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What goes with what

Dos and don’ts of the Peaky Blinders look

Dos and don’ts of the Peaky Blinders look

Sometimes a TV show manages to penetrate the zeitgeist so effectively, it rewings the style clocks (see the influx of skinny suits following the premiere of Mad Men). Since 2013, that show has been Peaky Blinders. The gangster crime drama, based in Birmingham, is defined as much by its three-piece suits, bulky fabrics, and sturdy boots as its violence and plot twists.

As tempting as it may be to emulate the grit-meets-glamour style of corrupt gang leader Tommy Shelby, the trick is not looking like you’re en route to a murdery mystery party. To help you bring the century-old style into the modern day, we’ve tapped Thread stylist Alice Watt to guide your choices – and settle once and for all whether the baker boy cap is something you should be into.


Do think vintage

You’ve been warned: there’s a very fine line between looking good and looking novelty. The trick is styling your look with a vintage element, otherwise it will look out of place. If you buy into a vintage vibe, then it’s about the retro details like high-waisted trousers or a grandad collar shirt.”  


Don’t go all-in

If it looks like you’re in costume, dial things back. “The one main rule to follow here is to avoid looking like you’re in fancy dress – essentially don’t want to go head-to-toe with the look. You can weave in a vintage aesthetic with textures and colours, but don’t go for a full tweed suit and pocket watch.”

Do style thoughtfully

“Mastering this look is all about mixing and matching. You could style tapered houndstooth trousers with a washed-out grey tee or a vintage-printed shirt, and it would work. Equally, you could thrown on a leather jacket rather a Mr Shelby-approved, double-breasted wool coat and it would look smart.”


Don’t be colourful

The 20s and 30s were not rainbow-hued. “Go for earthy tones – think lots of brown or washed-out blacks, greys and stone. Bold colours and patterns would fill ill-fitting in the context of this look.” 


Do add a cap

But not a cap and a three-piece suit. “A cap may seem intimidating, but the trick is to maintain a more vintage-inspired aesthetic by opting for a tweed fabrication. It will look more authentic while adding some texture to your look. You also want to avoid styling it with other quintessentially 20s pieces, or it will veer into costume territory.”


Don’t skimp

Especially on footwear. “Boots are great with this kind of outfit. I recommend a pair from Grenson. They’ve recently relaunched their army boots from 1944, and they make for a great investment, whether they’re paired with this outfit or an off-duty weekend look.”

Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Lola & Pani
Styling: Alice Watt
Styling assistant: Toby Standing