Mad Style: Mystery Date

Posted on April 11, 2012

It’s true in every episode, but in this one, color stories really took center stage in the costuming. Walk with us.

The staging on this scene was very smart. Don’s coughing caused Megan to move away so that when Andrea entered the elevator she had no idea they were together. The two women couldn’t have been more different-looking in this scene. It’s interesting to note that Andrea’s wearing Megan’s signature color: a bright yellow.

But as in all her scenes, Andrea stands out to an almost garish extent. She looked even more garish (to the point of looking scary) in the darkness of Don’s bedroom …

…and even in a brightly lit, colorfully decorated living room. In every scene her clothes send the message loud and clear that she doesn’t belong here. The garishness of the colors also helped sell Don’s sickness and her pushiness. She’s a beautiful but slightly nauseating force of nature in every scene and she looks it.

They really are two sides of the same coin, aren’t they?

There’s not much to mention here from a style perspective, but it is downright eerie how well she channels January Jones now. That phone conversation could have had only minor changes to it to make it a perfectly representative Betty/Don exchange.

In the episode where Joan finally throws the bum out, she wears a dress deliberately meant to evoke the first time she realized he wasn’t what she bargained for:


Mad+Men+Mad+Style+Season+3+Episode+3+P2Nicely done, Janie Bryant. We could say that red roses represent her marriage and note how they’ve diminished in size over time.

Joan’s mom is all dressed up and you wouldn’t think so on first glance, but these two dresses are calling back to each other. Her mother’s dress is like a more abstract version of her own, with largely the same reds and greens as Joan’s dress. Janie does this a lot; tying characters to each other through costume or to their surroundings through costume. Greg stands out in this scenario, offering an overwhelming sense that he’s the odd man out in this home situation.

In our various writeups about Joan’s costumes on the show, we often mentioned how the styles of the mod late ’60s weren’t going to be particularly friendly to Joan’s very 1950s-style body. Those A-line shifts and micro-minis weren’t ever going to be Joan’s go-to’s, so we assumed she’d wind up looking less and less stylish as time went on.

That may still be true, but there’s something – or rather, someone – we forgot about. Joan’s 35 here and Marilyn’s been dead several years. We know that she took a lot of style (and even life) cues from Marilyn, but who would inspire her during this period, now that she’s getting older but no less desirable? Of course she wouldn’t look to the Twiggys and Jean Shrimptons of the world to inspire her dressing. She’s too old to be interested in the latest trends, none of which suit her. Instead, she turned once again to one of the biggest movie stars of the period for her style inspiration: Elizabeth Taylor. HOW could we not see that one coming? We’re almost ashamed.

Sure, this is lingerie and not a dress, but the low neckline, cap sleeves and criss-cross detail in the bodice, combined with the tousled shoulder-length hair, are all pure late ’60s Liz.

There’s something we hadn’t noticed until this episode: Joan is often dressed in shades of blue when she’s home. Not always, but often enough. She wore blue when she smashed that vase over his head and also when she cut her finger and he had to stitch it up. Blues seem to tie her into the surroundings, since there’s so much blue in the decor.

Michael’s dressing only slightly better. At least he’s not wearing jeans. This appears to be the only tie he owns. The pants don’t fit him at all and the jacket isn’t much better. He’s only been on staff for at most a couple weeks here, so it would definitely stand to reason that he hasn’t yet managed a new wardrobe (if indeed, he’s even the type who would ever make the attempt). We’re thinking these are borrowed clothes or clothes picked up at a Salvation Army.

We are totally digging Stan’s gold jacket and matching tie. This is a pretty youthful standard mid-sixties college grad getup. It’s not quite as respectable as Don’s standard business-wear, but it’s appropriate for his position and signals both his youth and his creative background.

This outfit bridged several scenes and several interactions. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy as to how it’s being used here except one could point out the overwhelming green-ness in a scene that was all about her shaking down a senior partner for cash. The one thing that stands out: the shoes. Those are the showiest pair we’ve ever seen her in and we can practically guarantee they’re from the footwear (“Don’t say ‘shoe.'”) company the agency just pitched. They don’t quite look like Peggy’s style and she’s showing them off like she’s not used to them. Either the client sent over samples or she took the lead and bought a pair for herself.

Note how sad and messy her little necktie is at the end of the day.

Serving up Liz Taylor realness, from tip to toe. She never looked so good before. The trendy eye-liner and blue shadow suit her perfectly. We know we’re repeating this but we just can’t believe we didn’t see this coming. We really did think Joan was going to get more matronly and less stylish as the decade went on. But OF COURSE Joan would turn to Liz as her style inspiration after being so devastated by Marilyn’s death. Liz’s personal life may have been something of a mess, but she was never the victim that Marilyn was. She took charge of her life and owned her mistakes, but never stopped pursuing the perfect love, demonstrating a sexual aggression that few women of the period would have been comfortable showing. How does that NOT sound like Joan? Liz was the very picture of womanly sexuality in her day; remaining a superstar while younger and much skinnier woman did their best to grab the spotlight.

Joan and her mother are once again tied to each other by color; a family unit in the middle of discord.

Peggy’s outfit really worked its ass off this episode. It’s almost too on-point,but as you can see, there’s blue on one side of the couch and green on the other. The couch itself? Shades of both. A visual representation of two people attempting to make a connection.

Dawn continues to wear sturdy but not showy clothes and virtually no makeup. We’re curious about that. Is her makeup played down so much for professional reasons? Like she feels she can’t draw too much attention to herself? Because we’ve seen plenty of on-the-street pictures of African-American women during this period and we couldn’t detect any cultural shyness when it comes to makeup. She still lives at home, so maybe she’s just trying to be a very good girl. Peggy didn’t wear a lot of makeup back in the day either.

Again, drawing parallels and defining relationships through the use of color. They’re not close, but they’re bonding. The clothes reflect the same; their outfits couldn’t be more different or more indicative of their ages, but sitting side by side, they send a message of unlikely (and uneasy) unity.

And of course Pauline is evoking Betty from an episode ago, right down to the Bugles box. She was trying to warn her then: Don’t become like me. Put the Bugles box down. Pauline’s a bit on the crazy side, but for all her bitchiness, she seems to have her son’s family’s best interests at heart.

Literally bringing light and color to his world. Optimism in clothing form.

We feel a little redundant saying this because it’s just so obvious: Blue, blue, blue. This household and family are represented by it and Greg’s not wearing any.

And since she wore big red roses when she was in the full bloom of love and smaller ones when that love was being challenged, it would stand to reason that once she threw him out…

..they’d shrink to almost non-existence. But at least the blackness is gone. And she’s wearing the pants.



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  • You guys are so good.


      @twitter-100039770:disqus My Classmate’s aunt Makes $76 every hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for 5 Months but last Month her pay was $18597 Just workıng on the computer for a few hours. Read more on thıs sı

    • Caaro3

      Also, brilliant.

  • Laura Maki

    I got actual chills at that last sentence! Joanie! 

    • Kristina Toma

      I did, too! I didn’t notice it before, but that’s totally spot on. 

    • cucumberbatch

       me too! so spot on. you guys rock.

    • Candigirl1968

       I was just about to say the same thing. 

      If the show would allow it, I would love to see these posts in book form when Mad Men concluded.

  • Lovely post, boys. Thanks.

    Can anyone tell what book Pauline is reading while she eats her Bugles?

    Peggy can keep her little necktie, but I would kill for those green shoes! Did they ever say the name of the ‘footwear company’? 

    • selianth

       Pretty sure I saw that it was “Butler.” I am unclear whether they were a real company or not.

      • Yes, they were a real shoe company with hundreds of stores nationwide.

        • dress_up_doll

          Butler’s was a biggie for women’s shoes where I grew up on the east coast from the sixties through early eighties.

          • FloridaLlamaLover

            Butler’s was the go-to shoe store for the young miss looking for stylish shoes at an affordable price. We had one at our local mall — I would go and look in the display windows and dream and covet!  My favorite pair of shoes I ever got as a teen were English riding boots, back in the seventies when gaucho pants, boots, and a sweater twin set were the height of (teen, anyway) fashion.

        • suzq

          Here’s a little info about Butler Shoes.  They were eventually bought out by Zales and dissolved.

      • BayTampaBay

        Yes Butler shoes is or was a real company.

        They had shoe stores in the mall on the line of what is now Bakers Shoes.

    • I wish I could read the title, but I can’t make it out. I do know that in a few years Pauline will be an eager reader of books like Helter Skelter and The Exorcist. I’m sure she’ll get them through the Book-of-the-Month club, too.

      •  Of course! And ‘In Cold Blood’ was published in 1966 too.

      • 3boysful

         I checked The Exorcist out of the library, but had to hide it under my bed when my mom entered the room.

        • girliecue

          I would have been so scared that putting that book under my bed would make it shake violently! Great, I’ve just scared myself and will probably wind up sleeping on the sofa tonight!!

    • BradWatson

      I’m digging into Pauline’s book too.  I *SO* want it to be “Valley of the Dolls” (also published in 1966), but the cover doesn’t look like any of the editions I’ve seen. Darn it. Between the seconal AND the emotional tie-in to Sharon Tate and mass murder, it would be a fabulous addition to this scene!

    • frances rossi

      I remember Butler’s Shoes! Right in between Red Eye and 5-7-9 stores and across from Millers Outpost.

      • Miller’s Outpost  –  because the 60’s said that you can never have too much corduroy or too many plaid shirts!

    • Melissa Brogan

       NYPL identified it on Pinterest:

    • snarkmeister

      Me too on the shoes.  I gasped when that scene came on and immediately turned to hubby and said, “Those shoes are FANTASTIC!”

  • Kathleen Tripodi

    I have been refreshing the site all day for this.  Did not disappoint.  Thank you!

    • Nice, I follow them on Twitter so I know as soon as it comes up 🙂

  • shopgirl716

    On point and thought provoking as usual.  The shoes on the desk also pointed out that Peggy has great legs.  Something you usually don’t notice about her.  And it was shot from below almost as if to lengthen her and focus on the legs.

    • Pete “mentioned” to Peggy her first day that she had nice legs and it wouldn’t hurt her to show a little. 

