12

I recently watched Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995). The director of both movies is Martin Scorsese. But I noticed something quite interesting. The shirt collars of the gangsters in both movies are some kind of strange. I never seen such collars. The collars are very close to each other. The gap between is very small. I can't describe it better :-)

Is this a Scorsese thing or just a fashion style from the 70s/80s/90s or an italian fashion style?

Look at the shirt collars shown on the movie posters (or watch the trailers):

movie posters

  • Some info about them here, though I plead ignorance. And apparently Scorsese's parents pressed them on the set. :) – Walt Nov 22 '14 at 0:14
  • 1
    If you look through this Esquire's list of best-dressed mobsters you'll notice that Anthony Carfano, Joe Bonano, Bugsy Seigel, and at least four of the "Cleveland Mobsters" all have that style of collar. – CGCampbell Nov 22 '14 at 3:30
  • To muddy the descriptive waters even more, looking at the photos in the "Casino" poster, there doesn't seem to be any continuity in how close together the collar points are. Note the gap differences between De Niro's and Pesci's collars. – Tom Z. Dec 19 '16 at 6:32
11

I can't seem to find a definitive answer to this. ExecShirts.com (however famous they are) call it a Small Spread Collar:

enter image description here

They say:

The Small Spread Collar is another unique collar, it has very little spread with the collar halves coming almost straight down. The edges of the collar are rounded for a softer look. Their is a small space at the top of the collar for wearing a neck tie. This shirt should be worn with a neck tie. This collar is sometimes called a "Soprano Collar" or "Mafia Collar" or even a "Continental Collar" because it is worn on the European Continent.

GuidoFashions advertise them as being "guido" collar shirts, but don't go into any more specific details than that.

Neither "guido" or "small spread collar" turns up a large amount of results though.

Searching for a classic narrow seems to show some similar collars, where the narrowness seems to vary from shirt to shirt - but even then that terms up wildly different results.

I think the best result I can find is a club collar. It doesn't turn up a large number of results (or matching images), but is referred to as such in a few articles. For example, Vintage Dancer state:

In the early 20’s, the stuffy detachable collar was still the norm. They were always white, always detached, and quite tall (up to 3 inches.) The round edge club collar was the most fashionable from the preceding decade. Fans of Boardwalk Empire will recognize Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson who is almost always wearing one. The pointed collar gained favor after 1923. The collar was still tall and the points longer than today’s dress shirt. Some soft point collars came in the button down style.

The pointed collar shirt remained popular for the rest of the 1920’s although other versions such as the spread collar had their famous moments too. The popularity of the wide Windsor knot tie required collars to have wide openings hence the introduction of the spread collar in both round and point styles.

This is the picture they use to describe this:

enter image description here

Ultimately, in this day and age, I think gangster shirt or Mafioso shirt is probably the best way to describe them and certainly turns up the best results.

So it seems that the shirts were indeed worn back in the early 1920s/1930s, but ultimately the popularity of The Goodfellas, being a classic film of the genre, must inspired many imitations in other films.

  • I found a few references to "Tony collar", "Spearpoint Collar". zootsuitstore has them in stock. – JohnP Nov 24 '14 at 20:51
  • Yeah, there doesn't seem to be a standard term. I found mafia collar was the most consistent. – Andrew Martin Nov 24 '14 at 20:52
  • I like this answer, and it was accepted, but ... it doesn't answer the question. Of course, there really isn't a question here, but just sayin' – CGCampbell Nov 25 '14 at 3:38
  • Last sentence? They're from the 1920s/1930s, but inevitably the success of the Goodfellas has increased their popularity. – Andrew Martin Nov 25 '14 at 7:05
1

For both goodfellas and the casino Scorsese's parents were on set. In goodfellas Scorsese's parents even had small roles. Scorsese's father (Charles Scorsese) is the guy making the pasta sauce in prison and he's also seen in the scene where tommy get's whacked. Scorsese's dad is standing at Tommy's right side when he gets shot through the back of the head.
Scorsese's mother (Catherine Scorsese) plays Tommy's mother in the movie. She's the Jewish looking old lady that asks the crew why they've got blood all over their shirts when they go over there to get a shovel to dig a hole for Billy Batts' body.

Anyways, point being: Scorsese apparently made his mom press the collars of the shirts and made his dad tie all the characters ties because he felt they were the only people that knew how to do it right. If you ask me they were the only people who knew how to do it completely wrong. Although now every time i watch the movie again, the collars are a part of the whole goodfellas experience for me which in the end kind of makes it okay...kind of. So there you go.

  • 3
    Do you have any reference for the part about Scorsese only trusting his parents? This sounds like it's pure conjecture. – Andrew Martin Feb 17 '16 at 13:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .