Thursday, December 26, 2013

Inspiration: Mad Men's Ladies

Like many of you, I’ve become completely hooked by Mad Men. If you haven't watch any episode, start watching. It's beyond brilliant. All the details are convincing, the storyline is compelling and the characters evolve gradually through many seasons, so you can learn A LOT about the 1960s: birth control issues (how embarrassing it was to ask a doctor for a diaphragm if you were not married), the beat generation, John Kennedy, housekeeping, Martin Luther King, Cold War, Vietnam, women's rights, the (not-so-)glamourous advertising industry in New York, LSD... I could go on and on.

I am smitten with this decade's sense of style, apart from the Woodstock hippie gowns, of course. Mad Men portrays lifestyle at an ad agency, accurately in its re-creation, writing and design *applause*.  Besides all the advertising, Don Draper, drama and drinking, Mad Men features a set of memorable outfits, underlining the spirit and soul of the corporate world of the time, the groovy vibes, contributing to a retro throwback at its best, in all its charm and glory. 
Endless long drinks, cigarette smoke, love affairs, cocktail parties and the right amount of scandal.

Janie Bryant is the one responsible for the costume design and a big bravo! to her. She has done a great job at reviving the 60's atmosphere in this TV show by elaborating an incredible wardrobe, extending from the basic, classic pencil skirt to the floral and pastel frocks often seen in housewives. Slim pants team up with angora jumpers for a "sweater girl" look. Heels are not too high and usually display squared or rounded toes.
For an authentic look, opt for tan tights instead of black. Stockings actually, for the office vixen/sultry librarian style. When it comes to accessorizing, printed scarves tie around the neck, pearls and gold jewellery do wonders for women, really.

The prim and proper wardrobe of Betty Draper is an obsession for perfection. This ice cold lady is indeed classy and glamourous when she's in the mood for it. Picture a chain-smoker Hitchcockian blondie in pearls, simultaneously a disturbed, tedious and frustrated housewife, and also a sophisticated suburban ex-model who wears glorious pastel and floral dresses, or slim pants and knitwear. She balances class, simplicity, elegance and grace in almost every outfit. Hence, the comparison to Grace Kelly. She is somewhat traditional and very feminine, as you can tell by her Stepford Wife-style 1950's flared dresses. She's a bit childish, still daddy's little girl, also very well-mannered and always up for a tea party.
Some of her frocks are jaw-dropping gorgeous. Not to mention the pretty accessories: delicate bracelets, pearl necklaces, silky gloves, chic bags, charming sunglasses - she's such a Diva in the suburbia!
She is mentally unstable but most of the time she manages to hide it well, pulling on the picture of the perfect happy family with a smile and a Coke. Over the years, we see her style mature to a more Jackie Kennedy sort of aesthetics and less Hollywood Starlet. She even colours her hair darker but that's another story.

I love Peggy Olson, she's such an interesting character. This clever copy writer struggles her way out, moving to NY and spending more time in the office than at her own place. Work might as well be her concept of home. I like her style: smart, pretty, schoolgirl-like at first. She has a penchant for polka dots, cute prints, pretty Peter Pan collars and preppy frocks. Her wardrobe progresses as quickly as her career at Sterling Cooper. The changes she has gone throughout the seasons are reflected in her evolving sense of style. She followed Joan's advice and stopped dressing like an old-fashioned naïf librarian/little girl (which I actually loved!) so she could be taken seriously, so later on, she is often seen in respectable, modern outfits. A-line skirts, classy yet colourful blouses, classic mod jackets... Her transformation was gradual though. Peggy is such a role model, the secretary-turned-copywriter in a competitive world ruled by men... She's a self-made woman, she made it! Men usually only admire for her brain, not for her body, but that means her looks are just a detail compared to her brilliant talent and hard work.

