Dapper Style Trends: How to Get the Peaky Blinders Look
May 16th, 2017
If you’re yet to watch the BBC’s hit “Peaky Blinders” save it in your Netflix watch list or hit the download button now. Based on a real gangland family in 1920s Britain it’s a quality television crime drama that centres on the highly cunning boss Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy). Now up to its fourth season (out late 2017), it’s filled with communists, gangs, common criminals, romance and undeniably brilliant fashion, right down to the hidden razor blades sewn into their caps.
Peaky Blinders might be set in post-war England when times were tough, but Thomas Shelby’s insipid mix of monochromatic apparel has caused somewhat of a fashion movement. Beneath tweed and flannel there’s a certain poise to Shelby, highlighting the impact apparel can have on one’s appeal. As you watch you know that you should loathe him, but his timeless approach to fashion has you frustratingly captivated.
The real Peaky Blinders, a common street gang known for their vicious attacks, were also recognised for their choice of fashion. Their style included peaked flat caps, brass buttons, ties and bell-bottoms and they stood out like modern halfway-to-upper-class thumbs in the slums of Birmingham. Now on TV screens, the fashion is back and here’s how you can replicate it.
The Peaky Blinders look is essentially made up of seven distinct parts:
The peaked cap is of course the go-to item for the Peaky Blinders look. This is what they were famous for after all. Just be sure to leave out the razor blade.
A peaked cap is the term for any type of flat cap with a peak, but the one most commonly seen in the BBC drama is the classic newsboy cap. Hugely popular in the 1910s amongst dockworkers, high steel workers, shipwrights, farmers and most famously newspaper boys, they made the switch to the “upper class” in the 1920s and caught the Peaky Blinders’ eye. Constructed of eight panels with a button on the top, peaked caps were traditionally worn oversized.
When “Mad Men” premiered back in 2007, it brought to light the two-piece Mohair suit. Now the Peaky Blinders have taken over the small screen, it’s all about the three-piece variation. To replicate it, choose a slim, button down vest to wear under a suit. The suit cut in Peaky Blinders is historically accurate, though perhaps leaner in the legs. (As mentioned above, the real Peaky Blinders wore bell-bottoms). If you don’t fancy the bell-bottom look, team your vest with a suit jacket and a pair of slimmer trousers.
Trouser lengths have gradually been getting shorter, but now with Peaky Blinders being the hit it is, they’re shorter than ever. Take designer Thom Browne, who wears any kind of trouser except the long kind. To pull it off, you’ve simply got to look like you’ve had a sudden growth spurt and are yet to hit the shops. You might feel strange showing off your ankles at first, but we can assure you it’s bang on trend with a quality trouser.
As a Peaky Blinder, Thomas Shelby wouldn’t be caught dead without a pristine white penny collar shirt. Paired with a silk knit tie and gold or brass buttons, it’s a staple for the dapper 1920s look. Ensure it’s properly buttoned and formal, or at the very least semi-formal. You’ll notice that Shelby wears a distinctive gold collar stud, which is there to keep his collar in place. As detachable collars aren’t something you’ll be rushing out to buy, you can leave this detail out.
The pocket square was one of the Peaky Blinders favourite accessories and the good news is that this fashion trend has never strayed. Pocket squares offer timeless elegance to a well fitted suit and the likelihood of this accessory going away is superbly slim.
Even after World War 1 ended in the 1920s, men’s and women’s overcoats continued to be styled after British military coats. Men such as the Peaky Blinders wore long knee length (or longer) wool coats with wide lapels, broad shoulders and a tightly-fitted waist. Shelby is often seen in his navy chesterfield overcoat, the staple of every British outdoor wardrobe. In his case, he wears this coat down to his ankles. That trend might be a little extreme for the mild Australian winter, so a mid-length coat should do the trick.
The Peaky Blinders wanted to give the look that they were hard-working men, without having to do any manual labour. And so they turned to their boots, big and chunky and working man-like. Because the Peaky Blinders wore their trousers above their ankles, their work boots were visible to all.
Costume designer, Stephanie Collie, goes all out when it comes to dressing her characters, and no trouser hem is left unturned, no penny collar unstarched and no pocket square unpressed. She really goes to town with her get up, and so should you. The Peaky Blinder look is a dapper and classically stylish look that every guy should try in 2017. Shop the Peaky Blinder style now with Oxford.