The Godfather Part II: The Style Behind The Mob

The Godfather the iconic trilogy that captured the imaginations of men across generations. A tragic story about a young and idealistic man as he snuffs out his own soul in pursuit of power. As a style blog, we want to focus on one thing: style.

We will be focusing entirely on Part 2. Let's not waste any more time and delve in.

The Godfather Part II The Style Behind The Mob header

Click Here To Watch The Video Style Expert Breaks Down The Godfather: Part II

Why 2 and not 1?

The style in part 1 is superb but limited. The film takes place mainly in New York with brief stops in Sicily, California, and Nevada. There is almost no seasonal variety to boot. Part 2, on the other hand, is varied. The story spans Nevada, Miami, Havana, Sicily, and New York. The film covers almost 60 years, giving us unprecedented variety in style.

1. First Communion Suit Michael Corleone (Al Pacino)

The film opens in 1958 Nevada, where the Corleone family celebrates the first communion of Michael's son, Anthony. Michael, of course, is the trilogy's main character.

Celebrations are short-lived as Michael deals with his dysfunctional family, his brother's incompetence, and a corrupt senator.

godfather style Michael 1

The first sequence gives a good indication of The Godfather's personal style: Simple and pragmatic.

Godfather Style Breakdown

Costume designer Theadora Van Runkle debuts Michael in a simple yet luxurious look, making one lethal (and he is lethal) combination.

  • Gray dupioni silk suit: We see black and white flecks as well as slubbing. The downside to this kind of suit is that it wrinkles easily due to how light the silk is.
  • Single-breasted 2-button jacket: The classic jacket at work with notch lapels, a welted breast pocket, and 3-button cuffs. There are no vents, but that was typical of 50s fashion.
  • Pleated trousers: They have side pockets, no back pockets, and cuffed bottoms.
  • Black leather belt with a round buckle: A dressier but fundamentally casual belt thanks to the buckle.
  • White dress shirt: It has pointed collars, barrel cuffs, and a placket with no visible pockets.
  • Black silk tie: Simple and gets the job done no tie pin in sight.
  • Light gray leather tassel loafers: Here Michael successfully breaks a style rule by refusing to match his leathers. The loafers match the suit instead while the socks stay black. Click here to check out our core article on loafers.

Despite being quite a powerful man, Michael's wardrobe is simplistic and limited. The overall look is plain he doesn't wear a tie pin nor a watch for added pizzaz. The only visible jewelry is a wedding band on his left ring finger. To be honest, he doesn't need to be showy to get your attention.

2. First Communion Tux Fredo Corleone (John Cazale)

Fredo is introduced in the same sequence as Michael in the silk suit. Though Fredo is much older, he's an idiot. He means well but is incompetent and weak something that Michael deals with throughout the film.

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Fredo consistently makes a fool out of himself. His wife doesn't even take him seriously. Click here to learn about the subtle signs women notice about men that put them off.

Godfather Style Breakdown

Once again, Theadora Van Runkle captures the essence of the character through their style. In Fredo's case, it is clumsy and stupid.

  • Single-breasted jacket: There are no buttons which is unusual. We also see a vibrant Madras checked pattern in orange and brown with accenting white lines. The shoulders are visible padded and he sports shawl lapels. There is no visible breast pocket and the jacket uses standard 3-button cuffs.
  • Black trousers: Though difficult to make out, there don't seem to be any pleats. There are definitely side pockets.
  • Black cummerbund: Fredo uses this in place of a belt typical with black tie.
  • White cotton tuxedo shirt: A standard shirt to use with a tuxedo which uses a pleated front, black buttons, and French cuffs along with cufflinks. He also uses a pointed collar.
  • Black bow tie: It's always crooked!
  • Small black watch: We can't discern the model, but it uses a black leather band and a black dial rounded by a silver bezel.
  • Silver ring: Worn on his right pinkie.

Fredo contrasts Michael in several ways one way is the way he dresses. He can't seem to decide whether it's a formal or casual occasion. His jacket and dress shirt are oversized. The jacket falls straight down while the shirt sleeves extend well beyond a half-inch from the jacket cuffs. His trousers also flair out. Fredo breaks the rules of style in all the wrong ways.

3. Havana Suit Michael Corleone (Al Pacino)

Students of history will know that 1950s Havana was a playground for the mob. The Godfather II plays on this and integrates it with the plot. Michael travels there to invest 2 million dollars but is then unsure about the island's stability.