Get the Look: Peggy Olson

Office queen bee, ginger bombshell Joan Holloway is the voluptuous redhead that makes every man's head turn towards her. I didn't really liked her at first and honestly didn't understand all the fuss about her curvy body but in the fifth season, I felt this huge admiration for her, for everything she has done for Sterling Cooper, all her sacrifices and strength... I thought "She's a tough one. She shouldn't be hated.".
Her look is confident, powerful, seductive but not cheap, with a wide range of pencil skirts that emphasize her curves, yet all very decent.
Joanie is like a red-haired version of Marilyn Monroe but don't you ever think she's just a dumb femme fatale. She's actually very sharp, honest and experienced, giving everyone the most remarkable advice. She makes the best out of her assets and no one rocks a red tight dress like she does.
Get the Look: Joan Holloway

Don Draper is a lucky man! Take a look at his second wife (or third, if we consider Anna Draper...). She is young, beautiful, cool and sophisticated. She has that nice sort of European look. Gold jewellery, classy hairstyling, big sunglasses and a sexy attitude in a short dress. Megan Draper (born Megan Calvet) has a French fresh beauty and balances class with a bohemian look. She's trendy, fashionable and modern. There is a mid-60s go-go groove in this woman, I can sense that. She embraces her effortless chic look, wearing vibrant prints, yet not too flashy. You either love her or hate her, and I love her. I find her conflicted emotions very relatable actually. She wants to be an actress, she enjoys a bit of S&M, she's both chic and carefree, she doesn't behave like Don expects her to behave (he tries hard to tame her though), she sang a cover of Zou Bisou Bisou spectacularly... What's not to love about Megan?
Get the Look: Megan Draper

Sally Draper grew up a lot in season five - go-go boots and mod frocks galore! Pleated skirts, adorable cardigans, lovely collars... Her outfits display her charisma so perfectly! This (precocious) little girl always wears the most inspiring clothes, seriously.
Get the Look: Sally Draper

To be honest, I never liked Trudy. I feel sorry for her though. She is the quintessential American housewife. Perfect housekeeper, lovely wife. So it seems. She's a cupcake, more than a muffin. She is a tad too sweet for my taste, because she doesn't challenge trends at all, she just follows them and tries what it's flattering and that's it. I like her pastel outfits, they look good on her. She's a sucker for florals, colour, candy hues and all things pretty. Nothing too scandalous or revealing, if you know what I mean. If she wasn't so annoying, she would be boring. Maybe it's just her voice I cannot stand. Or her pathetic husband.
Get the Look: Trudy Campbell

Here are some extra sources of inspiration and female characters I didn't have the opportunity to mention, such as Jane Sterling, Rachel Menken, Hildy, Sylvia Rosen and many others... All of them, naturally, somehow connected to Don Draper.

The End


  1. adoro a série, mas quando começou a entrar nos anos 60 deixei de ver. tenho de voltar a ver ;)

  2. I was a fan of the earlier seasons of Mad Men and just lost touch of the most recent episodes! I think I might need to catch up because their are some new faces that inspire intrigue. Thank you for compiling this collection I adore the fashion featured in the series! XO's

  3. Adorei este post! Nunca vi Mad Men, mais pela minha incapacidade de me manter atenta a séries do que pela série em si, mas as roupas (e a Joan, que é linda como tudo) dão-me vontade de começar.


  4. Nunca vi esta série. O facto de ter por base uma agência de publicidade - MAJOR hangup para mim - fez logo com que não conseguisse sequer pensar em ir ver. O The Hour quase que foi pelo mesmo caminho por se passar nos bastidores de um noticiário de televisão - outro major hangup para mim, mas não tão mau.

  5. Bolas! Até fiquei cansada de ver tanta mulher!...:-)

  6. Mad men é mesmo uma inspiração!! Principalmente o guarda roupa :) Adoro o estilo da Peggy!!

  7. *sobbing* I'll never have these ;_;
    Mas bom trabalho, post bem feito e nota-se trabalho :)

  8. Uma das minhas séries favoritas... Mad Men! No inicio também não gostava da Joan but then awwww... Adorei o episódio em que cantou a C'est Magnifique tho.. E a Megan com a Zou Bisou Bisou nooossa!
    Que Mad Men dure para sempre *tchin tchin*!

  9. Joan, sem dúvida, é a melhor em relação a estilo (opinião pessoal) :)
    xoxo, Rii ♡

  10. Ahh such wonderful outfits <3 I only ever watched a couple of episodes but I'll need to get back into it some day! Love a little bit of everyone's style :) xx

  11. é uma série que já ando para ver à imenso tempo, gosto especialmente do toque vintage do guarda roupa das mulheres.

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