Mad Style: Tea Leaves

Posted on April 04, 2012

Zip yourselves up and let’s get to it. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

Could there possibly have been a more shocking way to reintroduce Betty? Did you gasp like we did? The combination of the bejeweled cuffs and collar (very much in style for the older crowd at this time), the bracelets and prominent earrings, and that utterly ridiculous and unflattering hairstyle combine to make Betty look like a pampered poodle. Note the look of utter disgust on Sally’s face. Lots of mother/daughter history there revolving around weight and body issues. If Betty raised Sally to avoid weight gain like the plague (as she herself was raised by her mother), then it stands to reason that Sally isn’t going to be kind or understanding about it.

This is our first real glimpse of the Francis house and like all the other shots, it’s dark and old-fashioned.

Note the periwinkle color of Betty’s dress as well as the swirling paisley pattern. Why should you note this?


The current Mrs. Draper has no problem getting zipped into her dress, which is far more youthful and modern than Betty’s (dig that dropped waist and pleated skirt combo), but still calls back to it via the use of similar colors and similarly intricate patterns. Interesting to note that Betty’s in a swirly paisley and Megan’s in a more geometric, Aztec-like print; the WASP vs. the ethnic French-speaking girl.

We almost feel bad making so many comparisons between the two Mrs. Drapers, but these scenes were designed that way. Don hasn’t had a business dinner partner since Betty, so it’s natural to notice how Megan does in comparison. She’s similarly nervous, but unlike Betty, she can introduce topics into the conversation and pivot away from something she wished she hadn’t said (“Don was divorced,” meaning “I’m not a homewrecker.”).

The Heinz lady, ironically, looks like she could actually be Betty in about 20 years. The styles are roughly similar, which should give you some idea of how matronly Betty’s clothes are. Society saw little difference between a married woman in her 30s and a married woman in her 50s. They did the job expected of them and now they’re expected to quietly decline.

Megan is once again wearing the absolute latest in styles. This is not how everyone in her generation dresses right now, but about half her generation will be sporting these styles (the big, complicated hair, the massive jewelry, the wild prints) within a year. 1966 was when these styles were born, but it was ’67 and ’68 when they actually exploded all over the place.

Every inch the good girl, doing her job and not making waves. The dress is serviceable, but not overly stylish and the makeup is so low key that we’re not even sure if she’s wearing any. It wouldn’t be unheard of for her to think she needs to keep her nose to the grindstone and her head down if she wants to keep this job. Her general look reflects that. Interesting to note the earrings, though. They’re fairly prominent in an otherwise unadorned look and they’re not like any earrings any of the white female characters have been sporting up until now. It’s a nicely subtle way of signalling her cultural otherness without going overboard.

Mama Francis, like many women her age, station, and size, simply goes to her dressmaker and has the same dress made she’s been wearing for the past 35 years. And why not? Certainly that hairstyle hasn’t changed since the Depression.

And speaking of depression, here’s Betty, embodying the concept in her stiff, scratchy nylon bathrobe. There’s not a lot of tying the characters to their surroundings in any of the scenes in Betty’s house. No matching the dresses to the color scheme or anything like that. That was probably partially intentional because most of the house scenes are shot in such a way as to make the characters look like tiny little figures in a massive, dark room. No one really belongs in a house like this.

Peggy, once again working that combination of menswear and Catholic school uniform.

Again, the costuming here gives the effect of being pampered, childlike, and a bit ridiculous. As Mama Francis once said of her, “She’s a silly woman.” We don’t actually subscribe to such a harsh assessment, but Betty can be trivial and childish, certainly. Her clothes often reflect that. And while she wasn’t being silly in this scene, she was being quite reliant on someone else to be strong for her.

Here’s the thing about the Francis house: to 2012 eyes it looks pretty fantastic, if a little dark. That’s not how such a house would have been viewed during this period. Refurbished Victorian mansions were not what the average housewife wanted to live in. The suburban dream was still alive and well during this period and we can’t imagine that Betty’s really happy living in that kind of a house. Think of The Addams Family and The Munsters. Or Psycho. Big old houses like this were not seen as desirable; they were seen as horribly old-fashioned to the point of seeming sinister. We might want to live in that house in 2012, but it’s a safe bet that Betty didn’t want to in 1966, no matter how wealthy it made her seem. She’s traditional, but she’s not that traditional.

You want a shock? Check out the last time we saw Betty wearing blue roses. As we said in last week’s Mad Style, there’s an overwhelming sense of decline in this period for Americans. A lot of that is being referenced in the clothing and art direction.

Her friend’s outfit is perfectly suburban-mom appropriate and serves to not take too much focus away from Betty in the scene. You could argue, if you really want to get into the weeds (pun sort of intended), that Betty’s clothes reflect someone who’s still clinging to life and her friend’s serviceable but colorless getup reflect someone who’s in the process of letting go.

The fortune teller just represents fortune tellers. It’s a costume for this woman – and quite a silly one. Note that it’s trying to reference what would have been called gypsies at the time, except it’s completely devoid of any cultural markers or reference points. It’s just a scarf, a coat in a wild print, and everything she had in her jewelry box.

Okay, let’s start with this:

Peggy: white shirt, gold skirt.

Michael: white shirt, patterned tie with gold elements.

Think we’re stretching it? Are you saying, “Come on, guys. There are a lot of colors in that tie?”

Check it:

There are points being made about these characters through their clothing. Michael Ginsberg is a male Peggy Olson. He’s socially awkward, sloppily dressed, and extremely talented.

Although we have to say, it’s highly unlikely that his showing up for a job interview in a faded pair of ill-fitting jeans would have gone unremarked-upon. Yes, SCDP, like a lot of agencies at the time, valued their creative people and gave them some leeway, but this is probably pushing it on the believability front. Although it does a very nice job of underlining just how inappropriate Michael is.

Oh, and it’s a brilliant touch to have the sleeves on the jacket too short. He’s probably had that jacket since his Bar Mitzvah.

Two things jumped out at us here. The first is that she’s shot in a manner very similar to Betty’s scenes where she’s tiny in a huge room. Secondly, she’s dressed very much like we probably expected Betty to be dressing by this time. It’s a simple, clean look and it’s very similar to the more casual styles Betty was sporting a couple years ago. Very appropriate for a scene where Don’s going out and she’s staying home like a good wife.

What we loved most about the costuming for these backstage scenes is that none of these kids are dressed in wild, proto-hippy styles. That’s due partially to the fact that they really haven’t started yet and also because these are typical suburban kids. In fact, it’s kind of brilliant, because if you look around the room, most of them are wearing good-girl or good-boy clothes, with one wild element tacked onto it after they left the house and got away from their parents; a vest, or a pair of big earrings, or a long necklace. And if you couldn’t manage any of those, then just slip your bra strap down so it’s visible and gives you that hard edge that you so desperately want in order to impress Mick Jagger so he’ll ask you to marry him.

As always, Megan is dressed to showcase her sunny attitude and optimism, even in a scene where she has to be a little stern. The only thing truly notable about this is that she’s dressed this way in the city, rather than waiting to get out to Fire Island.  That’s fairly racy on her part; that she would walk through the lobby of this building in a bikini top.

It’s killing us. How on earth can they afford such a massive house? Wasn’t it established that he didn’t have as much money as Don?

BALL-FRINGE, BETTY? Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Ball fringe on the cuffs, once again making her look fairly silly. It’s also notable how cheap her clothes look in this episode. Clearly, they’re not lacking for money, but plus-sized women of the period had even fewer clothing options than they do now. Granted, Betty could have her clothes made, but she really wouldn’t be able to face the measuring and fitting process with her current body.

Yes, that house is beautiful but it’s shot to look like a massive mausoleum. There’s a way to shoot old houses like this in order to make them look beautiful. Check out Downton Abbey for a primer on it. Clearly, the goal here was not to make the house look beautiful, but to make it look oppressive and to make Betty look insignificant inside it.

And of course, in a scene where Don says to her, “You’re such an optimist,” she’s once again in a sunny, optimistic yellow. Look how much she stands out in a crowd. This is another well-made and probably expensive outfit, but it’s not as showy as some of her others. That tousled bubble ‘do was very much in vogue and not a hairstyle that’s aged well.  She and Don are both a little sunburned from their weekend on Fire Island.

Check out the bathtub with the board on it. Many typical Lower East Side flats had the bathtub in the kitchen and the window in the wall.

Despite the seeming acceptance and affection from his father, Michael Ginsberg IS Peggy Olson. From lighting to art direction, this scene mirrors the one from Season 2 where we met Peggy’s family for the first time:

We’re not sure why they’re signalling it so hard, especially when the dialogue more than made the point, but it served as a wonderfully subtle callback. Obviously, Michael comes from a poorer background, but there’s still that sense of claustrophobia and darkness; that sense of family members who don’t quite get what they’re doing.

From one kitchen to another; where the parent-child relationships couldn’t be more different. We were struck by how formal this scene is, right down to the parfait glasses. 1930s-style kitchens are all the rage now, but you can bet this is NOT the kitchen Betty wanted for herself. In fact, she mentioned last season that she would have to tear the kitchen out. She’s so affectless and listless that we imagine she can’t be bothered to even try to make this home her own. Contrast that with the aggressive home decorating she was doing back in Ossining, when it was a house that mattered to her.

Oh, Betty. Ditch the ball fringe and rip out that kitchen for a gleaming space age wonder. You’ll regret it come 1980, when refurbishing old houses will be all the rage, but at least you won’t be sitting in a tomb all day.


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  • I think they’ve said before that Henry is “Old Money”.  Family money probably bought that house.  And its probably what he felt comfortable in.  In “Tomorrowland” he even said that he wanted the house in Rye, and he looked pretty comfortable there.

    • P M

       In that case, he’s probably the only one who feels *truly* comfortable. I don’t think even Mother Francis’ place is that dark, if the Thanksgiving ep is any indication.

      • Cabernet7

        The house seems very Henry to me, very Victorian era.  He’s the one who convinced Betty to buy the Victorian fainting couch.  And Henry and Betty’s courtship through letters seemed very Victorian to me.  This is exactly the kind of house I pictured Betty and Henry in.

        • annieanne

          And — contra TLo — that house is not ‘beautiful’…even to these 21st century eyes. It represents the very worst of Victorian sensibilities. Dark, oppressive, heavy and overdone.

    • P M

      Rather than old money buying the house, I wonder if he inherited it instead. Another reason he’s so comfortable and Betty isn’t. Imagine: ‘I’d like to re-paint the kitchen’ ‘But I like it like this, it reminds me of Gran So-and-so’

      • MilaXX

         I was wondering if it was a family home or perhaps gotten as part of his job. Having the “reminds me of” conflicts makes more sense.

