Mad Men has become a classic modern day television series that has combined high drama, sharp writing, dynamic characters and overall a praised sense of style to become must-see tv. Set to end on May 17th 2015 after seven successful series, we take a look at the suits and garments that have come to define the show over the years and help drive its success.
Set between the 1960’s and 1970’s in America, Mad Men features a historically accurate selection of vintage clothing in both menswear and womenswear. This instantly lends a classic aspect to the suits on screen – we see the working professionals of the day in their work suits which we have come to appreciate in the modern day.
The main character Don Draper (played by John Hamm) is often the focus of each episode and as such we witness his suited attire the most. Whether in his office or busying himself with extracurricular activities, he favours two and three piece suits to stay looking and feeling sharp.
As a classic leading man we can expect to see Draper in some classic suiting ensembles which indeed we do. Perhaps the quintessential suit for the quintessential gentleman is the black two piece suit worn with a white bespoke shirt. Draper pulls this off with ease and adds a gravitas to it when he is pensive in his office thinking on an impeding business deal or contract.
When his colleague Roger Sterling (played by John Slattery) joins him for a drink, we see powerful men and powerful suits together. Again retaining the classic colour palette of monotone black and white, they both each add a white pocket square to their bespoke suits for a final flash of class and finesse.
Indeed Roger Sterling knows all about finesse and the finer things in life having grown up in wealth as the son of one of Sterling Cooper’s founders (the advertising agency that the show is set it). His wardrobe includes statement pieces such as double breasted aquamarine bespoke blazers and sharp two piece pinstripe suiting that he is pictured above wearing while being driven around in a towncar.
Joan Holloway (played by Christina Hendricks) is a screen siren in a grey tweed skirt. Worn with a red blouse, she exudes charisma and class as a secretary at the offices of advertising agency Sterling Cooper. Cinched in at the waist, her fitted skirt complements her physique and is an officewear garment that could also be worn at social events.
The tailored overcoat is a staple for almost all characters when outdoors. A simple garment by some standards (existing to protect one from the weather); the characters of Mad Men make their overcoats their own by choosing styles personal to them.
Betty Francis (played by January Jones) makes hers a very feminine piece by choosing a gold and pale yellow houndstooth patterned tweed overcoat. The simple round buttons of the overcoat maintain a dainty feeling to the piece.
Don Draper keeps his overcoat decidedly classic – cut from a firm black fabric, it is fitted to him correctly to frame his shoulders but also retain a loose enough fit to accommodate for his suiting worn underneath.
Joan Holloway’s tailored overcoat is fashioned like a wrap dress. The burnt orange fabric features no buttons or zips and instead closes at the side with the assistance of a belt. Her lapels fold back just enough to allow her to pin a broach to her overcoat – further extending her individual taste to her attire.
Outside of the office environment, the trends of the day steep into the attire of the characters when they are out and about or at home. Betty Francis remains stylish while doing housework in a mauve high-waisted pleated skirt which she wears with a delicate silk bespoke shirt featuring a butterfly printed design.
Harry Crane (the head of the agency television department) also highlights this vintage and retro styling with his clash of colours and patterns. He pairs his black and white mini-check patterned blazer with a brown tie that features an orange and blue stripe for an ensemble that may have been on trend for its time, but would nowadays be classed as a mismatch.
Mad Men shows us many classic styles and provides the modern tailoring conisseur with a look back at the suits and styles which have retained iconic status and those ensembles that are best left in the history books. The end of the series will not only be a loss of good tv, but a loss of good tv which featured great style.
Specialising in the bespoke tailoring of both menswear and womenswear; A Suit That Fits Ireland is your first port of call for made to measure formal attire. With studios in Dublin, Cork and Belfast, our team of Irish tailors and stylists will guide you through the entire custom design process from start to finish. Contact us by clicking here or call 019036268 to discuss your needs and ideas and book in for a free initial hour-long consultation.
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