    • Glammie

      Yep, Peggy has great legs and Joan points it out in the very first episode–during her fling with Pete we see them silhouetted with a high heel and we’re seeing them showcased here–love the shoes–get the feeling, client or not, that Peggy loves the shoes.  I think there’s a whole shoe/heel motif going on with Peggy.  Well, heck the whole episode was about shoes.  Anyway, I suspect sexy shoes on Peggy have something to do with revealing her real feminine sexual self–she doesn’t do it very often and I think it’s not an accident we see it in an episode when she admits she’s tired of trying to act like a guy.  

      She’s getting a tiny bit more feminine in dress while Joan, at the end, was in some of the least provocative clothing we’ve seen–big bathrobe, buttoned-up shirt. Love the Liz Taylor catch, guys, so happy to see Joan is finding her way–does this mean we’ll see Joan in Pucci?  I would love that.

      Wonder if, on some level, Dr. Rapey suspects the truth about the baby?  Would explain, in part, his jump back into service instead of facing what he doesn’t want to know.

      • I got the impression that his inappropriate eagerness to rush back to Nam was due to the fact that he is a big frog in a small pond over there, whereas in civilian life back home he can’t compete. He wasn’t really committed to the marriage anyway — he’s way too narcissistic and insecure to make a deep commitment. He was pissed Joan called it quits, but that was pride only and mostly show. Look how relieved he was to go — he didn’t even begin to fight for his marriage, he just disappeared in a huff.

        • ballerinawithagun


        • Glammie

          I think that’s what’s going on one level, but I wonder if there’s more to it as well.  He’s a doctor and he can count.  We know he felt anxious about her sexual past–raped her in the office to assert himself.  That he didn’t fight for the marriage and what he is supposed to think is his son is striking and seems to me goes beyond more than just feeling like a man in ‘Nam.  

          • Yes, he was very intimidated by her sexuality. That is the opposite of what Joan needs. Remember he got pissy when she *gasp* got on top in the bedroom.

          • Glammie

            I’d forgotten that, but, yes, that was part of the lead-up to the date-rape–what made him suspicious and jealous of her experience.  Geez, they were a terrible mismatch.  Joan’s both sexually sophisticated and socially conservative–not to the degree Betty Draper-Francis is, but enough so that she has not openly flouted conventions or actually *wanted* to rebel.  Peggy’s fought to be an independent woman; Joan’s going to be one whether she wants to or not.  

            Funny thing, I think Joan will be fine–in part because she’s got the kid and she wanted that kid.  I doubt she’ll be desperate enough to hook up with another Dr. Rapey again.  She’ll probably make better choices from now on.  

            But, then, better to be a mess like Liz Taylor than a mess like Marilyn Monroe.  And La Liz’ fav. color was purple, which looks good on Joan.

          • P M

             Oh! I didn’t realize Liz’s fav colour was purple.

          • Purple / amethyst, like her eyes (which are blue, but can look violet).
            Also, I think Richard Burton bought her some huge purple stone just because of her love of the color.  I think Liz always had a regal bearing, and that her Cleopatra role cemented that image for the masses; as such, purple being the color of kings, it is so very fitting!

  • Sobaika Mirza

    I so look forward to these! Thanks so much for your great work, as always!

  • lordandtaylor

    I am still iffy on this show but do appreciate the commentary on the clothing, set designs and lighting. I will never look at a TV show or movie the same way again. There is real artistry happening on Mad Man. Has it won any technical awards? it should.

  • Nicole Chubb

    Dear TLo, I love you. Sincerely, Nicole

  • donnaINseattle

    I’m so very grateful to you guys for bringing back my favourite class in high school — English! The themes, the symbolism, the charactor development — it is so fun to THINK again. Thanks guys.

    • So much better than high school English class!  We’re not studying James Joyce, Ibsen or Dostoyevsky.  Ugh!

      • ciyenne

        As an English nut, I’d like to think that it wasn’t Joyce, Ibsen, or Dostoyevsky who were ‘ugh’, but the way the class was taught…

        Great analysis, TLo!

      • sherrietee

        James Joyce was awesome. Just one giant penis allegory.

        •  Okay, now I want to read James Joyce.

        • Yes! High schoolers would be so into Joyce if teachers would just let them read his dirty letters to his wife. Surely they’d be better able to identify with the dude’s writing if they knew how much he loved to huff farts. Or at least make them curious enough to read the assignment to see if he’ll mention butts (and he will).

  • CPT_Doom

    I’m like a junkie waiting for a fix after every MM episode. Wonderful yet again. I actually thought Joan’s “Welcome home Greg” out fit was the same dress as the party, and although I noticed the way Joan and her mother were dressed in complementary ways, I love how the screen caps really show that – the stripe in her dress and the stripe of the material in Joan’s bathrobe when she throws the bum out are really striking. 

    I really wanted to see what you’d say about Sally’s bed clothes. They’re a little adult and she doesn’t seem totally comfortable in them. They seem to signal her blossoming womanhood – and perhaps her discomfort with it – while Pauline’s total coverage signifies she past all that.

    I love how Janie Bryant is styling Dawn, and I have to say I see a real similarity to Diahann Carroll in her title role as “Julia.” The show wouldn’t premiere for a couple of years, but the hair, the simplicity of clothing – I can’t help wondering if Bryant is trying to signal Dawn’s position as the first with a visual reference. 

    • Spicytomato1

      Sally’s pjs may seem adult but I can attest that lots of girls wore them during that era. They’re kinda Barbie-inspired, which is why maybe the girls coveted them. I agree with your take that Pauline is definitely past the point of showing off her womanhood!

      And funny, I thought of Dawn as Julia both last week and this week, too!

      • MadAboutMen

        I would have been close to Sally’s age and I had a similar nightgown with matching robe. My mom called it a nightgown and negligee – not sure if that was correct.

        • AudreysMom

          I had one too – I think it was seafoam green, or maybe light pink. We just called it a ‘nightie.’ It seemed like the shorter ones the older girls wore were baby dolls.

    • Jennifer Coleman

      I totally had those short nighties. I agree they are a miniaturization of the adult gowns, but they only meant ‘little girl’ back in the day.

      Dawn surely does have the Julia hairstyle. I keep mentally trying to put a nurse cap on her.

      The blue is not only Joan’s clothes & mom, but it seeps into the house furnishings and finally baby Kevin’s centrally placed blanket in the last scene. Joan’s home, but power color too, now? We’ll see.

      I’d love to see Michael’s colors contrasted to early Don. He wasn’t a mess like Michael is, but he was sporting some 50s light color jackets, as I recall.

      And Megan’s yellow/pink/blue top is reminding me of something I cannot quite mentally grasp from my childhood. Candy or food, I think. It’s really bugging me.

      • Vlasta Bubinka

        Megan’s top seemed to reference Snow White to me, especially with the fairy tale references in the episode.

      • rkdgal

         The colors of her top remind me of the candy dots stuck on the strip of paper.  (Why did we think those were good?)

      • Jennifer Coleman

        I got it! There was a snow cone flavor that combined those exact shades, I think it was at a local amusement park.

      • SheenaRamone

        Megan’s top is the exact same colors and pattern of a security blanket I had as a kid. They also strike me as very “cotton candy” colors.

      • girliecue

        Ah yes, nighties! Thanks for the blast from the past.

    • Suzerstl

      I had similar nighties in the 70’s – I remember how hot and sticky those polyester chiffon ruffles were . . . 

      • My whole life I’ve loathed polyester. My mom bought me a couple nighties as a child but I defaulted to wearing old tshirts. 

      • AudreysMom

        and let’s not forget that we stayed away from our parent’s lit cigarettes. Sadly I learned that they also didn’t do well with nail polish remover. Melted right through.

    • filmcricket

       Sally’s PJs reminded me of the apple green ones sported by Kitty Romano, as well as Trudy’s light pink maternity set. They always struck me as being too childish for grown women, so it seemed appropriate that Sally had a set, somehow.

      • I’ve always thought that the baby-doll pyjamas for women in the 50s and 60s were a part of the infantalising of women that seems to have taken place: “We’re back from the war and you don’t need to worry your pretty little head about anything”.

  • Oh MAN. Joan as Liz. Makes so much sense. And it was such a thrill to see her in those pants. So glad she threw the bum out.

  • MsKitty

    We had that Corning coffee pot.  I remember it being quite heavy, which made it especially handy as an impromptu sandwich press when I made grilled cheeses as a kid.

    I don’t know how many times I refreshed the front page today waiting for this post. Well worth it.

    • Andrea Rossillon

      I noticed the coffee pot, too! I wonder where my mother hid it.

    • Judy_J

      I still have that Corning coffee pot.  It still comes into use when the power goes out and coffee needs to be made.

    • We actually still have that coffee pot in a cupboard at the ranch.  It still works, too!

    • Laura Maki

       My grandma has that whole blue flower set of kitchen supplies. I stole the teapot from her (with her consent, obviously!), and am going to call dibs on the whole collection! She was the same size as I am in the 50s and 60s and seems to have kept everything from back then. So I love Mad Men for bringing it all back, so I can wear her old things without looking out of place.

      • h2olovngrl

        Everybody’s grandma had that corningware set. She probably had the copper bottom Revereware pans, too.  That stuff lasts forever!

        • JillSpill

          My mom still has the copper bottom Revere Ware!

          • Hey, *I* still have a copper bottom revere ware saucepan. I’ve had it since 1970. 🙂

          •  I’ve got a lot of old Reverware and still use it.

    • deathandthestrawberry

      We did too, and I still own a lone serving dish that matched. My parents had the whole set, but the rest either broke or was donated a long time ago.

  • I hope we see lots more scenes with Sally and Grandma Pauline, cause they are great together (whatever the aftermath)! 

  • Another awesome post. Interesting point about the roses representing the Harris marriage  – esp. considering one of their last interactions before he signed up for the Army was her smashing a vase of roses he gave her over his stupid head. (Also one of my favorite moments ever in the series!)

    • Glammie

      Good catch.  I think, also, the florals represent Joan trying to do the traditional woman’s role.  Her mother wears florals when she’s encouraging Joan to act the role of the “good wife.”

      (And, whew, Joan’s mom could have been borrowing dresses from my grandmother’s closet.  Jane B. totally has that look down.)

      • formerlyAnon

         Agree about the use of floral prints.

        • Glammie

          Hmmm, and at the end when the marriage is kaput and Joan’s wearing the pants, her mother, who’s going to continue to support her is in businesslike *stripes.*.  

    • Oh! I just thought of something. When Greg rapes her in the office, he brings her roses, right? And afterwards she leaves them behind. 

