September 12, 2010

Going Mad for SCDP, and Looking Like I Stepped Off the Set

It is no secret that I love AMC's Mad Men. My parents would have flashbacks about their own parents either watching this, wearing that, or using some such item. Seriously if I were an older woman I would be stalking Jon Hamm. The picture on the right was from this season's episode three, "The Good News". Tailored suit and Ray Bans? Oh, Mr. Draper :swooning noises:

I am obsessed with this show, enough to start hunting down outfits that match the look and feel of such a stylish time. Fortunately there are places like Etsy to find some fabulous dressmakers with keen attention to detail.

Here's some tips from my own experience trying to make my wardrobe vintage inspired. For the stylists out there it's nothing you haven't heard form people like Tim Gunn, Janie Bryant, and obviously Stacey and Clinton.
  1. Find a role model, and pinpoint what you like about him or her. - For me that was easy. My boyfriend (and legions of men really) oogles Christina Hendricks. So I asked him, what about Joan did he really, er, admire? "That red dress," was his answer. That basically translated to wiggle dresses and tailored skirts. I like those things and totally do-able with a curvy figure.
  2. As far as clothing: Less is more. Career women of the time only had about 4-5 outfits every season or two. That means those dresses and cute blouses are used over and over again. Clothes were once made to last. So save up. You really don't need get every sale item from Old Navy. Pay a little more for those well-made pieces that can withstand more than one season of wear and tear.
  3. As far as accessories: Follow grandma's accessory rule. Before you leave, look in the mirror. For a day look you can often add one accessory (put on brighter earrings or a sweet necklace) before you leave. For a night look you take off one accessory (not all 10 bangles on your arm if you insist on that cocktail ring).
  4. Quadruple check your measurements. In fact go to a tailor or seamstress and have them measure you out. Store sizes lie, but a good tape measure does not. Keep copies of these measurements with you, even archived in an e-mail. You can turn to these specs for both customized dress orders and vintage finds.

So are we ready?


Dress can be purchased here:
Gadsden Street Dress in Aqua

Betty was born about a decade too late raised with values just as dated. Raised as a pretty princess, went to good schools, a fashion model in her single days, and now living the apex of the American Dream. Even when she was at home she always looked flawless. One of those 50s housewives come to life.

Her outfits are always perfect, don't you think? But there's a secret to nearly all of her dresses: Pattern and texture. Whether it's a subtle flower print dress when she's out or that satin smoking robe she wears at home. The right detail does all the work for you.

And her makeup is equally flawless. She probably had an airbrush hidden in her compact. She also has the perfect lipstick for every occasion. With her striking ice blue eyes her look is balanced out with her lipstick. You may have another (cheaper) brand that works for your skin tone, but make it a mission to find a lipstick what you (and that opinionated makeup consultant of yours) love. I found NARS lipstick have shades of red that don't make me look like I ate strawberries all day.

Pearls seem old fashioned, something that your grandma's grandma's grandma wore. But that's Betty. Classic, gorgeous, flawless. A pearl necklace is all of those things without being flashy and over the top.


Dress can be purchased here:
50s wiggle dress with shirred bodice

Joan proved that you didn't need to show skin to have power in the work place. Early in the show, Joan favored the boat neck dresses and turtle neck tops. Very high necklines. Only this season have we seen Joan in a V neck dress.

Her outfits are often a statement color with one outstanding detail. Red, magenta, true blue, purple. A bold ruffle, an over sized brooch, a gold pen necklace. Compared to other characters she is the most under dressed. Her curves are statement enough.

Her underthings have enough architectural structure to build a skyscraper. Granny panties, wired bra, girdle, snaps. Sounds like your wedding day or prom? This is Joan's everyday.

Somehow her bags and shoes are conservative. A small black bag and black pumps.


Dress can be purchased here:
Bow goes from neck to tush, Gray Pencil Skirt Dress Keyhole Attached Scarf Purple Bow

Peggy is the prototype of the modern woman. She's independent, ambitious, and never afraid to change her look. Maybe I shouldn't say never. She got quite a shock when that European consultant lopped off her good girl ponytail. I think she's really blossomed as far as her look. The most fashion forward of the female characters, and taking professional risks her male counterparts wouldn't dare try.

I identify with Peggy of the three Mad Men ladies. A twenty-something trying to find a place in the world. In season 1 she looked like she was stuck in the 1950s. A blouse, a scarf, a high-waisted school girl skirt. I wore all of that in Catholic school. Yuck.

Post-haircut she started embracing the modern. Ideals, revolutions, and of course, fashion. This is when we start seeing bold patterns in otherwise plain outfits. We catch glimpses of the Mod movement in ever decreasing hem lengths.

Peggy keeps her makeup and accessories almost non-existent. She would rather have her actions make all of the statements for her. It was a nice touch that the stylists had Peggy slowly figure out how to play with her bob haircut. There were a few style disasters there. And I began to realize she's trying to be Mary Tyler Moore, sans the divorcing Dick van Dyke part.

Will we see Peggy in paisleys, tie-dyes, and flowy skirts? It's only 1965. It's just a little too soon to tell.

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