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How To Dress Like Joan Holloway!

Updated on January 15, 2013


This is my first article for Hubpages. I have many interests and one of these interests is vintage fashion. Since Mad Men started to air a few years I have fallen in love with the sophisticated style of the early 60's. They are feminine and pretty. Louis Vuitton's Autumn/Winter 2010 designs demonstrate that late 50's/early 60's look divinely. His collection concentrates a lot on full skirts and skin tight knits.

One of the show's female stars is the character of Joan Holloway played by Christina Hendricks. She's a woman who carries herself with confidence and is a tough cookie. Her outfits accentuate her beautiful figure without being over the top and trashy. Unlike the characters of Betty Draper and Peggy Olson, Joan doesn't really go in for the full-skirted dresses. She prefers pencil style cuts that show off her curves. She has gorgeous figure that suits the fashion of this era so well. She's a real Marilyn Monroe! Below are some tips on how to dress like Joan Holloway especially when you have a curvy figure.


So what are the main tips we should follow to achieve the same kind of look?

Tip number 1

Wear supportive underwear. It should nip you in at the right places giving you a smooth line, erasing any lumps and bumps. There are two ways of doing this. You can

a) Be really authentic and wear vintage style underwear from the 50's and early 60's. There are numerous websites where you can buy waist cinchers, long-line bras, stockings, etc.The advantage of this is that it looks and feels more authentic and it will also look good when the dress is taken off!

b) Wear more modern control underwear such as Spanx which has more or less taken over the world! You can buy Spanx online or in department stores. There are styles to suit all body types. For less expensive shapewear Marks and Spencers is the place to go.


Tip number 2

Next we need to look at the outerwear. I think winter is the perfect season to try out this look as the dresses are so glamorous and perfect for the party season. Many high street shops have at least one dress style that would represent this look well. You can also buy genuine vintage dresses online or in vintage/charity shops.

  • Dress or skirt length should be at the knee or a little below it. It should also be a pencil style shape to show off your curves
  • Because the skirt length is longer you can go for many different shaped necklines but don't give too much away
  • Sleeveless, cap, elbow or three quarter length sleeves will all work well. In fact, any sleeve type willdo!
  • The dress should nip you in at the waist perhaps using a thin belt in the same colour as the dress
  • Wear dresses with one block colour especially reds, purples, greens and blues
  • You can also go for a little black dress like the one Joan wore the night her boss/lover had a heart attack. I wonder if there was any connection between the two . . .
  • Carry yourself with confidence. Head up, shoulders back, chest out! You will look inches taller

Tip number 3


Accessorize! Joan's pen chain is one of the jewellery items that come to mind. It's a beautiful piece of jewellery while being understated at the same time. To buy Joan's chain online isn't difficult. Many companies are making vintage inspired copies of this piece at the moment. However, it is a bit "copycat". Instead of a pen you could always go for something different at the end of the chain to be a bit more individual.

A nice pair of pearl studs would also look fabulous here and very easy to find. Instead of the pendant you could instead wear a pearl necklace and match them with a nice simple bracelet. The idea here is to keep the jewellery in the background and let the dress do the talking.


Genuine vinatage handbags and clutches are probably easiest to find online as they are more durable than clothes and they aren't worn day after day as shoes are. Go for designs with a solid shape, perhaps with a metal frame to add more structure. Don't buy handbags and clutches that are soft and slouchy. You can also buy good quality vintage inspired handbags too. For an evening look stick with a clutch. These are really poopular at the moment.


To offset the wonderful dresses you will be wearing it's important to wear the right shoes. Pointy toed high heels were fashionable but they don't have to be skyscraper high. Looking at my parents wedding album (They married in 1965), I always notice my mother's shoe as her dress was quite short. They were so pointy! Most people prefer not to wear second-hand shoes as they tend to age faster than clothes. However, if you look you can buy genuine, never been worn vintage shoes online.

Coats & Shrugs

When the nights are getting cold you may need something to wrap up warm in. Fur coats and shrugs were popular in the 60's. They are lots of designers doing fur this Autumn/Winter so it should be easy to find a faux fur shrug on the high street or online. There are also places to buy genuine vintage furs but I think many women prefer not to wear real fur (maybe I'm wrong). A beautiful cashmere cardigan draped over the shoulders à la Joan Holloway is another way to complete the look.

Tip Number 4

Hair and make-up is an important element of this look. Joan is quite glamourous even during office hours and her hair always perfectly coiffed. There was no such thing as hair straightners back then, thank God! Every woman wanted curls and lots of volume in their hairstyles. Joan also has the advantage of possessing fiery red locks and naturally wavy hair. The side swept fringe also adds an air of sophistication.

Below is a youtube video tutorial which shows you how to achieve a 60's style hairdo.

Joan's make-up look is divine. She has a beautiful peaches and cream complexion, full red lips and strking eyes. In this link, Mad Men's make-up artist, Debbie Zoller explains Joan's look and how to achieve it.

I have also added another tutorial video to show you how to achieve a Mad Men style make-up look for those of you who are more visual learners, like myself!

Mad Men Make-up Tutorial

 So these are my tips on how to steal Joan Holloway's style! Enjoy!


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