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New Jersey woman goes viral for ‘mob-wife aesthetic,’ prompting women to strut flashy fashion

“Wake up, Henry.”

An Italian-American woman from New Jersey may be the brains behind the social media trend dubbed the “mob-wife aesthetic” — a now-viral event that has women posting their fearless style choices inspired by female characters featured in mafia films.

Sarah Arcuri, a social media influencer and author of the novel, “The Owner & The Wife,” posts under the handle @TheSweetPaisana on Instagram and TikTok. That’s where she’s been at the forefront of the style-sharing craze.

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“I think I did start it,” Acuri said with a laugh. 

“Truthfully, I don’t know where I got the term ‘mob-wife aesthetic,'” she said.

Sarah Arcuri mob wife aesthetic split

Sarah Arcuri, who posts under the handle @TheSweetPaisana, shares videos and photos of women who show off their best mob-wife-inspired looks with her on Intagram and TikTok. (Sarah Arcuri/Instagram @TheSweetPaisana)

“I think it’s a combination of two things. Number one is the fashion. I call it a return of bold, loud, ’80s glam. It’s also coupled with this attitude of mob wives being fearless [and] bold.”

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Acuri’s posts have attracted millions of fans who share their own mob-wife aesthetic, many of them drawing inspiration from fictional or real-life mob wives who were portrayed by actors in films.

Sharon Stone played Ginger McKenna in the 1995 film, “Casino.” Her character donned gowns, furs and jewels. Viewers witnessed her style evolution as the movie progressed. (Universal Pictures/Getty Images)

“We have Connie Corleone and Kay’s style [from ‘The Godfather’] and by contrast, Ginger from ‘Casino.’ She’s kind of ’60s glam with the jewels and dresses,” Acuri told Fox News Digital

“Carmela Soprano — she’s known for her French nails, her jewelry, sort of dressing business-casual,” she added.

James Gandolfini appears in a scene as Tony Soprano alongside Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano in HBO’s hit television series, “The Sopranos.” Carmela often wore tracksuits, blazers and gold jewelry. (HBO)

“What’s fun about this trend is it can go [in any] direction. If you choose one mob wife to draw inspiration [from] and make it your own, it’s not going to be a carbon copy of how someone else interprets the trend,” Acuri said.

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In Oct. 2023, Acuri posted a step-by-step guide on how to dress like a mob wife. 

The video garnered nearly 1 million views.

“It was satire, it was fun,” she said. “The sound bite went viral.”

She then started to notice that her mob-wife aesthetic videos from 2022 were trending. 

“Now it’s blown up. It’s been in every news outlet. It’s totally taken over.”

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Acuri’s Instagram Highlights feature women embracing the mob-wife aesthetic, which means fur coats, flashy jewelry, animal prints, leather jackets and glamorous makeup. 

She calls it “The Mob Wife Movement.”

Actors Michael Imperioli and Drea De Matteo appear in a scene from the HBO TV series, “The Sopranos.” De Matteo’s character, Adriana La Cerva, was famous for wearing animal prints, volumized hair and gold jewelry. (Anthony Neste/Getty Images)

“It’s all the girls that have been tagging me [for] their mob-wife looks. Real women feel empowered by this trend,” Acuri said.

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Users have offered their takes on the mob-wife aesthetic and Acuri’s “movement,” with some women saying they’ve “been dressing like this forever.”

Acuri said that some social media users criticize the “mob-wife aesthetic” movement for glorifying crime and the women whose men were members of the mafia. She said she stands by her posts, and that women are just trying to have fun with “unapologetic” fashion and bold styles. (Sarah Arcuri/Instagram @TheSweetPaisana)

“I’ve been living in mob glam for probably 40 years,” one woman wrote.

“Mob-wife winter is upon us,” another woman commented.

“Carmela Soprano could not be reached for comment,” another user joked.

Followers either draw inspiration from films, or say this is their regular style and have “always” dressed in outfits that would fall under the category of the “mob-wife aesthetic,” said Acuri. Here, actress Lorraine Bracco appears in a scene from the 1990 crime thriller, “Goodfellas.” (Maximum Film/Alamy Stock Photo)

“And please tell me what is wrong with this — ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! From a PA Italian woman,” another woman commented.

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Acuri pointed out that some people do criticize the mob-wife aesthetic trend.

They say it may be glorifying a life of crime and glorifying women who “deal with terrible things” — like knowing their husbands make a living through organized crime and dealings with the American Mafia.

“I think what’s cool about ‘Goodfellas’ [is] it goes from the ‘50s to the ’80s,” Acuri said, adding that viewers see an interesting style evolution of the character Karen Hill, wife of Henry Hill. (Maximum Film/Alamy Stock Photo)

“I disagree with that,” Acuri said. 

“It’s not at all glorifying what their husbands do. It has nothing to do with the husbands or their activities. This is all about the energy of the wife who runs their home, and they have this strong energy.”

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She added, “And that’s what I see through the women who are tagging me. That is what they’re embodying through this trend.”

Acuri is the author of the Italian-American novel titled, “The Owner & The Wife,” published in May 2023. (Sarah Arcuri/Instagram @TheSweetPaisana)

Some users argued that the mob-wife aesthetic attaches specific cultures to the mob, but Acuri said the mob-wife aesthetic has little to do with the mob itself.

“Instead, it is a fashion trend encapsulating old-fashioned glamour and bold statement pieces, coupled with the strong, fearless, unapologetic attitude that many fictional and real-life ‘mob wives’ exude.

“Italian-American girls in the tri-state area kind of always dressed like this, [but] you don’t have to be Italian-American to dress like this,” Acuri told Fox News Digital. (Sarah Arcuri/Instagram @TheSweetPaisana)

Acuri stressed that no one should be excluded from the movement.

She said she enjoys keeping it fun and positive for every woman involved.

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“Where you live and grew up and your heritage and background — I think that has a lot to do with how you dress. Italian-American girls in the tri-state area kind of always dressed like this, [but] you don’t have to be Italian-American to dress like this,” Acuri said.

Anyone can read more about the mob-wife aesthetic on Acuri’s blog at the sweetpaisana.com.

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