  • I was wondering what you guys thought of Andrea’s line about Don and Megan’s apartment!  It went something like, “Everybody’s going to think she decorated, but I know you did.”

    • mommyca

      well… considering that was part of the dream, that line is what Don really thinks… IMHO… 

    • Wasn’t Don the one who made that one final adjustment to Betty’s interior designer’s living room that turned it from expensive to great (before she dragged the fainting couch into it)? He does have an eye for things.

  • brilliant, insightful commentary as usual!

  • Shalini Trivedi

    About Dawn’s makeup – I’m curious how much make-up geared towards women of color would be available in that period? Foundation, powder, etc. can be difficult to find 
    even now in certain shade ranges…

    • MsKitty

      I’m pretty sure that Fashion Fair was out by then, but that’s always been a pricey department store line so it’s likely beyond Dawn’s budget.

      • jeeplibby02

        Fashion Fair was founded in 1973. 
          I am surprised to learn that the company is still around, and can only assume that their formulations have improved over the decades.  I remember my stepmother using FF liquid foundation when I was a kid; I can even remember the smell of it, which was candy-sweet.  All of the colors seemed to contain a red base that made light-skinned women, like my stepmother, look sunburned, and dark-skinned women look like their faces were formed from dusty red clay.  It also shined like crazy.  It was awful, heavy, greasy stuff that settled into every line of a woman’s face, and required cold cream or Vaseline to remove.  I am glad that by the time I was old enough to wear makeup, MAC was producing great shades for women my complexion and darker. 

        • Jennifer Coleman

          Cosign. When I was in my teens, there was NO foundation that matched my golden color. Luckily I didn’t need it. When Bobbi Brown’s foundations came out was the first time I bought the stuff.

          I don’t think the discussion on Dawn’s makeup revolved around foundation, but eye shadow, blush & the like, which she seems to be not wearing. She seems a tad sheltered and so far, underdeveloped as a character. Most of MM black characters are very guarded, as to not cause any situation to lose their jobs, but I’d like to see more. Applying for a job on Madison Ave was a daunting task back then that took some fortitude. How did Dawn do it?

    • Sarah Thomas

      RE: Dawn’s makeup again – it’s hard to tell because she has that Eternal Secretary hairdo, but I think Dawn is very young. Like maybe 20. She lives at home with a 19 year old brother and has clearly never drank alcohol. This might be her first job, and she’s probably the first family member to work in a professional environment. She probably doesn’t know what to do, and probably hears ‘don’t make waves’ from her family about 20 times an evening. 

      • I think she;s been to college or some school. Don said she was “most qualified”

    • Aurumgirl

      I don’t know, I think there were make-up producing businesses that catered mostly to women of colour–Madame Walker’s entire beauty empire, for example. 

      • Glammie

        Yep, and I remember in Mary Wells(?) autobiography about the Supremes that TV people didn’t know how to make-up on black women, so the Supremes did their own initially–clearly they had knowledge of and access to make-up for women of color.

      • jackieb133

        Nope, in the 60’s make up for black women was awful.  Most of the women I knew back then only wore makeup to church, not to work.

    • warontara

      I have no idea about the history of such things, but FWIW it’s STILL hard for me now. So this could be a valid reason…but I think it’s more likely that Dawn is young, green, and trying not to stand out.

  • Megan Patterson

    Isn’t Dawn not wearing that much makeup because it was almost impossible to buy black skin tone friendly makeup in the ’60s?  It’s my understanding that foundation for black women didn’t hit the mass market until Covergirl did it in the late ’80s-early ’90s? Makeup artists usually had to scrounge, or try and make the foundation colour themselves (though some regular women did this too).
    Also I find Michael to be more like Don than Peggy, although he is definitely a combination of them both. He is very, very poor, as poor as Don was growing up, if not more so. I think Don saw a kindred spirit in that. I agree the clothes are probably from the Salvation Army, although I’m sure after a couple of months someone’s going to take him out to get proper clothes.

    • I agree w/your thoughts on Michael. He may or may not be self-conscious about his clothes, but in any case it will take awhile for him to build up a ‘work wardrobe.’ I was also a poor kid when I first started working in an office environment and it was a real struggle. This was before there was TJ Maxx and similar places where you could get inexpensive, decent office wear. I’d scrounge consignment shops or wait for final clearance sales at department stores, etc., but was still only able to buy about 1-2 new items a month.

      • Spicytomato1

        I know what that’s like, too. I had so few work items at first…and would go a full week with no money except for bus fare at the end of the pay period…so between my equally poor roommate and I we tried to mix and match as much as possible. Then Talbot’s opened an outlet store by my mom and she’d pick up work-friendly pieces for me dirt cheap. It was fine for a while but then I think it had the effect of me not being able to develop my own style so I started to hate all the clothes with a passion and looked forward to the day I’d get a job somewhere that was ok with more casual wear. And as a result I can’t even look at a Talbot’s ad without shuddering.

    • PamSp

      Here’s a thought about Michael I haven’t seen on any other blogs. Remember how upset he got looking at the Speck murder photos? OK, let’s do that math:  It’s 1966, he’s in his early 20s, he’s Jewish, his father has a very heavy East European accent, and there’s no mother. I think Mr. Ginsberg is a Holocaust baby.

      • beernotwar

        Absolutely.  I agree that is why Michael got so upset at the vicarious thrill nature of the discussion of the murders. 

        • MadAboutMen

          I never quite understood why the rest of them had such a giddy attitude about those pictures!

          • Logo Girl

            I was a toddler in 1966, so I can’t speak of the period, but I remember a lot of people being kind of “isn’t that horrible-giddy” about Jonestown, and I came from a town where a lot of people lost friends and relatives. I think it’s akin to whistling in the graveyard; a way to handle nerves.

          • MadAboutMen

            Good point.

    • MilaXX

       As mentioned upthread there was fashion fair. However my mother wore makeup and is a little darker than me. I’ll have to ask her what she wore. She would have been in Dawn’s economic bracket.

    • Clearly Michael is poor, but I think his clothing says more about his awkwardness and his irreverence than his poverty. He’s not just starting out: in his interview, Don observed that he had worked at one other agency for a long time and then at several agencies for a short time. If Michael cared about fitting in at work, he would have managed to obtain some more appropriate pieces by now (and he would probably still have his first job!)

      • He confessed to Peggy that his references were BS, so I assumed the resume was, too.

  • Peggy’s green shoes make me swoon. I do hope these great styles come back into fashion.
    I believe the footwear company they were pitching to was Butler shoes.

  • luciaphile

    I love your Mad Style posts. That is all.

  • It’s amazing how much I would miss if ya’ll didn’t do these posts.

  • MK03

    Elizabeth Taylor. Of course.

  • mommyca

    Wonderful as usual… and amazing discovery about Liz Taylor as her new icon…. and I sooooo badly want Megan’s briefcase from the first picture: divine!!! 

  • Valdri8

    The colors wore this episode from start to finish.

  • ccinnc

    Thank you, fascinating.  And the Liz Taylor connection is brilliant.  I’d never have picked up on that.  That truly can define Joan’s style for years.

  • Regarding Andrea in the yellow dress – I was reading up on the Chicago nurse murders that featured so prominently in this episode. According to the lone survivor of the massacre, Richard Speck had asked one of his victims
    if she was “the one in the yellow dress,” which indicated that he had been observing their apartment, and that the crime was premeditated. Andrea’s clothing may be connected to that weird little detail as well.

    • wow, good note

    • NDC_IPCentral

       Your observation gave me chills, Kira.  I wouldn’t put it past Mr. Weiner and Ms. Bryant to have picked that up in their research and put it to good, subtle use.

  • “And she’s wearing the pants” 
    Chapeau guys, you do this like nobody else does. 

  • simply here

    The recaps you guys do on Mad Style are just awesome. Love them.

  • I went makeup shopping with an African-American friend when I was growing up. She told me that her mother discouraged her from using mascara because it would make her eyelashes brittle and dry. That was in the 90s and I’m sure makeup formulations were even harsher in the 60s and that there were even fewer colors that would look good on a woman that wasn’t white. I know women of color today still struggle to find foundation that suits them. Dawn’s practical- why bother with products that will dry out her skin and won’t look right anyways?

  • Can I just say how impressed I am by these posts? I tried to think about Tom and Lorenzo would be saying about the styles and designs, but I had nothing.  Great job, you guys really add another dimension to the show, thanks!

  • Lazy Iggy

    also note how joan’s mom is wearing flowers (but not roses) on her dress on the dinner night.
    at that point, you could say that her mom has more hope/more determination for joan’s marriage to work than her.

  • Shannon Sparks

    What about Sally’s hair in this episode? It seems that without Betty to dress and groom her, she sort of lets herself go — and not in the way a child would (getting dirty from summer vacation playing). It’s like she is beginning to succumb to the early Betty’s sense of inertia already. I also loved how the summer heat was made so palpable in the Francis house and in Peggy’s apartment, with everyone sweaty and frazzled. Great post!

    • mixedupfiles

      Love the way Peggy is so clearly drunk and hot and just gone in that photo above.

    • Thats probably how I looked as a child when my mom didn’t dress and groom me. I didn’t start dressing myself until high school

  • Man, I love these posts.  I don’t even watch the show, and these posts are SO. GOOD.  Are there any other shows on TV as careful about styling & color stories as Mad Men?  If there are, I’d love to see you guys take ’em on.

  • Wow, every time I read one of these, I get so much more from each episode. I’ll echo these others: you guys are good!

  • Loved Peggy’s shoes and the bag, although her outfit looked a little sad. Yeay Joanie! 

    • Sweetpea176

      Yes!  The bag!  Loved it!

  • I never thought I would lust over Peggy’s shoes.  But lust I am.  And the purse too, please.

  • Any insight into that “art” above Peggy’s couch? It seems perfect for the period, but is it some kind of pseudo-African image?

    • I noticed that too and wondered how Dawn would feel about it.

    • charlotte

      I noticed that painting, and also the other painting in Peggy’s office, which perfecly matches Peggy’s green outfit.

  • Aha, she’s wearing the pants. Very good. 