Here, we get an excellent example of a simple summer style.

godfather style havana

The glen check is barely discernable, but the Prince of Wales pattern stands out. If you need a summer style icon, look no further.

Godfather Style Breakdown

  • Full cut suit: A hybrid of American and Italian style suits. It involves the body with a more comfortable fit like an American business suit and the slightly padded shoulder of an Italian suit.
  • Tan and cream glen check: A bolder teal and cream shows an additional Prince of Wales pattern over the glen check.
  • Single-breasted jacket:A 2-button front that he almost always wears open. Padded shoulders and roped sleeves with decorative 3-button cuffs. We see a welted breast pocket, roped sleeve heads, and no vents. The notch lapels have no buttonholes. Straight flapped hip pockets.
  • Flat front trousers: They feature a high rise and cuffed bottoms. There are both belt loops and suspender buttons sewn on the inside.
  • Knit white cotton short-sleeve polo: There is a pocket on the left of his chest and it is worn with the top two buttons open.
  • Slim brown leather belt:A classic color with casual suits.
  • Brown penny loafers:Worn with tan socks.
  • Silk day cravat: It uses tones of bronze, brown, gold.
  • Wedding band & gold watch:The watch model is not clear, but it has been speculated to be an 18-karat Omega Constellation.

Designed by Theadora Van Runkle and crafted by Western Costume Co, This look is iconic as it is featured in the movie posters. Michael brings simplicity to the summer. Indeed, the wildest detail is perhaps the cravat which we might consider outdated. Otherwise this is as timeless as casual style gets.

The suit went on auction twice: Once in 2000 and once again in 2014. In the latter, it was expected to go for $12,000-$14,000.

Click here if you want to learn more about mastering summer style.

4. White Suit Don Fanucci (Gastone Moschin)

Between 1917 and 1920 in NYC, Don Fanucci rules the neighborhood where Vito Corleone (Michael's father) lives. He ruthlessly extracts a percentage from all businesses less they suffer his wrath. His flawlessly white-on-white suit is his signature look.

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Do you love white? Here's your man. Just don't imitate his personality

Godfather Style Breakdown

  • Black woolen overcoat: We see pinstripes, wide peak lapels, and padded shoulders. There are sloping sleeve heads but no discernable buttons. He always wears it across his shoulders.
  • Single-breasted jacket:It's all white with notch lapels. Buttons are difficult to discern but it's likely a 3-button jacket with an American fit. There is a black band on the left lapel as a nod to his nickname, The Black Hand.
  • White waistcoat: Six white buttons. We also see a thick pocket watch chain clearly visible across the bottom of the waistcoat.
  • White cotton dress shirt: He is sporting a club collar, which was common in the early 20th century.
  • Printed gray tie: A subtle pattern is present and adorned with a single, round tie pin.
  • White trousers:It's clearly a straight fit. No visible creases, pleats, or cuffs.
  • off-white leather slippers: Unusually low-cut loafers with white socks.
  • Gold ring: Worn on the right pinkie.
  • White fedora: Worn with awhite grosgrain band.

Don Fanucci wears the same suit faithfully until it gets riddled with holes by the young Vito Corleone, who then usurps his title.

5. First Quality Suit Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro)

The movie switches between Michael and his father Vito in flashbacks so as to contrast the two. Young Vito's story takes him from a penniless immigrant to becoming the first Godfather. By 1920, he is an influential member of his community who can afford quality clothing. Let's see if he pulls it off.

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In this scene, Vito confronts an oppressive landlord about evicting a helpless old widow.

Godfather Style Breakdown

  • Brown wool chesterfield overcoat:Wide, rounded notch lapels. There are no visible buttons if there are then they are very difficult to make out. There seems to be a very faint stripe pattern on the coat. We see padded shoulders as well. Click here to learn about men's overcoats.
  • Black & white waistcoat: Sepia tones make the colors deceptive, but we surely see dress stripes. It uses five visible black buttons that blend with the color of the waistcoat and a yellow gold pocket watch chain that is clearly visible going off the left side of the waistcoat.
  • Napped Cotton light blue & navy dress shirt: The shirt uses a contrasting pointed collar & placket. Two breast pockets slant toward the chest with navy seams. We also see navy barrel cuffs.
  • Gray wool trousers: No visible pleats or creases. They seem to be straight-fitting, but a little slimmer compared to the others seen in the film.
  • Brown leather dress boots: It is difficult to determine, but they are most likely open-laced derby's.
  • Printed light gray silk tie:The brightest detail on the whole ensemble and where the eyes are drawn.

