Still courtesy of HBO via IMDB
Being Tony Soprano would, for the most part, totally suck. You’d live in constant fear of getting arrested; nearly every time you spoke, you’d be SCREAMING YOUR FUCKING HEAD OFF; your best friends could betray you to the FBI at any time, and if they did, you’d have to murder them; worst of all, you’d be related to Janice. Not fun! I wouldn’t want to spend a single day in his shoes—metaphorically speaking, at least. What I do want, however, are his shoes themselves—and his pants, and his belts, and his shirts, and his suit jackets, and his extremely comfortable-looking robe. I want every single article of clothing Tony Soprano has ever worn, and I want them desperately, desperately bad.
This story was originally published in June 2020.
As an untold number of us have over the past, oh, I don’t know, 10,000 weeks, I’ve spent quarantine binge-watching The Sopranos. I’ve developed an insatiable craving for Tony’s wardrobe—and, simultaneously, a mental catalog of all his clothes, accompanied by what is probably an unhealthy number of thoughts on what, exactly, makes them so good.
Let’s start with the most striking, obvious aspect of his look: The Good Shirt.They’re just short-sleeve button-downs, you may be thinking. What’s the big deal? The big deal, my friends, is that these shirts entirely transcend the average short-sleeve button-down. They are subtle, elegant, seemingly made of some kind of fine material like silk or Georgette—shirts that look great at first glance, and reveal themselves to be even more enticing upon closer inspection. At, say, a bar in Bushwick, you’ll find countless Bad short-sleeve button-downs, shirts that look like this:Now compare that abhorrent rag to this:Tony’s button-downs are not excessively patterned; they’re not splashy; they are minimalistic, refined, tasteful. They are perfect, and I want them all.The same goes for his collared shirts—instead of a boring old plain Polo or some chaotic, over-the-top patterned number, when Tony opts for what could generally be referred to as a Golf Shirt, he chooses one that sits somewhere in the middle. There’s always something going on with it, but never too much.
The Good Shirt
Should you wish to acquire a Good Shirt of your own, there are plenty of contemporary sources for this swaggy look. Abercrombie & Fitch has actually made these polos and golf shirts a staple of their current men’s lineup, and they’re genuinely *chef’s kiss*:Banana Republic, a bastion of all things 90s and collared, has excellent camp shirts on which to spill your gabagool:And even Amazon has polos and button-ups that look straight out of Tony’s closet:
The golf shirts are strong enough to stand on their own—but what makes them really shine is that, almost without fail, they’re tucked into a pair of pleated dress pants.“Nice” but not formal, “casual” but not pedestrian, the combination of a solid golf shirt and pleated slacks is, in a word, unimpeachable. Here, tailoring is of paramount importance—these slacks are slightly tapered, narrowing in around the calf and falling just above the ankle. Fuck jeans, and definitely fuck shorts. These are where it’s at.You could wear them, along with either a Golf Shirt or a Very Good Short-Sleeve Button-Down, to almost any occasion—but sometimes, you need to class things up a bit. That’s where the suit jacket comes in.
The Golf Shirt and Pleated Dress Pants
It’s important to note how infrequently Tony wears a whole-ass suit—unless he’s going to a funeral or some high-level meeting with the New York dons, he’ll instead opt to just toss on a jacket. It works with the aforementioned shirts; it’s particularly effective with a simple sweater, and exceptional with a black mock neck. (A full-on turtleneck would be far too much; keep this lesson with you always.)
The Suit Jacket
I won’t even attempt to unpack what makes his actual suits so good. I know virtually nothing about suits—but the answer, I suspect, is that he’s fitted for them by a mob-adjacent tailor, and those dudes are just absurdly talented. Sadly, most of us will never have the good fortune to encounter one. All we can do is admire from afar.
On the complete opposite side of the formality spectrum, you have what is perhaps Tony Soprano’s most iconic garment: The Robe. It is heavy; it is thick; it is white; it is worn open, with nothing but a loose-fitting tank top and a pair of boxers.Fortunately for us, this look, more than any other element of Tony’s wardrobe, is extremely accessible. Unfortunately for us, on him it’s somehow badass; on almost anyone else, it just kind of makes you look like you're dressed up as The Dude for Halloween.If, like me, you find yourself possessed by the desire to own everything Tony Soprano has ever worn, check out @TonySopranoStyle on Instagram. The saint who runs that account managed to find out who made his clothes, and can point you towards actually buying them. Some of these gems are surprisingly cheap. Case in point: the Meat Necklace.Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.
This story was originally published in June 2020.