Cult BBC drama Peaky Blinders returns to the small screen this week (5th May), and with it a new wave of sartorial inspiration. Set against the backdrop of 1920s industrial Birmingham, the show’s third season will include performances from A-listers including Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Tom Hardy and Paddy Constantine while counting Snoop Dogg, José Mourinho and Steven Spielberg among its admirers. In fact, the late David Bowie was such an ardent fan of the show that he sent a picture of himself with a razor blade in his cap to Cillian Murphy and was keen to have music from his latest album, Blackstar, used in this latest series.
Known for its gangster violence and picturesque urban backdrops, Peaky Blinders is also loved for its authentic costume design. Something of a stylistic anachronism, despite depicting an era almost a century old the show is sartorially on-trend, showcasing sleek three-piece herringbone tweed suits, peaked caps and classic club collar shirts that are sure to attract admiring glances even today.
It is worth noting that this is a look built from the bottom up, defined with timeless English shoe styles including traditional working boots and brogues. To achieve the Peaky Blinders look, we recommend five classic British footwear brands. Most of these household names have been crafting premium quality footwear since at least the period of the historical Peaky Blinders gang, only going to show how English-made footwear is here for the long run.
Based in the crux of English shoemaking since 1866, Grenson has been handcrafting traditional English footwear in its Northamptonshire factory for 150 years. Each shoe is Goodyear welted and made as part of a meticulous process that takes up to eight weeks and over 200 individual operations to complete. The results speak for themselves: high-quality, robust boots and shoes that transcend generations and eras. Try the black leather Fred or brown Sharp brogue boots for that industrial Peaky Blinders aesthetic.
Tricker’s was born 40 years prior to Grenson and in the very same county. The outstanding craftsmanship of Tricker’s boots saw the brand become a firm favourite for everyone in Britain, including farmers, industrial workers and even the upper classes, and Tricker’s remains at the pinnacle of British footwear until this day. A Peaky Blinder would be comfortable in any pair of Tricker’s, but try the ‘Game’ black Chelsea boots or Knutsford X Tricker’s ‘Allan’ toecap boots for a combination of style and comfort.
Since modest beginnings starting out in a tannery in the early 1800s, Clarks has become an ephemeral British label seen on the feet of icons ranging from George Harrison and Bob Dylan to Wu-Tang Clan and Ghostface Killah. An international export built on solid foundations of traditional British craftsmanship, get the Peaky Blinders style with a pair of black suede Desert boots from the Clarks Originals collection or classic tan ‘Banfield’ toecap Derbies.
Dr. Martens started out at the turn of the 20th century making modest work-wear boots out of the small town of Wallston, Northampton. The brand is today famous the world over for its timeless silhouettes and durability. Originally constructed with a hard leather sole, one of the brand’s defining features is instead indebted to German soldier Dr. Klaus Maertens who came up with the brand’s patented air-cushioned sole to aid his broken foot. Throughout its history, however, Dr. Martens has remained a distinctly British label, a heritage celebrated by the Made in England collection from which every shoe is handcrafted with a Goodyear welt in the brand’s homestead of Northamptonshire. Try the ‘3989’ brogues or ‘Sawyer’ Desert boots for an unmistakable Peaky Blinders style.
Perhaps best known for its iconic waxed motorcycle jackets, Belstaff has been crafting premium British clothing and footwear for almost 100 years. Originally working out of a factory in the Potteries until the 1990s, the brand has since relocated to the home of British footwear in Northamptonshire while retaining its adventurous, sporting heritage. The detailed manufacturing process of the brand’s famous jackets is also true of their latest footwear collection; here you can find silhouettes that harken back to classic English styles, with the brown leather ‘Westbourne’ Derby shoes and ‘Lancaster’ Chelsea boots both bearing traditional details including the overlaid toecap that Tommy Shelby would be proud to wear.