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Peaky Blinders is one of the top-rated series on Netflix right now. Despite the fact that Season 6 will be the final season, rumor has it that there is a movie in the works.
I don’t think anyone is a fan of the bloodshed and illegal doings, but let’s face it, the clothing styles and confidence of those wearing them are quite appealing!
There is so much texture to the suits, and every little detail has been noted- cufflinks, tie pins, and the perennial watch and chain.
If you’re a true fan, you must love the clothing as much as the characters who wear them.
I think most men love looking sharp. A well-fitted suit with the right accessories makes a man feel confident, in control, and handsome.
You can get the exact same look as Thomas or Arthur Shelby, Michael Gray, Finn, or even one of the other characters.
If you want to impress your co-workers at your next meeting, wear a suit like Arthur Shelby or Michael Gray. With the right accessories, you can embrace it as your personal style.
You can skip the peaky tweed cap to avoid controversy, but why not add a Peaky Blinders style hat at this summer’s weddings, birthday parties, or baptisms?
As ZZ Top once sang, “Every girl’s crazy about a sharp-dressed man.”
- Trending Topic: Peaky Blinders Costumes for Females!
What Clothing Style Is Peaky Blinders?
You might be asking yourself, what exactly is the clothing style of the Peaky Blinders?
Luckily for men, formal clothing styles haven’t changed all that much. Men have many more options when it comes to casual wear, and they tend to wear it frequently, as do women. However, when it comes to formal events and business attire, a suit is still king.
The Peaky Blinders style might be described as a three-piece suit PLUS. For many years, this type of suit is called a tweed suit, but a tweed suit isn’t necessarily a Peaky Blinders suit style.
Men’s Peaky Blinders Outfits
Start with the Basics of the Peaky Blinders Outfit
The basic Peaky Blinders gang suit has three pieces – the pleated trousers, the vest (called a waistcoat in the 1920s), and a sportscoat or overcoat.
Not every suit is a Peaky Blinders style, however.
Start with three-piece tweed suits. Depending on where you live and what kind of weather you are going to encounter, you might want to choose a lightweight wool suit.
Here are fine examples of three-piece suits to fit the Peaky Blinder look that you want to achieve:
- The dark grey (some call it black) suit that Thomas Shelby prefers
- The brown Glasgow suit that is Arthur Shelby’s signature:
- The light grey suit that is commonly seen on Michael Gray:
The suits may seem a bit pricey, but keep in mind that a well-made wool suit like the ones shown here are designed to last for decades. Dry clean them regularly and you can enjoy the Peaky Blinders style for many, many years.
You may have some luck finding a classic three-piece tweed suit at your local thrift store. You can also have one of your suits (it must have a vest) customized and tailored so that it fits the Peaky Blinders style.
The jacket should be a tad loose so you can wear the vest and not have the jacket look too tight. The pants should be cut just a bit short, ending right above the ankle.
Add the right shirt (a colored or striped shirt with white penny collar or club collar) will hide any small details regarding the suit.
See my tips at the end of the article for pulling together a true Shelby look-alike suit.
If you live in a very warm climate, you can probably skip the overcoat, but even if you take the coat off within a few minutes after arriving, you are bound to make an entrance that no one will forget.
For the overcoat style, think of Wyatt Earp in the Wild West movies. The overcoat should be long, at least past the knees and preferably ending mid-calf. It should be cut in the back so the sides can flare out as you walk and in a neutral color, such as dark grey or black.
It’s OK to have a black overcoat with a brown suit, by the way. Matching colors is a nice touch, but back in the Jazz age, most people only had one overcoat, so they didn’t care if it matched the suits they owned.
Overcoats that would work well with the above suits :
- This is exactly the same overcoat as Thomas Shelby wears in the series. Note that velvet collar and peaked lapels!
- Arthur Shelby prefers the notched collar overcoat, oftentimes in black, but he also wears brown.
- Here is the double-breasted overcoat that Michael Gray is so fond of.
If picking out the right suit and overcoat feels like too much work, you can buy a complete outfit. These have everything you need other than a shirt and shoes.
- The complete Tommy Shelby look, including overcoat and hat:
- Get your Arthur Shelby look, minus the hat and shoes:
- For the “I Don’t Want to be a Shelby” Michael Gray look, including that fabulous hat:
Oh I suppose I’m not being fair to the youngest of the Shelby brothers, Finn!