        • P M

           It would also fit into Betty’s story. The woman needs a project: Previously, it was her home she poured her energy into. What if she can’t do that anymore?
          I’ve done and supervised renos – they take ENERGY.
          Which makes me wonder: she has access to money (the fabulous clothing in the Van Nuys run-in episode), but she cannot actually use it for what she wants (other than clothing). She wouldn’t actually discuss things with Henry, because that’s not her wont. Interesting…..

        • Lilithcat

          You don’t get houses like that as “part of your job” when you are a mid- (or even upper-)level mayoral staffer.

          •  Agree. This would be the governor’s mansion, not a staffer.

      • Verascity

        I had honestly been assuming it was an inheritance. 

    •  Also, big old houses like that could be bought relatively cheap in those days. I remember visiting relatives in a mansion back in the 50’s – our small house would have fit in the living room (if that’s what it was called). My mother told me they paid $15,000 for it, a steal even in those days.

      • P M

         Seriously?? huh.

        • rowsella

           Yeah, you can get an old 3+ bedroom house in my town for about $50,000, some less–I checked and there are 33 houses in that category.  Of course there’ s lots of work that needs to be done and the neighborhoods are not the best (poverty and crime wise) AND the schools are not so hot….  but, theoretically, one can get housing, made out of actual wood (and wood molding)…. relatively cheap.  This is Syracuse, NY.  I can only venture to guess similar conditions apply in Utica, Fulton, and Rochester.  Of course, too far to commute to the city… but high speed rail will come one day and NYC, DC, Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh, and Ontario/Toronto will be a day trip instead of a long weekend. (We already do the shockingly early bus to NY to shop and get home by midnight now as well as DC for events but they require planning and take a bit out of you).  We also usually get very cold winters here.

          • Anastascia Smith

            I read this up to the point of “schools are not so hot…” and thought to myself, “is this person from UPstate ny?”
            Haha I go to school in Rochester right now and I can see a lot of these houses that Betty is living in.

      • you can probably buy houses like that in the Rust Belt right NOW for that price since there are so many abandoned houses…

      • Mike McGee

        It was a time when stained glass windows were being tossed into the trash, dropped tile ceilings were preferable to the patterned tin, and my father happily replaced the wrought iron fencing with SHINY NEW CHAIN LINK.

        • formerlyAnon

          To be fair, maintaining wrought iron fencing is no joke.

        • librarygrrl64

          I know. Makes me wanna cry.

    • Now I understand why Don said, “Give my love to Lurch and Morticia” in Episode 1.

    • VanessaDK

      This is also why she probably can’t afford to redecorate that old elephant.

    • fnarf

      I got the impression that the house was already in the family; they didn’t buy it, they inherited it when someone died. It might be the house that Henry’s mother grew up in, or Henry himself. It might have been shuttered for years, too. Though there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of furniture; there’re chairs everywhere. Maybe the Francises were accustomed to stowing stuff there that they didn’t have room for in their more modern (but not very) houses.

      Whatever the story is, it’s hugely out of touch. Which is realistic; not everybody in the sixties immediately jumped into a mod apartment like Don’s, or a suburban tract house. Heck, my house still has most of it’s old knob-and-tube wiring intact, and it’s almost fifty years later.

      • ballerinawithagun

        My friend in St. Paul grew up in one of the Hill (railroad family) mansions. They bought the house with all the furnishings intact. By the ’80s, because of divorce, Olivia’s mother, began renting rooms to Olivia’s friends. We had fabulous parties there during that time. Then energy costs became too high ( you can only imagine how much it costs to heat those huge places!) and the house was sold.

        • fnarf

          Yeah, if they stay in this house and the series lasts until the first energy shocks, in 1973, I can just imagine Henry yelling at the kids to put on another sweater, I ain’t turning this heater on at these prices!

          I noticed in the Wikipedia article for the Stimson House (this one) that at one point it was a party house for a fraternity (probably at nearby USC). I’ll bet some of those parties were pretty fab.

          • Michele Townsend

            When I watched the episode I thought wow that looks like the house my Great Aunt lived in when she became a nun. Then I read that Wikipedia article and sure enough, that’s the house she lived in! 

          • fnarf

            What? Really? Awesome!

      • Anastascia Smith

        I was a 90s kid, but the suburban house I grew up in was a combination of Pete & Trudy’s apartment + the Draper’s kitchen and living room. We had the quintessential 60s white mod room divider, burnt orange curtains, plaid wallpaper, WOVEN wallpaper (I still thought that was the coolest room ever), and a yellow oven to match!

  • Ozski

    Am I the only one who thought Betty’s kitchen resembled the green kitchen in ‘Sybil’? Horrible and oppressive.

    • P M

       At the very least, stale and stagnant.

    •  Yes!  I thought that too!

    • Yes that definitely occurred to me as well!  Gave me the willies to see that color green on the walls.

    • Susan Crawford

      I felt exactly the same! The sundae scene with her daughter was so sad – you could feel the strain of what should have been a nice moment of mother/daughter bonding just widening the gap between the two. When  her daughter states that she is full and stops eating when she has had enough, there was a look of despair that flitted across Betty”s face.

      And that was replaced by a look of depressed resignation as she pulled the half-eaten treat toward herself and dug in, all alone in that cold, institutional dead-pea green kitchen. As the camera pulled away, the full misery of that awful kitchen was revealed, wasn’t it? It had absolutely NO warmth or soul at ALL!

  • Re: Henry and money. I don’t think it was clearly established he’s not as rich as Don. He always said that he would support Betty and the children, Pauline and her home look like old money, and he IS a republican politician in a rather high consulting position.
    I mean, remember that they met for the first time at Roger’s country club. There is a money background there. 
    Great post, as always.

  • rketeckt

    Seeing Zaftig Betty, Chez Masoleum and the swinging Draper pad blew out my shadenfreude circuits.  Thanks for putting a succinct finger on why I was so intrigued by Peggy and Michael.

  • charlotte

    As always, thanks for the insighful review. Looking at this, the fat Betty thing seems kind of ridiculous- especially because the whole fatsuit getup is so poorly made. She is already living in that fortress of a mansion wearing the clothes of former First Ladies. Couldn’t the usual not-showing-her-belly method have done it, too?

    • 2ndhandchic

      I think fat Betty makes a lot of sense. She’s miserable, as she was with Don, but this husband doesn’t put as much emphasis on her looks as Don did. Obviously she is eating to make herself feel better, but it’s only making her feel worse.

      • charlotte

         Still, she has always been depicted as a weight-conscious person who used to be obese as a child. If she had just gained some weight from eating too many Bugles it would have made more sense than that major weight gain within only a couple of months.

        • mixedupfiles

           Yes, I wish they had gone with maybe 20 pounds weight gain. She’d look uncomfortable and not entirely like herself, she wouldn’t be able to zip a dress – they could signal everything they want to signal here. But with this Betty, I have trouble seeing past the fat suit to get into the scenes.

          • This is exactly how i feel. i was rather outraged at the horrible fat suit, and I also noticed Betty’s lines/JJ’s acting were/was rather sloppy. not nearly the polish they once had. and while I’d like to think that was intentional, it just seems much too…off…

        • rowsella

           I wonder so much about this story about Betty being fat as a young girl.  She probably hit that awkward age at 12 where girls get a bit chunky looking right before they hit puberty and develop curves and slim out.  I remember my stepfather calling my sister fat at that stage.

      •  I know that in context Betty is “fat,” but really? yeah, she’s gained weight. But she’s not fat; she may not even be “plus-sized” (though obviously sizing was different then – and it’s not consistent now). I’ve really come to hate the many stereotypes and shorthands related to weight: fat = depressed, eating from a bag of chips = depressed, woman eating ice cream = unhappy = fat. blah blah. I’m not saying none of these things ever go together, but it’s not very smart or subtle.  I don’t watch the show – I just LOVE reading TLo’s commentary on it, because you guys do such a brilliant and insightful job of analyzing costumes, sets, and so on – so my two cents have even less value than two actual american pennies. But I really don’t like “fat” and “unhappy” being conflated or made contingent.

        • jenno1013

          I hear what you’re saying and agree with you generally, but I don’t think that in this context anyone is saying that fat always equals unhappy.  Mama Francis may be domineering but she doesn’t come off as depressed.  What people are saying here is that it’s Fat Betty = Unhappy.  She did used to be so weight-conscious, and she remains appearance-conscious (still does her hair, still wears makeup and jewelry, still chooses what-passes-for-attractive-clothes in her size/era — as TLo said, the blue roses say she hasn’t given up).  But she’s lost her control over her weight in a chicken-and-egg way (for Betty, overweight would be both cause and effect of unhappiness) and that says something significant about *her* mental state, though not everyone’s.

          • Unfortuately ‘fat = Unhappy (and usually stupid/lazy) in our culture. So even if that wasn’t the whole intent, it’s hard to avoid seeing the stereotype, same reason most black celebs don’t want to be photographed eating fried chicken.  We ALL like fried chicken, but for the black community it harkens to an unflattering stereotype

          • valerenta

            I’m fat and I am not unhappy or stupid or lazy. It’s clearly the simplistic shorthand these lazy writers have decided to use, but it’s ridiculous.

            The whole Fat Betty storyline drove me nuts. It was so offensive, with all the worst stereotypes about fat people. 

        • jenno1013

          I hear what you’re saying and agree with you generally, but I don’t think that in this context anyone is saying that fat always equals unhappy.  Mama Francis may be domineering but she doesn’t come off as depressed.  What people are saying here is that it’s Fat Betty = Unhappy.  She did used to be so weight-conscious, and she remains appearance-conscious (still does her hair, still wears makeup and jewelry, still chooses what-passes-for-attractive-clothes in her size/era — as TLo said, the blue roses say she hasn’t given up).  But she’s lost her control over her weight in a chicken-and-egg way (for Betty, overweight would be both cause and effect of unhappiness) and that says something significant about *her* mental state, though not everyone’s.

        • jeeplibby02

          Not only is Betty most decidedly fat, she’s borderline obese by common medical definition.  There was a bit of a disconnect between the way she looked in the fat suit under clothing and ‘her’ girth when she emerged from the bathtub, so I’m going to conservatively estimate that she gained 50-60 pounds (although I’m thinking even more, because I know women who are 50 lbs overweight, and you couldn’t tell from a headshot; whereas, Betty’s face is fat).  Considering that her normal weight was probably 120-125 lbs, we’re talking about a 5’6″ woman (January’s height) who weighs approximately 180 lbs. That is at the extreme high end of the “overweight” range (BMI = 29), and tipping into obesity. I think one of the reasons that so many of us are obese is that our society has a very distorted perception of what obesity looks like, and words like “plus-sized” and all the other euphemisms we have for “fat” just keep us blind to the fact that not all obese people need a seatbelt extension on an airplane.  

