There’s no doubt that cult TV series Peaky Blinders is responsible for the recent resurgence of the flat cap and we certainly don’t blame your everyday man for wanting to channel kingpin Thomas Shelby’s dapper style. The show’s influence on men’s wardrobes doesn’t end there, however, as since it first hit our screens back in 2013 we’ve seen a huge rise in popularity for 1920’s inspired waistcoats, over-sized coats and work boots.
Set in Birmingham in the aftermath of World War I, the addictive drama follows the life of gangster family the Shelbys, known for their signature flat caps, which they used as a weapon, by embedding a razor blade into the peak. Now we’re not recommending you start sporting one of these, however, there are a few style lessons you can take from the Shelby boys.
The gang’s style is sharp, yet rough around the edges and this lends itself perfectly to be given a modern reworking for our current day. Here are a few ways you can incorporate a little Peaky Blinders style into your wardrobe.
A spot of tailoring
The Shelbys’ style is not to be mistaken for that of an English gentleman. The gangsters adopted their very own individual look in order to make themselves known and underline their status in the community. Mixing elements of Upper-Class style with their working-class roots, the Peaky Blinders had a tendency to wear woollen or tweed suits, paired with heavy duty working boots and flat caps.
One of Thomas Shelby’s most recognisable looks is the full three-piece suit in grey or navy, demonstrating his desire to move up in the world through his refined style. For a more subtle take on the look, you can opt for separates instead, layering a waistcoat or tailored jacket over a simple white shirt and pairing them with some matching or contrasting trousers.
Marrying a tweed blazer with some black skinny jeans is a great way of adapting the trend for the modern day.
A classic shirt
Most often the Shelbys are seen wearing a smart white dress shirt or a fine pinstripe design in a light blue or grey. One rule that is set in stone, however, is that the top button must always be fastened. The shirt collar was a key focal point of the gang’s outfits, with them often opting for a curved or removable collar, that would be buttoned onto a collarless shirt.
When choosing your shirt, go for something in a slim fit to maintain a streamlined silhouette and prevent gathering.
Go oversized in the coat department
The oversized coat adds drama to the ‘Peaky Blinders’ signature style by creating the illusion of a wider heavyset silhouette, which worked in the gang’s favour by adding to their intimidating demeanour. The ankle length coats worn by the Shelbys aren’t the easiest style to pull off from day to day, so to hint at the trend without going the whole hog, choose a single-breasted coat in a mid-length and a dark hue.
Suited and booted
The Blinders toughened up their sharp tailoring with a pair of chunky black leather boots, which were kept unpolished, adding a rugged working-class vibe to their otherwise polished look. Tommy is generally seen wearing a thick soled lace-up boot, however, a Chelsea or Hudson boot will suffice.
Wear your trousers at the ankle with no visible break, to avoid any bunching.
The signature flat cap
The centrepiece of the Peaky Blinders’ iconic look is, of course, the flat cap, often coming in a grey herringbone design. This timeless accessory can add a really quirky finishing touch to an outfit and is surprisingly easy to pull off. Bring the look up to date by ditching the suit and pairing your flat cap with a smart casual outfit, such as an Oxford shirt and chinos.
Add a little neck-wear
Don’t forget all the finishing touches, because one thing for sure it that these criminals certainly knew how to accessorise! Though Tommy often wears his suit without a tie, adding a tie or bow tie can really add some character to the outfit. Arthur Shelby is the only one of the brother who wore a bow tie, however, it’s a great way to create a quirkier take on the look.
Hugo Boss 3 Piece Suit
John Smedley Fine Knit Waistcoat
Paul Smith Navy Seerks Blazer
Dsquared2 White Shirt
Hugo Boss Navy Silk Tie
Tod's Black Chelsea Boot