- If you want to channel your inner Finn, go this route.
Last, if you’re going to a Halloween party or costume party ( see 1920s Men’s Costume Ideas here ), you may not have the cash or want to put down that money for something you might only wear once or twice.
- If you don’t want to spend too much, you can still dress like real Peaky Blinders with this suit.
Now that you’ve got the basics, let’s talk about what you need to really pull off that bad boy Peaky Blinders style.
Accessories to Pull Off a Proper Peaky Blinders Look
Every man can wear a three-piece suit and call themselves Thomas Shelby, but there is more to the look than just the suit.
Wear Shoes Like a Peaky Blinder
First, let’s talk about shoes.
Peaky Blinders is filmed in England, where the story is also placed, and much of England is wet with frequent rain and fog. Tommy Shelby favors horses, and well, horses aren’t too picky about where they leave their mark.
This is where the shoes differ from the type you would see in America during this time period. While the front of the shoe looks like the typical Oxford, these are actually ankle boots that are quite practical.
Frankly, I love these boots! They don’t look like work boots or cowboy boots but classy and dressy, yet still very practical in the mud and muck.
Gorgeous, are they not? I do realize that for those with Peaky Blinder money, these boots might work out well, but for the rest of us, how about something a bit more reasonable in price?
Tie It All Together with the Right Tie and Collar
You’ll need at least one tie, but if you buy a regular tie and a bow tie, you can get different looks with a single suit. If you’re dressing up as Arthur Shelby, bow ties should be your thing.
Neckties in those days were on the skinnier side, but not super skinny. It’s completely up to you whether you want to wear a matching tie, a plain black or grey tie, a striped tie, or whatever suits you.
Some examples of what I think are authentic, super Peaky Blinders style neckties, including:
- A cashmere wool tie. This comes in a wide range of colors so you can get a couple of them and give yourself a new look despite wearing the same suit.
- I love this set because it has a tie clip, necktie, and bow tie all in one box. Pick whichever color you like.
- If you want something with a bit of pop to it, consider a striped or paisley tie set.
While you can get away with just about any long sleeved shirt, it’s the collar that will give you away.
During the Peaky Blinder years, shirts had round collars (called penny collar or club collar). It was also not uncommon to see shirts with a white collar and a colored shirt body or striped shirts of all colors.
- This is an excellent example of a striped shirt with a white collar.
Let’s not forget that belts were not at all popular during this time, so men wore suspenders. If you plan on removing your vest, you’ll definitely want suspenders to keep up that Peaky Blinders image.
- If your suit pants has buttons inside for suspenders (which was the traditional way to wear them) you might find this suitable.
- If not, you’ll want suspenders that clip to the waistband, such as these.
Hats On! Pick Your Peaky, Panama, or Pork Pie
Last, let’s talk about hats!
I love hats! I think this is a fashion trend that needs to return! Nothing sets off a style better than a good hat, and during the 1920s, they were almost a fashion necessity!
Look at some of the old photos and videos from this era. Everyone, and I mean simply everyone over the age of 10, wore a hat of some kind!
For the men of Peaky Blinders, the hat that gave them their reputation is called a ‘peaky’ in Great Britain. In America, we call these newsboy caps or paperboy hats.
Note that in the series, the hats have seams on them. This is where the razors blades are hidden. I’m not at all suggesting that you add razor blades, heavens! But do note that if you are going for the most Peaky Blinders style possible, you’ll want a newsboy cap with seams, like this one.
You’ll find many hats in this style but note the lack of seams.
The absence of seams doesn’t mean this is a fashion faux pas, I’m just mentioning this because I’m a stickler for details!
Not everyone went for the newsboy cap. One look at Michael Gray and you’ll see that he prefers to wear fedoras, also known as Panama hats, like this one.
When made of straw, it was typically called a ‘boater’. When made of wool, like Alfie Solomons wore in the series, it’s called a ‘pork pie’ hat.
If you want to pull off a truly different but classic look, add Alfie Solomons’ pork pie hat to your suit!
If the Alfie Solomons look is what you’re after, don’t forget that he always, always wore a white scarf on his overcoat.
