Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, Jersey mob associate and aspiring screenwriter
New York City, Spring 1998
Series: The Sopranos
Episodes: “A Hit is a Hit” (Episode 1.10) and “D-Girl” (Episode 2.07)
Air Dates: March 14, 1999 (1.10) and February 27, 2000 (2.07)
Directors: Matthew Penn (1.10) and Allen Coulter (2.07)
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
Although a bit late for this Valentine’s Day (and my self-proclaimed #MafiaMonday), this post explores a creative integration of red into a man’s outfit. While some – and, likely, most – will consider it over-the-top, the character in question isn’t exactly known for his good taste.
For date nights in New York City with Adriana, Chris likes to show off his gangster status by donning his two favorite wardrobe colors: red and black. The pairing of a red sport coat with black trousers and shirt evokes a look made famous by Robert De Niro in Casino. Given Christopher’s obsession with mob movies (and Martin Scorsese), it would make sense that he would choose to mimic an outfit from one of the best-known mob movies sported by the genre’s undisputed maestro.
What’d He Wear?
We first see Christopher’s red sport coat in “A Hit is a Hit” (Episode 1.10) after a particularly lucrative – and deadly – heist. After toasting glasses of champagne (which appear to be Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad, a Spanish Cava) with Tony and Paulie, he leaves the two made men for his night on the town with Adriana La Cerva:
Rent. Fuckin’ broadway musicals. I mean, we’re all supposed to get all fuckin’ weepy eyed ’cause they turned off the heat in some guy’s loft?
The jacket itself is constructed of a soft, heavy material (possibly flannel or even cashmere) in deep red. It is single-breasted with peak lapels on a convex break line. The low 3-button stance consists of three dark red plastic buttons placed closely together, but Chris always wears the jacket open.
Chris’ jacket also has padded shoulders, roped sleeveheads, and a ventless rear. It is styled very similarly to a suit jacket from the 1920s or 1930s, the dawn of the American gangster and a period that would be very alluring for the image-conscious Christopher.
The sport coat has a welted breast pocket and straight flapped hip pockets, although the flaps often tuck inside the pocket to show only the jetting. The lining of the jacket is an ornate gold paisley, and there are also inner pockets that close on a single button. In the brief shot of the lining and inside pocket, we are also given a glimpse of the manufacturer’s label. It’s too blurry for me to detect a name, but perhaps someone more eagle-eyed (or familiar) can make it out.
There is a small loop on the back of the jacket about an inch or so beneath the collar that resembles the “locker loop” seen on some original Ivy oxford shirts. The purpose of this fabric ring on the shirts was to permit wearers to hang the shirt in a locker by the loop to prevent wrinkling.
I’m not sure what purpose this serves on this particular sport jacket, as the wearer should know better than to hang it by the ring inside a locker. It’s especially interesting given their connotation as “fairy loops” (or worse) that such a masculinity-driven person like Christopher would have one on his jacket.
Christopher always pairs his red sport coat with a pair of black flat front trousers that have on-seam side pockets and plain-hemmed bottoms. They are worn with a standard black leather belt that closes in the front through a silver-toned rectangular clasp.
In both instances, Christopher carries the black leg line from the trouser to the shoes with a pair of black dress socks and heavy black leather split toe bluchers.
For the dinner and a show night in “A Hit is a Hit” (Episode 1.10), Christopher wears only a black shirt constructed of soft silk or microsuede. He wears it loose and open with the first few buttons of the plain (non-placket) front open to show off the various gold medallions entangled with his chest hair.
The jacket’s next – and final – appearance, in “D-Girl” (Episode 2.07) finds Christopher and Adriana escorting Chrissy’s cousin Gregory and his fiancée – the titular “D-Girl” – out for drinks in Manhattan. Although it’s a less formal occasion than seeing Rent with Adriana, Chris dresses up a little more with a red shirt and tie.
This shirt is dark red silk with a slim spread collar, breast pocket, button cuffs, and – like the black shirt – a plain button-down front with no placket. His tie is more busy with a red silk ground and a white vertical motif of broken lines underlying a white diamond and a light blue diamond shape under it, slightly overlapped by the white diamond.
As usual, Christopher wears a white ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt.
No pinkie rings for Christopher, although he certainly mobs up with gold accessories around both his neck and wrist. (Although he doesn’t wear a pinkie ring, he does briefly wear a gold diamond ring in “A Hit is a Hit” on the third finger of his left hand.)
His one constant piece of jewelry is a thin gold chain around his neck with a round saint pendant – St. Christopher, perhaps? In the first season, it is accompanied by a thicker gold chain with a large gold crucifix.
Christopher also swaps out his gold wristwatches between seasons. In the first season, he wears a gold 18-carat Cartier Tank with a white square dial on a gold link bracelet. He replaces this in the second season with a gold Rolex DateJust on a mixed metal “Jubilee” bracelet. He would later switch back to Cartier in following seasons.
How to Get the Look
A red sport coat isn’t for everyone, but Christopher Moltisanti wants the world to know he’s a gangster, and he’s not afraid to dress the part. In both episodes, it works to impress.
- Red single-breasted sport jacket with peak lapels, 3-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped straight hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, “locker loop”, and ventless rear
- Dark red (or black) silk/microsuede shirt with spread collar, plain front, and button cuffs
- Red silk necktie with white and blue diamond motif
- Black flat front trousers with on-seam side pockets, belt loops, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black leather belt with silver-toned rectangular clasp
- Black leather split-toe bluchers
- Black dress socks
- Thick gold necklace with a large gold crucifix
- Thin gold necklace with a round gold St. Christopher medallion
- Gold wristwatch on a metal link bracelet
- Chris wears a Cartier Tank in “A Hit is a Hit” and a Rolex DateJust in “D-Girl”
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the entire series, because it’s brilliant. Christopher’s distinctive red sport coat only shows up in two early episodes, however: “A Hit is a Hit” (Episode 1.10) and “D-Girl” (Episode 2.07). Interestingly, both episodes prominently feature Chrissy’s attempts to break into the arts.
The Sopranos doesn’t hesitate to fling mud at its celebrity cameos. After Adriana sings the praises of Swingers director Jon Favreau, one of “D-Girl”‘s many guest stars, Christopher responds with:
Swingers? He can suck my dick. That swings too.