How to Create a Godfather Costume

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Don Vito Corleone created a dapper look and style easy to emulate in costume.
Don Vito Corleone created a dapper look and style easy to emulate in costume. (Image: Matt Stroshane/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

If you want to go to a costume party as the toughest Mafioso guy of them all, emulate Marlon Brando in "The Godfather." To create your costume, gather inexpensive items from thrift stores or consignment shops for an authentic touch. Leave nothing to chance and get a mouthpiece similar to the one Brando wore or stuff your cheeks with cotton balls as he did when he auditioned for the part. The extended cheeks gave him a more menacing "bulldog" look, one Brando felt suited Don Vito Corleone.

Things You'll Need

  • "The Godfather" movie
  • Ventless cran necker tuxedo jacket
  • Black tuxedo pants with satin stripes
  • Plain white bib stiff shirt
  • Non-adjustable black bow tie
  • Satin edged waistcoat
  • Glass shirt studs and cufflinks
  • Black dress socks
  • Black leather shoes
  • Black homburg hat
  • Red rosebud
  • Silver wedding band
  • Fancy-looking silver wristwatch
  • Cotton balls

Watch at least the first few scenes of "The Godfather" movie to get a feel for how Don Vito Corleone dresses for his daughter's wedding. Brando's character in the film created an iconic image of how a Mafia godfather looks.

Locate a black vintage tuxedo to replicate the one Brando wore to his daughter's wedding in the movie. The first movie spans the years from 1945 to 1955, so a tuxedo from this era -- or one that resembles a tuxedo from this period -- provides the most authentic costume. If you can't find a whole tuxedo, use individual parts that replicate his outfit.

Put on a ventless jacket similar to the one Brando wore. The jacket of Brando's tuxedo was single-breasted, with satin faced and edged collars on the lapels. The type of lapel of Brando's suit, a cran necker lapel, has a cutaway and a gap on the lapel just below the shoulder about sternum height, which then broadens to a wider lapel. The jacket's hip pockets are welted, and its arms contain three buttons on each cuff.

Wear a starched and stiff plain white front bib shirt that has a detachable wingtip collar and arms with single cuffs. Wear glass shirt studs to replicate the diamond ones fitting of a Mafioso boss.

Put on a full-backed black waistcoat with satin edges over the shirt, slim shawl lapels, and three buttons fastened only at the top half of the vest.

Step into formal black trousers with standard-hemmed bottoms and a distinct, but sharp center crease, with satin stripes down each leg. Tuxedo trousers of the '40s style might appear a bit baggier, so opt for tuxedo trousers with some room.

Dress up the tuxedo with a non-adjustable black bow tie and diamond replica cufflinks. Black dress socks and black leather shoes finish the ensemble.

Add a classy-looking wristwatch and a single silver wedding band, as a Godfather is usually married with children and many relatives.

Attach a single red rosebud to the left lapel. When outdoors, wear a black homburg to complete the outfit.

Avoid smiling when in costume. The Godfather kept a serious look on his face, except when around close family members. Practice the sentence, "I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse," and other well-known Vito Corleone quotes.

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