Boardwalk Empire’s Gangster Black Tie for the New Year

Anatol Yusef, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Vincent Piazza as Meyer Lansky, Arnold Rothstein, and "Lucky" Luciano, respectively, on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 3.01 - "Resolution").

Anatol Yusef, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Vincent Piazza as Meyer Lansky, Arnold Rothstein, and “Lucky” Luciano, respectively, on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 3.01 – “Resolution”).

Vitals

Michael Stulhbarg as Arnold Rothstein, powerful New York gambler and racketeer
Vincent Piazza as Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, the Mafia’s smooth and ambitious future chief
Anatol Yusef as Meyer Lansky, Rothstein’s clever mob protégé
Bobby Cannavale as Gyp Rosetti, violent and hotheaded Italian-born gangster

Atlantic City, New Year’s Eve 1922

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episode: “Resolution” (Episode 3.01)
Air Date: September 16, 2012
Director: Tim Van Patten

Background

Not every man is a Nucky Thompson. A group of New York gangsters choosing Nucky’s basement to talk business while a party oblivious heaves forward upstairs leads itself to a major conglomeration of styles – both in leadership and in attire – that illustrate just how much about a man can be determined by looking at the way he puts himself together.

What’d They Wear?

The notion of black tie may sound restrictive to a novice, but part of its charm comes from the amount of personalization that a man can still fashionably pull off without being relegated to the implied limitations of a “penguin suit”.

When A.R., Lucky, Lansky, and Rosetti converge on Nucky Thompson’s New Year’s Eve party, Boardwalk Empire presented a mishmash of formalwear fashion that nicely represented each man’s position both in life and in the criminal hierarchy.

Arnold Rothstein, George Remus, Meyer Lansky, and "Lucky" Luciano are among Nucky Thompson's distinguished New Year's guests. We'll disregard George Remus just because anyone who refers to himself in the third person so frequently (then shoots and kills his wife, but that's a different story) doesn't quality as a BAMF in my book.

Arnold Rothstein, George Remus, Meyer Lansky, and “Lucky” Luciano are among Nucky Thompson’s distinguished New Year’s guests. We’ll disregard George Remus just because anyone who refers to himself in the third person so frequently (then shoots and kills his wife, but that’s a different story) doesn’t quality as a BAMF in my book.

Arnold Rothstein

The low-key but successful gambler dresses in traditional black tie with his single-breasted peak-lapel dinner jacket and wing collar shirt. However, he does add a touch of the classic Old West gambler look with a fancy waistcoat, evoking images of Doc Holliday and the frontier forbearers of Rothstein’s chosen occupation and favorite pastime.

A real life mentor to up-and-coming mobsters like Lansky and Luciano, Rothstein prided himself on his attire, and he is arguably the best-dressed of Nucky's most prominent guests.

A real life mentor to up-and-coming mobsters like Lansky and Luciano, Rothstein prided himself on his attire, and he is arguably the best-dressed of Nucky’s most prominent guests.

Details:

  • Black wool single-breasted 1-button dinner jacket with satin-faced peak lapels and welted breast pocket
  • Blue & gold paisley single-breasted waistcoat with sharp peak lapels, six high-fastening covered buttons, four welt pockets, and notched bottom
  • Black wool forward-pleated formal trousers with satin side stripes and slanted side pockets
  • White formal shirt with mother-of-pearl studs down front placket, double cuffs, and detachable wing collar
  • Black satin bow tie
  • Gold pocket watch, worn on a gold chain through waistcoat

Charlie “Lucky” Luciano

As a slick gangster who cared a little too much about the ladies, Salvatore Lucania always strived to dress at the cutting edge of fashion. His shawl-lapel dinner jacket, striped waistcoat, and large wing collar would have drawn much attention in the early 1920s.

Shawl lapels had all but disappeared from white tie tailcoats during World War I, so the fashionable Luciano's shawl lapel on his dinner jacket a decade later indicates a clear movement away from tradition.

Shawl lapels had all but disappeared from white tie tailcoats during World War I, so the fashionable Luciano’s shawl lapel on his dinner jacket a decade later indicates a clear movement away from tradition.

