The Style of Mad Men

21 Mar

If you are anything like us (and let’s face it, you are), you are positively giddy in anticipation of Sunday’s long-awaited return of the team at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and all the intrigue and style they bring along with them.

Even if you weren’t on the bandwagon when Mad Men changed the face of network television (and single-handedly brought back the skinny tie), you are doubtless familiar with the enigma that is Don Draper, the concept of sexy, sexy 1960s advertising, and of course, the stunning Christina Hendricks.

While the show has often teetered on the edge of chauvinism while addressing the environment of a 1960s New York workplace, the leading ladies of Mad Men have left a distinguished mark on not only the sexual revolution of the 60s but on embodiments of femininity and style that are as timeless as they are inspiring.

While the guidelines of being a woman may have been redefined many times over since the days of office martinis and jovial sexism, we can all take a leaf from the women of the Mad Men universe when it comes to personal style – both in our wardrobes and in our demeanor.

Betty (Draper) Francis

“You don’t kiss boys.  They kiss you.”

The former Mrs. Draper is not always the most reliable of role-models.  From her tantrums to at least one fowl-related killing spree, Betty is the embodiment of the repressed housewife that populated 1960s suburbia.

She is a cookie-cutter example of the frustrated and unsatisfied housewives whose stories inspired The Feminine Mystique, which is largely believed to have led to the second-wave feminism of the 60s.

While Betty manages unexpected pregnancy, divorce, and a truly infuriating husband, she retains a learned quality of poise and reservation that gives her an air of class and invincibility.

If you need a little Betty in your life to face your current challenges, consider some of her staple style – sophisticated and pristine, like this three piece suit with a mink collar.  You won’t find a more stylish suit of armor.

Peggy Olson

“I’m Peggy Olson, and I want to smoke some marijuana”

Oh, Peggy.  How far you’ve come!

It’s hard to even associate the present Peggy from the days of those horrible bangs and all that drama with Pete.

Peggy is a modern girl who isn’t looking to get married, isn’t content to stay a secretary, and isn’t fetching your damn coffee, thank you very much.

Peggy’s break through into the boys’ club of the advertising industry to a respected member of the creative team is empowering and fun to watch.  Her social and sexual exploits of being young and single in the city are also groundbreaking for her era and require a level of spunk and courage that we all could use a little of in our day-t0-day, whether it’s getting up the nerve to pitch an idea to the boss or approaching a man at a stylish rooftop party.

Peggy’s (newfound) style is understated and professional, generally with a pop of color.  For authentic 60s pieces with Peggy’s flare, try a bright, beaded top over a neutral skirt and shirtwaist dresses with a bit of flare in the skirt to retain a wholesome – yet respectable – shape.

Joan (Holloway) Harris

“I said congratulations, didn’t I? Although, sometimes when people get what they want they realize how limited their goals were.”

Those curves!  That hair!  The strut!  There’s no use denying that Joan isn’t the embodiment of sexuality, all wrapped up in bright colors and a saucy wit.

Joan is a woman who understands the rules and makes sure the world sees her adhering to them, even if they break her damn heart.  (See: losing the script-reviewing job, marrying the biggest jerk on earth).

While sometimes her concession to the male hierarchy of the times is wrenching and difficult to watch, she has a resilience to her that makes it impossible to believe she’ll be brought down for long.

Her unbridled sensuality and confidence have made her character an absolute staple to the Mad Men universe, gotten her elected the sexiest woman in the world, and has created a style icon across decades and Hollywood body presumptions.

While there can only be one Joan Holloway, you can imitate her fashion sense and her poise with well fitted, bright garments like this tailored wiggle dress and this structured bright red number.  And remember, chin up and shoulders back, speak softly and keep it covered or you’ll never be a true Joan.

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