BAMF Style looks forward to Valentine’s Day this weekend with an abbreviated Week of Weddings.
James Caan as Santino “Sonny” Corleone, hotheaded Mafia underboss
Long Island, NY, August 1945
Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 15, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone
Sonny is a natural choice as a groomsman for his sister’s wedding. Not only did he introduce her to her new husband, but he’s the underboss of New York’s powerful Corleone crime family and not the sort of guy who would appreciate being left out.
Sonny is a busy guy on the wedding day. He has to be all over the place, from the parking lot to his father’s office while keeping tabs on his war hero brother, his wife, and his mistress. Of course, when the Don summons him, he’s never far away.
What’d He Wear?
The Corleone men – sans Michael – appear as a force to be reckoned with in their sharp black tuxedoes on the day of Connie’s wedding. While his father opts for a more old-fashioned look with his cran necker lapel jacket, Sonny and Fredo stay up to date by donning double-breasted dinner jackets that reached their pinnacle of popularity in the late 1930s and 1940s.
Sonny’s dinner jacket has a high-fastening 6×2 button front. He typically keeps the lower button fastened, although the strong structure of the jacket on James Caan’s athletic build keeps it from flopping over. The buttons are all black plastic, matching the three buttons on each cuff.
The dinner jacket has fashionably wide peak lapels with a black satin facing. To celebrate the occasion, a large white carnation is pinned to the left lapel. The heavily padded shoulders emphasize Caan’s imposing “bulk”. It also features a welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, and a ventless rear. Such a jacket would have been the epitome of style in 1945.
Sonny naturally wears a pair of black formal trousers with a black satin stripe down each leg. The on-seam side pockets break just behind the stripe; it is from this left side pocket that Sonny produces a wad of cash to condescending toss at a hapless photographer. The bottoms are plain-hemmed with no cuffs.
His shoes are black leather plain-toes, naturally worn with black dress socks.
Although a black satin cummerbund is correctly worn to cover his waist, Sonny relaxes a bit between meetings in his father’s office and pulls back his unbuttoned jacket, revealing the black leather ends of his suspenders holding up his trousers.
While less formal turndown collars and pleated fronts were coming into fashion for men’s formal shirts, Sonny sticks with the traditional stiff-front white shirt with a wing collar, single cuffs, and a plain front bib. When his jacket is buttoned, only one silver stud is available on the shirt front; three total can be seen above his waist when the jacket is unbuttoned. His cuff links are only briefly seen, but they are likely also silver to match his shirt studs.
Sonny ties a slim, adjustable black satin bow tie under his wing collar. The tie’s black adjuster can be seen briefly on the left side of his neck when he bends down to invite Lucy Mancini to an afternoon bathroom tryst.
He accessorizes like any good mobster would, wearing a gold wristwatch and a silver pinky ring.
Go Big or Go Home – Wedding Edition
As discussed in the post about Vito Corleone’s wedding attire, the occasion is hosted at the Corleone family compound in Long Island, although the house was actually situated off Longfellow Road on Staten Island.
While everyone else is distracted by
Frank Sinatra’s Johnny Fontaine’s surprise appearance (and performance), Sonny focuses on different surprise guests, notably the FBI guys taking down license plate numbers in the parking lot.
The women in Sonny’s wife also play a major role in the wedding. His sister is naturally the center of attention, and even his mother gets some time on center stage to serenade the group in Italian. His wife, perhaps a little tipsy, regales some of her female friends with some bragging about Sonny’s beef bayonet while he’s off putting it to good use with his mistress, Lucy Mancini. (According to the novel, this is the very occasion where he impregnates her with
Andy Garcia his bastard son Vincent.)
How to Get the Look
Although he is outspoken and flashy in his management style, Sonny chooses a traditional approach for his formalwear.
- Black double-breasted dinner jacket with wide satin-faced peak lapels, 6×2 button front, welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless rear
- Black formal trousers with black satin side stripes, on-seam side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- White plain front formal shirt with wing collar and single cuffs
- Black satin adjustable bow tie
- Silver shirt studs and cuff links
- Black satin cummerbund
- Black suspenders with black leather ends
- Black leather plain-toe dress shoes
- Black dress socks
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Goddamn FBI don’t respect nothin’.