The incredibly popular British period crime drama TV series, Peaky Blinders, is heading for its sixth and final season. Set in Birmingham, England, the series follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the direct aftermath of the First World War, leading all the way up to the 1930s. Since its debut in 2013, Peaky Blinders has had a huge influence on men’s fashion trends. The show is defined as much by its three-piece suits, newsboy caps and sturdy boots as its violence and plot twists. Long after the gangster crime drama concludes we fully expect to see people continuing to dress up like Tommy and the rest of the gang. Despite the show being set in the 1920s, the costumes are classic menswear staples that feel just as contemporary today as they did back then. Whether you wish to include elements of early 20th century tailoring in your everyday wardrobe or are looking for Peaky Blinders fancy dress ideas, we have a vast range of men’s vintage and reproduction pieces to help you get the Peaky Blinders look.
Although the costumes worn in Peaky Blinders aren’t entirely historically accurate, what is true is that people at the time were largely poor and working class men typically had one pre-made suit, one set of boots and a top coat for best. Their outfits would come in dingy colours and be made from heavy materials that would have rarely been cleaned. The Peaky Blinders all wear a uniform based on a three piece suit, oxford laced boots, a newsboy cap, a detachable collar shirt and a heavy overcoat. Over the course of the series, their crime syndicate becomes more and more profitable. While the men never lose their original suited and booted aesthetic, the Peaky Blinders outfits increasingly reflect their newfound wealth. Tommy Shelby, played by the brilliant Cillian Murphy, is the leader of the gang and as such he displays the most distinctive sense of fashion. Even though he sticks with the Peaky Blinders uniform, his look is differentiated in several ways. Here are all the key pieces you need to dress like the stylish kingpin.
The overcoats are the first thing you notice about the gang as the oversized fit adds to the imposing nature of their image. They weren’t just a style choice though, these topcoats would be an essential garment in the inclement Black Country weather. Their coats would typically be tailored from heavy wool cloth such as tweed. They were long, single-breasted, had wide peak lapels and came in shades of grey or black. As Tommy’s status grows throughout the show his coat gets further embellished with silk linings and either a velvet or fur collar. Otherwise his coat is as classic as it gets. You should be able to find something suitable without any problems, whether you go for one of our men's vintage coats or a black coat from the high street.
The Peaky Blinders get their gang name from their iconic newsboy caps. What made them notable is that they kept a disposable razor blade concealed in the brim to be used as a weapon. You might want to give that particular detail a miss! Baker boys were typically working class hats and stood out against the more formal fedoras worn by wealthier classes. The right style of hat is probably the most important thing about the Peaky Blinders look and confidence is key when it comes to pulling off a newsboy cap. Go for a hat in a dark herringbone tweed. In our collection of men’s vintage hats we have shades of charcoal, navy and brown that would suit Tommy’s style down to a tee.
A traditional three-piece suit is the cornerstone of the Shelby look. These Birmingham gangsters wore their tweed with pride as it was the typical cloth of the working man. Tweed is durable, hard-wearing and warm, providing protection from the relentless cold. The gang wear a variety of different types of suits, but each and every one sports a tailored fit for an overall sleek appearance. Their suits were made from dark, muted shades such as black, navy or grey. If you can, try to make sure your suit is of a lighter shade than the overcoat, a preference of the gang which increases the look’s formality. Tommy can be seen wearing plain, checked and pinstripe suits throughout the show. To get his look go for a two button suit jacket with short peak lapels, a matching waistcoat and high-waisted pleated trousers. They tended to wear shorter trousers that finished above the shoe. This was to prevent the hem from ever touching the ground as the streets of Birmingham were incredibly dirty. We often add vintage tweed suits to the website so keep checking our shop for the latest stock. If you can't quite manage to get hold of a tweed three-piece, try to at least match two pieces like your jacket and waistcoat. You can get away with wearing a black or grey pair of our men's vintage style trousers as long they go with the rest of your apparel.
Men’s shirts with detachable collars were a popular choice at the time. Instead of putting on a new shirt every day, men in the 1920s preferred to swap in a fresh collar. This saved time, money and effort as well as giving them a different style option each day. Tommy can be seen wearing a rotation of collarless, club and bankers collar shirts throughout the show. He tends to opt for a crisp white or a coloured stripe shirt. Having recently launched a whole new collection of vintage inspired shirts with detachable collars, Revival is definitely the place to shop if you want an authentic looking Peaky Blinders style shirt. You can choose from six different collarless shirts and two collar styles, sold separately or in combination pairs and they all come with the studs you need to secure them in place.
As anticipation for season six builds, many people have been taking behind the scenes pictures of the show being filmed around the north of England. In all of these Tommy can clearly be seen wearing a classic white spearpoint collar shirt which is what we here at Revival do best! Fans are speculating that season six will take place during the late 1930s in the lead up to World War II. This style gained more popularity at the time so it makes sense that the Shelby gang would want to keep up with the latest fashion trends.
Black leather work boots are an essential part of the Peaky Blinders uniform. The streets were filthy back then and most men had manual jobs, calling for tough footwear. Boots also differentiated the gang from the wealthy associates they inevitably hang around with throughout the show, who would wear smarter shoes like Oxfords or Brogues. Much like the baker boy caps, their boots hinted at their working class origins. It is highly likely that the Peaky Blinders would’ve worn their leftover service boots from the First World War so go for a military inspired design. You probably already have a pair of plain black boots in your wardrobe. If not you should be able to find plenty of appropriate footwear choices on the high street.
The Peaky Blinders kept their accessories to a minimum and most of what they did wear followed the rest of their monochromatic colour palette. The one area where they did like to add a splash of colour was their ties. Tommy favours knitted ties in navy or red. Trouser braces would’ve been an essential accessory to wear with their suits. Our leather loop braces are a great choice for trousers with buttons. Go for our monochrome stripe braces or a solid colour such as taupe, khaki or blue. Accessorise your shirt with a pair of retro cufflinks, a collar bar to elevate your tie and some St George armbands. They'll help keep your cuffs clean and your shirtsleeves at the right length whilst adding an authentic vintage flair to your Peaky Blinders look.
Tommy often wears glasses and is seen in different types throughout the show but he always goes for round frames which were the most popular style at the time. Our round clear sunglasses or round tortoiseshell reading glasses would both work really well to capture his look. No true Peaky Blinder would ever be spotted at a formal event without their trusty pocket watch. The flash of the chain gives their outfit that extra dash of power and confidence. To finish your look go for an Albert chain, this pocket watch chain style features a T-shaped bar to one end, allowing it to be quickly and easily attached through your waistcoat or jacket pocket. Black leather gloves are also a must have!
We hope you have enjoyed reading our Peaky Blinders style guide. Even if you have no intent of replicating Tommy’s look, there is no denying that he is an incredible source of vintage fashion inspiration. If you are planning on dressing up like one of the gang we would love to see your pictures. Let us know which vintage fashion icon or onscreen style icon you'd like to see us cover next!