Gen Z’s favourite social media platform TikTok has brought us several bizarre fashion crazes as of late. Last year there was ‘mermaidcore’, ‘tomato girl’, ‘sardine girl’… the list goes on. Right now, it’s all about the ‘mob wife.’ Yep, that’s right: after seasons of pared back ‘quiet luxury’, all-out, unabashed decadence – inspired by the hedonistic wardrobes of iconic mob wives of cinema and television – is all the rage.
But you’ll be surprised to hear that this is for once a TikTok fashion craze equally adaptable for those above thirty, too. For it’s the perfect way to reinject some glamour into your wardrobe after months of ‘stealth wealth’-inspired beige. And it’s not just the mob wife’s unashamedly opulent wardrobe that appeals to our minimalism-weary eyes, either. No, it’s the attitude that comes with it, too. The boss’ wife is the boss. These are the women who keep things running. They not only wear the clothes they like but doing so gives them the confidence to do what they like, free of worries about the judgement of others. Their clothes empower them to be the most don’t-mess-me, get-stuff-done versions of themselves. And we could all use a dose of that.
Want to get in on the action but only intimidating images of Michelle Pfeiffer in 1983’s Scarface wearing nothing but barely-there silky slip dresses spring to mind? Worry not – they are more subtle ways to inject just the right amount of mob wife decadence into your wardrobe...
Faux fur is a byword for mob wife style: nearly every iconic mob wife on screen has worn it. It needn’t be a full-length coat if that seems more Queen of Narnia than queen of confidence. A stole or detachable collar is enough – think of the white faux fur stole Sharon Stone wears over her striped cocktail gown as Ginger in 1995’s mobster classic Casino. Again, the cocktail dress is optional: a faux fur collar or cuff is the perfect way to update a coat you’ve owned for years.
How to wear it: Helen Moore is a family-owned business based in Devon that has made some of the best faux fur on the market since 1992. Its cuffs and collars can be swapped on and off coats and jackets with ease and come in at the under £50.
Michelle Pfeiffer has starred as two mob wives – Elvira Hancock in 1983’s Scarface, and then as Angela de Marco in 1988’s Married to the Mob. If Hancock’s wardrobe was the mob wife made tasteful, de Marco’s was the antithesis. ‘80s maximalism was order of the day: animal print, gigantesque belts, and even more gigantesque coiffed hair. Her trademark dress featured leopard and tiger print (who knew those two prints could combine?!), a mini hemline and power shoulders, no less. Talk about bang for your buck. Stella McCartney showed that a similar look can be just as at home in 2024 — attending Kate Moss’ fiftieth birthday in Paris last month wearing a one-shoulder tiger print mini dress.
How to wear it: For those looking to just nod to the mob wife aesthetic, an animal print belt, bag or shoe is the way to go.
Jewels, jewels and more jewels
There’s not much a mob wife likes more than a statement earring, either in thick gold or dripping in diamonds. Those that Emma Stone wears as Grace Faraday in 2013’s Gangster Squad are among the most spectacular. While she pairs her shoulder sweeping diamond chandelier earrings (and hair clip to match, naturally) with a showstopping, Jessica Rabbit-esque evening dress, for the everyday, juxtapose opulent jewels with denim for a more modern take that’s just the right amount of mob.
How to wear it: Head to Mango for waterfall crystal earrings under £20 that are more Harry Winston than high street.
Drea de Matteo, who played Adriana la Cerva in series The Sopranos from 1999-2006, knows the power of the mob wife wardrobe to shift one’s mindset to let’s-do-this power woman. "I couldn’t get into character for Sopranos unless my nails were completely manicured. […] I could never say my lines without my stiletto heels on," she said. While the all-out stiletto might be a viable option for a mob wife, for a tube-trotting mortal, the closest, most viable power shoe is a heeled boot. The £1,875 snake-adorned Jimmy Choo boots Taylor Swift stepped out in last month were all kinds of mob wife.
How to wear it: For a subtle yet striking take, check out John Lewis for a range of styles, many of which are currently discounted. They’ll be as at home under midi dresses as they will over jeans.
Think the role of mob wife is a supporting one? Think again. And she’s got the leading lady wardrobe to prove it. Quiet luxury, step aside. For there’s nothing quiet about the mob wife wardrobe or attitude.
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