Trends on Trial: The Fashion of ‘Boardwalk Empire’

colleen and molly hurford look at the fashion of the hit HBO show …

Sure, it may not be current fashion, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the awesomeness that is the fashion in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. The Roaring Twenties may have been a century ago, but man, those ladies and gents had serious class.

In particular, we were digging:

The Flapper Look: Simple sheath dresses are slimming and stylish on everyone, with fringe optional.

While the Hurfords love the flapper look, they don’t suggest this look

Simple, clean lines: It’s easy to go overboard today with crazy accessories and weird fabrics and nutty pleating and hemlines. But back then, the fabric was pretty simple, the lines were clean and all the accessories were thoughtfully added. Next time you’re dressing up for a night on the town, think: “less is more.” (Unless you’re going for the burlesque look seen on a good chunk of the women on the show. Which we don’t really recommend.)

Hats are in …

Tuxedoes: Guys do not dress up nearly enough these days. In fact, outside of the workplace, it’s hard to convince an under-30 guy to wear a button down shirt when heading out to dinner. In Boardwalk Empire though, the gentlemen were, well, gentlemen. And yes, Steve Buscemi knows how to rock a tux. Don’t have a tux? We’ll settle for a well-cut pinstripe suit.

Bowties: They may seem a little dorky, but in all reality they are so classy. A bow tie will lend an air of old school sophistication to your formal wear and make you seem like a classy badass. Any guy that can legit tie a bowtie is aces in our book. (Not the spinning variety though, please.)

Porkpie Hats/Bowler Hats: OK, we are suckers for hats. It’s the ugly truth. A good hat will always add a finishing touch to an outfit. And that’s especially true of these kinds of hats; they add a touch of dressiness to an otherwise plain or simple outfit. It’s unexpected, but we think with the right air of confidence, any guy can pull it off. If you’re a little on the shy side, stick to the porkpie/newsboy hat — it takes a serious dose of confidence to really rock a bowler hat.

Slick shoes…

Oxford Shoes: This is a fashion that hipsters — male and female — have already made their own and we admit that we really like it. On men, they are a cool and different kind of dress shoes that can make a basic suit into something much more stylish. In black and white, they’re straight-up dress shoes, but the brown and gray varieties can be worn daily as an alternative to the standard Chuck Taylors or Vans — especially as it starts to get cold out. And for women, they look adorable with a dress or jeans and add a sense of twee cuteness to an outfit. They can also add a sweet taste of menswear to an otherwise basic outfit on a girl, and make a simple jeans and t-shirt style look more planned. We’ll probably mention these again as we talk about Fall fashion — Boardwalk Empire has definitely gotten this right!

So next time you think Atlantic City-esque fashion, please, please, please do everyone a favor and take cues from Boardwalk Empire … not Jersey Shore.


All Screen Grabs Credit: HBO

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  1. I just wanted to point out that if you’re talking about simple lines and accessories in the context of Boardwalk Empire, the Great Depression has no bearing on determining that, because it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, the Roaring 20s are a prosperous, rambunctious time… the opposite of the following decade.

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