James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, March 2004
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Rat Pack” (Episode 5.02)
Air Date: March 14, 2004
Director: Alan Taylor
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
I’m not sure why, how, or who decided it, but today – January 22nd – is considered to be National Hot Sauce Day in America.
Today’s post is a short one but appropriate given today’s “holiday”.
What’d He Wear?
During a brief scene in the Bada Bing’s back office in “Rat Pack” (Episode 5.02), Tony Soprano holds a brief meeting while wearing a shirt loudly celebrating Louisiana’s venerable pepper-based condiment.
The black cotton polo shirt is printed with images of the iconic Tabasco sauce bottle with bursts of red peppers all over the shirt. The shirt has three white buttons, both left open by Tony, below the solid black collar. The end of each short sleeve is solid black and elasticized. From what I can tell, this is the shirt’s only appearance on the show.
The McIlhenny Company, which has produced Tabasco sauce since its inception in 1868, also officially manufactures clothing and other goods bearing Tabasco branding. As this episode aired in 2004, it’s hard tracking down information on this exact shirt, but it’s almost definitely an example of a McIlhenny-produced shirt. Some similar items can be found on eBay for any curious hot sauce aficionados out there.
In a September 2014 interview with The Independent, the show’s costume designer Juliet Polcsa reflected on this particular shirt:
Q: Any idea where they all are now? I would pay my life savings for that Tabasco bottle shirt.
A: A big chunk of the show’s wardrobe ended up archived at the Warner Bros Archives in California. I can’t remember if that Tabasco one ended up there. I actually was not fond of that shirt. One of the show’s writers came up with the idea but I felt it was not in keeping with the other shirts in Tony’s closet.
Q: Yeah, I guess it was a little garish even by Tony’s standards.
The rest of Tony’s outfit is all black: his reverse-pleated trousers, his leather derby shoes, and his dress socks.
Tony also wears the rest of his usual mobbed-up jewelry, including his yellow gold Rolex President Day-Date on his left wrist, the gold chain bracelet on his right wrist, and his gold pinky ring with a ruby and diamond on his right hand.
Although we can’t see it in this scene, we can assume that Tony is also wearing his usual gold open-link chain necklace with a pendant of St. Jerome.
How to Get the Look
Who knew Tony was so passionate about Tabasco sauce that he actually owned a shirt colorfully dedicated to celebrating it?
- Black Tabasco-printed cotton short-sleeve polo shirt with 3-button collar
- Black reverse-pleated trousers with plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black calf leather derby shoes
- Black dress socks
- White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
- Rolex President Day-Date 18238 yellow gold wristwatch
- Gold open-link chain bracelet
- Gold pinky ring with ruby and diamond stones
- Gold open-link chain necklace with round St. Jerome pendant
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the entire series, and give yourself an extra dose of hot sauce with dinner tonight!