James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, Jersey mob boss and conflicted family man
New Jersey, Fall 2002-2007
Series: The Sopranos
Episodes: multiple episodes from “Mergers and Acquisitions” (4.08) through “The Blue Comet” (6.20)
Air Dates: November 3, 2002 (4.08) through June 3, 2007 (6.20)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
James Gandolfini was born on September 18, 1961. On what would’ve been the late, great actor’s 54th birthday, BAMF Style is finally examining a favorite look of his most notorious character: Tony Soprano.
The Sopranos did a fine job of keeping its characters’ wardrobes consistent and contextually fashionable throughout the seasons. Just as in real life, clothing is repeated on a cycle, with certain items showing up more in the colder seasons and others on warmer days.
When autumn rolled around on the later seasons of The Sopranos, Tony could often be seen wearing a garment very frequently associated with Italian mobsters – a black leather blazer. Tony is no stranger to leather jackets, wearing various styles and colors throughout the show’s run. But this particular jacket, styled and cut like a suit coat, adds an air of sinister formality and power. It was seen in the following episodes:
- “Mergers and Acquisitions” (Episode 4.08), dir. Dan Attias, aired November 3, 2002
- “The Strong, Silent Type” (Episode 4.10), dir. Alan Taylor, aired November 17, 2002
- “Long Term Parking” (Episode 5.12), dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 23, 2004 – set in November 2004
- “All Due Respect” (Episode 5.13), dir. John Patterson, aired June 6, 2004 – set in December 2004
- “Moe n’ Joe” (Episode 6.10), dir. Steve Shill, aired May 14, 2006 – set in late fall 2006
- “Kaisha” (Episode 6.12), dir. Alan Taylor, aired June 6, 2006 – set between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2006
- “Walk Like a Man” (Episode 6.17), dir. Terence Winter, aired May 6, 2007 – set in fall 2007
- “The Blue Comet” (Episode 6.20), dir. Alan Taylor, aired June 3, 2007 – set in fall 2007
What’d He Wear?
The Leather Blazer
Tony’s black leather blazer is cut like a suit jacket and made from a soft leather, possibly an English lambskin that Gandolfini was known to prefer. At 6’1″ and roughly 275 pounds, Gandolfini would have likely worn a size 54 jacket that would serve as a blanket or cape for mere mortals. On Tony Soprano, it looks dangerous and menacingly sophisticated. The coat’s padded shoulders and roped sleeveheads enhance Gandolfini’s powerful silhouette and ensure that Tony Soprano looks intimidating whether he’s in a mobbed-up strip club or hospital waiting room.
The coat is single-breasted with a long and large notch lapels that roll over the top button of the two-button front. Both the front buttons and the four buttons on each cuff are black plastic. A slanted buttonhole is stitched into the left lapel, parallel to the lower gorge.
Tony’s leather blazer has the same welted breast pocket and straight hip pockets that one would find on a sport coat or suit coat. The flaps of the hip pockets are often tucked in to reveal the jetting, and the pockets sit straight across the same stitched horizontal axis as the lower front button.
Tony typically wears dark trousers in various shades of gray when sporting his black leather blazer. The most commonly seen pants are a pair of charcoal slacks that he wears during the jacket’s fourth and sixth season appearances. Most of Tony’s pants are styled with single reverse pleats, side pockets, and turn-ups on a full break. They all have belt loops, and he tends to wear a black leather belt when wearing his black leather blazer. Many of Tony’s pants were made by Zanella, according to the show’s costumers and several online auctions. Zanella is an especially appropriate choice for the character given its luxurious Italian roots.
Tony follows sartorial standards by wearing black leather shoes to match his jacket and belt. He usually wears a pair of split-toe derbies, but his shoes in “Mergers and Acquisitions” (4.08) are black calf double monk strap loafers with steel buckles. He always wears black socks with his black shoes.
Based on the sole logo and the show’s history with the brand, Tony’s monk shoes have been identified as Allen Edmonds’ “Mora” monk straps, currently available as the 2988 “Mora 2.0” on their site for $385. I haven’t been able to identify his bluchers, but if they are also Allen Edmonds, the current “Walton” model would be a fine approximation. Also $385.
Unlike some BAMFs on this blog who prefer a monochromatic palette, Tony isn’t afraid to let his colorful flag fly with his shirts. The rest of his outfit may consist of blacks and grays, but Tony’s shirts with this outfit vary by episode.
The first appearance of the black leather blazer finds Tony relaxing in the back room of the Crazy Horse in “Mergers and Acquisitions (4.08), enjoying a Scotch on the rocks and not enjoying a conversation with the eccentric Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano). Tony wears a light purple silk long-sleeve dress shirt with dark buttons down a plain front and buttoned cuffs.
Two episodes later in “The Strong, Silent Type” (4.10), Tony arrives at his uncle’s home and finds himself entranced by his uncle’s tough nurse Svetlana (Alla Kliouka Schaffer) as well as a box of Ritz crackers. He consults briefly with Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) after taking off the black leather blazer to reveal a dark gray silk short-sleeve polo shirt with a 3-button placket.
In “Long Term Parking” (5.12), Tony visits Valentina at the hospital in an all-black ensemble, including the black leather blazer, black pants, and a black silk microfiber camp shirt.
