Do We Really Want To Look Like Mob Wives?

Another month, another case of Tiktok doing what it does best: birthing a new fashion ‘aesthetic’ seemingly out of nowhere and propelling it algorithmically into our feeds, the high street and, perhaps, our wardrobes.

It might be only a few weeks old (practically ancient in the life cycle of a microtrend) but you’ve likely heard about the Mob Wife explosion by now. The hashtag #mobwives has 184 million searches on Tiktok, while the likes of Hailey Bieber, Dua Lipa and Kendall Jenner have been seen wrapped up in floor-sweeping (faux) fur coats in recent weeks. It’s the antithesis to the ‘clean girl’ movement, bubbling over with bold and brash nouveau-riche glamour: big hair, leopard print, fur and stilettos.

The Mob Wife moment is essentially an approximation of the look popularised by the women of the organised-crime world. On the moodboard are Adriana La Cerva and Carmela Soprano of The Sopranos (which conveniently turns 25 this year) and Connie Corleone in The Godfather. Aggressively glamorous, these women are women, never girls. The reign of the coquette is over, it seems.

Now of course, there are plenty of ways to jump on the soapbox here: fur, whether real or faux, is loaded with ethical and eco issues, while the idea of glamourising mafia behaviour isn’t exactly brimming with righteousness either. There’s also the issue of potential cultural appropriation: needless to say, we probably shouldn’t be cosplaying as Italian Americans for fun (or Instagram likes).

But the real problem at the heart of Mob Wife is the problem that lies across all born-online trends: they’re here today, gone tomorrow, replaced by the algorithm’s new favourite thing. (Remember coastal grandma?) Chances are, those patent-leather trousers will be yesterday’s news by the time they’ve landed on your doorstep, and we’ll all have moved on to dressing like a suburban stepmother or some other madness.

Now, I don't want you to think I’m draining all the fun out of fashion here – quite the opposite. I just don’t believe personal style should wax and wane, warping to fit the dichotomous trends that seep out from our phone screens every few weeks. It might all be fun to look at, but we don't have to drag every online trend into our wardrobes.

Having said that, there are some appealing elements of mobwifery that aren’t tied to the ephemeral 'core', but rather perennial style moves repackaged with a new name. Leopard print rarely falls foul of the zeitgeist, and you do not need to be crime-adjacent in order to consider it a neutral.

The same goes for those door-knocker costume earrings: I’ve long loved a serious ear-swinger for dressing up a boxy white tee and wide-leg jeans: emerging Greek design duo Ysso make some major ones, while Vestiaire Collective is an goldmine of gilded vintage treasures from the likes of D&G and Fendi.

And the leather trousers? Totally season-transcending, however the zeitgeist is framing them. Trust me, as someone who has been wearing them for a decade now: a good pair is for life, not just for a transient Tiktok trend. Go loose-legged and louche, rather than skin-tight, for a look that’ll long outlive the last mob wife.

And if you are lucky enough to have a mafia-worthy stack of notes to burn? Resist the pull of the fun-for-a-second fur coat: why not invest in a trend-transcending black blazer, or a wear-forever pair of jeans instead?

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