By now most of us have heard of the Netflix sensation Peaky Blinders! It isn’t often that a show has such a radical impact on the world of men’s fashion, and here at Surmesur we thought it would be fun to help bring some of these iconic looks out of the roaring ’20s and straight into your modern-day wardrobe! Let’s take a deeper look at the style of the Peaky Blinders, the history behind the gang, and how you can replicate their looks in a modern way.
The History Behind The Infamous Peaky Blinders
The Peaky Blinders themselves were a 19th-century urban youth gang from Birmingham, England who derived their name from the practice of stitching razor blades into the peaks of their flat caps that they would then use to blind their victims during fights.
Their unique style of clothing pays homage to their working-class origins by sticking to dark colours, subtle patterns, and heavy-weight durable fabrics. You would be hard-pressed to see one of the Shelby brothers in anything short of their classic three-piece suits, club-collared shirts, and heavy overcoats.
I don’t pay for suits. My suits are on the house or the house burns down.
1920s Men’s Fashion: The Roaring ’20s
The style of the roaring 20’s represents an important turning point in the history of menswear. By the time the decade was running out, fashion had nearly completely transitioned away from stiff, Victorian styles and into the modern era.
Even though nearly a hundred years have passed, almost every element of the typical 1920’s wardrobe is wearable today. They create a distinct appeal for the modern gent looking for a timeless look.
How To Recreate The Blinders’ Signature Looks
Good taste is for people who can’t afford sapphires.
Switch Up Your Suit Fabrics
True to the era in which it is based, the colour palettes seen in Peaky Blinders are much more muted than what we are used to today, relying on patterns and textures rather than bright colours to enhance their clothing look. Forget having to coordinate colours, the Peaky Blinders are all about monochrome attire. Moreover, the series is a good reminder that experimenting with patterns and cloth is an easy way to enhance a wardrobe. Take some peaky pointers and try flexing a pattern or two. Consider Donegal tweed, Glen checks or even houndstooth to create a very eye-catching classic look. Other suits worn by Shelby and his gang include brown wool, navy windowpane, dark blue pinstripe or chalk stripe and tweedy brown-green.
Consider Adding A Vest
One of the signature looks of the 1920s is the timeless three-piece suit. By adding a vest you not only get the opportunity to show off your pocket watch like Thomas Shelby, but you elevate your look when not wearing your jacket, still making you the best-dressed guy in the room.
Keep Your Trousers Clean And Show Your Boots
As for your trousers, opt for a narrow leg with a 2-inch cuff around the ankle. The length of the trouser exposed men’s boots but gradually dropped below the ankle by the mid-20s.
The Proper Shirt Has A Club Collar
The rounded or “club” collared dress shirt is one of the most recognizable styles of the early 20s and is seen throughout the show. Consider choosing one of Shelby’s classic striped club collar shirts. Want something even bolder? Try contrasting your shirt’s collar and cuff with a white fabric to really stand out!
Embrace The Air Tie For True Gangster Style
Wearing a suit and shirt without a tie is hardly a bold style choice today. A cooler, more contemporary way to dress down a suit is the ‘air tie’, which means buttoning your shirt up to the top even without wearing a tie. Another option used by the Peaky Blinders was removable club collars. You can achieve the same look with our essential dress shirts, or even an Oxford shirt with a club collar.
Add a Heavy Overcoat For Extra Flair
Overcoats make quite the appearance in Peaky Blinders as the primary way to keep the gang warm while walking the cold British streets. Heavy fabrics, wide lapels, and large patch pockets create a classic look that can still be worn by gentlemen today looking for an elegant way to combat the even harsher Canadian winters.
Tommy Shelby loves to wear a black single-breasted overcoat made of heavy wool cloth, a black velvet half collar, and peaked lapels. If you want to exude a similar style, then go for it; we recommend choosing gray, brown or navy rather than black. The other Blinders’ coats were more in line with a 1920s style that favoured long straight lines, oversized wide lapels, large patch pockets and double rows of buttons.
The Right Kind Of Boots For The Harsh Times Of The 1920s
A pair of cap-toe oxford-style boots in black or brown with leather soles is an absolute must for a Peaky Blinders outfit. Make sure they are not too clean and polished – a bit of dirt will allow you to recreate the authentic look.
Don’t Forget About The Peakys – The Dangerous Flap Cap
Most of the Peaky Blinders gang and working-class men wore caps for hats. They were wide and made of wool or tweed. They were the most affordable hat and durable for manual labour work. It may seem out of place to see a 20s man wearing a nice suit with a casual hat but it was trendy, especially with young men, at that time.
Accessorize Your Peakys Outfit Sparingly
Thomas Shelby generally wears a three-piece suit with an overcoat and one simple accessory that beautifully ties the look – a pocket watch with a visible brass chain. His brother Arthur, on the other hand, opts for a bow-tie and very subtle pocket square.
Surmesur Is Under New Management By Order Of The Peaky Blinders
Peaky Blinders may have revived an interest in narrow-fit tailoring, waistcoats and flat caps but, really, the core of what the gang wear has never gone out of fashion. Dressing up like the Peaky Blinders is a lot easier than you might think since all the basic elements of the look can be paired with more modern garments for a more wearable look.
Proper suits, long woollen overcoats and sturdy work boots have always been in style! So while experimenting and trying out trends is all well and good, don’t forget to build a strong rotation of the basics. Your best bet to recreate the look is to invest in a heavy, vintage tweed suit, a matching waistcoat, and pleated trousers. Keep the finished pant hem rather short with no break!