Boardwalk Empire: Workwear Dandyism, the Elements, and My East Coast Fall

So I just returned from Provincetown, Mass. which is basically all the boating/seaside beauty of the Cape but especially designed for queers and misfits, if you didn’t know. Also, the shopping there is pretty spectacular (for menswear, that is). Marc Jacobs has an outpost, but the real jam is Rogues Gallery. I love this brand, and it’s made all the sweeter by the fact that the two locations: P-town and Portland (MAINE, duh), basically guarantee a salty, bearded vibe.

Currently they are having a super-sale, in which I was able to buy this shirt for 30 clams:

Dylan Flannel by Rogues Gallery.

Which, of course, got me thinking about fall. It’s just beginning to chill here in New England, and I have been organically shifting into a fall look that–now that Boardwalk Empire is back on the air–I realize is inspired, in part, by this guy:

Michael Pitt

First of all, I would give a million dollars to have straight, thick hair. The haircut possibilities are limitless. And if I did I would have this one right now. Is this what was happening in the ’20s?!

Either way, Jimmy–Pitt’s character–has moved up in the world this season, but I preferred his slightly more rugged look of last go-round:

Wool flannel suit in brown?! YES.

The collective unconscious is an interesting thing. Flannel suits in not-grey are popping up all over  the place–just look at any recent issue of GQ or Esquire. 

But for a more direct connection, check this guy out:

Creep by Hiroshi Awai. Michael Pitt, much?

This dude is also basically wearing my fall look: dressed up/warm/fitted with a workwear/old-timey vibe.

Creep is yet another fantastic Japanese label with a creative director, Hiroshi Awai, who is based in Toronto. Toronto is the quiet style capital of North America, and also the place where the missus and I would live if we could live anywhere. (Well I guess if we could live ANYWHERE it would be France or some such but everyone knows that no one gets to do that unless they’re Johnny Depp.)

Creep by Hiroshi Awai

Seriously, if you look in my closet, these are the elements. Additionally, I’ve invested in a solid, vintage jean jacket on the advice of Tyler Doran, who is a native New Englander and an extremely stylish man and purveyor of Heir Antiques.

I am now an official jean jacket convert because it looks excellent with everything in my closet and provides the perfect amount of protection against the cool air. Also, I’ve been wearing my jacket like this on warmer days. Coincidentally, this guy is modeling a jacket from a Toronto boutique. What did I tell you?

From Lavish & Squalor in Toronto, Dream City

Apparently the ’70s are coming back, which slightly scares me, though I can definitely get down with a Serpico, Pacino-ish thing. But I like my flash contained and practical, which is why I look to the early-to-mid-century for guidance, always combined with a rock n’ roll edge.

Robert Geller's shot from backstage at his own show on Polaroid.

There’s always room for the classic, and you’re very unlikely to laugh at yourself in photographs 20 years from now if you follow a pull toward something timeless.

Can't tell if this is Photoshopped, don't care.

Which, in a lot of ways, is the beauty of incorporating elements of “workwear.” Though people can certainly go overboard, and there’s also a class appropriation issue to be aware of, a denim or flannel shirt in a more modern, tailored look and a strong haircut makes a statement and makes good sense for fall.

Additionally, it’s a little bit of a sentimental moment in American fashion, as we pay homage to America’s most booming years, clearly long gone. So there’s something bittersweet and beautiful to me about jeans and a white t-shirt, or a denim jacket and a pair of tough brown boots. There’s always room to update with a pop in your socks or a slim fit, but a touch of the old fashioned is beyond time.

My theory that you can age gracefully by going timeless is well proven by this guy:

Bradley Roberts of Oakland at

Worn work boots, chambray shirt, that awesome haircut, tattoos, and seriously silver hair. He looks like a million bucks, and it’s clear he feels like it, too.

To a life lived in style!


About Thomas Page McBee

Gentleman first, always. James Dean is my patron saint, poet is my gender. More about me here:


  1. Cathy

    Toronto? Seriously? Huh.

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  4. Maria

    Michael Pitt is looking pretty fly with that fauxhawk and speckled beardazzlement. I wish more mens dressed like this. Toocute!

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