Arrivederci, quiet luxury. There’s a new fad in town.
Gwyneth Paltrow, look away. The clean girl is dead; long live the mob wife aesthetic. What is this vaguely threatening-sounding concept, you ask? Let’s take a walk.
Risen from TikTok’s black hole of micro-trends, the mob wife aesthetic is everything 2023 minimalism is not. It is flashy, garish, and brimming with designer logos. It welcomes heavy winged liner, nude lipstick, and dangerously long acrylic French tips. And, believe it or not, it’s here to help you fight the slog of winter ennui.
“It is our time to shine as girlies who love makeup, who love jewellery, who love faux fur…and who love to wear full glam,” says TikTok user Sarah Arcuri, an Italian American housewife who identifies as the “resident CEO” of the mob wife aesthetic. Neutrals, streamlined silhouettes and simple ballet flats might be “in,” but they can’t excite your senses like a mob wife outfit will.
Unlike the painstaking subtleties of quiet luxury, dressing like a mob wife is relatively easy. To start, all-black basics. (“If you look like you’re going to a funeral, you know you’re doing it right.”) Next, a fur jacket — preferably vintage — for that statement authoritative edge. Finally, over-accessorize with reckless abandon: pile on the gold jewellery, reach for your biggest Y2K sunnies, and grab a bag that is basically screaming a designer name.
The most crucial aspect of this equation, however, is the attitude. After all, embodying this crime-adjacent niche is about more than just fashion. Would a mob wife stress about her Instagram feed? Talk down to herself? Let others talk down to her? Hard no. A mob wife has bigger fish to fry.
While the clean girl frequents yoga classes, juices celery, and partakes in Dry January, the mob wife is happily messy. She’s a fan of the Olive Garden. She’ll indulge in martinis. She says what she’s thinking regardless of the consequences, because… do you know who she’s with?
Naturally, her clothes are an extension of this confidence. And it’s an unafraid ethos that has been permeating pop culture as of late.
Dua Lipa recently sported a gargantuan fuzzy coat atop a sheer fringe dress. Hailey Bieber has been known to traipse around in dark shades and floor-grazing furs. And most recently, the world was treated to peak mob wife behaviour by Jennifer Lawrence at the 2024 Golden Globes.
“If I don’t win, I’m leaving,” a deadpan J Law mouthed to the camera after she was announced as a nominee. Was she joking? You and I will never know — and that is the inscrutable magic of a true mafia spouse.
At an after-party hours later, Lawrence ditched her signature minimalist style in favour of a cheetah print topper. This garment, with its opulent velvet fabric and burnt orange collar, is the sartorial manifestation of “You talking’ to me?” And to that, we say, good for her.
The women who are wed to mafia members, as this deliciously silly trend suggests, deserve appreciation too. It’s no secret that the ladies of Scarface, Goodfellas and The Sopranos are icons in their own right. Their latex LBDs, tiger-print catsuits and heavily layered bangles live on as emblems of memorabilia. Though relegated to the cinematic sidelines, these wise-guy wives shine for their strength, style and individuality in a sea of hyper-masculinity.
So this winter, act as a mob wife would. Feed into your craving for authentic (?) Italian cuisine. Double down on your freakish obsession with true crime podcasts. Wear sunglasses indoors and take all your meetings in cars. Step out in your gaudiest get-up, even just once.
It may not be objectively chic or something the Olsen twins would wear. But it’s full of personality — and backbone. That’s amore.