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    The Trench Coat: A Symbolic Garment in Mafia Culture

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    The trench coat, a garment of practicality turned fashion icon, has found its place in various societal subcultures, not least in the notorious world of the Mafia. This oversized, often dark-hued outerwear piece, has over time become associated with mobsters, primarily due to its representation in popular culture. This essay will delve into the connections between the trench coat and the Mafia, exploring its symbolic and functional roles, as well as its influences on fashion and societal perception.

    The association of the trench coat with the Mafia has roots in reality and fiction. Historically, these garments provided practical utility for mobsters, such as concealment of identity and weaponry. However, the link between the Mafia and trench coats has been further solidified by the world of cinema and literature, which often uses the garment as a visual cue to denote the ominous presence of a mobster.

    In films and television, the trench coat, usually in darker shades, is commonly utilized to enhance the intimidating persona of Mafia characters. The coat’s length and bulk contribute to an imposing silhouette, signifying power and danger. This portrayal influences the audience’s perception, embedding the trench coat as a symbol of the underworld.

    Moreover, the trench coat has been employed to convey the dual nature of mobsters. On the surface, it adds to the elegance and sophistication of the character, often portrayed as well-dressed gentlemen of society. But underneath, it can conceal the tools of their illicit trade, reflecting the duplicitous lives they lead.

    Despite its association with crime syndicates, the trench coat has transcended its infamous reputation to become a mainstream fashion staple. Designers have embraced its versatility and adaptability, proving its longevity in the fashion world. Yet, the connection to its Mafia past still lingers, adding a layer of mystique and rebellious charm to the wearer.

    Beyond cinema and literature, the trench coat has found its place in various subcultures and movements. From punk rock to goth, the trench coat’s association with counterculture has further established its image as a symbol of rebellion and nonconformity.

    It is also important to remember that the trench coat has a rich history that predates its association with the Mafia. Originally designed for military use during World War I, the trench coat provided soldiers with much-needed protection from harsh weather conditions. Its military origins lend the garment a sense of durability and ruggedness, traits that have made it a wardrobe staple for both men and women across the globe.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, the trench coat’s connection to the Mafia is a fascinating study of the interplay between fashion, culture, and societal perception. While it served a practical purpose in the past, the influence of media and the mystique of the underworld have transformed it into a powerful symbol of power and duplicity. As it continues to be a prominent feature in fashion, the trench coat’s notorious past contributes to its enduring appeal, embodying an intriguing blend of elegance and danger.

    References

    1. Snyder, Jeffrey B. “Trench Coats: An Entry from Gale’s American Decades: Primary Sources.” Gale, 2004.
    2. Fearn-Banks, Kathleen. “The A to Z of Italian Cinema.” Scarecrow Press, 2009.
    3. Gleason, Judith. “The Scarface Tradition.” Film Comment, vol. 5, no. 4, 1969, pp. 22–31.
    4. Morton, W. Brown III. “Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages.” UXL, 2003.
    5. Bandhauer, Andreas, and Michelle Royer. “Stars in World Cinema: Screen Icons and Star Systems Across Cultures.” I.B. Tauris, 2015.

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    The Trench Coat: A Symbolic Garment in Mafia Culture. (2023, Jul 12). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-trench-coat-a-symbolic-garment-in-mafia-culture/

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