Interestingly enough, Vito uses the same dress shirt in earlier scenes where he is impoverished. When pairing it with such extravagant new clothes, it marks the character's transition from poor to wealthy.

6. Revenge Suit Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro)

In the summer of 1923, Vito returns to his hometown of Corleone, Sicily for two things: Olive oil investments, and revenge.

At the very beginning of the film, Don Ciccio murdered Vito's father and older brother. His mother was shot in front of him while he escaped. Decades later, now a grown man with money and power, he returns to get even. Once again, Theadora Van Runkle works her magic.

godfather style vito 2

You could do worse when setting out to make things right for your family.

Godfather Style Breakdown

  • Rust-brown pinstripe wool suit: Designed personally by Van Runkle, made by Western Costume Co, and tailored specifically for Robert De Niro.
  • Single-breasted 3-button jacket. Short, wide peak lapels which were typical of the 1920s-1930s. The waist is suppressed with a horizontal seam going around the jacket level with the central button (De Niro was a size 31 waist at the time). The bottom is cut with squared and closed quarters. It uses single-button cuffs and a welted breast pocket that slants toward the center. We also see slanted pockets at the hips.
  • White cotton dress shirt: Pointed collar, frontal placket, and buttoned barrel cuffs.
  • Straight-leg trousers:Two-inch cuffs with velcro closure and a hook and eye snap waist.
  • Single-breasted waistcoat: All six buttons are fastened.
  • Printed tie: It is black with a tie pin.
  • Dark brown leather derby cap-toe dress boots: They rise above the ankles when we can actually see them.
  • Dark brown wool overcoat: Carried in at the beginning of the scene but never worn. It's easy to make out the darker satin lining.
  • Brown fedora: With a brown grosgrain band. Click here to learn a little more about stylish headwear.
  • Golden wedding ring: Worn on the left hand.

Sicilian summers can get into the 80s Fahrenheit, which makes you wonder why he chose a woolen suit and overcoat to wear. Nevertheless, it is a stylish ensemble worthy of avenging one's family.

Fun fact: This suit also went on auction. It was sold in Calabasas, California on June 30th, 2016 for around $20,000 $30,000.

7. Trial Suit Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall)

Tom is an important character through Godfathers 1-2. He is Vito's consigliere(chief advisor) throughout the first film as well as the family's top lawyer in both. His wise counsel is gradually ignored by an evermore bloodthirsty Michael.

Nevertheless, he is loyal to a fault and spearheads Michael's defense. Let's see if the style matches the spirit.

godfather style tom 1

In this scene, Tom has Michael read a statement that he hopes will make the jury sympathetic.

Godfather Style Breakdown

  • 3-piece wool suit: Charcoal with faint pinstripes.
  • Single-breasted jacket: Two buttons, notch Lapels, and structured shoulders. No hip pockets in sight.
  • Waistcoat: There are six visible buttons.
  • Plain white dress shirt: Pointed collar and barrel cuffs that extend to about half an inch beyond the sleeve of the jacket.
  • Straight fit trousers:No visible pleats or creases, but it is impossible to discern most of the trousers such as whether it is cuffed or not. They certainly have hip.
  • Black silk tie with a brown print: Worn in the first hearing.
  • Plain navy silk tie: Worn in the second hearing.
  • Silver wedding band: Worn on his left ring finger.

Throughout both movies, Tom embodies the business suit. All his looks are classic and formal. It makes sense considering he eats, breathes, and sleeps law to protect his adopted family.

Godfather Style Summary

  1. First Communion Suit Michael
  2. First Communion Tux Fredo
  3. Havana Suit Michael
  4. White Suit Don Fanucci
  5. First Quality Suit Vito
  6. Revenge Suit Vito
  7. Trial Suit Tom

Thought the Godfather Part II we see a huge variation in styles influenced by profession, climate, and time period. Aside from its rich story and flawless acting, the beauty of this film is that it allows stylish gents to take inspiration from countless sources.

This article was a guest post written by:

Rafael A. Socarrs

The post The Godfather Part II: The Style Behind The Mob appeared first on Real Men Real Style.