Boadwalk Empire Bringing Back 20’s Style

Boardwalk Empire has not only gained critical acclaim, it’s also earned some serious respect for the amazing costume design, from the lavish dresses to the decadent suits. And with Boardwalk’s second season arriving on Blu-ray and DVD September 3rd, and a whole host of other shows set in the 20’s, this vintage style is already making a resurgence.

The women’s fashion of the 1920’s represented the freedom of the era; the refusal of wearing constricting (organ crushing and bone breaking) undergarments, raising of hemlines, chic bobs and the influence of the silver screen. And how do you recapture the men’s style of Boadwalk Empire? Uh, well dressed gangsters and crooked politician is the look you want to go for.

So how do you dress like a 20’s flapper or gangster for the modern day? Let’s go though this together…


Drop Waist Dresses

After refusing to wear restricted undergarments drop waist dresses became extremely popular. An easy look to pull off, look out for dresses that are cut on the bias to avoid looking like a shapeless paper bag. For daytime wear, cotton blends in bright colours and ethnic patterns with a pair of sandals is perfect. To achieve a more glamourous look, choose a dress in a brushed silk or layered chiffon.


A quality pair of woolen knee high stockings will help create your 20’s look. Wear them with a chic pair of mary janes for instant 20’s.

Pearl Necklaces

Not just for Sloane Rangers, now all ladies can get away with wearing a pearl necklace in their hunt for the perfect 20’s style. Popularised by Coco Chanel, wear it long and doubled up or triple looped to avoid looking too conservative.


For the perfect finishing touch, a decorative headpiece can say 20’s without any need for pearls. Keep it simple and neutral for a daytime look or embellished for a special event.






For guys wanting to capture that 20’s style, it’s more complex than it first looks. A good look is all about the details. Here’s our guide on how to dress for success, with threads that exude power. The 1920s are going mainstream this year so be ahead of the trend.


CultHub writer Vaskar will talk for hours about how the waist coat is making a comeback. The three-piece suit was all too popular in the 1920s. A nicely tailored suit included a waistcoat, vest, and thick fabrics to enhance contrasting collars on shirts and jackets. Unlike suits today, these had little to no padding, making suits fitted at the shoulders, double-breasted, and fitted to the waist.

Stand Out

Run the town like Nucky Thompson by making a bold statement with contrasting and flamboyant colours. Stand out by contrasting different colored checks with a bowtie that compliments the two colours to create a ‘20s style look that will get you noticed. Can’t get into wearing bright colored shirts? Stick with a white shirt paired with a rounded or “club” collar and an interesting tie.


For those of you familiar with the HBO Series, Boardwalk Empire, you may have noticed Nucky Thompson’s signature red carnation pinned in the button hole. Make your look unique by looking for bowties and pocket squares with different designs and bold colours that tie the whole suit together.


For a tailored suit that is fitted at the shoulders the trousers must fit impeccably. In the ‘20s trousers were worn high on the waist with a crease down the front. Time to learn how to iron a crease properly?









Long Coats

The winter’s coming and the bog standard trence coat isn’t going to cut it. Invest in a long coat to get a classic 20’s look. To make a statement look into deep reds and royal blues like Chalky White’s signature red topcoat. If you’re looking to just brighten up your wardrobe a tad, a lighter brown or beige colour is what you need. Picking an outrageous colour isn’t the only way to make a statement. Find a coat with a contrasting collar colour to add just a pop of style and attitude.


In order to prove your hardcore status in Atlantic City, the men of Boardwalk Empire go above and beyond when it comes to flaunting their style. Hats were extremely popular and walking sticks were the cherry on top. Michael Kenneth Williams’ character, Chalky White is often seen with a fedora on his head and a walking stick in his hand to top off the gangster look. Rocking a fedora is “in” right now, but to change the look up a bit try setting a trend with a newsboy cap.


Two-toned wingtip shoes are a must for the wardrobe of a gangster in the 1920s. A great pair of shoes can make or break an outfit so choose a pair that compliments the colours featured in the suit and tie.


The style of Boardwalk Empire doesn’t stop at the clothes and accessories. Hairstyles make a big difference in the look and feel of an era’s style. Generally, men’s hair was significantly longer on the top of the head than on the sides. Trim hair on the crown of your hair in order to create the ideal cut for a ‘20s style look. Comb all of your hair back adding a dollop of product to complete the double slick look of Michael Pitt, who plays Jimmy Darmody.


Boardwalk Empire is released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 3 September from HBO

Editor of Cult Hub and also an Actress. Join Genevieve on Twitter or take a look at her website or imdb page.

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