Mad Men Fashions

The Appeal of Mad Men

Critically acclaimed American drama series Mad Men is a nostalgic trip back to the cutthroat world of the advertising industry of the 1960's. Created and produced by Mathew Weiner, the series is set in the fictional Sterling Cooper Ad agency in Madison Avenue New York.

Don Draper, the biggest and best ad man in the business has to work constantly to maintain his position against all the up and coming young blood and he has a tendency to de-stress in the bedroom, not always with his wife.

It's all about a time when society was much less health conscious and politically correct and the series makers have been lauded for their period authenticity and attention to detail.They smoke they drink, the men play alpha male games and the woman swan about elegantly, barely managing to keep the lid on their neurosis.

One of the most interesting aspects of the show are the true-to-period fashions which are cool and sexy, for the guys and the girls. These early 60's clothes are verrrry hip right now and for the females particularly, the lush colours and womanly, sophisticated designs look fabulous.


Big Fan Base

The series has a devoted fanbase -so much so that several Mad Men books have been published in order to satiate the fan's craving for details and titbits. One of the best of these is The Fashion File by Janie Bryant, who is also the costume designer for the show.

The 50s era specialised in voluptuous female fashion
The 50s era specialised in voluptuous female fashion

The Popularity of Vintage Clothes

In fashion terms, retro is bigger than ever. It seems everyone is scouring through thrift shops and checking their Grandmothers trunk in the attic to retrieve those wardrobe treasures from era's past. With a little creativity old and new can be blended together to create unique fashions with a vintage flavour.

The Fashion File offers 'advice, tips and inspiration' from the TV series. Look behind the scenes into the dressing room of Ad Men as Bryant reveals the design process behind the look and offers inspirational advice, packed with detail, on how to achieve your own style -whatever that might be. Style, says Bryant, reveals a woman's personality.

As far as the Ad Men look goes, there's everything in there from pumps and pencil skirts -and the author not only reveals where to find great vintage clothes but also how to mix and match them with modern pieces. Bryant knows her stuff and inside the book you'll find such gems as -how to convey a mood -ten essential items every woman should have -using color to convey mood -and a section on how to transform men into a ball of style.


The Ad Men
The Ad Men
Sleek and sexy is a hallmark of Mad Men office style
Sleek and sexy is a hallmark of Mad Men office style
Check has made a major comeback, thanks to Mad Men style inspirations like the outfit above
Check has made a major comeback, thanks to Mad Men style inspirations like the outfit above
Betty Draper reflects sophisticated, housewife chic
Betty Draper reflects sophisticated, housewife chic

Betty Draper's Style

Betty Draper is one of Mad Men's most fascinating characters to watch, not least because of her crisp and sophisticated wardrobe, which ranges from housewife chic to urban sleek.

As wife to high-powered ad man and philanderer Don Draper, Betty carries a certain neurotic frisson that bubbles beneath the surface of her cool Grace Kelly-like exterior.

Betty's clothes are delectable and the character's unstable personality provides a fascinating contrast to the perfection of her grooming and wardrobe - the delectable but inwardly flawed housewife never reveals a wrinkle in her full skirts or a hair out of place.

The show's creator, Mather Weiner, has said he based the character on the archetypal "Hitchcockian blonde" - cool, beautiful but ultimately as brittle and breakable as an exquisite glass vase.

Author, Janie Bryant

Janie Bryant is an Emmy-award winning costume designer and is responsible for all the fabulous the looks seen on the trendy TV show Mad Men. Bryant has worked on countless films and TV shows and in 2005, she won an Emmy for her period costumes on HBO's Deadwood.In 2010 she won the coveted and prestigious Outstanding Costume Design award from the Costume Designers Guild.

Monica Corcoran

Monica Corcoran Harel is a contributor to the Style section of the New York Times and of the Los Angeles Times magazine. She is a style and culture writer who has reported on fashion, beauty, and celebrity for In Style, Variety, Forbes, and other magazines.



Christina Hendricks as va-va-voom secretary, Joan Harris
Christina Hendricks as va-va-voom secretary, Joan Harris
Excerpt from The Illustrated World
Excerpt from The Illustrated World

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