Peaky Blinders is back on and the nineteenth-century Brummie gangland lord style is back in and on-trend.
The series, which first aired in 2013, has spawned a new generation of style victims all seeking out the Tommy or Polly Shelby look.
The UK’s best-loved field and country clothing brand, Cordings of Piccadilly, have been making garments that suit the look long before the world heard the first bars of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds ‘Red Right Hand’. The final series features music by Radiohead’s Tom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood.
Says Cordings’ Hillary Bacon: “We are not creating anything because of the series. Rather we have items that can be worn in a Peaky Blinders way.
“The show has showcased traditional British style with Shelby and his gang ascribing to sartorial smartness and eye for detail that is both timeless and instantly recognizable. Traditional clothes such as Donegal, Melton, and Flannel are tailored in immaculate suits and coats and their outfits 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 Charles Mackintosh vulcanized ‘Mackintoshs”. The Victorian explorer, Sir Henry Morton Stanley (As in, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” endorsed Cording’s boots. They also made his canoes.
A shop at 19 Piccadilly opened in 1877 and J.C. Cording and Co became known for its Newmarket and Idstone boots. As worn by the royalty of the day.
To prove its pioneering waterproof properties, a canvas and leather Newmarket boot remained for many years submerged in a glass tank full of water in the Cording’s shop window. Although no longer made, the old basement boot workshop area in the basement with its parquet floor is still there, along with written bought ledgers.
Cordings moved into covert coats, tweed jackets, corduroy and moleskin trousers, and ultra-English tattersall shirts. After being owned by University Motors, the celebrated MG sports car dealers of Berkeley Square, Cordings, and Hackett worked together on cladding the young English gent, Although remaining separate businesses.
Guitarist Eric Clapton CBE is co-owner and Joint M.D. “I first became aware of Cordings in my mid-teens. It was the highlight of our week to come up to London and listen to the musicians. It was difficult to get home late, so I would spend that time till dawn just walking the West End. Cordings stuck in my mind as a place of tradition. The heritage of England.”
Ol’ Slow hand helped with the introduction of a women’s range in 2003 and is involved in design choosing the tweeds for the new seasons.
The Shelby style is all about versatile layering with long heavy charcoal, tweed, and serge coats worn over matching jackets and waistcoats, white bobbed starch-collared shirts, and narrow or “air” ties. All are available through Cordings.
Adds Bacon: “Peaky Blinders style is not really about reviving vintage looks and wearing head to toe. It’s about taking inspiration from the sartorial smartness of the early decades of the 20th century and reinventing it to bring a well-crafted and distinctively British touch to modern-day dressing.
“Iconic and instantly recognizable, Peaky Blinders has reminded us of those British men from all walks of life who have, in past times, been decidedly discerning peacocks. We don’t suggest you go for a replica period ensemble but have recommendations for a similar style.”
If a £59 tweed Redford Yorkshire tweed curved cap is not for you, how about a trilby, as worn by Romany hitman Aberama Gold?
After the £595 navy Navy Original Covert Coat (available with velvet collar), comes the £475 three-piece Donegal, 12oz tweed suit with a ticket pocket, pleat-front trousers, and pocket watch buttonhole. Also, available in at-the-races barleycorn and overcheck weave. All held up by box cloth braces.
Not forgetting a modern Peaky accessory – a pair of silver 12 bore shotgun cartridge cufflinks.
Adds Bacon: “For the ladies, we have a green twill vent jacket, green long tweed with velvet trim coat, and black leather lace-up ankle boots.”
The brooding air, menacing glare, the twitching cheek muscles, the Welby pistol, gold fob watch, and the sewing razor blades you’ll have to get elsewhere.