    Really REALLY did not like Peggy’s clothes in this episode, except for the green shoes. WAY too on the nose with the tie and the menswear look in an episode where she talked about trying to be like a man in the workplace. I don’t know, I suppose that would be something she would be obvious about with wearing a tie, but in the way they shot it it was just to in your face. LOOK AT THE STATEMENT WE ARE MAKING ABOUT PEGGY.  I like it when they’re a bit more subtle…

    • VanessaDK

      I LOVED Peggy’s outfit, even if it was symbolic.  I just loved it and she looked like it made her feel more “manly” and gave her more confidence to be assertive.

      • beernotwar

        Also, she and Michael were paired again with her wearing the green with little tiny pink highlights in the tie, and him wearing pink with little tiny green highlights in his tie.  Also, he was the one sitting at the typewriter, in the more feminine role, and her green highlighting her being more control in their dynamic.

  • twocee

    I swear, my grandparents owned that blue and green flowered couch, and my parents owned it as a hand-me-down when I was a kid.  The attention to detail from the set designers and stylists is amazing.

    • formerlyAnon

      Yeah. My parents didn’t do floral – but I know I’ve sat on that couch, somewhere. Repeatedly.

  • More specifically, Joan’s BEDROOM is blue and she’s in blue when bad bedroom/relationship stuff goes down.  Genius.  

  • Aurumgirl

    I love these posts!  I can’t watch the show yet (have to wait for the DVDs) but I would never miss any of your recaps or style analyses.  And I know how you didn’t see Liz coming:  she just hadn’t made Cleopatra yet. 

    • Judy_J

      The movie “Cleopatra” with Elizabeth Taylor came out in 1963.

      • Maggie_Mae

        We saw Jane in a “Cleopatra” outfit at one of the Christmas parties.  She had the “Egyptian” eye & a white dress with a gold collar.  But she was just being trendy.  

        Joan is tuned in to Elizabeth Taylor for hints on how a voluptuous woman can outshine the skinny girls.  There were plenty of rude jokes about Twiggy’s thinness–she was a fashion icon but not to everybody’s taste. Now she’s selling clothes on HSN! 

        • Judy_J

          I was in the 9th grade and skinny as a rail when Twiggy hit the scene, so naturally everyone started calling me “Twiggy”.  I did not take it as a compliment then.  Now, I’d be thrilled if people thought I looked like her!

          • Even Twiggy’s not so twiggy anymore (she has a lovely, curvy figure now), so perhaps you do!

  • cmb92191

    Stan’s gold jacket reminded me of the Century 21 realtors in the 1970’s- late 1980’s.  They all wore gold jackets. 

    As for Sallys baby doll pajamas,  I remember having a pair like that when I was that age.  That age it was starting to get a little awkward so I understand your points there.  That is a point where your family either doesn’t notice or doesn’t acknowledge you are getting more mature.

    I love Peggy’s shoes as well, but I would not have anything to match with them. 

  • Wendi126

    I am a few years younger than Sally Draper and when she came out in what we used to call “baby doll” pajamas, a flood of memories came rushing in. It’s quite something to experience certain moments deep in my recesses based on a tv image. I read several tv reviews of Madmen including Alan Sepinwall, a professional critic and one I adore, and without doubt TLo offers the most insightful, thought provoking, well written and fun review to read. Thanks guys.

    • Spicytomato1

      I got the same rush of memories from the pajamas, as well as the “Mystery Date” game board and box. These details are as evocative as the smell of Play-Doh!

      • formerlyAnon

         Or the smell of Colorforms! I loved the smell of that particular plastic to an unnatural degree.

        • MadAboutMen

          My Patty Playpal had that smell – frighteningly the smell of plastic always reminded me of Christmas.

      • We’ve gotten into the part of the 1960s I clearly remember, and I’m constantly texting my daughter (we watch at the same time on different coasts) “Oh, I played that game!  We had that coffeepot!  I TOTALLY HAD THOSE PAJAMAS!”   If Sally brings out a Chatty Cathy I just may die.   I don’t think she’s a doll-playing girl, though.

    • sleah_in_norcal

      we used to call them “shorty nighties” in southern california

  • Spicytomato1

    Another fascinating post, thank you for making my day! I loved Peggy in the tie, side by side with Michael, maybe one of my favorite symbolic scenes of the episode. She’s no longer on the perimeter and definitely one of the guys now.

    I also laughed at how limp her other tie was at the end of the day. Her hair was, too. She looked as disheveled as I always was after (frequently) working late as a copywriter in an ad agency.

  • Kimberly Southern-Weber

    You guys are just the best. So is that Janie Bryant. 

    One thing to add, the vase she broke over Greg’s head was a vase full of red roses:

  • Sophie Collier

    I don’t watch the show, but I read every single word of your MM posts because it is so informative on the process of dressing a cast and creating a subliminal story with color and style.  *applauds you*

  • “Tlo said:  Instead, she turned once again to one of the biggest movie stars of the period for her style inspiration: Elizabeth Taylor. HOW could we not see that one coming?”

    When I see pictures of my mother from the 60’s, it’s Elizabeth Taylor that she’s dressed like (and in some pictures, looks like) as well.


    • VanessaDK

      I think Liz helped a lot of women bridge the fashion divide into the 1960’s.  However, some of the stuff that they auctioned recently, which she wore in the later 60’s, was far out groovy.  We’ll see how far out Joan gets!

  • crash1212

    Brilliant post. This ep was fraught with meaning – real and dreamy. I watch MM – and most other shows now – with the TLo eye and just when I think I’ve nailed some of the costuming/color styling tie ins to the narrative, I read your posts and realize I’m just a piker. You are my Wax on/Wax off Gurus of Style and all things important in TV costuming. 

  • “Tlo said: Because we’ve seen plenty of on-the-street pictures of African-American women during this period and we couldn’t detect any cultural shyness when it comes to makeup.”

    Back in the 60’s though, it was still hard for many African-American women to find make up that worked for them.


  • Cheri Lee


  • cteeny21

    Amazing post! I wish I could see what you guys see.

  • DeborahLipp

    The shrinking roses motif is genius. You guys win again.

    • “And she’s wearing the pants” 

      That was pretty good too.

  • YolandaHawkins

    So glad that Daddy and Papa took care of bidness so the kittens could get their Mad Style for the week.  So insightful, especially when it comes to Joan. 

  • I love the pant wearing , and love that Joanies roses are now on a white background, instead of black. 

  • Pants_are_a_must

    ….damn. Stunning post.

  • Eclectic Mayhem

    When I watch Mad Men it’s almost as if I have you guys on my shoulder, getting me to pay extra special attention to the costume and set decoration.  

    The screen cap you have of Joan in her bathrobe with her mother & the coffee pot, the mirror on the wall behind them shows the curtains, which are also blue with some kind of vertical stripe – again tying together Joan, her mother and the home.

    Fantastic stuff as ever boys!

    • VanessaDK

      Isn’t her Mom’s dress a lot like Dawn’s first shirtdress in the earlier episode?

      • Yes! I noticed that, too!

        Probably because my stepmother also wore one like it.

  • Re: Dawn’s makeup, or lack of same.

    It wasn’t de rigeur in the ’60s: the girls that went heavy in my high school weren’t the “nice” girls. Fresh-faced was a.o.k. I, maybe, wore frosted lipstick (but more in junior high), mascara for dances, maybe. Nada in college, none daily even working at a fashion magagazine in the 70s. But I wasn’t in the fashion or beatuy department.)didn’t learn to line my eyes until my late ’30s, wear base until my ’40s!

    • Guess it depended where you were. I was in Florida at that time, and the only girls who didn’t wear eyeliner and mascara without fail every day were geeks and wallflowers. Nobody, however, wore lipstick of any sort.

      • malarkey

        Ha!! That’s interesting. What I remember from my mid-west upbringing (graduated high school 1975) was thick eyeliner, mascara, and clear lip gloss. 

  • Judy_J

    Sally’s relationship with Pauline is very reminiscent of her relationship with her grandfather Gene.  Pauline’s prickly personality is very similar to Gene’s, so it would make sense that Sally would feel comfortable with Pauline.  It will be interesting to see how this friendship develops.

    • MadAboutMen

      I forgot about Grandpa Gene!

  • cherrynyc

    I’ve been waiting with bated breath for this post since Sunday!! 

    Spot on analysis, as always. One style note I was thinking about was Sally’s pj set when she got the old campfire horror story from Pauline…I think it’s also a nod to her budding sexuality. For now, it’s an innocent, comfy summer sleep set for a girl, but picture her in another 1-2 years wearing it. It would take on a whole other connotation. It’s also something I could imagine an infantile Betty wearing while trying to seduce Don in the early years. The part that really sold it for me was once Pauline began retelling the nurse story: she totally sexualized it (Weiner mentions this in the video clips). The age-old cautionary tale of young women’s responsibility to ‘cage’ the wantonness of men’s savagery; ‘their short, tight uniforms’, etc. Its was as if Pauline was sending the (misogynistic, patriarchal) warning to Sally that if she’s not careful around men, it could happen to her. And look what she’s wearing. 

    A separate note about Dawn. My mom, who is black, was around the same age as this character, also working in Manhattan. We’re both very interested on how flushed out she will be, but T &L are right in their suggestion that her styling is very much about staying in the background and making absolutely NO waves. The only way to keep the job as a black secretary was to keep your head down, work 3x as hard as every other secretary, say please and thank you and go home (that’s one of the many obtuse comments Peggy made to her, re: liking her job and asking if she wanted to be a copywriter – it’s not even a consideration, for anyone). In fact, my mom’s comment after Sunday’s episode was, ‘I think she’ll survive, so long as she doesn’t get too friendly.’ That statement and language used speak volumes about the way minority communities treaded through white collar careers, then and even now. 

    For my mom, the experience was a tad different: She was a secretary in summer 1963 (while home from college) at Uniroyal Tires, when they were on 6th Ave. She too kept her nose clean, but one of the heads, an older white man with a very Southern drawl, told her, ‘you sure are a good lookin’ gal.’ Fortunately he meant it professionally and not in the Dr. Rapey way: They were searching high and low for press models and asked my mom if she’d be willing to take some photos. That’s how she got scouted into modeling. 

    • Rand Ortega

      Fantastic analysis. Your mom sounds positively awesome.

