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Fashion

1 month ago, by Voir Editorial Team So You’re Ready To Dress Like A Mob Wife

1 month ago, by Voir Editorial Team

So You’re Ready To Dress Like A Mob Wife

The “mob wife”aesthetic as coined by users on TikTok is the antithesis to the minimalist, “clean girl” aesthetic that has reigned supreme through the 2020s. The “clean girl” followed the trend of silent luxury, minimal makeup, sleek hair and dressed to match a quintessentially “old money”, bourgeoisie style. However, like in most cases, when there is one trend for too long, we yearn for something different. 

The “mob wife” and in general, the ethos of the mafioso is based in rags to riches. It is the story of the American dream albeit steeped in the grit of the criminal underworld. It is this grit which makes it so much more attainable. This is not to say the “mob wife” is not fashionable. She is very fashionable but, for the longest time she has also been looked at as iconography for the term, “nouveau riche”. She is defined by the gaudy, over the top, almost tacky sense of style.

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The “mob wife” is a femme fatale extension of the mob boss. While her authority is derived from being romantically related to the boss, either as his wife or mistress, she is usually portrayed as an individual who is just as commanding. In some variations of the “mob wife” we see her taking over the role of the mob boss when he is incapacitated. Early iterations of her in popular culture, see her be relegated to “arm candy” but, what we do see later on is her dipping into her powerful sexuality, wit and charm to manipulate dynamics in her favour while playing “subservient”. The “mob wife” also plays into the trope of the dark feminine. She is power itself in six-inch heels.

She is above all, chic. She is the complete opposite of understated. She keeps her wealth where she can see it, in her wardrobe. To become her, is to adopt her attitude and that attitude reflects so closely through her style. We are going to look at iconic movie and television “mob wives” to try and break down this aesthetic.

The Sopranos

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One of the most titular mob stories to ever hit our television screens is that of the Sopranos. While we all followed along Tony Soprano as he carried out his business across New Jersey, we all fell in love with his two love interests and their distinct styles.

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Edie Falco’s portrayal of Carmela Soprano is what we see be replicated across our social media screens when we look at the established “mob wife” who is at the top of the hierarchy, the boss’ wife. She has been styled as a quintessential, Italian-American New Jersey mom complete with manicured French tips, period appropriate juicy couture velour as lounge wear while she maintains the house, a fluffy, teased-out bob and ornate stacks of jewellery. One cannot forget amidst the sea of gold chains and diamond tennis bracelets to add the diamond encrusted cross in honour of her “piety”.  There is an air of preppy suburbia she tries to imitate.

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The second kind of mob wife that we see is the mistress, like Adriana La Cerva. She is young, feisty, more sexual, and more importantly holds a fickle position in the hierarchy. Therefore, to secure her position she uses her sexuality. Her style is sexier than the yuppie look trying to be emulated by the wife. She has deeper necklines, crop tops, leather pants, animal print galore, faux fur coats (preferably gifted by the boss) and even more stacks of gold jewellery. The hair gets bigger, the make-up gets bolder. The whole look is aimed at drawing eyes towards her, to stay relevant and out of reach from the rest of the world. She wants to be the top man’s wife but, is not quite there yet. The French manicure is traded in for bold red gel extensions. The hair is longer, the jewellery is far more “in your face” with thick gold hoops, gold bangles paired with contrasting bracelets.

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Casino

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Martin Scorsese’s Casino (1995) introduces to us the character of Ginger McKenna played by Sharon Stone. While we have seen this character be iconic in her own right, she saw a revival in the zeitgeist with Euphoria’s Maddy Perez idolizing her and her relationship with low-ranking gangster “Ace”, as the epitome of wealth. This toxicity would of course mirror in Maddy’s own relationship but, what is more important is Maddy herself is a working-class heroine known for her incredible style and confidence. To mirror the characters is important in understanding why the aesthetic is gaining traction today.

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Ginger McKenna is a hustler. She was her own boss much before she gets involved with Di Nero’s character and this independence is shown in the way she dresses. She is someone who uses her looks to distract men as she grifts them this means she has shorter hemlines, cut-outs, lower necklines and flashy accessories. Her make-up is overtly sexy choosing to use smokey eyes and frosted lips to attract “victims”. Her clothes, more often than not, include some form of pattern, there is colour. She is THE visual component when she is on screen, daring people to objectify her. Her hair takes on a more 60’s bouffant look. It is interesting that most of these women are emulating what was considered classy a decade prior, perhaps copying what they saw to be classy whilst growing up but not being able to afford it at the time.

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Scarface

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The final epitome of “mob wife” is Michelle Pfeiffer’s 1983 role as Elvira Hancock in Scarface. She embodies the idea of the “prized possession”/ “arm candy” idea that is associated with the boss’ girl. Elvira has been established as the young, beautiful, classy woman that has stayed at the top for a while. She is a (white) status symbol that establishes the crime boss as legitimate—his wealth and class as legitimate. She is in stark contrast to other “mob wives”. Her aesthetic aligns with yuppie culture but mixed with the vice of the Miami vice scene. She wears jewel tones, big sunnies to never show her emotions to outsiders and is far more volatile on the inside than in her outward appearance. Elvira prefers structured suits, flowing silhouettes and an understated yet, glamourous aura. Elvira is an enigma and her sensuality comes from being the mysterious, unattainable wealthy woman.

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Written By Indra Gupta

Header Image By Mia Washbrook

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