When AMC's Mad Men first burst onto the scene and took popular culture by storm, it owed much of its success to the beautiful, romantic clothing that adorned its characters. The first season began in 1960 and the show has steadily progressed through the turbulent sixties ever since. Mad Men's fashion has changed with the times as well. The major shift begins in season three, or 1963, and in just a few short years the landscape of fashion becomes completely unrecognizable. Women looking for vintage style tips from Mad Men must recognize that they have two very different eras to choose from, and that the trends in one may flatter them more than the other.
The early '60s carried on the tradition of the more conservative jewelry of the '50s. Earrings were rarely more flashy than a gold stud or disc in an office setting, although a night out could warrant pearls. Necklaces could be a little more elaborate although, again, a string of pearls and gold was often the limit worn by established women. By season five's 1966, however, jewelry had gotten bigger and more artistic. Hoops and huge, dangling earrings set with colored stones became all the rage.
In 1963, women were still following the fashion-influence of Jackie Kennedy and Hollywood bombshells like Marilyn Monroe. Although the shirtwaist dresses that emphasized curves and a woman's waist were slowly going out of style, they were still widely prevalent. 1966, on the other hand, was the year of Twiggy. Silhouettes became sleek and minimal, favoring slender forms and a chic, youthful aesthetic. Women also began to wear pants in public more often during this time.
Colors and Patterns
During season three, the women of Mad Men tended toward vibrant colors and feminine pastels. Bright florals, plaids and stripes were common patterns. Although the trend for saturated hues remained, 1966 saw a sudden surge in browns and oranges. Plaids became more pronounced, and patterns were bolder, fractured and geometric. The '60s became a decade of self-expression that many women today take for granted. Although many of the color schemes in season five may look unappealing to modern eyes, chic mod-inspired patterns can spice up any woman's wardrobe.
Mad Men has almost single-handedly brought back the retro style, and has influenced the runway collections of many important deisgners. Brooks Brothers, which supplies the show with historically-accurate suits, has even launched a limited-edition suit in collaboration with Mad Men's costume designer, Janie Bryant. Female fans of the show, no matter what their personal style, size, or age, can find inspiration in any stage of the show's fashion timeline, if they understand which era plays to their advantages best.