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How to dress like Paul Kinsey on Mad Men

Updated on May 21, 2011

Style for the heavyset man

Paul Kinsey is not like Don Draper or Roger Sterling or Pete Campbell. He's a considerably larger man, and larger men cannot simply dress the same as their thinner counterparts. If he wore a form-fitting suit like Don Draper he'd look bulgy and weird. He needs to wear suits that better suit his body, and he does so to perfection.

At the beginning of the series, and particularly season 1, Kinsey wears styles that are generally associated with the conservative 1950's. Kinsey, a proud liberal from Princeton, will break away from that in the later seasons and explore some more contemporary fashions of the 1960's, including at one point wearing a neckerchief, which today is generally only worn by fashion-forward gay men but at the time was becoming very mainstream.

Let's take a look at a few of the things that define Paul Kinsey's style: 

The sack suit

Usually when you hear the term sack suit it's meant to be derogatory. Not so when we're talking about Paul Kinsey. He wears a sack suit, and he wears it well. A sack suit does not taper in at the mid-section, so it fits the form of a full-figured person like Kinsey much better. Luckily for him and any other large men, many off-the-rack suits are actually shaped just right for them. Hugo Boss and Brooks Brothers in particular are known for making quality suits for larger gentlemen.  

While I'm sure Paul Kinsey's suits are tailored (he is working on Madison Avenue, after all), the fact is most large-but-not-too-large men like him can find a lot of suits that will fit them and will need very few corrections from the tailor.  

Single-breasted, open jacket

One way Kinsey makes himself look slimmer is by wearing 2 or 3 button single-breasted jackets and almost always having them open. By avoiding 3-piece suits or double-breasted jackets he doesn't put as much fabric around his gut, which would tend to make a man of his size appear even more rotund. By having the jacket open and having jackets with deep folded lapels he creates a narrow focus up the middle of his body up to his face that takes the eye away from his waistline.  

Brown, brown, and more brown

If there is one color that is a staple of Paul Kinsey's wardrobe it's brown. Although he does sometimes wear navy suits, he is often seen wearing some shade a brown suit with a white shirt and a tie with elements of brown in it, and of course brown shoes. This color suits him well, as he has brown hair and in later seasons sports a brown beard that seems to go perfectly with his wardrobe.  

Paul Kinsey explores new fashions

In later seasons of Mad Men, Kinsey starts to be more creative with his fashion choices. In one scene we see him at a party wearing what appears to be some form of brown tweed jacket with a light blue dress shirt underneath. Remember that brown and blue are generally colors that compliment each other well, and they are a lot less boring that black/navy blue and white.

Sometimes Kinsey has a style dud (don't we all), including a furry wool brown sweater that looks like it would have fit right in with Neanderthal culture. I'm sure that kind of thing was far more fashionable as the hippie vibe started to spread in the mid-1960's than it is today, or hopefully ever will be again. 

The beard

It's impossible to write about Paul Kinsey style without spending a few moments to comment on the beard. It emerges after the first couple of seasons, and it looks absolutely impeccable. He forms a perfect line along the cheekbone and shaves the chinstrap to be almost parallel to that cheek-line, with that slight difference allowing the chinstrap to widen as it gets closer to his adam's apple, although his beard still misses the adam's apple by a good inch or two. Everything is kept short and trimmed to avoid a sloppy appearance, which is a big no-no even for a copywriter like Kinsey.   


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