Extremely Smooth Criminals: The Most Stylish Mugshots From the 1920s

Photos from an era where even mugshots were treated with respect.

Images courtesy of the Sydney Police and Justice Museum.

We won't sit here and bemoan the death of formal culture, but it's hard not to miss a bygone era when even common criminals looked this good.

A group of mugshots taken in Australia in the 1920s and '30s has been making the rounds since they were discovered and digitized in 2011. But Sydney's Justice and Police Museum continues to explore the archive—which includes over 2,500 photographs made from glass-plate negatives of criminals and crime scenes—and put more of its findings online and on view in its exhibits.

Not one of the guys in these photos seems to have left the house without a hat, tie, waistcoat, or a seriously well-tailored pair of perfectly creased trousers. Or swagger. They all look more like they came from the haberdasher than from a crime scene. The photos are remarkable on their own, but they stand out in even sharper relief when you compare them to more current "hot" mug shots.

A look at photos from the evolving collection you may not have seen, below.

vintage-mugshot-7.jpg

Images courtesy of the Sydney Police and Justice Museum.

vintage-mugshot-1.jpg

Images courtesy of the Sydney Police and Justice Museum.

vintage-mugshot-2.jpg

Images courtesy of the Sydney Police and Justice Museum.

vintage-mugshot-3.jpg

Images courtesy of the Sydney Police and Justice Museum.

vintage-mugshot-4.jpg

Images courtesy of the Sydney Police and Justice Museum.

vintage-mugshot-5.jpg

Images courtesy of the Sydney Police and Justice Museum.

vintage-mugshot-6.jpg

Images courtesy of the Sydney Police and Justice Museum.

—Details associate online style editor Justin Fenner.

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