          To your other point: I don’t think that every fat person shares Betty’s depth of misery (because she has other issues, as we know), but I don’t know a single fat person who is a happy about his or her weight, and doesn’t believe that his or her outlook, romantic prospects, mood, health, or some other valued aspect of their lives would benefit if they lost weight.  I have, however, known quite few who feigned happiness, only to admit having been secretly miserable after losing weight, a la Star Jones.    

          •  The BMI is not a particularly great measurement tool, and I generally take its “results” with a very large shaker of salt.

            More to the point: has it perhaps occurred to you that the fat people you know who aren’t happy are unhappy precisely because they’ve been vilified, criticized, and made public property as objects of shame and mockery?
            I would also say that I am not sure I’ve ever met a thin person who was happy with his or her weight, either – the very very skinny express dismay about that; pretty much everyone else either feels they need to lose a few more pounds, or lives in fear of gaining a few.

          • jeeplibby02

            I don’t think that most fat people experience those things post-adolescence, because most adults, regardless of what they might think about excess weight on the human body, don’t go out of their way to say nasty things to or mistreat others because of their weight.  I have experienced a 40-lb. weight gain, and almost everyone I know pretended not to notice, and certainly never vilified, criticized, shamed, or mocked me.  I did that, myself– and rightly so- because I found my own body alien and unattractive with that extra weight.

          • I don’t think there is any one scale that can be used to determine something like that. I distinctly remember when I was in my mid-late teens and for the first time hit what the BMI and those other charts some doctors use to determine weight ranges said actually *was* my ideal weight. But based on body type and how weight distributes itself on my body (breasts and hips are the first to gain and the last to lose any weight, if they ever lose it at all) adults who didn’t know me well had started asking loaded questions to find out if I was anorexic because my clavicles could have cut glass, my ribs were countable, and my wrists looked like twigs.

            Which is when my extremely sensible doctor pointed out that this is why math is no replacement for a doctor because “Clearly that isn’t right”. If I don’t stay at least 20-30 lbs over that I look like walking death and feel like it too. You cannot fit all or even most people onto a scale with only two variables.

            I’d also kind of like to know where you found all those random adults that don’t mistreat people based on weight. As an adult I’ve been everything from a size 8 to a size 24 and when I was at the higher end there were a *lot* of snide remarks and dirty looks from complete
            strangers while I was minding my own business.

          • Sweetbetty

             ” and certainly never vilified, criticized, shamed, or mocked me”

            That you know of, dear.  You’re right, most adults won’t do that to your face.  This is coming from someone who has fought weight since childhood and has had several significant losses and gains.  And believe me, the way men react to the same person when she is down rather than up in weight is very noticeable.  In my 20s there was a guy I’d come into contact with regularly who I thought was just wonderful but he was totally oblivious to me.  I lost about 30 pounds and suddenly he noticed me and started getting cozy.  At first I was thrilled but then I was resentful that I was the same person as the one he wouldn’t give a second look to 30 pounds ago and totally lost interest in him.

          • Sweetpea176

            I thought there was a disconnect between the fat suit Betty and bathtub Betty.  In the first scene, when they showed a full body shot of Betty, it looked to me like she had gained maybe 20 – 25 pounds.  In her other clothes, she was wearing sort of baggy things (for Betty), so it’s hard to really see what her body looks like.  The only shot that makes it look like she’s gained more than that, in my opinion, was the bathtub shot.  I’m assuming the impression we’re meant to have of how she looks now is the long shot of her in her too-tight dress.  I don’t find it at all inconceivable, or really that alarming for someone to put on 20 pounds in 9 months (I’ve been known to put on nearly that much during a single holiday season) — especially if she does have a thyroid condition and has quit smoking, as others have speculated.

          •  That’s right – she was a chain smoker! And I don’t recall seeing her smoke at all in this episode. That would explain a lot, along with the thyroid condition.

          • jeeplibby02

            A 20-lb. weight gain does not make an adult woman’s face look bloated like Betty’s.  She is just this side of having a double-chin!

          • Sweetbetty

             That double chin was what made her look like a real overweight woman rather than just a woman in a fat suit.  This is something that bothers me about most plus-size models, and I mean *real* plus size, not size 12.  You’ll see a size 20 modeling a dress in a catalog but her neck and chin are size 4.  Very few women, if any, manage to gain weight in just their body without their neck, chin, and face being affected (I thought even Betty’s nose looked fatter) so those models are obviously photoshopped.  To be expected in this day and age, I guess.

          • Amanda DeBock

            You are crazy if you think January Jones weighs 120-125 pounds normally.  She’s probably somewhere around 110 to 112.  If you’re going to talk about distorted perceptions about weight, it goes the other way too.  It’s pathetic that what looks “normal” is actually underweight on the same BMI scale that you used.  

          • jeeplibby02

            I disagree. I have seen her without benefit of the camera, and she looks essentially the same as two or three women I know who are the same height and have no body fat, and whose weight I know for certain.  Neither she nor they look unhealthy, or are unreasonably thin.

          • Edith’s Head
        • e h

          I seem to be the only person who interprets Betty’s weight gain as being a result of comfort and happiness in her new life.  I know I gained some weight after I got married to my wonderful husband, and it was NOT because of depression – the exact opposite, really.  In my mind, she is eating like that because she finally doesn’t feel like she has to impress Henry with looks the way she did with Don.  The scenes in which she interacts with Henry only reaffirm that in my mind, because he’s so attentive and sweet to her.

          • jeeplibby02

            I think you need to watch the episode again.  There was nothing in it that suggested that Betty is either comfortable or happy with her new life.  Not for lack of trying on Henry’s part, but Betty just doesn’t do happy…and she certainly didn’t believe him when he tried to reassure her that he doesn’t see her weight, and still finds her attractive and desirable.  I didn’t either, come to that, but what else is a loving husband supposed to say?

  • deathandthestrawberry

    I find the Victorian house curious too, because older neighborhoods where one would find homes like this, began to decline in the 60s and 70s as more people fled the cities for the suburbs. You’re right; it was really until the 1980s when gentrification became a thing that people with money started reclaiming those houses.

    • fnarf

      This IS the suburbs. The Old Line suburbs, built around the stations of the commuter rail, same as her old house, and Pete & Trudy’s new one: old money, old mansions, possibly in a sort of decline simply because everything was then, but definitely not succumbing to White Flight. This is where White Flighters were flying to, not from. I guarantee there are nicer-quality postwar tract houses within a half-mile of here.

      • deathandthestrawberry

        I get your point. I believe the house is in Rye, correct? I’m not familiar with Old Line, specifically, but I do know that even older suburbs saw decline. Like Oak Park, located outside Chicago and home to some beautiful homes with lots of history, Generally people didn’t want to live in those drafty, old, hard-to-modernize houses and moved to newer suburbs being developed during this period. Many of those houses were in turn divided into apartments, because they were so hard to sell. 

        I find it curious that the show runners chose to put the Francis family in such an antiquated house. It’s almost as if the Francis’ are willfully clinging to history and ignoring the new.

        • fnarf

          “Almost” as if? Precisely as if! They can’t afford to live in a fancier place; this is an ancient relic. They’re Republicans, after all; traditional to a fault, even if it means deprivation. Also, social climbers, wanting to live above their means, even if that means five electrical outlets in the whole house and a coal boiler.

          Rye’s too far out (inches from Connecticut) and too posh to subdivide into apartments. Plus, that would take money that they obviously don’t have.

        • I think the Old Line suburbs are New York’s version of what are more generically known as “railroad suburbs,” which grew up around commuter rail states, as fnarf mentions. Another example would be Philadelphia’s Main Line.

          • reebism

            Isn’t Betty from the Main Line suburbs, too? Betty comes from money for sure…

          • librarygrrl64

            Yes, Betty grew up on the Main Line. And went to Bryn Mawr College, so she can’t be completely stupid. 😉

          • reebism

            My SIL-to-be is from a Main Line suburb…so I’m taking the fifth in response. 😉

          • librarygrrl64

            LOL! Seriously, though, Bryn Mawr has always had some pretty rigorous academic standards. It’s not nor has ever been a glorified finishing school by any means. 

        • TheDivineMissAnn

          Oh, I know this is off topic, but I absolutely LOVE the houses in Oak Park!  We used to just drive up and down the streets and look at them.

          •  I lived in Chicago from 2006-2009 and my married-with-kids co-workers who formerly lived in the city were all buying houses in Oak Park and Evanston. Everything old is new again!

  • dress_up_doll

    Excellent review guys! There was so much to discuss in this episode. I’m really digging the current Mrs. Draper’s wardrobe and accessories. Spot on analysis of Peggy and Michael’s wardrobes.

  • Judy_J

    Maybe Henry got a raise working for Mayor Lindsey.  But I suspect the house was the Francis ancestral home or some such. I was really shocked to see how matronly Betty has become, and how unstylish.  I hope she gets out of her funk and starts sporting some groovy ’60’s fashions.  It would lift her spirits immensley.

    • jeeplibby02

      Betty is too old for “groovy ’60’s fashions,” but I would like to see her shed the pounds and adopt a Jackie O-like fashion sense in a year or two.

  • janedonuts

    This is amazing, as usual. And yes, I gasped when I saw Betty. Can’t even imagine where her character is gonna go. Are we all excited about the prospect of Betty on uppers? YES! (Poor thing.)

    • formerlyAnon

      Poor thing? She’s going to love them!

      For a while, at least.

      • ….and though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill….

        Speaking of pills, do you think Sally’s first experience with drugs will be when she steals Betty’s speed? Or when she goes back to Ossining (for some reason) and smokes weed in Glenn’s garage?

        • formerlyAnon

          Oooh, nice speculation. I’d say it’ll depend on whether they’re emphasizing her rebellion (in which case, the pot) or her mommy issues/handed down eating disordered thinking (in which case, the pills.)

        • annieanne

          Or maybe when Dad introduces her to the Stones?

      • b starry

         Mother’s Little Helper:  Kids are different today, I hear ev’ry mother say
        Mother needs something today to calm her down
        And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill
        She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
        And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

        • P M

           I wonder if that’ll make it someday to the end credits music :).

