The 1920s was the era of prohibition and the gangsters that came with it. Distinctively dressed in the most expensive clothes of their day, '20s gangsters such as Al Capone have become controversial cult figures. Bad guy fashions from the era make smart outfits for costume parties today.
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The uniform of the 1920s bad guy is a dark pinstriped suit with wide shoulders and a roomy cut. Suits were impeccably tailored and often made from silk. Gangsters made piles of cash from their illegal activities and spent plenty of it on fancy clothing. You can rent 1920s gangster suits from local party stores, or buy them online. You also could search thrift stores for a double-breasted, pinstriped suit, one or two sizes too large. Look out for a boxy shaped jacket, wide shoulders and baggy trousers.
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Gangsters in the 1920s wore expensive fedoras, tipped slightly to the side. The wide sloping brim of these felt hats adds to the sinister silhouette we associate with bad guys of the time. Wear this with a suit or coat with extremely wide shoulders and you'll capture an unmistakable period look. Fedoras have remained popular, being commonly worn in the 1950s and in more recent times by women. Mobster fedoras from the '20s have a much wider brim than has been common since, so the shadow of the hat should cover a large portion of your face. While most rented costume hats are black, 1920s gangsters wore fedoras in many flamboyant colours.
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The gangster image of a well-dressed criminal, in the smartest fashion of the day, dates back to the bad guys of the 1920s. Cash from bank robberies as well as selling prohibited alcohol meant that mobsters looked a lot richer than most ordinary people. This contrast may be partly why they are remembered as having such glamorous fashion style. Typical accessories included opulent jewellery and perfectly polished, expensive leather shoes. Black and white two-tone patent brogues are typical mobster shoes of the era, often worn with white spats. Other good quality luxuries include gold pocket watches, light-coloured silk ties and hankies.
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Bad guys in the 1920s took image very seriously, so if you want to dress like a prohibition gangster, grooming is everything. Slick your hair back with traditional pomade, and make sure you have the cleanest shave possible. Clothes should be immaculate, and shoes buffed to a high shine. Despite being criminals, many gangsters considered themselves self-made businessmen and in that way have become controversial American icons for some people. Pride in their businesslike appearance was part of the 1920s gangster way of life.