Tagged: Combat Boots

John Shelby’s Glen Plaid Suit for Peaky Blinders’ Gypsy Wedding

Joe Cole as John Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Ep. 1.04, 2013).

Joe Cole as John Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Ep. 1.04, 2013).


Joe Cole as John Shelby, impulsive Peaky Blinder gang member

Birmingham, England, September 1919

Series: Peaky Blinders
Episode: Episodes 1.04
Air Date: October 3, 2013
Director: Tom Harper
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Stephanie Collie


Week of Weddings continues with a look from BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders. In the fourth episode, the Shelby brothers gather the Peaky Blinders for what ostensibly seems like an attack on the rival gypsy Lee family. John, the hotheaded younger brother of gang leaders Tommy and Arthur, has recently come to his family requesting their blessing to marry the neighborhood’s most prolific prostitute. The Lees, on the other side of town, have a girl that’s “gone a bit wild”. Tommy sees the opportunity here to end things without blood. (Not including the blood symbolically drawn from each new spouse’s hand.)

On the morning of the big showdown, John shows up especially itching for a fight… until Tommy pins a boutonniere on John’s left lapel and directs him to his new wife Esme. Continue reading

“Pretty Boy” Floyd’s Death in Public Enemies

80 years ago today, Depression-era outlaw Charles Arthur Floyd was shot down by federal agents and local police in a farm outside East Liverpool, Ohio.

Channing Tatum as Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd in Public Enemies (2009).

Channing Tatum as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd in Public Enemies (2009).


Channing Tatum as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, charismatic but violent Depression-era outlaw

Clarkson, Ohio, October 1934

Film: Public Enemies
Release Date: July 1, 2009
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood


After dedicating the majority of my life to researching the Depression-era crime wave that saw guys like John Dillinger, “Pretty Boy” Floyd, and Alvin Karpis roaming the American countryside with the support of the public and the rage of the government, I was elated when I learned that Bryan Burrough’s masterful docu-novel Public Enemies was finally being turned into a film. I wondered how a two-hour movie could capture the intricacies of each colorful individual in each of the various gangs over a two-year period, and I assumed that – like Burrough – director Michael Mann would focus primarily on Karpis, the lone survivor of the original batch of Public Enemies. Continue reading

Hilts in The Great Escape

Steve McQueen as the unflappable Capt. Hilts in The Great Escape

Steve McQueen as the unflappable Capt. Hilts in The Great Escape (1963).

This weekend marked the 69th anniversary of “The Great Escape”, the mass escape of allied airmen from the German-controlled Stalag Luft III in Lower Silesia. The escape, which involved the efforts of 600 men, achieved the goal of RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bushell to “make life hell for the Hun.”

In 1963, the story was filmed by the Mirisch Company as The Great Escape.


Steve McQueen as Capt. Virgil Hilts, U.S. Army Air Forces pilot and escape artist

Sagan-Silesia (Zagan, Poland), Spring 1944

Film: The Great Escape
Release Date: July 4, 1963
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Bert Henrikson


If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve heard of The Great Escape and have hopefully seen it roughly a hundred times in your life. Continue reading

Jimmy Darmody’s Dark Pinstripe Suit

On January 17, 1920, the eighteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, making Prohibition the law of the land. Nobody benefited more from this stupid, moronic, totally brainless decision than organized crime.

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Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody on the second season of Boardwalk Empire.


Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody, rising figure in the Atlantic City underworld

Atlantic City and New York City, Spring/Summer 1921

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Season: 2
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield


After rising from the “half a gangster” of the pilot episode, Jimmy Darmody finally attains his goal of taking control of Atlantic City in June 1921. He’s come a long way from the tweed Norfolk suit, ratty cardigan, and newsboy cap. Never seen without a three-piece suit, the attire of choice for Jimmy’s celebratory party at Babbette’s Supper Club is a classy dark blue pinstripe suit. Continue reading

Jimmy Darmody’s Blue Checked Suit

Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody in the seventh episode of Boardwalk Empire,

Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody in the seventh episode of Boardwalk Empire, “Home”.

Today in 1933, Prohibition officially ended in the United States with the ratification of the 21st amendment. To celebrate this momentous and wonderful occasion, we look again at Boardwalk Empire.


Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody, rising bootlegger looking to be more than “half a gangster”

Chicago and Atlantic City, February through November 1920

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn


Jimmy Darmody, a young protagonist of Boardwalk Empire, is presented as an early protege and eventual foil of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, the Atlantic City treasurer. Although Thompson is clearly based on Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, the real life boss of Atlantic City during the Prohibition era, Darmody was invented for the show and, due to an excellent performance by Michael Pitt and brilliant storytelling from the show’s writers, helps to bring an interesting era in American history to life through the eyes of a relatable, yet troubled, character. Continue reading