    • formerlyAnon

      ” The only way to keep the job as a black secretary was to keep your head down, work 3x as hard as every other secretary, say please and thank you and go home . . . my mom’s comment after Sunday’s episode was, ‘I think she’ll survive, so long as she doesn’t get too friendly.’ ”

      Exactly my thoughts about Dawn. Your mom, being a bit older than I and black is a more authoritative source, though. I just remember how striking the contrast in their dress was when I saw the (few) female, black office workers or teachers I came in contact with during the ’60s, outside of work. (My smallish southern city was residentially almost entirely segregated until well into the 70s, but it was small enough that you did run into people). At work, they were dressed absolutely correctly, somewhat conservatively, and were NEVER the ones wearing the brightest colors. Outside of work they were usually dressed far more fashionably and colorfully.

    • thanks for that story. 

  • NDC_IPCentral

    My god, but you guys are fabulous.  You are sabotaging my productivity at IP Central here, because, having just read your post, I want to read it again and again.  Does Jane Bryant have you on speed-dial for a cozy chat after each episode?   What insights!!

    Thank so much for making me think and think.

    All the best,


    • charlotte

       Hey you, how are you feeling? Us bitter kittens are still with you.

      • NDC_IPCentral

         Hi, Charlotte, and thanks for asking – so kind of you and all the bitter kittens.  Tom and Lorenzo have told me about your expressions of concern. I’m very touched.

        I’m about halfway through my chemo; it pretty much wipes me out from two days afterwards and onward, though I’m working at IP Central M-TH.  Good news: the chemo is shrinking the tumors in my abdomen, so all the queasiness, fatigue and discomfort are worth the outcome.  I have to have injections to boost my white blood cell and neutrophil counts (they get hammered by the anti-cancer drugs, too), but I’m responding well to those, so my aggressive chemo regimen (9 successive Fridays – this Friday is #5) still is on track.  I still have much of my hair, though I’m shedding it steadily – just no mammoth molt yet.

        The fight continues, and my doctors and I are determined that Team NDC is going to be victorious!

        All the best (and thanks again),


        • formerlyAnon

          It’s awesome to hear that the chemo is doing its job and they can see clear results. As always, thanks for updating – it’d be understandable if you wanted a “cancer-free zone” to visit here on the lighter side and updates or not, we’ll be thinking of you.

          • NDC_IPCentral

            Formerly – I’ve heard directly from Tom and Lorenzo that several of our community have been so kind as to ask T Lo about me and how I’m doing.  I don’t want to hijack any threads, but I have no reticence (clearly!) about discussing my situation, and they’ve been very generous in letting me post about myself.  I’m upfront about the disease I’m battling and the treatment I’m getting and the surgery that I will have in the coming months.  As long as I don’t abuse Tom and Lorenzo’s hospitality, I’ll update my Bitter Kitten friends periodically about my fight.

            There’s no stigma to having cancer, and openness can be informative to others, too.  When I finally go bald (a protracted process in my case), my appearance will communicate what’s going on. 

            I’m not so very brave.  I stick my arm out and blood is drawn and evaluated or an IV is inserted and in go the poisons (my doctor’s words, too) that attack the enemy.  I present my belly so my doctor can give me the injections to boost my WB cells and neutrophils.  My role is to be a compliant patient, avoid getting exposed to viruses, bacteria and germs, and also try to keep my weight from dropping and my hydration maintained.  I’ve lost (depending on the day) between 16-18 lbs since I began to feel ill.  A heckova way to achieve “underweight” and svelte.

            I have my 5th infusion tomorrow, Friday April 13, and I hope that my blood counts are at levels that allow me to receive it.  I look forward to each chemo Friday eagerly – we’re going another round against the opposition!

            Thanks again,


          • UsedtobeEP

            Good to hear you are holding up well. My neighbor has much the same stuff going on as you have, it seems, and she is really hanging in there. It makes me hopeful for you both.

        • Eclectic Mayhem

          It’s very good to see you here and to know that the chemo is doing its job.

          Bitter Kitten hugs!


    • formerlyAnon

       Aw, let them sabotage your productivity for a while! 

      • NDC_IPCentral

         FormerlyAnon – I like your thinking!

  • baxterbaby

    Tlo , love, love these posts as always and especially liked the comments about Elizabeth Taylor.  I remember how often she (they; they were LizandDick at that point), were featured in Life magazine.  I also remember distinctly that I and my teenage mod girlfriends found her distinctly overblown (anyone remember the lacy hotpants?  Okay that was 1970), but whenever she tried on a younger look, it always looked off to us.  Youth looking at what to us was OLD.  Like our mothers.  Looking back, she often did rich Bohemian chic beautifully.

    And “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” came out in 1966.  Yikes!

  • UrsNY

    Beautiful. I love these posts. They get me to see things in show that I wouldn’t otherwise.

  • What, nothing about Peggy’s cool, green purse? Where she stashes the cool green she pried out of Roger.

    (Money, money, money, of course.) But also matchy matchy with her shoes and outfit (very ’60s!) AND a brown purse (also considered matchy to green) wouldn’t have stood out so on Peggy’s brown coffee table, making the plot point about Peggy/Dawn black/white distrust.

    • Patti Browning

      Pleaaaase someone tell me who made that purse.  I WANT it!  😀

  • VanessaDK

    Joan on a hot tin roof!

    Great analysis TLo

  • Vlasta Bubinka

    One thing I noticed about Dawn’s dress is how similar it is to Peggy’s plaid dress from last season. And in that scene, there were a lot of Peggy/Dawn similarities. One other sibling, just with their mother, there are conflicts. Sounds like the Olson women…

    And that final outfit of Megan’s– suggestion of Snow White. With the manipulation of fairy tales in the episode, she enters into a room that had been the cite of a horrible scene (the strangling) and she is the vision of the virginal goodness beauty after the harsh, sickening aggressor got her “comeuppance.”

    Oh, and I love that purple dress.

  • I would like to point out that Michael is wearing pink with a tie that is more feminine than Peggy’s tie. Not that he’s being feminine, just that she’s trying not to be. 

  • I’ve had this conversation about makeup back then, and East Coast girls with college intentions, or attending college outside very urban areas, didn’t tend to wear showy makeup. (Or in the Ivy League.)

    In fact, when I was an exchange student to an English college in 1970 (in the Midlands) the one girl who wore dramatic Mod makeup was an oddity.

    Very different down South, I’m told.

    • Spicytomato1

      Yes, and that makes me think of Hilary Rodham Clinton. Photos of her from back then definitely support that. Although she clearly had much more on her mind than being fashionable.

      • And Clinton’s mother, very much the Southren lady with her makeup, didn’t approve of Hillary’s “dowdy” look: which was, again, very much the style in the Ivy League, and prep school girls in general.

        Although I attended a lower-middle class high school, and state college, we dressed in what was then known as the”college prepstyle..”

    • I remember a drastic change in makeup styles between 1968 and 1970.  Women/girls stopped wearing it.  And they let their hair go natural (frizz was OK and peroxide disappeared).  This was in the San Francisco bay area.  I was in college at the time.  1970 may have been a mere 4 years after 1966, but in some areas of the country, those 4 years might have been 20 years.

  • Sequence Silver

    Great as always! One thing I noticed: the apron Joan’s mother is wearing. It’s the same one that Joan wore when Greg came home and announced that he was going into the army. I think that’s pretty neat: It makes sense both continuity-wise and thematically, comparing how his service brought security initially but ultimately has a hand in breaking up the family. That’s the kind of detail I love Mad Men for! Another thing: Megan’s dress really reminds me of the one Joan wore when Marilyn died. I can’t find any significance to that, but I think it’s quite interesting. (And yes, I should probably spend less time poring over Mad Men’s costumes.)

  • Anastasia_B

    And she’s wearing the pants.

  • That négligée!!


  • SapphoPoet

    I don’t follow the show (watched the pilot and didn’t like anyone well enough to continue), but this is a fascinating analysis.

    • You probably know more about Mad Men than the average viewer (ie- one who DOESN’T read this blog!)

  • Terri Terri

    i swooned!  My mom had that exact electric percolator that Joan’s mom is holding.  Back in 1965 or 1966.  White with blue cornflowers.  It had a little plug you inserted under the handle, then a light went on to tell you when the percolating was done.  It was hot as hell, she better take her hand off the bottom of the pot or she’ll get burnt!

    • mixedupfiles

      The Corning cornflowers – ubiquitous. 

  • golden_valley

    Brilliant take on the sofa in Peggy’s apartment and the two women sitting on either side of it.  Speaking of props, when my husband and I saw the Corning Ware coffee pot held by Joan’s mom, we both said “My mom used one too.”  Further, that scene of Sally with the phone leaning against a tall yellow chair….we had that chair too, the lower half of it folded out to create little steps.  Everyone I knew had one in the kitchen in the ’60’s.

    One more thing, Peggy’s mannish dressing style in the last 2 episodes totally illustrates her comments to Dawn about having to act masculine in her job.

    • Spicytomato1

      Yes we had that chair/stepladder along with everyone else. They make them now, too. I bought one purely for nostalgia’s sake. Although it’s red and not yellow like the one I used to have.

      • barbiefish

        Also had one growing up — chrome and maybe black? (it wasn’t yellow).  When the seat wore out in the late 60s/early 70s my mom replaced it with a piece of burnt orange indoor-outdoor carpeting after spray-painting the stool olive green.  That seemed so much cooler at the time–ha!  I also bought one at Target for nostalgia about 5 years ago.  It’s the same brand as the original (Cosco) and chrome with red seat.  We do use it as a stool and stepladder; in fact it was recently the “third man” in helping us install our big flat screen TV.

    • So did my stepmother have that coffee pot!

    • My grandma claimed that her father invented those tall chairs with the fold-out steps. He did work for a furniture company in NYC, so it’s possible… also those enamel topped, chrome legged tables with the leaf that sprung out.

      • Ours was red and we also kept it by the kitchen phone.

      • rowsella

         I don’t have one of the step chairs (my grandparents had a stool but it was different, older) but do have the enamel topped table with the leaves that pull out.  It’s white and black and has a chip in it. 

    • sweetlilvoice

      I have the chair/stepstool that was in my grandparents house for last several decades. It’s rusty and dirty but all it needs is some love and paint. 

    • formerlyAnon

      Yup, we have landed in nostalgia central. Our chair (or, “the step stool” as it was always called) was 50’s style – had those little boomerang style line drawings and a goldish fleck against a white ground, probably at one time matched a formica countertop or table in an earlier apartment/house I don’t remember.  It’s still in my brother’s pantry & if I lived closer I’d steal it. (He’s more than a foot taller than me, I need those sturdy steps more than he does!).  And I took the remnants of some of that Corning Ware to my first apartment.

