Even on , is heralded as the show everyone is talking about but no one is watching. Still, the drama about New York’s advertising industry in the 1960s has been scooping up the awards, as well as accolades for its detailed presentation of retro fashion.
In many ways an ad agency is the perfect setting to showcase the styles of the early sixties. An industry of image, fashion has always been important to the ad world. Also particularly fun is that the standard of beauty for women in the early 60s involved lots of curves, which is quite different than a lot of what we see today. Mad Men, even with its retro style, gives us fashion to look at that is more reflective of the majority of women’s bodies.
The show’s clothes are largely driven by pattern and texture. Plaids and hounds-tooth are common, as are tweeds and knits. And while workplace colors are often muted shades of browns and blues, color splashes across the screen in everything from girlish sundresses to the sexiest red-dress wearing secretary you’ve ever seen.
While showing off the early 60s style, Mad Men is also influencing today’s fashion with the increased popularity of both the secretary blouse (fitted waist, bow at the neck, cap sleeves) and the pencil skirt. Swing coats and retro, rounded-toe high heels are also making the cut. For men, the slim cut of the suits of the era remains in, although fabrics remain more somber. Mad Men’s real influence on fashion today comes in the form of hats. What used to be a necessary clothing item for men is starting to return as a fashion statement.
Gentlemen inspired to don a fedora or other retro hat take note: it’s not just enough to follow the fashion cues of Mad Men when it comes to the hat. You need to follow the etiquette too. You may look hot in your fabulous new brim, but show a bit of class and don’t wear it inside.