The Sopranos 2 – costume and characters

Continued from previous post…

The next main woman in Tony’s life is Dr Jennifer Melfi, his psychiatrist. Dr Melfi has a complex relationship with Tony as she balances her thrill, curiosity and intrigue at his lifestyle, that is so beyond her upper middle-class existence, with her simultaneous disgust for how he operates. As an intimate yet professional relationship, this one is tricky.


Dr Melfi’s costumes are professional and tasteful suits. Suits, and corporate wardrobes in general, are a kind of uniform or armour that we wear to a workplace when it is not approachable to reveal too much of ourselves. They are largely impersonal; clothes we can hide behind. By wearing suits, which are often, but not always, buttoned up, Dr Melfi is protecting herself and laying a professional boundary down between herself and her client. Note too, that she is the only female character who wears glasses, which in the late nineties and early 2000s, was not considered the fashion statement they are today.


Dr Melfi is underneath her professional exterior, a woman with complex and contradictory feelings for her client and by mostly wearing skirts (not trousers) that reveal her shapely legs as she sits opposite her client, the audience gets just a hint of Dr Melfi’s sensual side. This is also hinted at via her tasteful, minimal makeup.


Adriana is probably the most diametrically opposed character to Dr Melfi. Adriana grew up immersed in the mafia world, embraced it and became the mobster’s dream girl. She is shallow and materialistic and unlike Carmela, is not afraid to flaunt it. She has no need or desire to maintain an air of middle class respectability. Rather she is having as much fun as she can and is not afraid to show it.


Perhaps one of her most symbolic outfits is the skin tight, tiger striped catsuit with the hipster belt. It’s out there, it’s sexy, it’s playful, it’s adventurous, it’s noticeable and it doesn’t even pretend to conform to mainstream, conservative fashion. Just like Adriana. Other examples are the numerous dresses she wears that are both short and tight as well as revealing lots of cleavage. And if they’re high shine, all the better. Her makeup is heavy, her jewellery is abundant and her hair is that of the stereotypical glamour girl – long and wavy, making it clear that she loves being desirable in a man’s world.


Next week: Janice, Livia and Meadow

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