    • rowsella

      I have that CorningWare coffeepot (at least if it is the stovetop percolator) and still use it once in a while when I have to make LOTS of coffee at once.

  • I want Peggy’s Shoes in all different colors! I hope some company will pick up the pattern! (preferably at retail prices!) 

  • I so look forward to MM Style every week…thanks!

  • But I’d kill for either those shoes or purse, now.

  • Note that in the photo of Joan & Greg’s first kiss, Joanie does the Hollywood movie cliched kiss move of the little backkick of one foot.

    And so we don’t miss that, Joanie is wearing red, patten leather shoes!

    (Had a pair of red patten (sp?) leather kitten heel pumps myself in the ’60s.)

  • Make that “patent leather.”

  • deathandthestrawberry

    I have to admit I never found Joan as interesting a character as Peggy, or even Betty, but I’m really enjoying her story this season. I love your observation about her wearing the pants. I actually hope she doesn’t reconcile with Roger. She deserves someone better.

    • mixedupfiles

      Yes, the bloom has to be off Roger by now, you would think. He’s still something of a charmer, but our Joanie is not a fool.

    • formerlyAnon

       People with children do tend to “try to make it work,” even more so then, than now. Having grown up without a father might make Joan more susceptible to that thinking (I know a lot of children of divorce who’ve tried harder than they otherwise would have to make a marriage work because of their experience of divorce.) But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to split eventually.

      I would not be surprised if they didn’t so much reconcile as he goes back to his base or next tour without either of them taking any steps to turn the separation into an actual divorce.

  • dress_up_doll

    This episode and your Mad Style post were amazing. I must say, my favorite shot was the closing one of Joan, baby Kevin and mom.

  • MilaXX

    Dawn continues to wear sturdy but not showy clothes and virtually no
    makeup. We’re curious about that. Is her makeup played down so much for
    professional reasons? Like she feels she can’t draw too much attention
    to herself? Because we’ve seen plenty of on-the-street pictures of
    African-American women during this period and we couldn’t detect any
    cultural shyness when it comes to makeup. She still lives at home, so
    maybe she’s just trying to be a very good girl. Peggy didn’t wear a lot
    of makeup back in the day either.

    I just read an interview this morning by one of the hair stylist on the show. She mentioned the head of the makeup team. I wonder if she would be willing to answer this. I’ll have to dig out the interview again and see if she responds to an email.

  • Pennymac

    *sigh of contentment* Lights cigarette; exhales…. Thanks TLo! This Mad Style post was worth the wait!

    • MadAboutMen

      I’ll add a sip of martini to that!

  • My mom too, although through late 60s and well into the 70s. I thought my mom was Liz! Liz was on the cover all the weekly tabloids week-in, week-out (only alternating with Jackie-O)

  • Oh Joanie.  I loved everything about her, and my God yes, she is definitely embodying Elizabeth Taylor.  I thought she was resplendent at dinner and by the end of the scene interpreted that dress as evocative of a full body rage flush at Greg’s presumption.  I cannot believe I missed the pants and the diminishing roses!  Your style posts are so enlightening!

    I very much appreciated seeing Stan in a jacket and tie, I don’t know if we’ve ever seen him dress in something other than a very form fitting T-shirt… 

  • Rand Ortega

    Why AMC haven’t commissioned you 2 for a MM book is beyond me. You could teach an amazing criticism class: “Style & Relationships: How Mad Men Weaves Fashion & Interaction”. Sign me up!

  • I think blue is the colour of (not always happy) domesticity’ in the Mad Men world.  Betty used to wear it all the time in the first couple of seasons, (to the extent that a yarn company has a yarn colour called ‘Betty Draper Blues’), now Joanie and her mother and Pauline and Sally are wearing it too. Yellow seems to be the colour of sunny, uncomplicated optimism, a quality that Don finds very attractive. Anna wore it as she was dying, Megan has been wearing it a lot this season and with Andrea, as TLo points out, it’s been parodied to the extent that it’s become garish. On her it signals that deep down Don is sickened by but still attracted to  the philandering lifestyle he has left behind.

    But green is the colour that I find most fascinating. It seems to be worn by women who will be important to Don at some point – I spotted very early on last season that Megan was going to become important in Don’s life at some point, because she was always costumed in green.  But this season she hasn’t worn it at all and PEGGY has been wearing it almost exclusively.  So now I’m deeply confused as to what that signifies….

    • Glammie

      Oh, that’s funny because the thing that stood out to me about Megan is that she wore bright colors–specifically an orange dress and a yellow one.  Don’t even recall the green ones.

      What I wondered about this episode were Megan’s wearing of horizontal stripes.  The stripes have all been worn largely by the men, but here’s Megan wearing the biggest stripes of all.  She’s a girl with ambitions, I think.  I keep thinking she’s going to dump Don at some point, though I expect Jane to dump Roger first.  May take another season, but I think Jane’s primed to join a commune.

      • Oh good spot re. the stripes.  I wrote in the other thread that I think Megan is wildly ambitious but actually won’t prove to be very good as a copywriter leaving Don with a mega personal and professional headache.

        • Glammie

          Yeah, they haven’t shown her having a magic creative moment, have they?  Where she’d be a whiz is in accounts–she’s got the social intelligence factor working for her there, but is SCDP ready for a female account executive?  And how would Joan feel about being passed over?  Though Joan, not Harry, should actually be heading the media department.  

          • But joan is great at Numbers and management. She would be the manager like Lane or Burt. I can’t say if Megan would be good at accounts.

  • Orange Girl

    Love this recap.  It inspired me to read up on Liz Taylor.  

  • greatscoutm

    Thank you both.  Every week during the MM season, as the episode begins to wind down, I find myself soothed with the thought of the next day’s TLo analysis and future MadStyle post.  You enrich my experience of this show every week and for that I am a grateful ‘kitten”.

    • Spicytomato1

      So true! I love extending Sunday’s night’s pleasure into Monday. Eases the transition back to the workweek immensely.

  • Love, love, love Joan’s dress from the awkward-as-hell dinner scene.  Do want.

    • reebism

      I would buy that dress in a heartbeat. I think it’s the best she’s ever looked on the show. 

      • Sweetpea176

        I agree that this could be the best she’s looked on the show.  It confuses me a little, though, because the last episode we saw her, she looked heavier and with an awkwardly-fitted dress.  She looks much thinner to me, but the last episode was supposed to be just a few weeks ago.  Meanwhile, Betty’s fat suit and mismatched body-double (size-wise)  made it a bit confusing re: how much weight we’re supposed to think Betty has put on.  I’m confused by the bodies this season.

        • reebism

          I don’t actually think she looks “thin” in the dress, just fantastic. This dress fits her much better, and was probably bought for this occasion, while the pink dress was one of her older dresses that she was squeezing into post-partum. 

          Betty looked thinner here than in the last episode, but still plumper than we’re used to seeing her. All things in time: she could have started losing weight (possibly by popping pills). The story will pay off. 

  • suzq

    I still have my mom’s old pans!

  • PaulaBerman

    I noticed that, in the restaurant, Joan is wearing the same color as the wait staff. Then, at home, she blends in with the walls, while Greg is that column of beige. Loved your post– when I’m watching, I always think of your analysis, and look for stuff like this!

    • Sweetpea176

      And why was Greg wearing his uniform the next day, anyway?  Kind of a tool.

      • That’s what military men did back then.

        • Sweetpea176

          Even reading the morning paper in one’s own kitchen?

          • You never know when someone’s going to stop by. He had to be in costume. 
            I mean, I’m guessing.

          • Sweetpea176

            I suppose for the story it would take the steam out if he says “Ok, then, I’m leaving! I’m going to change my clothes and THEN I’m leaving! I mean it!!”

          • Basically, yeah. If he was planning on heading out, whether to meet with his superiors or related tasks, he’d have his uniform on. Specifics changed according to branch and whether you were an officer or enlisted and even down to the mores of your base. But long story short: when off base, wear the (non-BDUs) uniform. That’s why he was wearing it at dinner whereas a modern military man would be more likely to wear his civvies while off-duty. Notice in the dinner scene even the enlisted man had his on. So we can’t even accuse Dr Rape of being hoity toity about himself there.

  • frances rossi

    I’m so grateful to you two for pointing out all the awesomeness of this show but you also make me feel kind of out of it. Wow, Joan really DOES wear the pants now. Amazing.

  • unpiously

    Joan’s not only wearing the pants, she’s also NOT wearing blue (unlike her baby and her mother). She’s not tied to that household anymore, as shown by next week’s preview that puts her back in the SCDP office (wearing red, if I remember right).

    Love these posts! I get so much more out of each episode from them.

  • mommyca

    So I’ve just realized how the blue follows the ladies in their different homes: Blue in Joan’s, blue (although only in Dawn) in Peggy’s, blue in the Francis residence (both Pauline and Sally), and blue in the Draper’s at the last scene, when angelical Megan comes to rescue Don from his feverish dream (combining the blue with her signature yellow)….  Not sure what it means… but it appears to be a theme surrounding the different ladies, all shapes and ages….

  • samitee

    LOVE Sally’s pjs. I can’t remember where I saw this, but someone else pointed out that it fits right in with the fairy tale themes that were running through this episode–Sally is Alice in her blue dress, popping pills to get into Wonderland…

  • simply brilliant. you guys should get honorary phds in media studies, or something…

  • Anathema_Device

    Dying over that purse in the thumbnail for this point. Amazing.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    Wonderful analysis! This episode hit me on some basic level that made me miss a lot of the details, I think. Anyway, I appreciate this analysis for not only being thoroughly entertaining and insightful, but also giving me some distance.

  • Patti Browning

    I, too, am dying over that purse. Ok TLo, your mission, should you choose to accept it: Find out the designer. Me needses that beautiful green purse!

    • formerlyAnon

       I’d bet money it’s vintage & eBay or a serious vintage dealer is the way to go.

      • There are some gorgeous vintage dealers in LA, especially carrying vintage couture. Since a lot of it gets lent to starlets all the dresses are itty bitty – but they have gorgeous accessories. I should’ve married a rich man while I had the chance! 🙂

  • formerlyAnon

    I’m still stunned at how fantastic Joan is looking, new baby and all.

