James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, Spring 2000
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “House Arrest” (Episode 2.11)
Air Date: March 26, 2000
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
It’s been almost six months since we last checked in on some of James Gandolfini’s costumes as the powerful mob boss at the center of The Sopranos. Considering that the 2021 Masters Tournament begins one week from today, which also happens to be the day Wallace Beery was born in 1885, I think the time is right to look at how Tony Soprano dresses for hobnobbing on the green during the Garden State Carting Association’s 13th Annual Couples Invitational Golf Classic!
“House Arrest” may be an aptly titled episode for the self-imposed quarantine that many have been under for more than a year now thanks to the novel coronavirus. While Tony’s Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) has to literally deal with his court-imposed house arrest, Tony himself faces a unique sort of isolation. Following the advice of his attorney during the aftermath of the Matthew Bevilaqua hit, Tony aligns his activities more closely with the legitimate side of his business and his “no-show” job at Barone Sanitation, seeing—to his chagrin—much more of his real family than his Mafia family.
Less mob fraternization also means more Ameri-gan events like “the garbageman’s ball, whatever the fuck it is,” the sort of banal WASPy shindig where Tony finds himself bored to tears listening to fellow sanitation professionals jawing about filing paperwork in triplicate, underscored by inoffensive ’70s jams like “Disco Inferno” and “More Than a Feeling”.
Of course, where Tony Soprano goes, mob drama follows, now in the form of his sister Janice (Aida Turturro)—reinvented in argyle—and her newly betrothed, Richie Aprile (David Proval). The one-two punch of Janice—er, “Jan”—and Richie leads to another panic attack for the Skip after he’s forced to confront the wide-eyed ex-con about his scheme selling cocaine along Barone’s garbage routes with Junior’s blessing. He tries to quell the stressful episode by downing some of his dram of scotch but, as any medical professional will tell you, this does not help.
What’d He Wear?
“You shoulda seen him in the golf outfit, he looked like Wallace Beery,” Richie later jokes to Junior, not that Richie is exactly a fashion icon himself in his Members Only jackets and banded-hem polo shirts.
“House Arrest” finds Tony playing a different type of character, albeit begrudgingly, as he forces himself to embrace the more Ameri-gan aspects of suburban life to distance himself from the growing investigation into the Jersey mob as well as his own role in the murder of Matthew Bevilacqua. In this context, it makes sense that he wouldn’t be wearing one his unique Burma Bibas prints or retro-inspired Nat Nast bowling shirts, instead dressing like the quintessential suburban dad in his ill-fitting polo with a printed motif perhaps a little too on par for these surroundings.
You can almost hear the conversation in Meadow’s bedroom in the days leading up to Father’s Day, as Carmela asks what gift she picked out for her dad. After ten minutes of strained conversation, Meadow would have hitched a ride to the mall—Carmela’s credit card tucked away in her purse—to find a shirt from Macy’s. “I don’t know, he likes golf… how about this shirt with golf clubs on it?”
The indigo blue shirt has double sets of thin periwinkle stripes that arrange the shirt in a series of strips each detailed with a repeating beige print of crossed golf clubs and a small white dot, likely representing a golf ball. The shirt is oversized even for the larger-framed James Gandolfini, with the tops of each short sleeve falling off the shoulders as the ends envelop his elbows. There are three white plastic pearl-effect buttons, though he only wears the lowest button fastened, leaving the solid indigo collar flayed out at the top.
I checked in with my pal Gabe who manages and curates the incredible @tonysopranostyle account on Instagram, and he suggests this shirt may be have been made by either Bobby Jones or Como Sport.
Though the golf shirt may be making its one and only appearance, Tony’s triple-pleated khakis are a staple of his wardrobe, coinciding both with the fashion trends of the pleat-happy ’90s as well as the practicality of pleats providing more comfort for larger men. These slacks have three reverse-facing pleats on each side, the most dramatic in the forward position, vertically aligned with the first belt loops on each side of the fly, followed by two shorter pleats and then a jetted side pockets, positioned on a slant to be parallel with the pleats and thus not aligned with the side seams. The back pockets are also jetted, and the bottoms are finished with turn-ups (cuffs).
Tony tended to wear Zanella trousers, though I also have a pair of Cerruti suit trousers that are similarly styled with the triple pleats and jetted—rather than on-seam—side pockets. Tony wears a dark brown leather belt with a brushed silver-toned single-prong buckle.
When Tony takes a tumble after yet another panic attack, we see the walnut leather shoes likely made by his favorite shoemaker, Allen Edmonds. He wears these cap-toe, five-eyelet oxfords with beige socks that effectively continue the leg line of his khaki trousers. The shoes have brown laces and dark brown outsoles with what appear to be beige rubber cleats added for better traction on the green, possibly a precursor to Allen Edmonds’ current Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxford with Dainite Rubber Soles.
Almost all of Tony’s usual gold jewelry is here: the diamond-and-ruby bypass pinky ring, his curb-and-Figaro chain-link bracelet, his St. Jerome necklace, and his wedding ring… but no Rolex! Because of the rash that had been growing over his left arm over the last few weeks, Tony had to stop wearing his signature 18-karat yellow gold Rolex Day-Date ref. 18238 watch with the champagne dial and semi-circular “Presidential” three-piece link bracelet.
How to Get the Look
With a few adjustments regarding fit and perhaps a more subdued shirt pattern, Tony Soprano’s golf outfit could provide a fine template for your spring day on the green without looking too much like Wallace Beery.
- Indigo blue striped short-sleeved golf shirt with three-button top and repeating “crossed clubs” motif
- Khaki triple reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, slanted jetted side pockets, jetted back pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Dark brown leather belt with brushed silver-toned single-prong buckle
- Walnut brown leather cap-toe oxfords with rubber-studded soles
- Beige socks
- White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
- Gold curb-chain link bracelet
- Gold pinky ring with bypassing ruby and diamond stones
- Gold wedding ring
- Gold open-link chain necklace with round St. Jerome pendant
If you don’t like the look, well… consider this post an April Fool’s Day treat!
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Don’t gimme your fuckin’ Manson lamps, just fuckin’ stop!