Following Kurt Sutter’s recent comments about a possible Sons Of Anarchy prequel, and resulting Internet excitement, it seems that the demand for motorcycle culture on our TV screens has not waned since the series ended in December. There were many things that the FX series taught us: Charlie Hunnam’s ability to be a leading man, even motorcycle gang members have mothers, and how good bike gear can look when done the right way.
To create an authentic aesthetic, costume designer Kelli Jones, who recently worked on Straight Outta Compton, researched some of the most notorious biker gangs (yes, including that one you’re thinking about), and pulled the elements that she liked. Many of the items used were made for the long haul and only improved over time.
“The more they wore something, the better it looked,” says Jones.
Making The Cut
“The cut is the most important piece of clothing,” she explains, referencing the cut-off leather jacket that bikers belonging to motorcycle clubs wear, which is emblazoned with their logo. The cut and vests that Jax, played by Hunnam, wore throughout the show were made by American-based Lil Joes Legendary Leather shop. [The S.O.A. Vest; $280; blackmagicapparel.com]
The leather jacket has become synonymous with bike culture due to its ability to stand up against road rash. The ones you see on the show were picked up at Diesel and All Saints. To give the jackets and cuts that proper beat-up look, Jones and her team would put them through hell for a few days after purchasing. “We’d be out there running them over with our cars. You don’t see guys who really ride wearing shiny new jackets.” [Diesel L-Monike Leather Jacket; $598; diesel.com]
Every guy knows that a well-fitting white tee can go a long way. The men of SAMCRO generally wore Pro Club due to their thicker cotton blend, tighter neck, and resistance to stretching, though Hunnam wore Gildan-brand tees because the fit was particularly good on him. The plaid shirts that he wore were made by Jones herself, from fabric she sourced from downtown Los Angeles. [Gildan 5000 Heavy Cotton T-Shirt; mygildan.com]
Distressed and Destroyed
Leave skinny jeans to the hipster cyclists. For real bikers, it’s all about cuts that are classic, rugged, and comfortable for long rides. Most of the Sons Of Anarchy crew wore the iconic Levi’s collection, including their carpenter jean and 501 shrink-to-fit. In the show, Juice, played by Theo Rossi, mixed it up with the original work pant from Dickies, which stands up against a lot of damage and is resistant to dirt, oil, and tearing. [Levi’s 501 Original Shrink-To-Fit; $68; levi.com]
The Battle Boot
Whether they were kicking the clutch or kicking in heads, the SAMCRO boot of choice was Red Wing Heritage. Jones says the America-founded classic boot, which was designed for work in the Minnesota oil fields more than a century ago, could take the beating and still maintain its structure. [Red Wings Heritage Engineer Boot; $320; redwingheritage.com]
The men of SAMCRO were known to accessorize, and it wasn’t always just a tire iron. The club rings they wore were made custom by a jeweler in Northern California, who is known to design for some of the more notorious biker gangs and unfortunately does not sell retail. But for a similar look, there are a number of talented individuals online, like Mitchell Binder, offering up their wares. [Arch Wing Skull Ring; $670; kingbabystudio.com]
Now all that is missing is the bike. Hunnam prefers his Harley Davidson Dyna Super Glide, but it’s all about finding a ride that feels right. Godspeed.
Kurt Sutter’s new series on FX, The Bastard Executioner, premieres September 15th.