Peaky Blinders is back and the style of the 19th century Brummie gang lords is back and in style.
The series, which first aired in 2013, has spawned a new generation of style victims who are all after the Tommy or Polly Shelby look.
The UK’s most popular country and countryside clothing brand, Piccadilly ropes, made clothes that fit the look long before the world heard the opening bars of Nick Cave and Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand.” The latest series features music by Radiohead’s Tom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood.
According to Hillary Bacon of Cordings, “We don’t create anything because of the show. Instead, we have items that can be worn Peaky Blinders style.
“The show showcased traditional British styling with Shelby and his gang attributing a sartorial elegance and eye for detail that was both timeless and instantly recognizable. Traditional clothing such as Donegal, Melton and Flannel are crafted into immaculate suits and coats and their outfits are carefully accessorized.
John Charles Cording opened his first shop as an outfitter and waterproofer in 1839 at 231 The Strand. Cordings was the first to sell vulcanized “Mackintosh” Charles Mackintosh. The Victorian explorer, Sir Henry Morton Stanley (as in “Dr. Livingstone, I presume”) approved of Cording’s boots. They also made his canoes.
A shop at 19 Piccadilly opened in 1877 and JC Cording and Co became known for their Newmarket and Idstone boots. As worn by royalty at the time.
To prove its pioneering waterproof properties, a canvas and leather Newmarket boot sat for many years submerged in a glass tank filled with water in Cording’s window display. Although no longer manufactured, the old basement starter workshop with its parquet floor is still there, along with the written records purchased.
The ropes moved on to understated coats, tweed jackets, corduroy and moleskin trousers and ultra-English tattered shirts. After being part of University Motors, famous Berkeley Square sports car dealerships MG, Cordings and Hackett worked together to dress the young Englishman, while remaining separate businesses.
Guitarist Eric Clapton CBE is co-owner and Joint MD “I first discovered Cordings in my mid-teens. It was the highlight of our week of coming to London and listening to the musicians. C t was hard to come home late, so I spent that time until dawn walking in the West End. Cordings stuck in my mind as a place of tradition. England’s heritage.
Ol’ Slow hand helped introduce a women’s range in 2003 and helped design by choosing tweeds for the new seasons.
The Shelby style is a versatile layering with long charcoal, tweed and serge coats worn over matching jackets and waistcoats, white starch collared shirts and narrow or “airy” ties. All are available through Cordings.
Bacon adds, “The Peaky Blinders style isn’t really about reviving vintage looks and wearing head-to-toe. It’s about taking inspiration from the sartorial elegance of the early decades of the 20th century and reinventing it to bring a well-designed and quintessentially British touch to modern dress.
“Iconic and instantly recognizable, Peaky Blinders reminded us of those British men from all walks of life who have, in the past, been decidedly shrewd peacocks. We’re not suggesting you opt for a replica of a period ensemble, but we have recommendations for a similar style.
If a £59 Redford Yorkshire tweed curved cap isn’t for you, how about a trilby, like the one worn by Romani hitman Aberama Gold?
After the £595 Original Covert navy blue coat (available with a velvet collar), comes the £475 Donegal tweed three-piece suit with ticket pocket, pleated trousers and pocket watch buttonhole. Also available in racing barley and overcheck weave. All held in place by straps in box fabric.
Not to mention a modern Peaky accessory – a pair of silver 12 gauge shotgun cartridge cufflinks.
Bacon adds: “For the ladies we have a green twill jacket, a long green tweed with a velvet coat and black leather lace-up ankle boots.”
The sullen looks, the menacing glare, the quivering cheek muscles, the Welby pistol, the gold pocket watch, and the sewing razor blades you’ll have to find elsewhere.