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    Juliet Polcsa on Styling ‘The Sopranos’ 25 Years After the Show Changed Everything

    The celebrated costume designer talks Tony’s iconic button-ups, the influence of mall brands and the emerging mob wife aesthetic.


    On January 10, 1999, one of the most important television shows of all time debuted, ushering in a new Golden Age of Television. The Sopranos established itself as an iconoclast across many categories, but 25 years on there’s one aspect that continues to thrive: the clothing. 

    From Tony’s infamous bathrobe and Carmela’s French-tipped, décolletage-baring ensembles to Adriana’s iconic catsuit and the tracksuits worn by the men of the mob, these looks not only defined an era, but they continue to serve as inspiration for the next generation. All were brought to life thanks to one woman, costume designer Juliet Polcsa. 

    Two of the series' most important couples: Christopher Moltisanti and Adriana La Cerva (left), and Tony and Carmela Soprano (right).   
    To keep the series as true-to-life as possible, costume designer Juliet Polcsa sourced many of the character's shirts and tracksuits from places actual mobsters shopped at in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.   
    According to Polcsa, Carmela Soprano's signature low-cut tops and sweater-vest sets mostly came from places that real “mob wives” were likely to frequent: New Jersey malls. Carmela’s daughter, Meadow (right) was styled to embody her character's liberal-minded perspective.   
    Tony Soprano's iconic bathrobe served to soften and humanize the mob boss, presenting the normally imposing figure with a pedestrian vulnerability while at home. Here, James Gandolfini's character is pictured with Juliet Polcsa to his left. Image Courtesy ©️ Juliet Polcsa   

    James Gandolfini liked those loud shirts because he felt like Tony's laughing on the outside, crying on the inside—the sad clown.

    Juliet Polcsa

    Tony Soprano with Christopher Moltisanti. Tony's consigliere, Silvio Dante (right).    

    There was a vagueness about what Tony wore. He could straddle different worlds and also look in charge. You couldn't make fun of his clothes.

    Juliet Polcsa

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