Get The Look is back to study the impeccable sixties fashions of the hit 2007 TV show Mad Men, a cult classic that still has a devoted following today for its near-obsessive period accuracy and styling. The show revolves around a Madison Avenue advertising agency, unravelling at a slow and deliberate pace throughout each of its seven seasons to develop each character the audience encounters. This slow-burn construction and – of course – the incredible sets, clothes and fashion, make Mad Men a must-watch for any vintage aficionado.
In this guide we’ll take a look at the distinctive styles of four popular Mad Men characters and consider how to best emulate their iconic fashions.
We would be remiss to not begin our guide without discussing the leading man and style icon of 1960s mens fashion: Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm. Readers who have seen the show will know him for his signature grey suit, but let’s drill down into what specific details, cuts and accessories create the Don Draper look.
Don Draper’s grey suits are single breasted, have single back vents, two-button fastenings, and slim notch lapels, which is characteristic of that 50s and 60s American suit style made accessible by brands like Brooks Brothers. It’s a style that’s tapered at the waist to give a very masculine, V-shaped silhouette. Don also selects only modest patterns on his suits, as would have been appropriate for the office at the time. You can browse our selection of vintage suits to see if we have anything currently in stock that matches Don’s criteria.
Don almost invariably wears a crisp white shirt with his suits – going so far as to keep spare starched white shirts in his office to change, if need be. Don favours a French cuff, a half-inch of which often shows beyond his suit cuff, showcasing simple and classic cufflinks. Our own spearpoint collar shirt with French cuffs would be an excellent choice in emulating this element of his look. We also have a range of true vintage and reproduction cufflinks to peruse, with plenty of more subdued options befitting Don's refined style.
Don finishes with a skinny tie, as was the fashion of the 1960s, and is never without a simple white pocket square.
Don Draper’s look is all about small details that come together to build an iconic and recognisable style that carries him throughout most of the show, though very occasionally Don can be seen wearing sixties plaid sport jackets, or a more casual shirt and slacks outside of work, in the suburbs.
Don Draper’s sardonic boss, Roger Sterling, has a distinct style that reflects his higher position in the company and his own personality in the office. This consists of bolder and brasher double-breasted suits with wide lapels. Roger springs for patterned ties and less understated cufflinks, which gives him a distinctive style apart from Don’s that remains identifiable throughout the show.
Our new Deliverance suit, a replica of an original Monty Burton suit originally produced a few decades earlier, still has all of the hallmarks of Roger’s style. The Deliverance’s double-breasted jacket has incredible wide peak lapels and a four-button front fastening: the navy colourway would surely be to Roger’s taste, as an emerging flashier choice for officewear in the 60s than traditional greys and blacks. The jacket also has a handkerchief pocket, as Roger, like Don, is rarely without a pocket square.
We couldn't write this article without mentioning the incredible 1960s womens fashion worn by Christina Hendricks' character. Joan's fashion style, as with all the clothing on Mad Men, is perfectly crafted to reflect her character and experiences: fans and critics have noted the floral patterns on her clothing which bloom and wilt according to how Joan's love life is faring, as well as the phallic symbolism of her iconic gold pen necklace.
For Joan's wardrobe, Mad Men's costume designer Janie Bryant looked to Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner, and Jayne Mansfield, inspired by their "classic hourglass shape". Particularly in the early seasons, Joan favours more tightly fitted dresses in warm hues, to clash against the bright white office. If you want to emulate Joan's look, choose a wiggle dress, a pair of nude stockings or tights, and gold jewellery.
Peggy undoubtedly has the most dramatic style evolution during the course of the show. It makes her style choices in later seasons feel even more dynamic, and reflective of her journey from an insecure graduate typist to an unafraid corporate trailblazer. While Peggy begins the show wearing muted colours, and long, somewhat unflattering dresses - thrown into harsh contrast against Joan's outfits - by its conclusion she wears bright and bold patterns, and has a short, modern haircut to reflect her new confidence.
To emulate Peggy's changed style, we've selected a red check dress with a cute contrast collar, and a pair of sunglasses, as well as a messenger bag from our men's leather goods section, as we're certain Peggy would find it a more practical choice than a handbag.
We hope you've enjoyed this examination of Mad Men's incredible fashion and characters. Even if you aren't set on directly replicating any looks from the show, there's no denying that Mad Men is an incredible source of vintage fashion inspiration, with a dedication to period accuracy rarely seen on television. If you are planning on dressing up like one of the show's ensemble we would love to see your pictures - feel free to tag us on social media (@revivalvintageuk). Let us know which vintage fashion icon or onscreen style icon you'd like to see us cover next!
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