For better or worse, America has always had a love affair with Italian-American mob films. Some are masterpieces, artfully showing the complicated twists and turns of the criminal underworld through compelling storytelling and some of the greatest acting ever seen on film. Others are equal parts gratuitous and kitschy, playing to overdone stereotypes. In addition to the catchphrases, drama and cinematic violence, mob movies shape our collective understanding of the Italian-American experience: a big loving family, relentless amounts of good food and a confident, unflinching sense of style.

In roles ranging from the local neighborhood gangsters to the bosses turned legitimate businessmen, clothing representative of Italian-Americans across the economic strata is given significant screen time. From unbuttoned knits on the corner to patterned blazers by the pool, double-breasted tuxedo jackets at a wedding to three-piece suits at a funeral, the genre has it all. Like anything else, some styles stood the test of time while some didn’t however fashion is still present in every scene.

As someone who grew up in a predominantly Italian community, this style is not only reflective of the time period, neighborhood and lifestyle but continues to impact fashion at large. Below, we present a selection of some of the iconic films, characters and styles that influenced a generation of moviegoers and helped bring Italian style tropes to mainstream America.

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Tags: the-godfather, tracksuit, the-sopranos, television, movies