Thursday, 15 September 2016
The Kray Triplets
The Respectable Gangster
How do British gangsters dress since the days of Harold Shand and the Kray twins? Is it all tracksuits like we see in The Sopranos and Gomorrah? I sincerely hope not. I don't know about you, but if I'm going to be extorted for a monkey or more, I'd much prefer the exchange were conducted by someone in a well-cut suit.
Watching the recent Krays film, Legend, I was impressed with its style and the incredible acting from Tom Hardy playing both twins. The man's talent seems limitless. (And he doesn't get on his soapbox like that windbag Cumerbatch has of late.) The twins' dress in the film was impeccable. Looking at old photos of the original Krays, I would venture to say that Hardy's Krays were slightly better-dressed than the originals. If that's okay?
No doubt about it though, the Krays had verve and charisma — and their allure seems undiminished. I like, for instance, the fact (or legend) that they had their hair cut every day. Attention to detail and trying to look your best was the Kray way.
We can discern from photos of the Krays that they seemed to settle on single-breasted suits. I'm not sure I've seen them in a double-breasted suit like in the film. Reggie also appears to favour a spearpoint collar shirt most of the time. The Krays certainly wanted to look respectable and didn't experiment too far from the constraints of conventional modes of male dress.
Joining the Firm
If the Krays were around today, and you wanted to ingratiate yourself into their gang to keep the East End of London safe and sound, I would focus on details that might impress.
For example, I might wear this DAKS suit which has a sixties feel to it in terms of the boxy cut and striped cloth. The trousers have turn-ups, which Ronnie and Reggie seemed keen on.
I would also wear my antique jade pin, a touch that might just clinch it.
Before long, we'd be drinking 'Luger and lime' in the Blind Beggar and they'd be treating me as if I were their long lost brother — the Kray triplet —and Ronnie would be wearing my jade pin and I'd never see it again.
Tweedy's Request: If you consider yourself a dapper underworld character, get in touch and we can add you to the Pin Up wall. Say, don't worry, we can cover your mug so that the rozzers don't get no ideas. See?