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Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire.

Photo By Abbot Genser/HBO

Appeared In
Special Issue
Menswear issue 10/18/2010

Out Of the Past


John Dunn, the costume designer behind Boardwalk Empire, describes 1920—the year in which the HBO series is set—as a postwar "percolating period."

"There was a little bit of gloominess left over from WWI, but in a place like Atlantic City, people were going there to reinvent themselves," he explains.

To re-create that spirit, Dunn took inspiration from vintage tailoring books and Sears catalogues. Still, many Boardwalk costumes came straight from the vintage racks. Here, Dunn reveals five of his favorite sources for vintage clothing (the first is in Boston, the rest in New York):

Bobby From Boston
"Bobby is great because Boston is a university-heavy town. His vintage has a tweedy and academic feeling to it," says Dunn. In the store's warehouse, not open to the public, he snatched up "some great old tuxedos" for Boardwalk Empire.

Rue St. Denis
"They have a wonderful selection of men's dead stock [unworn] suits from the Sixties and Seventies. I bought some of the men's outerwear and suiting at Rue St. Denis for Mad Men when we did the pilot."

Stocl Vintage
Dunn likes the current selection of shawl-collar work jackets, which he bought for the dock workers in Boardwalk Empire.

What Goes Around Comes Around
"When I did I'm Not There, I found some really great cords and jeans and extraordinary T-shirts, things I bought for Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan."

David Owens Vintage Clothing
In upcoming episodes of Boardwalk Empire, mob boss Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) "is going to wear an amazing raccoon coat. David is really good at finding things like that. And he's got an amazing selection of men's ties from the Fifties and Sixties. He was an important source for Mad Men." —S.B.


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