  • Susan Crawford

    I loved how Pete was the most formally dressed of the SCDP crew in the infamous “I’m-taking-all-the-credit-for-Mohawk-and-marginalizing-Roger-even-more” scene. He looked like the stiff little plastic groom on a wedding cake, while all the others were in full-on sleeves rolled up work style. Also, I loved Dawn’s hair in this scene, and her immaculate, frill-front white blouse: perfect!
    Megan’s yellow dress was spot-on. I recall having a VERY similar style in a sort of lightweight wool boucle, right down to the buttons on the skirt panel. It was the go-to style of the mid-sixties, as was the drop-waist, pleated skirt dress Megan got zipped into earlier. (I had one in chocolate brown with tiny white polka dots – loved it!)
    Betty trying to squeeze into that blue brocade dress was tragic. But that was a HUGE style historically. Just check out photos of Princess Margaret, Liz Taylor and the Duchess of Windsor – they all rocked those embellished, bead-trimmed productions. So Betty is definitely dressing like an older, rich woman – or trying to, but alas her body betrayed her.

    I loved Megan’s staying at home outfit on the evening Don went to see the Stones: very Laura Petrie, with the tight white capri pants and the solid color top in a vivid color. And I would imagine before she and Don went to the lobby, she put on some matching cover-up for the trip to Fire Island. Or else they went directly to the basement parking area and directly to their car without passing the scrutiny of the doorman?

    Poor Peggy – she COULD be so hip and cool if she could just get that butt unclenched for a few minutes every so often. And as for the potential in the Michael Ginsberg story arc, it could be enormous and fun and just the dose of reality our Miss Peggy needs. The apartment set for the Ginsbergs was incredible – kudos there, because there was not one single detail that jarred.

    And I do hope Betty manages to get her hands on some of the ubiquitous diet pills of that era, because the thought of her not only getting back to fighting weight, but becoming speedy and paranoid and even more irritable and bitchy is too delicious to contemplate.

    As always T and Lo, you are amazing and funny and your recaps just make my day!

    • lilibetp

      (I had one in chocolate brown with tiny white polka dots – loved it!)  So did I!  I think I was about four, but it was a great dress.  The one I wore for first day of first grade had a similar silhouette, but was orange plaid – I spent much of my childhood looking jaundiced.

      • Susan Crawford

        Yes, some of those colors of the era seemed specially designed to make the wearer look malarial and jaundiced! On the up side, we were able to blend in perfectly with the shag rugs and the upholstery. And once the psychedelic colors came in full-strength, a lot of us looked both jaundiced and out of focus. (Which, by then – – – we were!)

    •  I had that dress, too! In a green-blue plaid with some sickly golds mixed in.

      Another style difference between Betty’s generation and Megan’s is in the undergarments. We’re seeing Megan with a lot less of them. No girdle, no slip. I remember girdles and garter belts and clip-on stockings, and I remember them going bye-bye as well. We’re actually seeing this change in MM as we watch Betty and Megan get dressed.

      • FloridaLlamaLover

        Indeed. A few years later than this will come pantyhose. I remember my Mom’s first pair.  We both busted out laughing when she held them up. I think they were maybe 10, 12 inches from waistband to toe tip.

        •  I got my grandmother hooked on panty hose when I started college and went home to visit her one weekend. She was agog. No more garter belts and stockings? Yes, please!

        •  Megan had to be wearing pantyhose with that fabulous minidress in Ep. 1. Now that I think of it, miniskirts wouldn’t have happened before pantyhose came out. I remember getting rid of my girdle and stockings about this time and being SO relieved, lol. Funny that women are raving about their Spanx now.

    • baxterbaby

      I think that one of the major dividing points (no pun intended) between early 60’s  and mid-60’s and on clothing  was the waistline.  It was high (Megan yellow), at the hip (Megan paisley) or non-existent (Peggy; the skimmer dresses, which suggested the waist with a princess line).  Also note that Peggy’s blouses are not tucked in; even in suits we saw the shell top, which came over the waistband of the skirt (Chanel’s sixties iteration).   It’s what makes Dawn’s outfits look dated; that belted shirtwaist style.  It’s what will defeat Joan; she needs to have her waist defined.

      So bring on the “tent” dresses!  You had to be very slender to bring those off.

      • Susan Crawford

        Absolutely correct! I had a closetful of classic early sixties Villager shirtwaist dresses, all of which had a belted waistline. And we ALWAYS wore our peter pan collar blouses tucked in . . . until asround 1965/66, when all of a sudden the first rumblings of the youthquake were felt, and from that moment on, anything belted just seemed dated and square.

        I think Dawn was understandably trying to keep as professional a profile as possible, and was more than willing to wear very conservative, somewhat dated looks. But I would bet she had a few very hip items in her closet for date nights! It will be interesting to follow her style evolution.  

        • baxterbaby

          Couldn’t agree more, if her earrings are any indication!  Her fun clothes were probably much more fun and hip than many of the other secretaries.

          Re: Villager.  I remember their attempts at kicky.  I had a Villager one piece culotte dress; orange, striped (1967).   Wore it with a chain belt. 

          And it still had that damn Peter Pan collar.


  • Also, Peggy’s dress in the scene with Michael and Don: Girl Scout uniform.

    Another incredibly astute post. Thanks, boys!

    • jeeplibby02

      Those boxy, short-sleeved shirts Peggy wears reminds me of the top half of my gym uniform in junior high.  WHAT is she thinking?

      • Sweetbetty

         I hate that look too.  There’s other ways she could dress to mimic the male uniform of suit-and-tie.

  • P M

    Many other comments to come, but I wanted to enter the 1st 3rd of the queue as fast as possible! Mother Francis can barely hide her glee or keep herself from curling her lip in contempt, can’t she? Ouf – I wouldn’t want to be on the bad side of her!

    •  It’s funny how different people interpret various characters on this show. I thought Mother Francis was very kind and compassionate towards Betty. She, of all people, understands what it’s like to get fat. (And so do I, lol.)

      • formerlyAnon

        Or at least, she thought she was being helpful and showing concern.  Much, I think like Betty (and probably her mother before her) were trying their best to equip their daughters to get the most out of their lives and have every advantage available when they obsessed about their (daughters’) weight and nagged them about it.

        • P M

           But there’s also competition, rivalry and resentment bundled into all that. Betty strived and worked hard, I’m sure, to achieve and maintain that ‘ideal’. Now, she has ‘failed’, and Mother Francis, well-intentioned or not, has pointed it out.
          My great-grandmother was not a mean-spirited woman, but I still don’t think my aunt liked her comments concerning weight (i.e my aunt’s).

          • formerlyAnon

            Oh, I think there’s always something more than what’s on the surface – especially with family. Sometimes intentional, sometimes I think not.

      • I feel the same way. If Betty had that conversation with her own mother, it would not have been as civil.
        And also, it got her out of the house, so it must have worked.

        Very interesting relationship.

      • P M

         You know, come to think of it, it could be that that’s simply how *Betty* sees it. Other women are her judges and rivals, so when they poke a sensitive nerve, it’s because they’re being mean.

      • jeeplibby02

        As did I.  I like Pauline.  She speaks her mind and has Betty’s number, but I don’t think she was nasty or gloating at all.  Of course, she approached it from the perspective of wanting Betty to remain attractive to Henry so that he will be happy, but that made sense to me: She doesn’t like Betty and doesn’t pretend to, and she has been vocal in  her opinion that Betty’s only appeal is (was) physical, stating to Henry, “I know what you see in her, and you could have gotten it without marrying.”  However, she’s astute enough to know that a fat, unhappy wife is going to make her son miserable, and if avoiding that outcome means confronting Betty about her weight, and offering a solution that she obviously doesn’t consider potentially destructive, she’ll go there.  

        • Sweetpea176

          She could also be concerned about Henry’s career.  Being a political wife was — and still is to a certain extent — a job on its own.  Betty does not seem to be the kind of political wife who views her husband’s political career as a joint venture and is just as involved in shaping his career as he is.  (Trudy Campbell, for example, would be a formidable political wife.)  I suppose we don’t really know enough about Henry to know what his aspirations are, but attending things like Junior League events would be her “job” as his wife.  I think that’s something Pauline gets more than Betty does.

    • MK03

      Yeah, that scene reeked of passive-aggressive contempt between Betty and Mama Francis.

      • Susan Crawford

        I agree. Mama is really only concerned about Betty’s weight because it reflects badly on her son, and Betty is straining every cell to keep her cool with this meddling, officious mother-in-law. But – and here is where the writers excel – despite all this, there IS a real undercurrent of pathos to that scene. God, I love this show!

        •  From Mama Francis I got a vibe of “Welcome to a taste of what MY life is like”

        • P M

           Absolutely. ‘How nice of you to come when a phone call would have sufficed’.

  • Anyone know the ‘real’ location of that house? It DOES look like the house in Psycho.

    • I don’t knwo the real location of the home, but the Psycho house is a set on the Universal Studios Hollywood lot.  It’s not the same house.

      • Oh, I know it’s not the same – but I am interested in the way they shot it from below to seem even more monumental (the family on the lawn look like yard gnomes in comparison) and, perhaps, to recall the Psycho house.

        • J.D. Dickey

          I haven’t seen anyone comment on this yet, but the house is definitely the Stimson House in Los Angeles. Check it out:

    • fnarf

      The house in “Psycho” was wooden. This one is red sandstone in a Richardsonian style — it looks like a train station. Despite the New York setting of the show, it is in fact the 1895 Stimson mansion in Los Angeles:

    • not_Bridget

      It’s the Stimson House in Los Angeles.  Really, it’s a lovely place.  But in the 1960’s, only a daring & witty decorator could do justice to such a pile.  Betty needed professional help for the living room in Ossining–even not depressed, she would not be up to it.  Also, it may have family connections for Henry.  At least some of the stodgy, dark furniture probably came with him.  (Because his Mom found it depressing?)  Just more light & brighter colors would help….

      I’m sure Betty hasn’t spent much money on clothes lately.  She’s had to buy stuff in new sizes, but surely, she thinks, she’ll be “back to normal” any day now.  The fat look was no doubt designed to deal with JJ’s pregnancy–she appears to have gained very little weight, but maybe the scriptwriters didn’t know in advance.  It’s a brave choice–how to shock an audience!–but I bet she’ll be back to fighting weight before the season ends. 

      One thing to explain Peggy’s informal shirt & shirt look–& Dawn’s dress: It’s Summer In The City!  The offices are air conditioned, but most office workers walked & rode the bus or the subway to work.  Or drove in non-air-conditioned cars.  Once weather gets cool, the style quotient will increase….