    I wonder if the Liz Taylor parallels won’t be stronger than just her style – Liz was pretty determined and while everything didn’t always turn out perfectly she had a successful career, was quite well-off and (as far as I know) in control of her finances, and did it all despite her repeated attempts to be a surprisingly attentive/traditional wife, though that didn’t always work out so well.

    My mom’s grudging praise for Liz was “At least she marries her men.” I wonder how true that’ll be for Joanie.

    • aesteve212

      Joan IS looking great after the baby – and think of how much better this Liz-style dress looked compared to that overly-tight push-the-boobs-up pink dress she wore when she visited the office!

  • Jenny Moss

    These recaps are better than the program itself. So clever.

  • A little off topic, but the second use of the Bugles box — while parents are away — reminds me. Around this same time (1966) my folks returned from a trip and were horrified to find I’d been refusing to eat anything but Bugles and bologna for several days. My brother and I stayed with the same elderly couple whenever my folks traveled, so it’s not like I pulled something over on a new babysitter. Bugles must have been popular!

    • judybrowni

      Don’t have any memory of Bugles — at all!– in the ’60s, but my father was dead set against snack food, of any sort.

      Potato chips and pretzels were only occasional snacks, I can’t imagine him allowing our stepmother to branch out into some new fangled nonsense.

      We also never had soda in the house, and candy only leftover from holidays (and my dad could be depended upon to raid our Halloween or Easter stash, so I imagine it was also about his own waistline.)

      • margaret meyers

        We had ONE bottle of pop a week, on Sunday.  The big meal of the day was early in the afternoon, and my mother did not make dinner.  We had a slice of cake and a bottle of pop for Sunday’s evening meal.

        • My mom used to make Kool-aid but without the sugar, or with only the tiniest hint of sugar – so it was basically colored water. It wasn’t until I had it at a friend’s house that I realized it was supposed to have, like, 2 cups of sugar per 1/2 gallon. We never had junk food either. We didn’t feel deprived; it was just a different world. We ate ‘real’ food and my mom had a vegetable garden.

          • margaret meyers

            “There’s no sugar in Pixie Stix.”  Bart Simpson the sugar-deprived Christian Kids next door.

        • mixedupfiles

          My brother and I grew up on two cans of soda a year – one at the family reunion picnic in the summer, and a 7-up with a maraschino cherry on New Year’s Eve.

          • judybrowni

            Oh yeah, soda for picnics! Ginger ale when sick, and that’s about it. Kool-Aid in the summer, but NOT with every meal (that was milk, and orange juice in the morning.)

            So I never developed a taste for soda, tea or coffee — because even teenagers weren’t allowed coffee (or tea) in my parent’s house (“It  will stunt your growth!”)

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        No soda in our house either – water, Kool-Aid, or milk were our choices.  Strangely enough, other than popcorn,  Bugles were the ONLY snack food allowed in our house, and that was rarely.  

      • barbiefish

        Same thing during my 50s-60s youth.  We did get dessert after dinner but snack foods were a rarity and soft drinks were non-existent at our house.  My brother saved his allowance/paper route earnings and bought canned sodas (when they were a new thing) at the drug store.  Our dad also raided the Halloween candy stash — all three kids had to combine our candy the next day after trick-or-treating; we were allowed to eat a few choice items from our own bags the night of (as long as we saved him a few Snickers bars).

    • formerlyAnon

      Bugles were either popular or somehow carried the connotation of being “healthier” than chips because we had them more frequently than any other snack food except popcorn.

      We did have little bits of junk food at home – my parents were products of the Depression (my mom, especially, lived in what today would be called a “food insecure” household) and food was Love and Entertainment and the Expression of All Positive Emotions.  So trying out new products and new recipes was fun for my parents. 

      But overall, convenience foods and snack foods were novelties, 95% of what we ate was cooked from scratch. Always had a vegetable garden. I never realized how consistent my mom was until a boyfriend asked why I “put so many things out” at dinner – I just thought everybody served a salad and at least three other vegetables and/or fruits with the meat and starch if they were bothering to cook.

      • judybrowni

        Oh, the “balanced” meals of the ’50s and early ’60s! It took a full-time housewife to produce ’em, but there was much less obesity.

        Even with dessert every night after supper!

        • My mom wasn’t a ‘full time housewife’ and didn’t spend hours laboring over a hot stove – but we did eat basic, healthy stuff like chicken and vegetables.

    • girliecue

      It tickles me that Bugles are the snack of choice at the Francis family mausoleum. Maybe because my memory of them is the “fun” snack. I loved putting them on my fingers and pretending they were long fingernails. My older cousins used to delight me by chewing on my “fingernails”, or giving them a “manicure”. 🙂

    • Sweetpea176

      My folks used to buy Bugles for their parties, and my brother and I used to sit on the stairs listening to the party and waiting for the guests to leave so we could eat the leftover Bugles.  We put them on our fingertips and pretended to be witches with gnarly nails.

  • Chaiaiai

    Daddies, don’t be angry you didn’t see La Joanie coming.  I don’t see half of what you see – and I’m always so thankful for your MM Style Posts.

    As for the person who mentioned Sally seeming to be like Alice, now all I can see is Pauline as the Queen of Hearts.

  • Thanks to your Mad Style tutelage, I love how the minute I saw Joan in purple at the restaurant I KNEW Greg was about to drop a bomb. I also love that it’s a burgundy or almost a Lenten purple — as if it shows how Joan’s heart has matured and become bolder and deeper since becoming a mother, and then the pattern and the brooch give it that hint of strength and armor, almost foreshadowing her final decision. My favorite part of every season of Mad Men is the moment when I literally stand up and cheer for Joan (e.g. the vase, “What on God’s green earth are you doing here?”). Christina Hendricks acted this perfectly. The look she shot at Greg once the accordion started playing could’ve melted the face off the Statue of Liberty.

  • bluefish

    This thing you gentleman are doing with the breakdown of the MadMen clothes by episode has become my very favorite piece of business on your great great blog.  Just so well done, insightful, and fun to read.  Thank you!

  • judybrowni

    Here’s something of a coincidence: Madchen Amick (or whatever the spelling) starred in a 1990s movie film in which she plays a devious femme fatale, whose husband strangles her.

    Stunt casting?

    • margaret meyers

      I thought it was stunt casting, too!  I also like how they let her look a little tired, which is a nice contrast to Megan … who is getting a little bit of Betty’s hard look.

    • So it was Madchen Amick! I haven’t seen her since Twin Peaks!

    • sekushinonyanko

       I’ve seen her most recently a few seasons back on Gossip Girl, as the married lover of one of the overdressed teens on the show. I know that she can look SLAMMING, so they definitely downplayed her hot for this show.

  • i’ve been trying to watch mad men from a style perspective – i’ve been picking up a few miniscule things here and there, but i’m *always* looking forward to these.  the last sentence was perfect.

  • I don’t think Sally and the grandmother are going to be allies.  I think the grandmother is an abusive, crazy person.  

  • greatscoutm

    Just saw Ms.Bryant’s tweet–whoo-hoo–it made my day!

  • You guys are brilliant.  That was the most nuanced review I’ve seen of an artwork since college English class.  Bra-vo.

  • Are those rose buds on Joan’s shirt too at the end too?  You guy’s are epic… 
    I am just waiting for there to be a Sociology of Pop Culture Through the Lens of TLo. It’s a course or thesis just waiting to happen, so obvious. I’m surprised Wendy Griswald, Ashley Mears, or Joshua Gamson haven’t called you up yet to make this happen…

  • SheenaRamone

    Another great entry. I think the Liz look suits Joan even better than the Marilyn. Nice catch on Peggy’s tie matching Ginsberg’s outfit. I found it interesting that Peggy’s outfit also connects her to Stan – she’s decked out in the same shade of vomit green that he favors regularly, while he’s in a suit of mustard, her signature color. And all three of them wear ties and button-ups, while Megan sticks out in her bright purple sheath. 

    • Hadn’t thought of that. Yellow-brown is (was) her “power color” combo. And he’s wearing a jacket of it. I like that they have become friends, because he sure didn’t respect her at first. I like Stan Rizzo. I hope they do something interesting with his character.

  • cassecar

    Hi HUGE fan from Australia, love your work on these mad styles:)
    I wanted to add that I noticed that Sally and Betty colours in this episode ( green) are linking themselves very similarly ( a far cry from the beautiful girls episodes!) like Joan and her mother. Does this mean they could get closer in the future (possibly?) its also interesting that Sally calls her ‘mommy’ when talking to Puline
    Anyway fab work as usual guys! 🙂

  • Verascity

    Is it just my computer screen, or are the stripes on Don’s tie in the first shot a skewed version of the stripes on Megan’s dress?

    • kcarb1025

      His tie looks white and two shades of gray to me, while her dress is two purples. 

  • SF_Gal

    It’s no wonder Janie loves you two…
    As a former costume designer, I can only imagine how satisfying it must be to have someone see all the little details that you have woven into the costume, understand the nuances that you carefully and thoughtfully layered in, all to underscore the story, the motivation behind the scene.
    As always, excellent work. Please don’t EVER stop.

  • Wow, you guys are good. You should write a blog or something.
    Seriously though, the line about the pants. I got a chill.  

    On a waaaaaaaaaaay off that subject note, I had a weird stray thought, wondering when or if we will see any Kentucky Fried Chicken appear on this show. It was born sometime in the 60’s, and I remember eating a lot – a lot – of it as a kid (mostly on weekends, when we had company and outside get-togethers). Before anyone knew it was bad for you.

    • formerlyAnon

      I remember watching the KFC commercials for YEARS before I ever tasted it. Fast food was an incredible rarity when I was growing up.

      • judybrowni

        Yes!  I can only remember Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner a couple times. 

        Fast food was a rare treat in the ’60s.

  • This is easily one of y’all’s (and Janie’s) best ever. I love to read this blog – it feels like I’m taking a college seminar in Mad Men with Tom and Lorenzo. Fan-freaking-tastic, every single time, but particularly today. 

  • ballerinawithagun

    Thank you!

    A friend’s mother used to say, “When I was young, I looked like Twiggy, everyone wanted to look like Marilyn Monroe. Now, I look like Marilyn Monroe, everyone wants to look like Twiggy.”

    Yes, Liz was the only way for Joan to go.

  • butter nut

    brilliant observations, as always.  

  • Love color theory.

