The final season of Boardwalk Empire is underway. It is bittersweet for the fans who love the show and especially the fashion. The series began in 1920 and ended last season in 1924. Those four years set in motion a major change in men’s apparel from the gloomy Edwardian age to the vibrant mid-1920s. In addition to the fashions of Boardwalk Empire, The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey are also set in the early to mid-1920s causing a 1920s men’s fashion revival. Suddenly two tone shoes, striped suits, bow ties and hats have made it back into the mainstream. This makes it easier to find quality 1920s style men’s clothing than a few years ago.
I often get emails asking “where can I find a complete 1920s costume?” online. The answer is usually “you can’t.” You can pick and piece together an outfit from multiple sources, but there is no one stop shop…until now. Paul Fredrick has been a favorite website for vintage-inspired fashion seekers for many years. They have carried excellent dress shirts and suits that can work for the 1900s to 1950s. Back before I even began historical fashion costuming, I would ask men where they found their vintage style clothes and all of them said Paul Fredrick. Now Paul Fredrick has taken direct inspiration from Boardwalk Empire’s fourth season and added two-tone shoes, hats and accessories to their already classic collection. This is great news for male shoppers everywhere.
I thought it would be helpful to put together a few Boardwalk Empire men’s clothing outfits, using only items at Paul Fredrick:
Nucky Thompson is the head character and prominent, wealthy business man. Depending on what his character is going through in the season, it changes the way he dresses. At the beginning, he was all show and shine with large print suits and flashy accessories. By the fourth season, he is more subtle and business minded while flying under the radar of his enemies. In the 1920s, men’s business suits were usually grey, brown or blue with a definite stripe, plaid or check pattern. Nucky wears these colors and patterns well in a 3 piece wool or tweed suit. A matching vest is critical to his ensemble, as men’s suit would have been in the 1920s. What his fourth season suits lack in boldness he makes up for with his accessorizes: two -tone wingtip shoes, made famous in the opening credits. A striped shirt with white collar (high club/round collar to be exact) with a bold tie in gold paisley or geometric pattern complete his business look.
Read another article on dressing like Nucky Thompson from the first season.
Al Capone is not yet the world famous bootlegger and gangster that he will become soon. His personal style is never flashy, always the understated but menacing guy in the background. His suits tend to be dark grey, navy blue, hunter green or dark brown. His shirts are usually subtle blue striped shirts (hardly ever white collar) with a muted color tie, too. His signature style accessory is his hat — a center dent fedora with slightly turned down brim. While most men preferred the Homburg hat, Al Capone’s sense of European fashion favored the newer, trendier fedora. Al Capone’s look is one of the easier looks to pull off. Dark and dangerous!
Chalky White is a clothes hound and fashion rebel. His clothing is always colorful, bold and somewhat comical by today’s standards. In the 1920s, his style would be seen as fashion forward. Only the rich could afford the latest colors and patterns such as a big plaid rust colored suit or sport coat. Rust orange? Yes, its was a popular color in the 1920s along with pink, peach, red, and various shades of blue. Wearing these colors all at once wasn’t hideous; it was trendy. To complement Chalky’s jacket, he added a sherbet colored shirt with white point collar. White French cuffs peeking out from under his suit is a plus. His fashion icon was his big, fluffy, bow ties. They could be solid colors like the orange one above or prints of polka dots, geometric shapes and wide stripes. Bow ties rarely matched pocket squares. Chalky’s red pocket square is a hint to his deadly character!
There you have it. Three looks out of the many combinations available this season from Paul Fredrick. The best part about dressing 1920s Boardwalk Empire style is that there is a lot of freedom in the colors and patterns your personality desires. Be bold, be subtle or be menacing — they are all part of the series we love.
More help for your Boardwalk Empire look:
1920s Men’s Hairstyles History and how to guide to styling men’s hair.
Where to buy Men’s vintage and Vintage inspired clothing online- for a more authentic vintage look try one of these 40 online shops.
Great Gatsby in Fashion- Read the Great Gatsby book again with commentary and images of 1920s men’s and women’s fashion referenced in the book.
Need help with you look? Just ask me.
* Disclosure: Paul Fredrick DID NOT sponsor this post. I am an avid fan of this company, and I am happy to promote their clothing. I will, however, earn a small commission if you purchase clothing after clicking on any links to their site here. Thank you for supporting my family with your purchase!