    • DoneAgain

       Los Angeles- the Stimson House on Figueroa Street just north of Adams.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    I’m once again fascinated by how fashion-focused Megan is. The Draper apartment still looks like the furniture and fixtures were semi-cheap, but Megan’s clothes and look are so on point, she makes everyone around her look behind on the times. It goes beyond even a statement on the shallowness of her as a character, or her marriage to Don, and straight into timeline marker.

    The guy who plays Michael reminds me a lot of a young Robert Downey Jr., just saying.

    • I don’t know if I really see Megan as shallow, though.  Just different from the SCDP typical crowd.

    • Spicytomato1

      I think Michael is a dead ringer for Scott Baio, as someone pointed out earlier this week.

    • KaileeM

      I think the semi-cheap furnishings of the Draper apartment can also point to how the home is not Megan’s first priority. She wants the place to look stylish, yes, but clearly her focus (and probably the lion’s share of her salary) go to her closet. She and Don seem to be a couple that’s out on the town frequently, and she wants to dress to impress. And since she’s working, she’s just not in the apartment enough to really care too much that everything is perfect and expensive.

      • Maggie_Mae

        I can’t remember, but I think Jane had everything done up in the most expensive way possible!  (She decorated Roger’s office, after all.)

        Last season, we saw that Don doesn’t much care about home decor.  Megan wanted something quick & simple.  In that case, modern works better than Early American (the “traditional” look of the 1950’s & 60’s.)

    • Frank_821

      That actor plays a major character on the show Drop Dead Diva. He plays a former guardian angel that was made human and learning to cope with earthly realities and human love

      • librarygrrl64

        Yes! DDD disappointed me a bit ( a little too light and, well, Lifetime TV for Women) so I stopped watching in the first season, but I always thought he was adorable! Glad to see him branching out. 🙂

    • L. Thomas

      Megan isn’t shallow, she has hidden depths. The clothes-horse phenomenon you are noting is simply because she is “French” or “French-Canadian,” which weirdly passes for the same thing on the show. She can’t help dressing stylishing, it’s in her genes.

  • serenitynow02

    Great recap. My only quibble is that ball fringe in the 60s was not silly at all, but super MOD and very in style. And not just for the older crowd. Betty is still trying to stay in fashion, large or not. 

    Her suit at the doctor’s is also not ridiculous, nor, I think, especially childlike. It would have been considered quite an elegant suit back then. I remember my mother having several like that and she was no childish Betty Draper.

    •  Yes, but you’re looking at it solely through the lens of history. There’s also how a costume works in a scene and is perceived by the audience.

      • Susan Crawford

        Absolutely! It is just unimaginable to think of the cool, tailored, Hitchcock icy-blonde that Betty epitomized in the early seasons wearing ball fringe, even if it had it been a gigantic fad at that point in history. THAT Betty would have thought it was silly and tacky. I think it was symbolic of her resignation and depression that she wore it (and that pink quilted robe) after her remarriage and weight gain and boredom.

        Which is why I want her to get on those Black Beauties and start living on lettuce leaves and coffee and being eee-ville to her kids and looking smashing as quickly as possible! Imagine Betty rocking an early pant suit, or silk palazzo pants with a backless halter top.

        • formerlyAnon

          Oh, I think she would have worn the ball fringe – but on beach wear or casual poolside wear.

          I remember having a beach poncho (yes, a beach poncho – who thought of THAT, I wonder?) a few years later than this, made of striped beach towels and trimmed with ball fringe. It was da bomb.

          • norseofcourse

            You had me at “beach poncho”.

        • serenitynow02

          I rewatched the video clip on the Mad Men website where Bryant talks about the costumes for this particular episode. She says that although Betty is larger in size she (Betty) still works to create her trademark “facade of beauty” with classic elegant suits and more stylish print dresses and shirtwaists. Bryant shows the pom pom print summer shift, pointing out that the trim is iconic for the era and that it uses one of the fun, vibrant prints of the time. It’s casual wear, and stylish casual wear at that.
          Betty has always been a creature of fashion and it is not surprising that even with the weight gain, she is trying to keep up her appearance, even though through modern eyes the stuff might look a bit tacky. Perhaps she has less choices than Megan, given her larger size, but I do not think the clothing she is wearing is meant to convey she has given up trying to be a la mode – 1966-style – even if the styles she is choosing are not as hip or youthful as Megan’s (who is about 8 years her junior?).

      • serenitynow02

        Absolutely. And perhaps because I do remember that era pretty well, I don’t perceive Betty as being out of fashion or childlike with those two particular costumes. I saw Janie Bryant talking about these pieces in a video, and I’m just not sure that in this instance that’s what she was going for either. 

        I certainly agree that Betty’s wardrobe has taken a turn to the matronly, in sharp contrast to the fashion forward Megan…..

        • You’re way too hung up on this one minor point – and this tends to happen quite a bit with people who remember this period. Once again: it’s about how it looks in the scene in 2012 and how it is perceived by the audience. Even Janie Bryant’s intent is secondary to that point.

  • hesterk

    Michael Ginsberg’s LES apartment is identical in layout to the ones at the Tenement Museum on Orchard Street. I love that they’re referencing that part of New York history. Some characters have invented histories and sever all ties (Don), and then there’s Michael whose family may not have budged from that apartment since they arrived via Ellis Island.

    • VanessaDK

      I agree completely–this is a part of New York we have not seen yet! And the tenement museum does a great job of showing how those apartments changed with the different groups that passed through over the years.

      Given his modest means–I am astonished that he wore blue jeans to a job interview.  It just feels wrong tfor the time and his class–if he wanted the job he would have borrowed trousers even if he didn’t have any.

      • filmcricket

        Yeah, the jeans were a shock, just like the sleeveless dresses on the secretaries last week. Bare arms are an issue in some offices even now! I get that Madison Avenue was probably more forward-thinking, but that really surprised me.

        • Tim Weise

          Can someone please explain how you end up with an exterior window in that kitchen? I understand sub-dividing but can’t figure out that damn window.

          • garbotango

            Tim Weise – It was a way that
            landlords catering to poor immigrant communities could get around NYC
            housing regulations that stipulated how many inhabitants could live in
            each apt.  I’m afraid I don’t recall the exact proportion, but each
            window meant that the place allowed a specific # of residents. The idea
            was that each additional window meant a larger square footage.

            some point, however, landlords started retrofitting the inside of their
            apts to accommodate more windows, obeying the letter of the law &
            violating the spirit.  I’m not sure how many of these are left, but I
            had friends renting these places in the 70s & 80s (mainly in Little
            Italy).  I recall one place w/a wall of 4 inside windows.  Of course,
            this had the effect of reducing the square footage!

            That bathtub
            in the kitchen was very common, not just downtown, but all over the
            upper east side, too.  (Again, I had several friends w/the board over
            the tub when not in use.)

          •  I had friends who lived in a ‘bathtub in the kitchen’ place in the Lower East Side in the early 80s — an astoundingly affordable place because of the bathtub configuration.

            Came in handy for friends crashing overnight, as I recall. 

  • MzzPants

    I was -shocked- by Betty’s appearance!  My reactions: ‘Did they make her fat?’ , ‘No, it’s an unflattering outfit.’, ‘OMG!  Betty’s fat!’,  The makeup/prosthetic use was amazing because it was so subtle.  She’s not gigantic a la Eddie Murphy.  She’s simply put on some pounds.  You talk about how they recycle the wardrobe to reflect how we really use our clothes.  The detail paid to body change is equally thought out.  Peggy’s pregnancy weight gain was the same way…so ‘normal’.

    This is such a thoughtful show.  It’s what keeps me coming back. 

  • I want Megan’s first dress. 
    And Peggy’s shoes!

    • librarygrrl64

      LOVE Peggy’s shoes!!!

  • Michael Ginsberg intrigues me. I hope he buys a new outfit or at least an iron.

    And one last thing…


  • P M

    I suppose it’s a fashionable shade for the 60s (I was born in the 80s), but that’s a Terrible shade of lipstick in Megan’s first scenes. 
    Also: She gave up going to a Stones concert?! WTH!

    • formerlyAnon

      She’s supposed to be a grown adult (albeit a younger one) who’s rather sophisticated – or trying to be.  The musicians at the Drapers’ party had more of a jazz scene vibe to me than a rock ‘n roll scene, no matter what they were playing.

      The Stones were a ‘kids’ thing – more raw than the Beatles and nobody thought of either of the groups as “sophisticated.” They were still making their fortunes and weren’t yet hobnobbing with a moneyed crowd of international jet setters, as they would be in ten years time.  (And even in the mid-70’s, the Stones’ version of moneyed international jet setters was pretty darn raffish.)

      • barbiefish

        I agree about the Stones and lack of sophisticated image.  Around the time this episode took place, Mick Jagger appeared, either on TV (Ed Sullivan?) or a rock and roll revue movie I saw, in a grubby sweatshirt.  That and his big lips were what struck me about him and were in sharp contrast to the Beatles’ matching suits.  Mick, Keith, and Brian got more dandified as the sixties went on; Bill and Charlie certainly never embraced Mick’s hobo look but seemed (in my recollection of the times) to dress pretty nondescriptly throughout.

    • not sure she was invited….

      • P M

         I know I know; I just hoped she could have invited herself.

    • Lilithcat

      She didn’t give up going to the concert.  Don and Harry were going there on business.  

      • filmcricket

         Too bad for them – she might have got them in.

    • barbarasingleterry

      That pinky-white frosted lipstick was THE lipstick shade to wear.  The frostier and whiter the better. It lasted through the late ’60s to the early ’70s. It worked really well with the super bold Twiggy eyes…

    • Beninqac

       Megan at the dinner is the spitting image of Jackie Susann. So much so that I have spent the last couple of hours looking at Pucci-prints, in search of the picture I remember.
      Alas Google is not giving me what I need, but Valley of the Dolls was published in 1966.

    • librarygrrl64

      I agree on the lipstick. Definitely in fashion, but Pare’s mouth isn’t her best feature, IMO, and that shade does her no favors. 

  • P M

    What happened to the Peggy of last season? I want her to bring that stylishness back!
    And a segue to Michael: He dresses like a kid too, doesn’t he? Hmm: So how will he transform, I wonder?

  • Wow, Betty was heartbreaking for me in this episode but seeing all the images of her in one spot like this just plain shocks me. How miserable and dead she must feel inside to loose her control to this extent. These are outfits Betty of the past would not be caught dead in. Bring fabulous Betty back!

    Great post as usual. Thanks

  • RedRaven617

    I swear, Michael looks exactly like Chachi (Scott Baio) during his “Charles in Charge days”. Anyone else see the resemblance?

