Twenty years ago today, The Sopranos premiered on HBO. It went on to become arguably the best television show of all time. I’m no critic—and many, many writers have dissected the series better than I could ever—but what I DO know is that Adriana La Cerva’s head-to-toe leopard print, Tony Soprano’s goombah style, and Carmela Soprano’s French tips create the most baller mafioso aesthetic in entertainment history.
With all the Fila tracksuits, layered gold chains, and animal prints, The Sopranos costume designer Juliet Polcsa inadvertently forecasted exactly how kids on Instagram would be dressing nearly 20 years later. Here are just a handful of the trends Carmela, Adriana, and Tony (and his many tracksuit associates) wore that still look fresh today, straight off the streets of the New Jersey suburbs.
1. Animal Prints—From Christopher’s leopard-print robe (paired with gray sweats) to Adriana’s head-to-toe leopard ensemble, the show strategically deployed animal prints in just the right amounts of suburban audaciousness. Polsca told The Independent that Adriana was the most fun character to dress, which makes complete sense considering her mesh zebra tops and snake-print pants.
2. Layered Gold Chains—If there’s any phrase to describe the Instagram Girl aesthetic, “mob girlfriend” probably comes closest to nailing it. A signature accessory of the look are layered gold chains, copped from places like New Top Jewelry or Vanessa Mooney. Cross chains were once the de rigueur jewelry for Good Catholic Girls (or you know…Catholic Girls). The Sopranos-dedicated style account @sopranosstyle highlights a few excellent layered-chain looks, from Carmela’s lime-green-knit-and-chain vibe to, most beautifully, the thick gold chains both Carmela and Adriana play tennis in.
3. Tracksuits—Tracksuits are practically a character themselves on The Sopranos, from Carmela’s bubble-gum pink Fila version to Paulie Walnuts’ collection of “Bensonhurst tuxedos.” It would seem most current streetwear is largely inspired by the style of old Italian men.
4. Versace-Print Shirts—Furio, the Naples-born mobster that’s one of Tony’s loyal subjects, wears a killer Versace silk shirt during a rather heartbreaking moment in the show’s fourth season. In love with Carmela, who returns his feelings, the two dance together to Italian music at Furio’s housewarming party, knowing they can’t be together.
5. I ❤️️NY Vibes—Adriana’s FDNY hat, paired with a generally great fit of a chunky knit turtleneck and red talons, brings to mind fashion’s recent preoccupation with the aesthetic of I❤️NY. See: Streetwear designer Danielle Guizio’s recently collaboration with the FDNY, and Balenciaga’s tourist-shop New York City merch, which, apparently, you can buy at JFK for a whole lot less.
6. ‘70s Rib Knits—Form-fitting rib-knit shirts, worn mainly by Carmela and Adriana, have been back for a minute now, from Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2019 rib-knit bodysuit to Astrid Anderson’s rib-knit underwear.