Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Empire State of Mind: The Style & Fashion of HBO's new show Boardwalk Empire

If you’re like me, you’ve been praying very hard for HBO to return with a show like the Wire – the drama, the twisted plots, the shoot-outs and fantastic characters like Omar Little. Well look no further, set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era. Starring Steve Buscemi, the show is adapted from Nelson Johnson's book, Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and producer Terence Winter of The Sopranos.

Boardwalk Empire is a period drama focusing on Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (based on the historical Enoch L. Johnson), a political figure who rose to prominence and controlled Atlantic City, New Jersey during the Prohibition period of the 1920s and 1930s. Nucky interacts with several historical figures in both his personal and political life, including mobsters, politicians, government agents, and the common folk who looked up to him. The government also takes an interest in the bootlegging and other illegal activities in the area, sending agents to investigate possible mob connections but also looking at Nucky's expensive and lavish lifestyle for a county political figure.

Enoch L. Johnson

Every Sunday I prepare for a dose of corruption, bootlegging, drama, murder and oh yes... fashion. One of the many things I love about this show is the costumes of 1920s Atlantic City. You can almost pick up a characters personality from the style of dress: Nucky Thompson’s pinstripe 3 piece suits to the rugged coat and drivers cap that young Al Capone wears. The interesting aspect of the wardrobe is that nearly everything that was hot in the 1920s... Is very much in style in 2010, below are some examples:

Here we have Nucky Thompson played by Steve Buscemi (center) in a three piece flannel tan with brown stripe plaid suit, perfect for brisk fall days worn with white shirt and maroon tie like in the picture shown above and your ready for work. Also in the picture Jimmy Darmody played by Micheal Pitt (right) who is wearing a earth tone brown wool three piece suit with drivers cap, worn here with a grey shirt buttoned.. however if I was wearing this to work I would wear light blue to bring out the color of the suit with a tan tie.. what about you?  But you can clearly see here what I mentioned before about costumes reflecting a characters personality and/or class status in the show.

Uh Oh, Omar is coming! I know, I should just accept the fact that Omar Little and the Wire is gone.. but looking at Chalky White played by Brooklyn New York's own Micheal K. Williams, you kinda get a sense of relief and excitement to see him back, however very different from the Baltimore stick up kid; Chalky White is a boss.. there's no denying that - and in his three piece flannel brown with orange stripe plaid suit you can clearly see beside the mug on his face, he's no joke.  I love the use of the orange bow tie and how it contrast with the stripes on his suit.  Notice how the handkerchief is completely in a different color and still brings the suit together.. I guess one would think of it as the tie adding accent to the stripes and the handkerchief bringing out the brown in the suit.

In this picture Jimmy Darmody played by Micheal Pitt is wearing a cardigan under his suit, for those of you who hate dressing in layers in the morning and carrying most of our outerwear on our arms after work, take note this is a practical alternative - use the wool suit jacket as a coat and the cardigan or v neck sweater as an item to keep you cool in the office, add a scarf and your good to withstand the wind and cool temperature in Fall.  I also want to bring out that Brown is the new black, personally, I love Brown.. I tend to think its the official color of Fall.

How it all comes together? With the top coat of course! Chalky White played by Williams, brings the entire outfit together by wearing a topcoat that brings out the accent of his suit without looking like a pimp.  Matched with a cool suede hat, the earth tones really brings out the suit without giving too much.. do you agree?


So.. I guess it takes a cool top coat, a three piece flannel/ wool striped plaid suit, a bow tie and/ or handkerchief that stands out and your ready to show your empire state of mind. Let me know what you think of the show and costumes.

1 comment:

  1. I've just discovered your delicious blog via IFB and I love your post. I'm a sucker for period TV series and this one looks like a goodie! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for it. xo