If you haven’t yet seen the hit BBC series called Peaky Blinders, well then not only will this blog post have no relevance to you, but you will have also missed out on one of the greatest shows of all time… after Breaking Bad that is.
Basically, Peaky Blinders is a gangster family epic set in 1920’s Birmingham, England in the aftermath of World War 1. Based on a real-life gang (by the same name) at the time, the fictional story revolves around the ambitious, highly cunning and immaculately dressed Tommy Shelby. The signature of the Peaky Blinders was their flat peaked caps with lethal razors sewn into the brim. These razor blades were used as a weapon to blind their opponents – because 1920’s Birmingham was rough AF
The show is filled with plot twists, witty one-liners and the most incredible 1920’s men’s fashion. This was the decade that ushered in menswear as we know it today.
The suit was an essential part of a 1920’s man’s wardrobe. There was no such thing as overdressed back then and whether you were buying groceries or attending a party, you never left home without a suit. Three piece suits were the order of the day and generally made of a heavy woollen fabric or a wool tweed – I bet the summers were fun!! Jeeeez! What really sets 1920’s suits apart from other eras though was the height of the notch lapels. They were pretty up there! Other than that, single-breasted suits were as common as double breasted and ranging between 3 and 4 buttons. Suit patterns were also distinctive, which could be solid tone or big plaids, checks and even thick stripes in the summer months.
As with menswear today the details are really what finished everything off. Neckwear gave way to fun and colourful striped or polka dot ties and bowties with neck scarves being used for those more casual occasions. Shirts had also taken a trip on the wild side and were available in a myriad of colours, including pink. Yep. I’m afraid so gents, you’re not quite as fashion forward as you had hoped in your coral button down after all. Gloves and hats would generally finish off the look and a good boot or a pair of two-toned Brogues would ground your outfit.
This is, of course, a very basic rundown but I didn’t want to keep you here all day – If you do want a more in-depth article, there’s a great one here.
Now that you have a general idea of what made sartorial sense in the 20’s, let me give you a few tips on adapting it to a Peaky Blinders style.
Although the 1920’s saw suits getting baggier towards the end of the decade (this was a kickback to previous generation’s tailored suits) the peaky blinders tend to favour a more contemporary slim fit. Any colour three-piece suit is fine as long as it’s black or charcoal (at least in the first two seasons) and should always be worn with a long coat – because 1920’s Birmingham was cold AF! As a nice little detail, your pants should be pleated as high as your belly button and held there with suspenders (good luck in finding high waisted pants though, I couldn’t)
If you really want to bring it home, keep an eye on those details. Your accessories should help maintain the monochromatic look of your outfit, so keep them plain and simple. In this case, hat (or hats really), tie, cufflinks, suspenders and even the boots were all solid black. Oh yes, boots over shoes always – because 1920’s Birmingham was wet AF. The only pop of colour (and I say ‘pop’ as lightly as I say colour), should be the pattern of your shirt. Extra points for a contrast collar, triple bonus points if it detaches like this one does.
Now, there’s no point wearing a waistcoat if you don’t pop a pocket watch in there, is there? If you can find a vintage one you’re allowed to lead your own gang (that’s not at all true, BTW) Hat’s are of course a key element to your look and you HAVE to go flat cap if you’re going full Peaky Blinders. However, if you have a penchant for all things Italian and want to !!SPOILER ALERT!! go a little Season gangster, a Fedora will do nicely.
That’s pretty much it folks, if you’ve followed the above you should be good to go. Pop a cigarette in your mouth (don’t worry, smoking wasn’t bad for you in the 1920’s) and you’re ready to run the streets of Birmingham. Oh yes, and never smile. Ever.
If you liked the above look, you can get it all (except those old boots and gloves) below:
Get Three Piece Suit here (exclusively available online)
Get Coat here
Get Tie here
Get Tie Clip here
Get Cufflinks here
Get Fedora Hat here
Okay, Stay fancy. By order of the Peaky F**king Blinders.