When the writers and producers of 1920s gangland drama Peaky Blinders first dreamed up the hit show, they probably didn’t imagine they would be sparking a retro menswear fashion revival. But thanks to a costume department that clearly has an eye for a really good suit, and probably assisted by the casting of a devilishly good looking lead in Cillian Murphy, the TV show has done the world of good for men’s tailoring, and for that we can only be thankful.
With the gritty tale of the fortunes and misfortunes of the notorious Selby family now back on our screens for a fifth series, there will no doubt be chaps sat watching up and down the land thinking to themselves: “I wonder if I could look that good?” The simple answer is, yes, of course - everyone looks great in a good suit.
And if you would like to join the many gentlemen inspired to revive the, ahem, ‘street’ fashions of 100 years ago thanks to Thomas Selby and co, here are all the key ingredients.
Or, perhaps we should say more accurately, the collar. Brought up in a world of off-the-rail shirts where every collar is the same, one of the things that modern gents are bound to notice about the Peaky Blinders ‘look’ is the variety of different collars they sport. One of the most unusual to contemporary eyes is the sight of a starched detachable collar - a practice that died out as the craft of tailoring shirts gave way to factory mass production after World War 2. Characters in the show are also often seen with their detachable collar removed, revealing the stand or ‘grandad’ collar on the shirt underneath - upright, rounded and narrow, a collar you can’t wear a tie with without a detachable extra. Another type often seen in the show is the penny or club collar, a fold-down version with rounded tips still used as part of the Eton school uniform.
According to many commentators, England football manager Gareth Southgate was single-handedly responsible for bringing the waistcoat back with his jacketless touchline appearances during the 2018 World Cup. But let’s set the record straight - from where we’re standing, Mr Southgate more than likely got his inspiration from Peaky Blinders, where the standard ‘dressed down’ look for the show’s male characters is shirt and a waistcoat. To get the right kind of period feel, textured woollens in muted colours - greys are perfect - are the way to go, and of course you should make sure it is part of a three-piece ensemble with matching trousers and jacket.
While tailored suits have always kept their place in the typical man’s wardrobe, the kind of ‘greatcoat’ style overcoat favoured by the Peaky Blinders is definitely an item long overdue a revival, and grateful we are to the show’s makers for bringing it to widespread attention again! Some of the overcoats worn by the Peakys are just fantastic - double-breasted, full length, heavy and just oozing style. Put one on and you will feel yourself adopt a more confident strut, we promise!
Finally, the item that in most people’s minds truly defines the Peaky Blinders look - the cap! Now in certain parts of the world, the north of England being one example, there are those who would argue that the traditional flat cap has never gone out of style. But the Peaky Blinders cap is slightly different - a six-segmented baggy version sometimes known as a newsboys cap. Cricket fans will probably recognise the colourful versions still adopted as part of team uniforms around the world, but for the Peakys look, stick to austere tweeds.
Now you have the inside track on how to look like a Peaky Blinder, why not book an appointment and come and get fitted for the shirt, suit and overcoat?