buttons on the shirts, that's what was important.
For me the 1930s are the golden age of the suit and the "Mafia Style" has become the trademark for it.
Many say the clothing style back then demanded respect and was intimidating. I think the wide shoulder pad and the deep revers ARE intimidating, a suit like that is like a uniform. With the matching blazer and the wide-cut black trousers, the Italian Mafia resembles a group of well-dressed men who were above just average. But Criminals as trendsetters?
If you take away the many intimidated people and apart from the bad criminal machinations they were very handsome men with numerous female admirers at their feet.
Enough of it, let's get to what makes the mafia style so unique. Let me start with the blazers. The blazers for men were pinstripe, almond, green, dove and lilac, petrol blue, brown or dark gray but mostly black it also always depended on which "clan" they were part of. Most men wore shoulder pads to look masculine or frightening and a tie for the classy and bold look. It had something of a brigade of a unity and you wanted neither to stand out nor subordinate.
The vest was very popular almost as much as straight cut trousers with a high waist, like the ones later worn by women only. Also necessary and unavoidable was the white shirt with the button down collar.