On January 17, 1920, the eighteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, making Prohibition the law of the land. Nobody benefited more from this stupid, moronic, totally brainless decision than organized crime.
Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody, rising figure in the Atlantic City underworld
Atlantic City and New York City, Spring/Summer 1921
Series: Boardwalk Empire
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
After rising from the “half a gangster” of the pilot episode, Jimmy Darmody finally attains his goal of taking control of Atlantic City in June 1921. He’s come a long way from the tweed Norfolk suit, ratty cardigan, and newsboy cap. Never seen without a three-piece suit, the attire of choice for Jimmy’s celebratory party at Babbette’s Supper Club is a classy dark blue pinstripe suit.
Jimmy wears this suit in at least six episodes of the second season:
- “Ourselves Alone” (2.02) when in New York City visiting Rothstein and Luciano
- “Peg of Old” (2.07) when a Chicago assassin confronts Nucky at Babbette’s
- “Two Boats and a Lifeguard” (2.08) during his celebration
- “Battle of the Century” (2.09) when Remus and Capone meet him at his home
- “Georgia Peaches” (2.10) when planning liquor shipments with his allies
- “To the Lost” (2.12) during his revenge on the Klansmen
What’d He Wear?
Jimmy sports a sharp three-piece suit with a light blue pinstripe against a very dark blue ground. The jacket is single-breasted with notch lapels and a high stance 3-button front.
Many of the jacket details add to its period look, including the tight and high spacing of the buttons, the addition of a ticket pocket, and the fitted look contributed by the rear semi-belt, much like his earlier Norfolk jackets. A single vent extends up to the belt in the back.
The jacket also has an open breast pocket, always devoid of any pocketsquare, and flapped straight hip pockets. As mentioned, there is also a ticket pocket on the right side.
Most of Jimmy’s suits seem to fit this mold: single-breasted 3-button coats with notch lapels and fitted rear belts with a lapeled vest. The blue pinstripe is Jimmy’s season 2 “Power Suit”. Others, like the brown striped one, are worn in more vulnerable moments where he is doubting or remorseful.
The vest matches the rest of the suit with the blue pinstripe pattern. It is single-breasted, like all of Jimmy’s vests, with 6 buttons down the front and open pockets on the top and bottom. The back is lined in light brown silk with a dark diamond pattern throughout. An adjustable rear strap extends across the rear lining.
The suit pants – also in blue pinstripe – are slim-fitting with a high rise and fishmouth rear to fit suspenders. They are flat front with plain-hemmed bottoms. There are straight open pockets on each side and jetted pockets in the rear.
Jimmy wears a pair of striped suspenders throughout the season, with a single white stripe between two darker ones.
Jimmy pairs the suit with a series of shirts, all with buttoned barrel cuffs and soft collars that he fastens under the tie with a gold collar pin. The shirts are gray, dark red, dark gray with thin white stripes, and brown with thin dark brown stripes. The most commonly worn of the shirts is his gray one, which has a slight check pattern when seen close-up.
Jimmy also wears a rotation of four neckties with this suit – and others – throughout the second season. One of the most popular is a red-and-blue necktie with a geometric triangular pattern. It is very deco and certainly sets a tone that 1921 Gangster Jimmy is different from 1920 Half Gangster Jimmy. Although retaining some plain ties like his golden brown grenadine tie from season one, worn here with a gray shirt, his ties are now more varied and abstract. Had Jimmy lasted another year (spoiler alert!), he may have even begun wearing some of Nucky’s outlandish ties with loud paisley and striped designs.
In addition to the two mentioned, we also see a dark blue necktie with a circular pattern worn with the dark red shirt and a white-and-gray geometric swirl pattern tie, worn with the gray shirt.
Jimmy keeps his standard wristwatch with a rounded rectangular silver case, white face, and brown leather strap. He also wears his dog tags from the war and a newly-seen plain gold wedding band, worn on his left ring finger.
Jimmy also wears his brown leather RHD shoulder holster from the first season for his Colt .32 automatic pistol until he upgrades upon becoming the new boss of Atlantic City. In his new role, Jimmy sports a larger Colt M1911 – the venerable Army .45 pistol – in a larger, heavy duty, brown leather shoulder holster.
Of course, Jimmy also keeps his Mk I trench knife in a black leather ankle holster on the inside of his left boot.
Jimmy’s old standbys, a pair of black leather combat boots with black laces, are back with the blue pinstripe suit in season two. Inside the boots, he wears a pair of two-tone blue dress socks that extend high on his leg.
For the second season, Jimmy also got a new overcoat. This coat is a dark gray herringbone double-breasted topcoat with a 6-button front, peak lapels, cuffed sleeves, and – like his suits – fitted with a rear half-belt and a long single vent. Despite the fitted belt, the overcoat is still roomy on Jimmy’s frame. There are four exterior flapped patch pockets – two box-pleated chest pockets and two plain hip pockets.
His choice of headgear has also upgraded to sharp dark gray fedora with a thin gray band.
Jimmy’s underwear gets, thankfully, much less screen time this season, but he typically wears a white sleeveless ribbed undershirt.
Go Big or Go Home
Jimmy wears the suit for both business and pleasure. When in New York City on business, he drinks Canadian Club straight and smokes his Old Golds. Canadian Club – and all Canadian whiskies – catapulted to popularity during Prohibition for obvious reasons.
When celebrating his coup to take over Atlantic City, Jimmy smokes cigars and drinks champagne out of old-fashioned coupes. As champagne was sweeter in this era than it is today, coupes were the glassware of choice. Now, flutes are used more often to allow the carbonation of dry champagne to last longer.
How to Get the Look
The suit gets a lot of different shirt and tie combinations, as I covered above, but I’m going with the most popular of each for the breakdown. For reference’s sake, the gray shirt and red/blue deco tie during his meeting with Remus and Capone in “Battle of the Century” (2.09).
- Dark blue (with light blue pinstripe) wool suit, consisting of:
- Single-breasted 3-button rear-belted suitcoat with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets with flapped ticket pocket on right side, 4-button cuffs, and single vent
- Single-breasted 6-button vest with notch lapels, 4 open pockets, and adjustable rear strap on diamond-patterned silk lining
- Flat front high-rise trousers with straight open side pockets, jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Gray patterned shirt with soft pinned collars and buttoned barrel cuffs
- Red-and-blue deco geometric triangle-patterned necktie
- Gold collar pin
- Dark suspenders with a single white center stripe
- Brown leather wristwatch with a rounded rectangular case and white face
- Black leather combat boots with black laces
- Blue two-tone dress socks
- White ribbed sleeveless undershirt
- Off-white cotton boxer shorts
- Plain gold wedding band, worn on left ring finger
- Brown leather shoulder holster (RHD) for Colt .32 pistol or a Colt .45 pistol
- Black leather ankle holster (inside of left boot) for 1918 Mk I trench knife
- Dark gray fedora with a thin gray band
- Dark gray herringbone double-breasted overcoat with a 6-button front, peak lapels, 2 flapped box-pleated chest patch pockets, 2 flapped patch hip pockets, swelled edges, cuffed sleeves, fitted with rear half-belt and long single vent
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the second season.
As mentioned, Jimmy retains his Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, a .32-caliber semi-automatic pistol that was wildly popular in the beginning of the 20th century among criminals and civilians alike.
After his takeover of Atlantic City, he carries a Colt M1911, featured ad nauseum in various articles online and blog posts here, in a larger brown leather shoulder holster. Unlike the holster for his Model 1903, this one had a full strap on the right side of his body that fastened underneath his right arm.
It doesn’t make a difference if you’re right or wrong. You just have to make a decision.