  • Logo Girl

    I think the closing shot of Joan, Kevin and Grandma is one of the most beautiful shots the series has ever had.

    • P M

       I love that Kevin seems to look like a little blue heart between Mom and Gran.

  • Mefein

     Now, I actually commented here back in the day that I thought Joan should replace Marilyn with Liz as a style icon as the decade wore on.  (Not that I can prove that!)  Although I think I was throwing out the idea of caftans and turbans or some such, so I can perfectly understand why the suggestion didn’t light any fires among the massive number of comments.

    Anyway, it would also be great if Joanie got a diamond or two in her future, but only if it’s not at the cost of her having to go through yet another dreadful choice in men! 

  • We could say that red roses represent her marriage and note how they’ve diminished in size over time.
    Red roses… like the bouquet she had when he raped her? D: D: D:

    • Kimberly Southern-Weber

      Exactly. If you look back at the Joan/Greg relationship – tons of roses. Both in her dressing and actual boquets of roses.  Really a fantastic detail on this show…and so brilliant to be highlighted by TLo.  (Gawd, I didn’t think it possible to love them more…)

  • malarkey

    awesome, AWESOME style review. As soon as you started that first paragraph about Joan, I immediately thought, ‘omg, Liz’ ~ and then you wrote it. That is IT.

  • TieDye64

    I am in awe. You guys are just so amazing. Beautiful, and thought provoking work here.

  • bellafigura1

    Wow.  Grab a martini and a Camel, you’ve earned it.  Brilliant.

  • Esz

    Did anyone else notice that Joanie at the dinner with the in-laws, the in-laws side was all shades of blue/green and Joanie and her mum were all in pink and red tones?

  • Mariko Troyer

    I have been rewatching the 3rd season and noticed that the nightgown Joan is wearing when Greg lies about going back to Vietnam is the same one she is wearing in the scene when he comes home drunk in “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” and breaks the news he did not get his residency. It’s as though our Joanie knows when Greg is about to disappoint her; thank goodness she made it impossible for him to do it ever again.

  • P M

    How did TLo miss the dinner dress? I saw it on AMC’s website when Ms. Bryant was talking about it, and I thought ‘Joan’s pain colour’. But interestingly, it’s not pure purple; it’s purple mixed with red: I took that to mean hurt mixed with anger and the will to live (both the latter being associated with red, no?).
    Joan definitely decided to kick Greg out during the dinner scene; the dress absolutely confirms it.

    • How did you miss the dinner dress? There’s a dozen pictures of it.

      • P M

         OMG – TLo REPLIED TO MY COMMENT! (And all it took was an inadvertedly clumsy line. But you’re right, I’ll never do it again)
        What I had meant to say was that, previously, it had been pointed out that when Joan wears purple, bad things happen. The penultimate example being (sad sigh) the rape outfit: purple from head to toe. However, a specific explanation was not made of the plum-coloured dinner dress. On further reflection, perhaps it was understood that the Kittens and PUFs would immediately remember the Mad Style lessons (I sure did, and I’m slow!) and therefore, no specific pointing out and explanation would be necessary.
        PS: A note on my writing style: I’m not trying to be rude by being formal. Just sayin’. 

        •  Well first, that dress isn’t purple and second “when Joan wears purple, bad things happen” is not a sentiment with which we agree.

          • P M

            Rats, I’m slower and more blind than I thought :(. I apologize again: I had been thinking I was agreeing with you!

          • You don’t have to apologize (although “I can’t believe you guys forgot…” is a very common, and kind of annoying comment that tends to set us off). The purple thing with Joan has been wildly overstated. It was one of her signature colors and it tended to denote her romantic disappointments, much in the same way the rose motif signifies her marriage. But we don’t believe you can apply a strict “purple = x” interpretation. We doubt costume designer Janie Bryant works that way and color theory in costume analysis is rarely that literal.

            Look at it this way: One of Megan’s colors is a sunny yellow, which denotes her optimism and general bright outlook on life. But it doesn’t mean “When Megan wears yellow, good things happen.”

          • P M

             All true. Thanks TLo (bows to the gurus)!

  • MissAnnieRN

    Boys, you should shamelessly plug Tom’s interview with Ryan and Ryan.  If I hadn’t scrolled all the way through my FB news feed, I would not have known it existed.  I’m listening to it now!  

  • You guys should consider a book pitch on Mad Men style. Seriously! 

  • EEKstl

    Brilliant, brilliant.  GENIUS to make the connection to La Liz, that never occured to me either and now that you’ve pointed it out it is right on.  Love the roses observation too.  Bravo, boys!

  • I see your point, but for me the red rose dress will always represent the time that doctor’s wife gleefully told the rest of the dinner party “I’ll cut the cheese….”

  • I’m surprised there’s no mention of Joyce’s slightly softer (feminine?) outfit.

  • librarygrrl64

    Great observations, as always. I just received judges’ sheets on a production of Grey Gardens that I directed and co-costumed, and I so wish most of them had the costuming savvy that you boys have. They seem not to be able to get past “I liked it/I didn’t like it,” to read color stories, and to see that costuming contemporary/20th-century productions is based on plot and character and theme. Blergh. As for Mad Men, I was almost distracted by how much I wanted Peggy’s green shows and bag. TO DIE FOR!!!

  • Susan Crawford

    Another genius analysis, guys!
    Joan never looked more gorgeous than in the restaurant in that wine-colored dress – perfection, and absolutely a dress La Liz would have worn for a Via Veneto bowl of pasta with Burton, no? There were a couple of other voluptuous icons from the 60’s era, including Anita Eckberg and Sophia Loren, both of whom worked the cleavage and small waist and curvy hips with plenty of pizzazz, so Joan is in VERY good company!
    Megan’s striped top was a brilliant touch as she brought Don his breakfast after his feverish night: all the colors of a morning sunrise in her outfit, and then – flick! Curtains open and let there be light. Terrific choice.
    While on Megan, yellow translates as optimism, you are SO right that on Andrea it looks all wrong: too bright, too intense, and those orange accents do nothing but accent a kind of sickliness in the color. Brrrr. I do NOT want Andrea popping up in any of MY dreams, thank you very much!
    But in real nightmare terms, what could beat the scene with Grannie Pauline and little Sally in their blue nightwear? Sally’s cute little babydoll set next to monolithic Grannie in her barely button-uppable robe was disturbing and perfect at the same time. (And truly, the echo of fat Betty and her Bugles was reverberating through the entire scene.)
    Peggy. Oh, Peggy. Aside from looking like a somewhat bedraggled girl scout in that green outfit with the perky tie that became a sad little rag by the end of her long day, there were two things I really loved about her attire this episode. First: the green shoes.  Yes, a bit matchy by today’s standards, but perfectly in order for the mid-sixties. And these were pretty sexy, too for Peggy. I think she had her feet on the desk partly to admire them!
    Second: the fatal green purse. Again, that is a really wonderful example of mid-sixties leather goods with some very nice detailing that marks it as fairly upscale. And considering the symbolism of it in the episode, it was another fantastic choice.
    Joan’s mom looked pretty great in the restaurant scene as well with her little cocktail hat and that lovely print dress – but mom-in-law’s tubular brocade dinner attire really was hilariously metaphoric! I had to say I snorted a mouthful of Snapple out my nose laughing at that.
    And how interesting to compare Joanie’s blue robe with Betty’s and Grannie Pauline’s – Joanies looks soft and cuddly, hugs all her curves and while it may be chenille, it’s damned sexy chenille, no? There are blue robes, and then there are BLUE ROBES, no?
    Ginsberg’s seersucker jacket? Definitely a Lower East Side item, and of course nothing really fit him at all. But didn’t you love how his pinkish/taupe shirt picked up on Peggy’s little tie? Priceless! And I vote for a comeback of that gold color Stan sported – VERY attractive.
    You two make me SO happy! Thanks T and Lo for an amazing style re-cap.

    • VanessaDK

      “mom-in-law’s tubular brocade dinner attire really was hilariously metaphoric! ”
      As a sofa?  That she was just a piece of furniture in her family?  Guess that is where Greg got his ideas about women.

      • Susan Crawford

        I definitely saw her as a slightly over-stuffed couch! And not a nice cozy couch, either. One of those slippery ones that keep you trying to anchor yourself so you don’t end up plopping onto the floor.

        (You know, as much as I adore this show, I think I love T&Lo’s recaps and the amazing remarks and additions of the commentariat every bit as much.)

      • Susan Crawford

        I definitely saw her as a slightly over-stuffed couch! And not a nice cozy couch, either. One of those slippery ones that keep you trying to anchor yourself so you don’t end up plopping onto the floor.

        (You know, as much as I adore this show, I think I love T&Lo’s recaps and the amazing remarks and additions of the commentariat every bit as much.)

  • janetjb

    I love your Mad Style posts. 

  • siriuslover

    OMG, what a great post. This post in itself tells a story. You guys are just brilliant. Seriously. Like I say nearly every time I post in a mad men post, I haven’t watch the series in a long while, but you bring the story to life to me, both in the recaps and in the complementary style section. What would I do without you guys?

  • Derek_anny

    Apropo of very little, I’m sorta sad she threw him out.  Mostly because Sam Page is very pretty.

  • PERFECT! Thank you! And now I have a new pinboard to follow!

  • You guys really amaze me. Thanks so much!

  • TLo, Mad Style should be syndicated on Clothes On Film. 

  • Perfection!  My husband and I loved this post. 

  • Mitchell Johnson

    How about the Corot painting over Michael’s head in the board room?  A first for a signature painting on the show?

  • SFree

    I just found this site. You guys really are fabulous. Just wanted to add something …. the red roses also go back to the time Joan’s husband raped her. He brought red roses to the office and she left them on the desk in the aftermath.

  • I’m in awe.

  • Linlighthouse

    A great read, guys. Didn’t Peggy’s vest look positively mannish? Like the sweater vests the guys wear. When she asked Dawn if she comes across as acting like a man, I could only think she should look in the mirror.

  • Linlighthouse

    Just noticed: In the picture of Michael next to Peggy, Michael’s clothing is as feminine as Peggy’s is masculine. A pink shirt with an allover small pattern? Two sides of the same coin indeed. The gender coin.

  • Karen

    Joan wears blue in her orange house because of the harmony that such complimentary colors create.

  • gamblinggal

    The 60’s. My favorite decade. And I WAS there