Has Tom Wambsgans Finally Learned to Dress Like a Roy?

succession style
Has Tom Wambsgans Now Learned to Dress Like a Roy?HBO

Tom Wambsgans delivered one of meanest (and most meme-worthy) burns to date on Succession with his comment earlier in the fourth season about a certain "ludicrously capacious" handbag ("What's even in here, huh? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail?"). But we ought not to forget this is the same guy who, not so long ago, showed up to a billionaires' conference in a Moncler vest so, well, ludicrously capacious, it prompted Roman to quip, "What's it stuffed with, your hopes and dreams?"

The Roys' gift for nasty asides and bitchy repartee is clearly rubbing off. In another recent scene, Tom's mean girl streak continued when, in an attempt to sidle up to Lukas Matsson, he reminded him of that time they bonded over mocking "Sundar's cargo shorts" at Sun Valley (Sundar, presumably as in Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google).

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Vintage Wambsgans, from the first season of Succession.Peter Kramer/HBO

Our Minnesota boy has come a long way, his deeper descent into the Roys' sumptuous pits of depravity mirrored in a wardrobe that has evolved over the years from that of—in Roman's words—"a divorce attorney from the Twin Cities," to something if not exactly Roy-esque, then probably close enough. Take the season 3 finale, which ended with Tom making some impressive Machiavellian moves in Tuscany, his exquisite cream Purple Label suit really giving off Michael Corleone vibes.

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Betrayal cuts deeper in Ralph Lauren.Graeme Hunter/HBO

Sure, season 4 has left him with his only powerful ally in the family dead—and by all accounts his marriage to Shiv too—but at least he looks better than he did three seasons ago. Some changes are more conspicuous than others—gone are those Gordon Gekko suspenders, for example, and his penchant for matching his pocket square to his tie. Others are as subtle as a pinstripe: the better tailoring, the fabric, a little more sotto voce eleganza, or, as we like to say, Low-Key Rich Bitch.

"His suits have gone up by 100% quality," says costume designer Michelle Matland, who T&C last consulted in 2019 to dissect Succession's ultra-rich wardrobes. "He's now wearing Brioni instead of Hickey Freeman. You see a definitive cut, quality, and luxury to his clothing and his shoes. He's trying to look more subtle."

But this is also a show in which no one really knows who they are, what they want, or where they ever stand—except Logan. And even Roman, who has remained true to his style since day 1: "For all his damage, he knows himself well," Matland says. "He was always his father's stalwart son." As for the rest, their sartorial choices reflect their lack of self-awareness. See: Shiv's questionable outfits, Kendall's gold chains and Gucci bombers, Greg pretending to be important.

Even Greg, Tom’s long-suffering fixer-taskrabbit-protégé, has gotten a sartorial upgrade.Macall B. Polay/HBO

For Tom (played brilliantly by Matthew Macfadyen), making snarky judgments about a bit player's handbag is his way of taking back some power and feeling like he has an iota of control. For a brief moment in time this season, he peaked: he was Logan's inside man, chief of the most powerful news organization in the country, and (sort of) starting to stand up for himself in his marriage. "There has certainly been a great evolution from the guy—he has been given entrée into the inner circle and has become kind of a snob on the other side," Matland says.

But can the skin of a middle class striver be so easily shed? Not quite. Tom may always just be Tom. "He has definitely given up a lot of the aesthetic ridiculousness but he still gives into his natural instinct for posturing," she says. "Now that he's in the inner circle, he doesn't quite know what to do with it. He's still trying to find himself. He isn't a complete identity yet." At least Tom can find comfort in the fact that on Succession, no one is.

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Plus ça change?Claudette Barius/HBO

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