James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, Spring 2006
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Members Only” (Episode 6.01)
Air Date: March 12, 2006
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
Ten years ago today, James Gandolfini died suddenly of a heart attack after a day spent sightseeing in Rome with his family. To commemorate this brilliant, influential, and beloved actor’s legacy, I want to revisit the style from his iconic, Emmy-winning performance as Tony Soprano.
The two-part final season of The Sopranos begins with “Members Only”, an episode rich with themes that set in place the series’ endgame—with some even citing its title as a significant clue to the finale episode. Despite its gangster characters and depiction of the underworld, The Sopranos was always far more philosophical than just a show about the mob, reflecting on themes of identity, masculinity, and mental health, or, as Tony so eloquently describes to Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) during this episode’s therapy session:
The circle jerk of life.
What’d He Wear?
Tony and his criminal cohorts all cycle through a few silk Nat Nast bowling shirts in their respective collections, all following the traditional sport shirt profile of a flat camp collar, loose fit, and straight hem designed to be untucked.
The sixth-season premiere includes the sole appearance of one of Tony’s more recognizable two-toned Nat Nast shirts, constructed of a mostly mint-green silk twill body but with a tapered black center that extends from the lower half of the camp collar down to the hem. The six black plastic buttons up the plain front are thus designed to match this surrounding black panel. The shirt has pleats on the back to keep the fit roomy and comfortable, the short sleeves are elbow-length, and the straight hem has short vents under each side seam. The shirt also has a set-in breast pocket with a welted opening striped in black and mint, uniting the shirt’s overall colorway.
You can read more about this shirt from my friend @tonysopranostyle on Instagram.
Tony typically wears all black below the waist, in this case providing a contrast against the light-colored body of the shirt as well as continuity from the tapered black front section of the shirt.
The black reverse-pleated trousers were likely made by Zanella, the Italian outfitter that made most of the trousers that James Gandolfini was wearing on The Sopranos by this point—he may even be wearing the same black slacks later in “Members Only” with his George Foreman polo shirt. The trousers have side pockets—and likely also back pockets—and the bottoms are finished with turn-ups (cuffs).
Tony probably holds up the trousers with a black leather belt that would match his black leather Allen Edmonds derby shoes, worn with black socks that continue the leg line of his trousers.
Tony wears his usual assortment of gold jewelry, including his gold St. Anthony pendant on a thin gold necklace, his gold pinky ring on his right hand with its diamond-and-ruby bypass setting, and the gold chain-link bracelet on his right wrist that @tonysopranostyle describes as resembling “a Cuban curbed link chain and an Italian Figaro link chain with a twist.”
In addition to the plain gold wedding ring he’s again wearing on his left hand after reconciling with Carmela the previous season, Tony wears his usual Rolex Day-Date “President”, identified as a ref. 18238 in 18-karat yellow gold. The luxury chronometer has a champagne-colored dial with the day of the week across the top and a date window at 3:00, fitted to the unique semi-circular three-piece “President” or “Presidential” link bracelet that was introduced alongside Rolex’s new Day-Date model in 1956 and carries an appropriately executive connotation for the leader of the DeMeo crew.
Following his therapy appointment, Tony’s crew visits optometrist Anthony Infante (Lou Martini Jr.), who serves as a civilian conduit so Tony can relay messages to Anthony’s imprisoned brother-in-law Johnny Sack (Vincent Curatola). Of course, Tony being Tony, the Skip uses the meeting as an opportunity to assert his power, trying on a few different frames in Anthony’s shop, beginning with a set of gold-framed aviators with yellow lenses.
Anthony: Ray-Bans. Classic. Affordable. I just put those on special.
Tony: You got something a little more, um, current? Like those?
Anthony: Armanis! Flexible acetate frames, rimless lenses…
Tony picks out and dons a pair of silver-framed Giorgio Armani GA198/S sunglasses, which follow a more contoured rectangular pilot-style shape. His decision made, he shrugs a bit and tells Anthony, “You know what? I left my wallet in the car. I’ll catch ya next time,” and walks out with his new Armani shades.
How to Get the Look
Though only briefly featured on the series in two quick scenes in one episode, Tony Soprano’s mint-and-black silk bowling shirt remains a memorable part of the iconic character’s wardrobe long after the finale episode aired, perhaps for how efficiently it balances the essence of the Skip’s style: retro-minded casual-wear that bridges leisure and luxury at a slightly louder volume than most men’s wardrobes without crossing too frequently into garish territory.
- Light mint-green silk twill bowling shirt with tapered black center, flat camp collar, six-button plain front, set-in breast pocket, and straight hem with side vents
- Black single reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, extended button-closure waist tab, side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Black leather belt
- Black leather derby shoes
- Black socks
- White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
- Rolex Day-Date “President” 18238 self-winding chronometer watch in 18-karat yellow gold with champagne-colored dial and Presidential link bracelet
- 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. Anthony pendant
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the entire series.