You won’t see any straw hats in Peaky Blinders – that was more of an American thing. You do see Michael Gray wear an oversized pork pie hat in Season 6.
I imagine this was the writers’ way of giving the audience a hint that Michael wasn’t big enough to fill Tommy’s shoes- or hat.
Watch and Chain, Cuff Links, and More
If you’re into details, like me, you’ll notice that all the men in Peaky Blinders wear a watch and chain. Since wristwatches had yet to be invented, pocket watches were a necessity. The chain is looped through a buttonhole or attached to a button to avoid it falling out of the pocket and getting lost.
Sometimes I think that the only reason for those waistcoats was to hold the watch!
A nice pocket watch with a vintage-looking Roman numeral dial is easy to come by and adds a realistic touch to your Peaky Blinders look.
I like this pocket watch and chain because you can have it engraved with your initials, which is such a Peaky Blinders thing they would have done.
In the 1920s, men’s (and women’s) shirts didn’t have buttons on the sleeve cuffs for some reason. I don’t know if they simply didn’t think them necessary or if shirt manufacturers were in cahoots with cufflink makers, but most simply didn’t have them.
By the way, short-sleeved shirts also were something that wasn’t made yet. This is why you see arm garters on most men during the summer months.
While cufflinks may be hard to spot in Peaky Blinders, you will find a few scenes where they are visible.
Thomas Shelby seems to prefer square cufflinks, such as these
or if you prefer these.
Arthur’s are even more difficult to see, but there is one scene where his round, black cufflinks are visible.
I can’t find any pictures of Michael Gray’s cufflinks, but since he wants to be different from the Shelbys, I would imagine he might pick something like this.
Be sure to match the cufflinks with a gold tie clip since Michael was always immaculately dressed.
While cufflinks are a nice touch, I’m not sure many people will notice if you wear them or not when you are wearing a sportscoat,
I think cufflinks are another nice touch that men should start wearing to the office again, but then again, I’m an old fashioned girl.
It appears to get mighty cold in Birmingham, so no one is surprised to see most of the Peaky Blinder men wearing gloves, even Michael Gray.
There are lots of good images of the type of gloves that Thomas Shelby wore. You can get them fur-lined (or faux fur lined) or plain leather, the choice is yours, but what an excellent touch these would add during the fall or winter months.
You can tuck them in a pocket (be sure to let them hang out just a bit so they can be seen!) if you get too warm!
Final Thoughts and Tips
One of the things I love about pulling together a Peaky Blinders look is that colors don’t have to always match. If you’ve got a light grey suit but a brown overcoat, that’s fine. Wearing a green tie with a brown suit and black overcoat, that’s OK too!
A dress shirt with a round collar is really going to be a noticeable point, as will the pocketwatch and boots. You could actually wear nearly any three-piece suit, but if you had those three accessories, you could be Michael Gray, since he didn’t always wear a hat.
Add a hat, newsboy cap or fedora, and you’ve got yourself a vintage look that everyone will recognize!
There are other characters from the series that you can emulate, including Michael Gray, Alfie Solomons, Aberama Gold, and the Italian bad boy Luca Changretta. You can find more information about Peaky Blinder characters suits here.
My best tips for pulling off the Shelby look would be:
1. Pick the right hat.
Choose your look (Alfie, Thomas, or Michael), and then wear the appropriate hat.
2. Buy the shoes!
Yes, while it’s possible to look like Thomas Shelby wearing plain oxfords and not boots, this would be like seeing Tommy Shelby wearing flip-flops.
3. Get a pocketwatch and suspenders.
You’ll not only look more like a Shelby, but you’ll feel it as well.
4. Wear it with flare.
Find a GIF of one of the Shelby boys walking and spend a little time imitating them. Notice the way Thomas stands, hands at his sides or grabbing his elbows. He’s confident, but not cocky.
The walk is everything! Head should be down. Pull the hat down a bit to hide your eyes but look straight ahead. Arms are pulled away from the body, similar to the Wild West stride you see before a showdown. You should be ever so slightly hunched over and you walk like a rhino. No one but no one will get in your way or stop you!
If you dress like a Peaky Blinder and walk like one, no one will notice if you have cufflinks on or not.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.