“Tu vuoi vivere alla moda, Ma se bevi whisky and soda…”
I’d waited far too long to watch The Sopranos and now I can’t get enough. Drama and warmth exude from the television set every time I tune into the show. Although my favorite characters are Tony Soprano and Christopher Moltisanti, I want to focus on the style of their respective “partners” Carmela Soprano and Adriana La Cerva. The Sopranos style (coined by Emilia Petrarca on Instagram) is very familiar to me–I grew up being pinched on the cheeks by glossy, lacquered tips and was constantly delving into my grandmother’s box of endless gold and diamond jewelry. Thick fingers were always covered in lavish rings and gold hoop earrings were a given (note: I do not believe that wearing gold hoop earrings is “culturally appropriating.” As my dad said: “Italian and Jewish women have been wearing gold hoop earrings in North Jersey for years!”). Hair was always perfectly coiffed to platinum perfection and a full face of makeup was required for even a quick visit to the grocery store.
For this article, I wanted to delve deeper into Carmela Soprano’s and Adriana La Cerva’s respective styles. To me, these characters’ wardrobes and styling are the most indicative of the North Jersey aesthetic. Although costume designer Juliet Polcsa “made a concerted effort to portray the Italian-American characters in a non-stereotypical way,” I assert that she has hit every pink and white acrylic nail squarely on the head in the wardrobing of Carmela and Adriana. Carmela Soprano with her form-fitting tops, tracksuits, power suits and diamonds make her the equal parts preppy and gaudy poster girl for The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Adriana reveals the svelteness of her figure with tight mini-dresses, push-up bras, and belly-baring tops in a plethora of leopard prints accessorized with copious jewelry and stilettos. She could easily be any female cast member of the Jersey Shore’s Manolo Blahnik-wearing cousin. Even Sopranos manicurist Maria Salandra affirms that “[Adriana] is every Jersey girl that [she] knew growing up: big hair, lots of makeup, longer and curvier nails” (longer and curvier nails in contrast with Carmela’s omnipresent french manicure).
And now, for screencaps of the most iconic looks themselves…