The Wire’s Greatest Fashion Moments

The Wire is legendary in its unanimous acclaim. A maddeningly accurate portrayal of #realshit, the show resonated with those who’d lived its stories on the street and in the bureaus and even more so with corny white people who were happy to shout about the injustice of modern America, as long as it was nowhere near where they lived. The fact that David Simon’s creation is part in the dominant conversation years later, still the benchmark by which serious dramas are held, is a testament. And a deserving one, not like Twin Peaks, which people pretend to still care about so other people will think they’re cool.

But this is a clothing site, man! And though, given the seriousness of the subject matter, clothing was never a major plot point in The Wire, the show serves as a legitimate stylistic time capsule for the mid-2000s. From those who lived, worked and died in the streets, to the various hierarchies of law enforcement, to the drug lords and their equally shady political counterparts, The Wire covered more clothing than we could thoroughly break down regardless of the cultural connotations attached to each.

So, to enjoy this piece, I’m going to need you to just drop all the socioeconomic baggage the show carries with it and try to focus on the gear itself. This shit was all pre-Barack anyway—racial inequality, poverty, corruption and drug use have all totally since been eradicated. We’re all absolutely free to laugh at the prevalence of Gorilla Unit attire on the corners of Baltimore.

The second key to enjoying this post is to let go of your favorite character, or at least not whine about it when you finish up and find out there’s no Slim Charles or Butchie. Everybody has their favorites, but most of them accurately represented the general boringness of American style. I’m not going to waste your time with Brother Mouzone’s contrived get-up, either. Remember, only #realshit.

Angelo Spagnolo is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. Read his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.

  • way too cool for school

    That’s a daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn fine cup of coffee.

  • Guest

    Great feature guys. Daniels to Bunk: “I thought you were born in pinstripes!”

    Wouldn’t have even thought of putting Lester Freeman up there, but it turns out he’s a black Frank Bullitt!

    I almost thought you were going to leave off Ziggy Sobotka and his $2000 Italian Leather Jacket! Then a Good spot with the Duck breeder..!

    Come to think of it there were loads of references to style. Most centralised to any of the plots was D’Angelo Barksdale and his love for clothes, You remember the size of his wardrobe and how long it would take him to get ready!

  • ralphiefromthebronx

    Lester was always profilin, Namond had the hood boogers on smash, and I was hoping I saw one of those wigger hustlers on here. well played.

  • Jack

    Random dudes who give rides for money are referred to as hacks in Baltimore. They can be hailed by standing on the street, holding your arm straight out with the index finger pointed straight (horizontal) and the middle finger is down at a 45 degree angle. The hand is then waved towards the ground. A hack is also featured in Season One when Bodie gets out of a car and disputes the fee of the ride, stating “I don’t see no damn meter.”. Basically unregulated freelance taxi service for people who get passed by legitimate taxis and don’t want to tip. Fee is negotiable.

    • Anthony Sykes

      My aunt used to live off Fulton st where Omar’s character lived. Drove her to the grocery one day and one of her friends ran up on my car like “He hackin? I need a ride” Wouldn’t stop bugging until my aunt said that I was her nephew just driving her around and shit for the day.

    • tim805

      The act of obtaining a hack isn’t nearly that technical. Stop trying to sound like some kind of super urban anthropologist.

      All you need to do is stick out your hand and make it obvious that you aren’t waving at a friend. I usually point down with my index finger as if to say “Stop right here”. This works with a legal cab as well. Often, you can just stare the driver down right as they come by slowly or look the part of someone who needs a ride; the hack may be cruising to pick up a fare.

      Right, fee is negotiable. It is beneficial for the passenger to wait to discuss money, for the hack has less leverage as you get closer to your destination. The passenger might need to show the money early, but I wouldn’t pay until we’re pulling up to get out.

      Also, many hacks function more like a more traditional business and wait for customers at specific locations and/or will give you a card with a number to call.

    • Tempest Carter

      They have Hacks in Philly as well. I think in NY they call them something different like Gypsy cabs.

  • drewj

    Great list, needed a pic of kima in her Orlando’s gear, or Orlando himself.

  • Jackson Tyler

    This is an excellent list, with bonus points for being 100% right about Season 5, and especially the destruction of Lester’s character, for being the worst.

  • WhiteMatt

    You put Snoop in their but no mention of babygirl’s badass Scarface hoodie?

  • oh hai mark

    In Baltimore, if you were an executive and black you wore suspenders to work. The more formal the business suit the better. White dudes were always slummin it. Just doing the button up shirt and a jacket.

  • ElfirBFG

    I think ‘serial dramas’ was the term you were looking for, as Twin Peaks was not ‘serious’ in the slightest.

  • Tommy Carcetti

    “hacks” are Baltimore hood taxis. people do just give strangers rides for money in their cars.

  • Tyler

    I always loved Slim Charles’ Helly Hansen ski jacket.

  • David Chase Hawisher

    Every single one of these is horrible.

  • Tempest Carter

    I’ve never met anyone in my life that doesn’t like season 4. That and season 3 is routinly brought up in conversation as people’s favorite season. It’s season 2 that has the love and hate sides.

  • James MrBoombastic Whyte

    yall need to add deangelo barksdale. he was the most stylish

  • Anthony

    DC streetwear was in there too. Slim Charles (AKA Big G from Backyard Band) used to rock We R One all the time. It’s a DC thing UOENO it.

    • Joe

      you know if there is anywhere online to find we r one clothing? seems so niche, even google images doesn’t have anything on it

  • Bakkabak

    LRG is forgotten now?

    Sure it isn’t as proeminent as a couple of years ago but it’s still fresh

  • tamika30

    Recently I was REALLY low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this!!! – aq5x

  • Anon

    You seriously gonna diss how Avon and Stringer dressed? Are you fucking serious!? They were the best dressed on the show. And to say Bubbles was the best dresser? This list has to be a joke, if not, you seriously need to reevaluate your style sense.