    • lilibetp

      Oh, yeah.  It’s Ben Feldman, from “Drop Dead Diva.”

  • I think I’m going to try using “Oh, BALL-fringe!” as my new expletive.

    [We did have some ball-fringed items when I was a kid in the ’60s; I never cared for it much!]


  • norseofcourse

    That first picture of the Draper’s pad is my porn.

    • funkycamper

      Oh, me, too!  A recent move from a Victorian/Edwardian-style home to a mid-century modern style home has me changing my furnishings to the more sleek modern style of the Draper apartment.  Antiques just don’t look right in this home and I’m having a ball with it.  It’s a fun change.

  • I know it came later, but Megan’s style and that apartment make me think of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.  Makes me want to watch it again, silly as it is.

    • Whever

      Hey, it was written by Roger Ebert, so you shouldn’t feel too guilty. 😉

      • judybrowni

        No, Ebert wrote the campier sequel, “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.”

        • Whever

          Um… I believe that’s the one she mentioned, actually.

    •  When I see the living room picture of Megan, all I see is Laura Petrie.  Oooooooooh Dooooooooooon!

    • Beninqac

      I already said it up-tread, but she looks EXCATLY like Miss Susann promoting her book in 1966, only she wore a yellow Pucci pantsuit.

  • miagain

     They have so nailed the clothes in this episode.  They are spot on perfect.  I just remember yearning for cute little sleeveless shift dresses!!  That’s why I’m surprised by Peggy’s skirts and peter pan collar blouse… I would have thought she would have dropped that look for the far more fashion forward shifts.
    Isn’t if funny, though, that what was considered so modern and youthful just can’t hold a candle to the earlier clothing from the 60’s?
    I doubt there has ever been a decade in modern history where there was such a seismic change in fashion.  Ponder 1960 and then 1969!!  I am still wearing clothes from the ’90’s… that sure as hell wouldn’t have happened then!!

    • Susan Crawford

      In the mid-sixties, you could still find a lot of young women wearing peter pan collar blouses. They were part of most college girls’ wardrobe, and were considered very appropriate to wear with a suit or under a jacket for work. But by 1966, despite the Villager-love that prep-types clung to for years, they were beginning to look a little “square” and un-hip. Truly experimental gals were going for poor-boy sweaters and shift dresses, and clothes that were a little more trendy.

      And you are 100% right – by 1969, young women would not be caught dead in the clothing they loved a few short years earlier! I can’t wait to see which character sports the first Sassoon-cut, which character wears Courreges white booties, which character sports some Twiggy lashes . . . and who will rock some Biba and Mary Quant. (And my money’s on Megan!)

      • I was in high school in 1966 in NJ and I had a Vidal Sasoon inspired hair cut, twiggy lashes and short skirts.

        • Susan Crawford

          Yep! I was in college, and saved up for months so I could go to the Sassoon Salon in NYC and get the assymetrical cut. I painted on my Twiggy lashes, wore short skirts and felt like I could conquer giants!

      • I was 22 in 1966 and know exactly what my work wardrobe was during that summer. Working as a cashier in a very high-end men’s store in Beverly Hills, I wore a lot of sleeveless A-line dresses with semi-halter necks. Since there weren’t any bras with changeable straps, I had to make the straps longer and tie them together in the back so they didn’t show. Shoes for work were slingback pumps with 2″ heels. Hair was a long flip. Don’t remember if I was wearing pantyhose yet, but I certainly was an early adopter. Early pregnancy work clothes in 1968 were basically the same, just a little fuller in the front.

    • Lilithcat

      But Peggy has never been “fashion forward”.  She may have more money to spend on clothes now, but she’s frugal.  She won’t throw away her entire wardrobe to buy faddish things.

      • formerlyAnon

        I’ve always thought that Peggy will someday be on the receiving end of some mentoring and one of the rare successful business/professional women she comes across will tell her she needs to lay out money on more sophisticated clothes the way the senior ad executives do. And only THEN might we see her in the era-appropriate equivalent of the ‘power suit.’

  • I suppose it’s a turn of the century Pasadena mansion.  The exterior eminds me of buildings in Newport, RI not Rye, NY though. And that interior staircase is a real ringer for our old east coast yacht club.

    • Oh, there are absolutely houses like that all along the Hudson River.

    • Spicytomato1

      It also looks very Gold Coast, pre-Chicago Fire Chicago.

      • fnarf

        It’s the 1891 Stimson mansion in Los Angeles, at Figueroa and West Adams, which was indeed modeled after the 1880s (not pre-fire) Richardsonian Romanesque houses along the Gold Coast, where Thomas Stimson had lived previously. I’d post a link but then my post won’t go through; just google “stimson house”. 

        • formerlyAnon


        • Spicytomato1

          Interesting. I’d always thought those homes were of older vintage and survived the fire. (They look like they could have!) Thanks for the info.

        • EEKstl

          Here’s the link for anyone who’s interested.  Thanks, fnarf!

        • Maggie_Mae

          I posted a link but was informed my post would be delayed!  (And there was lots of other stuff in that post–maybe it will show up, somewhere.)

          The Stimson House is in Wikipedia….

          • fnarf

            Same thing happened to me. That’s why I left the link out this time.

          • links have to be moderated, for spam. 

          • fnarf

            I knew that (I think!) but I forget, since I don’t try to post a link very often, then when I do, it gets held. 

    • sisterb67

      The exterior shots are the Stimson House on Figuero, which has been used in quite a few TV shows and movies.

  • surfergirl70

    Megan is a dead ringer for my mother the year she got married (1967), down to the dresses and the makeup and the hair with the fall (when she’s out with the Heinzes).  Love it.  And great post, especially the correlation between Peggy’s and Michael’s outfits.

  • I remember when Rosemary’s Baby was released (’68) Part of the story was that great apartment (The Dakota) she spiffed up. For younger people at the time, it made it cool to fix up an antiques and live in quirky places. Maybe in a couple of years if Betty’s not divorced again, she’ll re-do the manse. Maybe she’ll have a fun gay interior designer. 

  • cmb92191

    I’ve seen that green and white dress Peggy has on.  My mom had one in the mid 60’s.  She was an older teen and it looked realy cute.  Knowing my mom she probably sewed it herself.   I still love Megans outfits.  There was one gorgeous top she had on when she quickly walked out of Don’s office.  I want that yellow dress.   

    I’m such a nerd.  I just noticed that one of the medical degrees in the doctors office was from University of Pennsylvania.  

    • suz72350

      My mom made me a dress like Peggy’s green and white one. It was navy.  I also had a dress like Megan’s yellow one…one of the few store-bought dresses I had in 1968. My mom was an excellent seamstress and sewed almost everything I wore. It was cheaper, but I still got to wear a ‘hip’ style — seen on the pages of Glamour and Mademoiselle magazines.

  • Breatheinthegood

    Thank you for your great points here and amazing recaps of the episodes as well. I find I enjoy the show a lot more since I’ve begun reading your analysis of it and seeing all the subtle things that I missed the first time around.

  • Spicytomato1

    I’ve scrutinized my parents’ photos from that era and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dropped waist dress like Megan’s. To me it looks almost 80s.

    The office fashions are such a throwback to my parents, and interestingly, although they were fairly recent immigrants — as was most of their social circle — they all managed to adopt the current American style pretty quickly. I guess it was their parents who remained Old World, like Michael’s father. 

    My mom wore more Megan-like styles well into the 70s, though. I don’t recall seeing the heavy Betty and her hospital friend’s looks emerging until the early 70s. Same with the plaid sportcoats.

    Anyway, fascinating post, thank you!

    • funkycamper

      I disagree on the dropped-waist dress.  In our family photos, my sister and I both had numerous dresses like that going from about 65-70.  My sister was a teen and I was in grade school.  In one photo, my sister is in a cut almost identical to Megan’s paisley Heinz-dinner dress but it’s wool with a knife-pleated skirt.  I covet.

      • formerlyAnon

        I had several of that cut, but they were faux dresses – the skirt was really culottes, disguised by the pleating. I can date one for sure to the summer of 1966.

        • librarygrrl64

          OMG, culottes. Blast from the past…

      • judybrowni

        I remember fighting my mother on a dropped waist in 1960 — the ’20s fashion were getting a revival then, and dropped waist, began as a ’20s thing.

        I also hated it’s return in the ’80s. Never thought I was a dropped waist sort of person.

        • C. Rogers

          Now it’s coming back, too, or trying to— I saw several dropped-waist dresses at Anthropologie recently and was bewildered by them. Not meant to be worn by curvy girls! 

  • MilaXX

    I keep meaning to look up who the makeup/special effects people are for Mad Men, because like Peggy’s pregnancy weight Betty’s depression weight is really well done and seamless.

  • lilibetp

    I can’t get over Megan’s attocious posture.  Aren’t all French (and I assume French-Canadian) women supposed to have excellent posture?

  • lilibetp

    I thought it was supposed to be closer to a year?  And, trust me, once you’ve been obese, it’s MUCH easier to gain weight very quickly.

    • formerlyAnon

      Even if it was only 8 or 9 months – if you’re sedentary (you don’t think she actually maintains that house and yard herself, do you?) it’s not hard for many women to gain a pound or more a week. She hasn’t gained a hundred pounds, more like 40 or 50 – if that – and because she can’t bear to look at herself she’s wearing incredibly unflattering, boxy clothing.

      • P M

         Yep. It’s happened to me. Good luck with losing weight Betts!

        • Sweetbetty

           It’s happened to me too and it’s a scientific fact that once you gain and lose weight it’s easier to gain it back.

  • Once again, in the office scene, Megan is wearing yellow – the color that signifies female connection with Don. I don’t think this marriage will end badly.

  • lilibetp

    Why can’t I delete a double comment?

    • formerlyAnon

      Because Disqus isn’t built to allow it.

  • Sam

    Gasp! It’s Fred from “Drop Dead Diva” (Micheal). I hope him being on this show doesn’t mean his DDD days are over…

    • I dropped DDD when I heard Kim Kardashian was going to be on it. Sorry, no can do… I love this actor, though, and I think he’s going to be great on Mad Men. 


    I got the feeling that Matt Weiner was a bit heavy-handed in his comparison between Betty and Megan?  I think he went too far.  Megan is now coming off as some ridiculously ideal picture of youth.  And since I happen to be in my 40s, I’m beginning to resent her.

    • Fay Dearing

      I think that in a lot of ways he’s not showing that younger woman are more ideal, per se, but that the generation they’re forming is more ideal. I mean, when you look at Betty’s life and what Betty thinks is respectable and good and compare it to what Megan thinks, Megan comes off as a lot ‘better’ since her viewpoint is more in tune to how we view the world today.