Details:

  • Black wool single-breasted 1-button dinner jacket with satin-faced shawl lapels and welted breast pocket
  • Dark blue striped silk single-breasted waistcoat with shawl lapels, six covered high-fastening buttons, four welt pockets, and notched bottom
  • Black wool formal trousers with satin side stripes
  • White formal shirt with mother-of-pearl studs down wide front placket, double cuffs, and detachable wide wing collar
  • Black satin butterfly-shaped bow tie

Meyer Lansky

Lansky was always known for his sharp business savvy before his dress, although he was certainly no slouch. Here, the youthful mobster – only 20 years old and far from his future reputation as the “Mob’s Accountant” – looks a bit less refined than the others in his dinner jacket with its large notch lapels. Lansky also wears a wristwatch with his dinner suit, not yet acceptable for black tie in 1922 as pocket watches were still the norm. A practical decision for a practical guy.

Notch lapels on dinner jackets were certainly not uncommon in the early 1920s; they were merely considered less traditional. Still, the unique shape of his notches and other details like the satin stripe around each cuff draws a clear distinction between Lansky's dinner jacket and a modern rental jacket.

Notch lapels on dinner jackets were certainly not uncommon in the early 1920s; they were merely considered less traditional. Still, the unique shape of his notches and other details like the satin stripe around each cuff draws a clear distinction between Lansky’s dinner jacket and a modern rental tuxedo jacket.

Details:

  • Black wool single-breasted 1-button dinner jacket with satin-faced wide-notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, and 2-button cuffs with thin satin stripe above buttons
  • Black single-breasted 3-button waistcoat with low V-shaped opening, slim lapels, and notched bottom
  • Black wool formal trousers with satin side stripes
  • White formal shirt with black studs down pleated front, double cuffs, and detachable short-wing collar
  • Black satin bow tie
  • Gold wristwatch, worn on black leather strap

Gyp Rosetti

Gyp was a true individualist, and not to anyone’s benefit! He shows it in every part of his dinner suit, from his striped double-breasted dinner jacket to his loud, pumpkin orange waistcoat.

Gyp's look most resembles what you'd see at a modern day prom.

Gyp’s look most resembles what you’d see at a modern day prom.

Details:

  • Black tonal-striped double-breasted dinner jacket with satin-faced peak lapels, high 6-on-3 button stance, welted breast pocket, and 4-button cuffs
  • Orange floral-printed single-breasted waistcoat with lapels, six high-fastening covered buttons, four welt pockets, and notched bottom
  • Black tonal-striped formal trousers with satin side stripes
  • White formal shirt with detachable wing collar and single cuffs
  • Black satin diamond-pointed bow tie
  • Cream silk pocketsquare

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Enjoy the entire show in all five seasons of its glory. If you have a penchant for watching New Year-themed episodes of your favorite shows, you’ll find “Resolution” at the beginning of Boardwalk Empire‘s third season.

The Quote

Gyp Rosetti: I’ll shit you out like yesterday’s sausage, you bog-trottin’ prick.

Gyp Rosetti tells it like it is. Or at least like he thinks it should be.

Gyp Rosetti tells it like it is. Or at least like he thinks it should be.

And Happy New Year to you too, Gyp.

2 comments

  1. Hal

    Whilst a lot of the costumes in Boardwalk Empire were excellent, the designer appears to have had a bit of a blind spot when it comes to evening wear. It is ironic that, for instance, the secondary characters get one button dinner jackets (apart from Gyp in an interesting double breasted one, of course) whilst the dandyish Nucky has a less flattering and less period accurate three button jacket. Weirdly the costume designer for 2013 The Great Gatsby did the same thing with Gatsby. Coupled with an inappropriate day waistcoat, the result is closer to the look of the 1990s than 1920s.

    Even with the better jackets, most of these characters have been given waistcoats that wouldn’t have been worn with evening wear. Only Lanksy has a properly low fastening waistcoat. With more shirt front visible he looks much better, especially in the picture of them standing together. Despite being clearly smaller than the others, he looks slimmer and more commanding, IMV.

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      Very good point about the similarities between the Nucky and 2013 Gatsby eveningwear. I wonder why this trend is emerging for period costuming? I also believe most waistcoats of the era were typically solid black or white, although I’m giving the benefit of the doubt here in assuming that the costumer is leading us to think that these flashy gangsters would have “fancy waistcoats” custom made. Lansky’s dinner suit reminds me the most of images I’ve seen from the era. I’m wondering if it is an actual vintage piece compared to the others, which I would guess were made for the production.

      Thanks for writing!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s