The Sopranos wouldn’t necessarily rank at the top on lists of TV shows with the best costume design, but that doesn’t mean it’s far behind. The mobsters, mob wives, and associates were focused on crime and money, hence their pockets were rarely empty. Consequently, easy access to thousands of dollars meant that more than a few characters dressed fashionably.
When it premiered, the HBO show differentiated itself from all movies and TV shows that had been made about the mob. Members of organized crime didn’t wear hats, long coats, and ties all the time, as was the stereotype. Instead, each person had their own style and choice of outfits, with some rating much better than others.
Like Carmela, Rosalie was very keen on jewelry. However, she was a better fashion cognoscenti than Tony’s wife. Her need to be flamboyant never stopped, whether she was engaging in religious discussions with Father Phil or having a lazy day at home. As for her outfits, they mostly consisted of animal print dresses, shirts, pants, or figure-hugging dresses with coats for nights out.
Rosalie was never accorded much screentime and neither was she involved in key storylines. Luckily, her fashion sense made up for all the injustice the writers did to her. Having seen the best and worst of being a mob wife, most notably with her husband’s death, she chose to embrace her status and made it known who she associated with. Just by looking at her, it was easy to tell that she was no member of the nouveau riche, but a beneficiary of generational wealth.
Silvio is considered one of the best-dressed characters in the show and he was all about the suits. He was rarely seen wearing casual outfits and when he did, they were often open expensive bowling shirts with white vests. His accessories were well thought out and consisted of gold watches and sovereign rings.
In a way, the consigliere cheated his way to fashion icon status since he normally wore stolen clothes. This was made clear during one of the best pop culture references in The Sopranos when he gave a hilarious impersonation of Michael Corleone next to a long line of illegally acquired Giorgio Armani and Givenchy suits. Crime aside, Silvio’s style showed how seriously he took his profession, and every day meant business to him.
Furio almost ruined Tony’s marriage when the pugnacious Don brought him in from Italy as a new signing to the DiMeo Crime Family. Whether he was flirting with Carmela or beating down a debtor, Furio wore loud, expensive shirts. And on occasion, he would wear a cool leather jacket too.
Most of his shirts were from Italian designers, which is understandable because he spent most of his life in Naples. He could also afford the most expensive Versace outfits, which was surprising since he was only a street soldier and the earnings of low-level mobsters weren’t generally high. Nevertheless, there was never a dull day when it came to Furio’s fashion.
Adriana was known for striking tiger or zebra striped leather outfits, shiny pieces of jewelry, and the nicest of shoes. She had such nice stilettos that Paulie decided to steal a pair so that he could give them to his girlfriend.
Adriana’s appearance was so striking that even an FBI team was distracted while monitoring Tony’s family. While costume design teams are always to thank for the good fashion sense of characters, Actress Drea DeMatteo deserved credit for what she brought to the look. She told Esquire: “I could never say my lines without my stiletto heels on.” It also helped that Christopher was very generous and he never spared a dime when it came to spoiling her.
Corrado “Junior” Soprano
Junior’s large spectacles always stood out and so did his Godfather-esque hats. Later in the series, when he was ill, he settled for ordinary shirts and pants, which didn’t look so bad on a veteran mobster like him.
The hats made Junior seem more deserving of the head-of-the-family status in the DiMeo Crime Family, even though he was never going to be as good a leader as Tony. And even though large glasses give most people who wear them a nerdy look, they made Junior look much more ruthless than most of the mob underlings.
Christopher was more focused on casual outfits. He rarely wore suits, including when he took an oath to become a made guy. Normally, he went with Bensonhurst tuxedos, which were actually a type of tracksuit common in the predominantly Italian-American region of Bensonhurst. He wore Matrix-style shades too and black leather jackets for club appearances.
Proof that Christopher was wearing the right outfits lies in the fact that his look is still popular to this day, with celebrities in the entertainment sector and sports personalities unintentionally imitating the young DiMeo Crime Family member. His shades are the perfect criminal disguise, magnifying his baddie look since most of his outfits made him look more innocent than he actually was.
Carmela wasn’t exactly high on the list of most likable mob wives in The Sopranos, but her fashion sense was worth admiring. Her pants and simple tops always caught the eye but what was more profound was her jewelry.
Carmela’s loose pants were proof that she wasn’t willing to compromise on comfort. They also humanized her, making viewers forget that she was actually married to one of the most ruthless mob bosses in America. In the show, it was made clear that she was obsessed with jewelry, and that was not necessarily a bad thing, except for the fact that Tony always knew this and took advantage of it whenever he was seeking reconciliation.
The Don enjoyed donning flowery camp collar shirts, polos, pleated trousers, and loafers from different shoe brands. While visiting Dr. Melfi’s office or during sit-downs with members of rival families, he preferred suits. And while he was at home, he enjoyed strolling around in bathrobes.
Tony’s fashion sense showed a man who was confident in his own appearance. He didn’t try too hard to impress. What he felt worked for him was what he went with. Each of his outfit preferences gave a certain impression. The flowery shirts gave him the appearance of a modern-day Don who would pass off as an ordinary citizen. The suits made him look like a wealthy businessman and the bathrobes gave him a fatherly look.
There were many reasons why Meadow was a better sibling than A.J. and one of these was her fashion sense. The evolution of her style could be seen as she grew from a teenage girl to adult. At first, she was all about the layered tops, denim, headbands, and butterfly clips. But after she graduated from college, she switched to dinner dresses and pantsuits.
Knowing the appropriate thing to wear at any given stage of your life shows awareness and the ability to fit in. While in college, Meadow donned popular ’90s college outfits and worked hard in school, aware that she had to embrace that particular stage and give her all in until she moved to the next. In the professional world, she also adapted quickly.
Dr. Melfi’s white-collar dresses, pantsuits, and pointed toe-heels were on rotation in every single therapy session with Tony. Though her scenes were limited to the office, she never had a bad fashion day.
Melfi’s official outfits showed her solemnity and commitment to her profession. Since clients like Tony didn’t care, she could have been tempted to show up in a t-shirt and summer dress. It was her office after all and no one had set up a dress code for therapists to adhere to. But she didn’t do that.