      Megan can have black, gay friends. Betty would have been horrified at the concept.

      The times are changing and Betty is, unfortunately, stuck in the past despite still being so young. Megan, being the driving force of the future that creates the times we live in will continue to be more appealing in a lot of ways since we can relate more to Megan’s world than Betty’s. To be fair, I do think we’re going to start seeing a shift in the men folk as well and this episode shows the first hints of it. Don may have been dragged back towards youth culture by marrying Megan, but overall he’s just as stuck in the past as Betty is. I think his interaction with a budding Baby Boomer is going to be the start of Don’s downfall to fuddy-duddy land.

    • mommyca

      well, the show has clearly signaled that it is showing a generational divide that was pretty strong in that era….  and why wouldn’t he compare both Mrs. Draper in such a way? They are both very attached to Don for many reasons, and he wants to show how different his 2nd marriage is from the first…. For full disclosure I’m in my 40s too, and I don’t resent Megan, I really like her now, even though last year I rather had Don with Faye…. Megan represents the future, the optimism, the new  attitude that made women advance in the world… For the world already Betty was middle age, it was a tough place to be…. At least, that’s my opinion….

      • Spicytomato1

        Interesting commentary…it does make sense to have the two Mrs. Drapers personify the generational divide.

        It’s interesting how Don can experience the changing times vicariously through his new wife (yet not necessarily grow or evolve himself), while Betty is preserved in middle-aged amber. So is another, younger, post-Megan wife on the horizon for Don?

      • rowsella

         Yet Meghan’s secret to success was to marry her boss.  Not much different from Betty’s.  She didn’t get her position d/t talent and hard work as Peggy did.  It’s my opinion that Peggy is the future.  Meghan is a trophy wife.

    • EEKstl

      It’s not what Matt Weiner is saying, it’s what the 1960’s were saying.  Once a woman hit her 30’s back then it was OVER in terms of their attractiveness, culturally-speaking.  “Never trust anyone over 30” didn’t spring from nowhere.  It was the baby boomers in the bloom of youth changing the landscape and the conversation.  While in 2012 the barometer’s been pushed up to include women in their 50’s and 60’s as still being sexually and attractively viable this is an extremely recent turn of events. Is it a coincidence that that is now the median age of the boomer generation? Doubtful.

      • rowsella

         At least until Mrs. Robinson….

  • BayTampaBay

    I want that house!

  • A friend of mine from college moved to NYC from Florida after we graduated, and I went to visit her – this was in the early 90s. She was subletting a place in Chelsea and she had a bathtub in the kitchen w/a board over it, just like the one in Michael’s apartment! Also, the toilet was down the hall and shared among several apartments. I felt like a total Panhandle bumpkin in the city, and yet I was MYSTIFIED and amazed that anyone could live in the middle of one of the world’s largest, most cosmopolitan cities and still have early-20th-century bathroom facilities. I wonder if there are still any places like that in the city or if they’ve all been updated (ie gentrified)?

    • LuluinLaLa

      I moved to NYC after college in 1998, and remember looking at an apartment with the bathtub/shower in the kitchen. I ran far, far away (to the upper east side)! But yes, I imagine plenty of places downtown still have this feature, and there are plenty of people less picky than me willing to live in them.

      • judybrowni

        I lived in a succession of two bathtub in kitchen apartments in NYC in the ’70s (on the Upper Eastside!)

        They were the cheap rent, dark, cramped, leftover from servant’s quarters or unconverted tenements.

        But was thrilled when I could move to a more modern place.

        • judybrowni

          Not too many left, but some still on the lower eastside, from what I hear.

          Landlords waiting for their ancient tenants in rent controlled flats to die off before they convert the building.

    •  I had a shower in my West Village apartment kitchen in… 2010.

  • Fordzo

    I was imagining that the house came with his job, somehow.  

    • judybrowni

      No, more likely it’s a fixer-upper, or the Francis family pile, or both.

    • Lilithcat

      Mid-level (even upper-level) mayoral staffers do not get mansions as a job perk.

      • Fordzo

        I pay so little attention to him, I thought he worked for a governor.

  • Megan Patterson

    I was actually kind of shocked Don lets Megan wander around in the bikini remember in season 2 (I believe) when Betty bought one at the charity auction, and he told her to take it off, because she looked like a prostitute? 

    • Jessi03

       That’s what I thought, too!  Times have changed and Don Draper must change with them. 

    • Jessica Stone

      Yes, but Betty was a mother, an ‘angel’ Don called her once. She was the mother Don wanted for himself instead of the whore he was told about.

    • I was so bothered by the way her bikini top was riding up in the back that I couldn’t concentrate on the dialog. Did Janie Bryant do that on purpose? It looked so uncomfortable.

    • jeeplibby02

      Megan is not the mother of his children.  That would be an important distinction to a man of his generation: his young trophy wife is allowed to be sexy in public, but the mother of his children is not.

  • goodness, these posts are satisfying and gratifying!

  • Megan wore some pretty fabulous outfits that didn’t make it into this summary. SO awesome…

  • me_ln

    Did anyone notice in the Bugels Betty scene, she was watching an old episode of The Andy Griffith Show?  Betty was watching in black and white, but the show was shown in color starting in 1965.  In contrast, Megan was watching a modern show (or commercial) in color. 

    • jenno1013

      Which means she’s watching a black-and-white TV.  Which means Henry hasn’t bought a new TV in several years…kind of typical of old money (that is to say, there is old money to be passed down because they didn’t spend it all on stuff).

      • me_ln

        You had to buy a color TV in order to watch shows in color?  Otherwise you saw the show in black and white?  Fascinating!  I had no idea.

        • bookish

          Sounds like HD now.

        • Lilithcat

          Get off my lawn, you kids!

          • Sweetbetty

             My reaction exactly, Lilithcat.  I guess it’s difficult for the young whippersnappers to understand the limited technology of the day.

        •  Ha! You just made me laugh out loud, thanks. I remember when color TV’s came out, and I saw our neighbors watching theirs through their front window. I thought they must be rich!

        • luciaphile

          Yep. We didn’t get a color TV til 1976….

          •  I don’t think my family got a color tv till the 1976 Olympics. I remember watching The Wizard of Oz in color at the neighbors in the 1960’s. We were neither poor nor old-money tight wads. My parents just didn’t care enough about tv as an “experience” to bother paying for a new set.

        • reebism

          *stage whisper* neither did I…

        • funkycamper

          Oh, wee one, you made me chuckle.  🙂

      • funkycamper

        Not necessarily.  It looks like that scene occurs in the middle of the day.  New episodes of Andy Griffith would be shown in their weekly night-time slot with only the reruns on during the day.  So she could have been watching a rerun of an earlier black & white episode on a color TV.  

        • This seems the more likely scenario. Their TV has a remote ‘clicker,’ so it must be a newer one. Remember that a lot of the shows of the 60s (Andy Griffith, Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeannie, etc.) had earlier seasons in B&W and later ones in color.

  • DeborahLipp

    How they could afford the house goes like this: Those Victorians in those days were in crappy shape. It may have original wiring from the 1920s. There are probably no closets and few outlets. We see Betty in a tub with no shower and no curtain rod. It hasn’t been modernized. In fact, they talked in S4 about “the house in Rye” that needed a lot of work. This is a fixer-upper and as you noted, not the kind of fixer-upper people wanted then.

    If they were committed to giving each kid his own room, well, they compromised for the four bedrooms. Plus, Henry does a lot of work from home (two phone lines) so there’s also an office (maybe converted servants quarters in a place like this).

    • Maggie_Mae

      And he has lots of dark, heavy furniture that’s the same era as the house!  Family stuff that even his Mom finds too depressing…..

  • Mason Lavin

    I’m realitvely new to Mad Men (just watched last season and this one), is it just me or does anyone wonder if Betty is lying? If the phonecall WASN’T an “it’s all okay” thing? Maybe that’s why she didn’t call Don. Her reaction just seemed a bit stiff for such good news. Remember all the stuff about her acquaintence and telling the children she’s sick and the nightmare? It wouldn’t surprise me if she does have somethng very, very wrong with her.

    • sagecreek

      Lots of speculation about that on the interwebz…

    • MK03

      That was my first reaction, but I don’t think they would have told her she had cancer over the phone. Remember how Joyce said “I didn’t know until the third visit”? I think they would have made her keep coming back for tests and whatnot if she really was sick.

    • Maggie_Mae

      I really don’t think they would have given her such bad news over the phone.  (Although, even in those days, Thyroid Cancer was relatively treatable.)

      You found her reaction “a bit stiff”?  That’s our Betty1

    • aieoh

      I think that weirdly enough Betty was actually disappointed that she didn’t have cancer. Because all of her fears about the cancer were centered on leaving people that depended on her behind. The cancer gave her life meaning, because as it stands I think she feels that her life is devoid of meaning.

    • KittenBritches

      I don’t think her disappointment at being “just fat” rather than fat-with-cancer was faked, though.  She’s shallow enough to have preferred to have cancer.

    • luciaphile

      She would be having a much much longer conversation on the phone if it were malignant. 

  • formerlyAnon

    SUCH a good post.

    I’m betting it’s a ‘family money’ house – and property doesn’t always go with cash flow. In all of those scenes, the house is screaming at Betty: “this is not YOUR house.”

    As you point out, Betty’s fabrics are ones I remember on women older than Betty. Fashionable women, but older ones.

    Ball fringe was *insanely* trendy at the time, but I remember it on very casual patio/beach/pool clothing. And mostly on young clothing – things Betty might have worn in her previous incarnation or Megan would wear if they weren’t emphasizing her sophistication, or that Sally & the other more-mod-than-hippie suburban teens would wear.

    Michael is adorably annoying. I can’t believe they put him in faded jeans, though. 1966 is waay too early for anyone to wear those to the Manhattan offices of anything. If he were too poor to own two pairs of pants he’d have borrowed a pair. Better ill-fitting, mismatched slacks than worn jeans.

    • sagecreek

      Exactly. Weiner is usually such a stickler for detail, but I was alive then — we weren’t even allowed to wear jeans to school in the late 60s/early 70s. No way would a New Yorker show up at an interview in jeans.

      • formerlyAnon

        And *worn* ones! I might have bought it if they were obviously new and pressed. (Not that Michael appears to be acquainted with an iron.)