This casual shirt is short-sleeved with cream-colored broken stitching on the edges of the shirt – including the collar and the pockets – with cream rear side pleats that extend down from the yoke to the hem but slightly pulled in for collection at the waist. The patch pockets close with buttoned flaps; the black plastic buttons match those down the shirt’s plain front. The maker of this particular shirt isn’t known to me, but the broken-stitch styling is very similar to a black, olive, and cream Nat Nast shirt that Tony wears in “The Ride” (6.09).
In the next episode, “All Due Respect” (5.13), Tony replaces the black shirt and pants with an all gray look, sporting a dark gray long-sleeve dress shirt with gray single reverse-pleated trousers. The shirt has 2-button mitred cuffs, but Tony only buttons the outer button closer to his hand.
Tony’s black leather blazer makes its next appearance in the next season’s “Moe n’ Joe” (6.10) in a brief scene at the Bing when Tony returns to the office with some Dunkin’ Donuts takeout. Now, his shirts are getting more complex.
The printed silk shirt worn with his outfit has a pattern of abstract black and blue squares connected on a gray grid. Many of the squares are filled with cream target-style circles, but some of the black squares have a small waffle pattern that resembles Tony’s beloved Honey Comb cereal. (And yes, I’ve done the research and determined that Honey Comb is the cereal that Tony is most frequently seen eating.) This casual shirt from J. Ferrar, according to a 2015 auction listing, is short-sleeved with black plastic buttons down the plain front.
Two episodes later in “Kaisha” (6.12), Tony sports another printed silk casual shirt with the black leather blazer. This shirt is long-sleeved with a black and gray deco pattern.
Later in the episode, Tony goes to visit Phil Leotardo at the hospital, marking the second occasion that he chooses his black leather blazer for a hospital visit. He wears a different shirt this time, a very complex gray silk casual shirt. The base of the shirt is a gray ground with a tonal silk grid with vertical overlaying stripes in varying shades of gray, blue, and tan. The plain front has iridescent buttons.
The black leather blazer makes a brief appearance in some of the final seasons’ episodes. In “Walk Like a Man” (6.17), he wears a busy-looking purple, blue, and beige printed shirt while making a phone call from his car.
The final appearance of Tony’s black leather blazer comes in the penultimate episode, “The Blue Comet” (6.20), when Tony wears a brown, tan, and blue plaid shirt.
Of course, Tony always wears his white ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt. A few examples auctioned from the show were made by Jockey, so it’s safe to assume that this is Tony’s preferred brand of undershirts.
Tony’s Standard Accessories
Christmas shopping for Tony Soprano must have been very easy as he makes his preference for gold accessories clear early on. He always wears a gold 18″ open-link chain necklace with a St. Jerome pendant buried in his chest hair.
Tony wears a gold pinky ring on his right hand with a ruby and diamond clustered together. On his left hand, he wears his plain gold wedding band on the third finger. On his right wrist, he wears a gold link bracelet that isn’t uncommon among movie mobsters.
Tony’s left wrist is adorned by a gold Rolex President Day-Date. Tony’s Rolex watch, seen in every season, is 18-karat yellow gold on a 36mm case with a “champagne” dial, worn on a flat Oyster three-piece link bracelet with a concealed clasp.
This Rolex is still available and their site claims that it is “the most prestigious Rolex model since 1956”.
Referring to a “black leather blazer” may send sartorial purists up in arms. “A blazer is wool with metal buttons!” screams purist #1. “Yes, and you can pry my navy blazer from my cold, dead hands,” threatens purist #2. Despite the protests of these purists, when you say you’re looking for a “black leather blazer”, salespeople and designers are going to know what you’re talking about. Other terms like “black leather sport coat” are clumsy and saying “black leather jacket” is too vague. If you disagree, then bite your lip and suck it up. If you’re cool to go with an industry-recognized term as I am, then more power to you for being a cool, rational person.
How to Get the Look
Tony Soprano set the standards for a new brand stylish but imposing badassery in the 21st century. His black leather blazer is a staple garment that adds a degree of toughness to even the most vibrantly printed silk shirt.
- Black lambskin leather blazer with large notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, and 4-button cuffs
- Black printed silk long-sleeve button-up shirt
- Charcoal gray single reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
- Black leather belt with steel square single-claw buckle
- Black calf leather 5-eyelet split-toe bluchers/derby shoes
- Black dress socks
- Rolex President Day-Date 118238 yellow gold wristwatch
- Gold open-link chain bracelet
- Gold pinky ring with ruby and diamond stones
- Plain gold wedding band
- Gold open-link chain necklace with round St. Jerome pendant
If you want to up your Sopranos game by wearing Tony’s brands, track down some Zanella trousers and Allen Edmonds shoes. His known shirts came from a variety of manufacturers from Burma Bibas to Rochester Couture, so look for what feels best.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the entire series. You won’t regret it, and Gandolfini was a master of his craft.
Listen to me. Now I never told nobody this, but while I was in that coma, something happened to me. I went someplace, I think. But I know I never wanna go back there. And maybe you know what I’m talkin’ about. Believe me, nobody ever laid on their deathbed wishing they saved more no-show jobs. Now, you take your time, you get better, and you get out of this fuckin’ place. But when you do, you focus on grandkids and good things. We can have it all, Phil, plenty for everybody.
Although the post is a celebration of James Gandolfini’s birthday, today is also my sister’s 30th birthday! Happy birthday, Sis!