    • TheDivineMissAnn

      Do you suppose Weiner did that to emphasize how inexperienced and obviously short on cash this kid is?  Not only is he wearing jeans (doesn’t know any better), but that jacket he is wearing is not only too small (too broke to even buy a used one?) but is as wrinkled as hell (doesn’t own an iron or doesn’t know enough to look impeccable during an interview?)   Maybe Weiner is touching on the social change that is on it’s way…..equal rights, recognition of the hardships of those born and raised in Appalachia, the general blurring of the restrictions on some social classes. 

      • formerlyAnon

        He’s signalling SOMEthing. Weiner & Bryant don’t usually do anything that draws this much attention accidentally.

        I wondered if it might be something of the above plus maybe losing his mother young?  I don’t know. All of my many poor, working class relatives were 10 – 15 years older than Michael. The boys were, to a man, spoiled rotten by their mothers when it came to doing housework, laundry, ironing, etc. – but either the army or SOMEbody taught all of them to put a crease in a pair of pants by dampening them and laying them out just so underneath the mattress.

        • luciaphile

          It’s not his first job. They referenced him working at Needham for awhile and then lots of other places for short periods of time. Typically that’s not a good sign when hiring someone. I read him as being not particularly stable, but YMMV…

          • formerlyAnon

            Interesting. That went right by me, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

        • P M

           Really?! I love ideas like that – thanks! 🙂

  • Jessi03

    Megan’s outfit when she sits at home reminded me of Trudy’s outfit when she came home to Pete after her vacation.  Similar cuts, colors, and details.  

  • soxonthebeach

    My mom had that pink housecoat.  I guarantee it.

    • sagecreek

      Mine, too, except hers was blue. And I think my first housecoat, a Christmas present when I was about ten, was of the same model.

      • soxonthebeach

        Yes!  Like mother, like daughter.  My mom favored those muu-muu’s from the late 60’s as well.  Hostess gowns.  Anything flowing and comfortable.

        She drew the line at pants, though.

    • mommyca

      my mom had one of those pink nylon ones with the hexagon pattern sewn and she had it well into the 70s, somehow I see one of those and instantly reminds me of her… at some point I even used it in my teens…. lovely memories…. 

  • mommyca

    I also noticed that Betty and Megan are wearing very similar hairdos when they are both getting ready to go out (both of them to work functions with their husbands, of course!)…

    • TheDivineMissAnn

      Good observation!  But Betty’s is somehow much less flattering….

    • rowsella

       Are they both wearing hairpieces? 

      • mommyca

         yeah, you might be right…… it looks like Megan had like a braid and definitely her hair looked longer and fuller than the way she wears it at the office….

        •  Hairpieces like that, clipped on the top of the head and falling down the back, were called ‘falls’ and were the height of fashion at the time.

          • mixedupfiles

             There were also little clumps of curls that provided height on the crown – wiglets. My mom had one.

        • My mom had a “fall” which I just coveted. Unfortunately, she was a Betty ice-blond and I was a darker red/blond. Couldn’t make it work! 

  • P M

    Dawn seems like a nice, decent hardworking secretary so far. Which makes me wonder what fate liesin store for her. Given that Don’s secretaries never stay with him for very long. 

    • formerlyAnon

      I was thinking that she’ll never be seen in the office in anything less than what someone in the last style post called “Impeccable Token Negro” (I think, I didn’t go double check) mode unless she were literally assaulted on the way in to work. (Or, given this lot, assaulted by someone at work. Between forced sex and rampant lawnmowers, that agency doesn’t have great crime and accident statistics, does it?)

      Then I thought,  “Oh no. Don’t even THINK that.”

      • P M

         Exactly. I don’t know: I took a shine to Dawn. She looks genuinely innocent, somehow (maybe I’m being irrationally protective). I hope she gets to have a positive experience!

        • formerlyAnon

          I interpreted it as not innocent so much as determined to take all positive things at face value and to pointedly overlook as much of the negative as possible.  This job is a groundbreaking opportunity – she’s not just in the typing pool, she’s the secretary of a senior executive in a previously all white firm.  That determinedly correct and inoffensive attire and perfect but subdued grooming is absolutely intentional.

          ETA: And, yes. It’s going to really bum me out if too many Bad Things happen to her.

    • KittenBritches

      I speculated that Lane (and Joan, when she returns to work) would realize they could pay Black secretaries far less to do more work more efficiently than White secretaries, and then they toy with the idea of firing a bunch of the White girls to hire more Black ones, owing to SCDP’s financial problems.

      • P M

        Joan and Lane will roll up their sleeves and do what must be done, but how will Joan really feel? Recall how she treated Paul Kinsey’s gf, after all. 

        • I think that was more about her being Paul’s girlfriend, than about her being black.  More to insult him than her even, because she loved doing that.  Remember how much she enjoyed enjoyed telling him that he wasn’t going to California with Pete because Don decided to go instead?

          • P M

             I hope you’re right, because Joan being all racist will be ugly coming from her and awful to watch (for me).

          • MsKitty

            Agreed.  I always thought Paul was with Sheila (?) to boost his hipster cred more than anything (“look at me, I got a colored girlfriend. Aren’t I progressive?”), and Joan was letting him know she saw right through that.

        • formerlyAnon

          I don’t know how much of Joan’s interaction with Paul’s girlfriend was about her, or about Paul.  And I think any sense of things being a bit ‘off the rails’ – not being what she expects and has the rule set to deal with – is going to throw her more than someone’s race. 

          She might be unwelcoming to the new secretary, it’s impossible to describe to someone who never lived it how off balance someone of the day might be at having a new African American colleague with similar job status come into your workplace.  Lots of white people Joan’s age, especially women, had NEVER interacted with a black person they thought of as a professional equal, even if they professed to believe that as human beings we are all equal – because they’d never spoken to one in their lives who wasn’t a maid or doorman or bus driver, etc.  There was a de facto segregation even if not a legal one – white people might never see a person of color, except on t.v – and only rarely one there – who had a professional job.  Men had more exposure than women because the armed forces were more integrated than daily life, as were factory jobs in the northern states.

          Public school integration was a big deal because it was SUCH a big change in the patterns of people’s lives.
          OTOH, if the new secretary is quick enough to realize she’s supposed to treat Joan as Queen Bee, does so and does her job smoothly, Joan might take it entirely in stride.

          • Thundar99

            Very astute observations by you and Kitten Britches. It makes for great messy drama. I would only quibble that Joan IS the Queen Bee SCDP as opposed to needing to be treated like one. She is “officially” a Director of Operations, right? Regardless, I stand by my original statement JH = QB. 

          • Unless Joan was kept in the loop re Dawn’s hire, she is going to be annoyed that another person was hired without her involvement, no matter what her race or qualifications. She certainly wasn’t pleased to discover the new receptionist.

          • I thought Joan wasn’t pleased with the new receptionist because the new receptionist was lousy at her job. She should have gotten up to help Joan with the door, for example. Not only is it common courtesy, it’s literally her job to greet and assist visitors. That includes doing more than just glancing up from her magazine to stare at someone as they struggle to open the door while they have their hands full.  It makes a piss poor first impression.

          • P M

             With Joan, regardless of the reason, if she’s pissed at you, you’re going to know it, feel it, and pretty likely regret being the target.

          • P M

             Good point. HAS Joan been informed somehow? Or will she be ‘keeping her hand in’ by making visits to the office to see Lane and see Dawn? Interesting possibilities…

  • MsKitty

    I’ve always been somewhat meh on the mid-’60s home design, but damned if I don’t covet the Draper’s living room and patio.  It’s stylish but not to the point where you can’t be comfortable in it.  I also noticed that their bedroom furniture seems to be more on the traditional side.

    Good catch on Dawn’s earrings, that sailed right over my head.

    • MadAboutMen

      I noticed the Draper bedroom – very different style.  Was that a thing in the 60s?

  • Aren’t you answering your own question about the Francis house? If the house itself is less desirable and none of the ropoms have been redone, isn’t it probably cheaper?

  • Thundar99

    I don’t think Betty and Henry own that house at all.  I think either they are renting it or it comes as a “perk” from his government job or a favor from a politician friend. That big flag on he front porch looks positively government building/ambassador’s mansion thereby preventing any redecoration or changes to the kitchen or otherwise.  Anyway…just a hunch.

    • Lilithcat

      Mayoral staff members (it was established that he is working for John Lindsay) do not get monster huge Victorian mansions as a job perk.

      The flag was on the front porch because it was the Fourth of July.

    • judybrowni

      Government jobs didn’t come with mansion perks, unless you’re talking governer’s  mansion, or White House.

      Hanging an American flag for Fourth of July very common in the period, with flag pole waiting all year for that priviledge.

      I think that might be the Francis family gothic pile.

      • Lilithcat

        Government jobs didn’t come with mansion perks, unless you’re talking governer’s  mansion, or White House.

        Or Gracie Mansion: which is not good enough for Mayor Bloomberg.

  • mrspeel2

    I’ve been reading a lot online about Betty wearing a “fat suit” in this episode, but I was under the impression that she had gained the weight during her RL pregnancy. Does anyone know what the real scoop is?

    Thanks TLo, for your great posts!You two always manage to point out so many things in these Mad Style posts that never occurred to me while I was watching. It makes me want to go back and view the episodes with new eyes.

    • sagecreek

      Nah, it’s all prosthetics. January size 0 Jones had her baby well before the filming of this season started.

      • mrspeel2

        Thanks for clearing that up for me !

      • P M

         But even her forearms and triceps and calves look heavier!

      • judybrowni

        No, think it was fat suit, plus pregnancy.

        Or rather, fat suit (prosthetics on face) plus baby bump.

      • Cabernet7

        Actually, this episode was filmed in August, and the baby was born in September.  So JJ was pregnant at the time, but was also wearing a “fat suit”.

        • Right.  I think it was totally clever of the writers and costumers to hide the pregnancy by making her even bigger, instead of the usual tv thing of hiding it with props and camera angles (like the terrible job they did on Will & Grace), or ignoring it all together.

  • You wrote: As always, Megan is dressed to showcase her sunny attitude and optimism,
    even in a scene where she has to be a little stern. The only thing
    truly notable about this is that she’s dressed this way in the city,
    rather than waiting to get out to Fire Island.  That’s fairly racy on
    her part; that she would walk through the lobby of this building in a
    bikini top.

    Two things:

    1. Don wouldn’t let Betty wear that bikini in Season 3, remember?
    2. I do think Megan would have thrown on a  blouse before leaving the flat and not traipse through the lobby like that. People don’t do that here in NYC…Well, maybe tourists, but not New Yorkers. It’s clear they aren’t on their way out the door yet because Don isn’t dressed for the beach and they’re still in the bedroom.

    • rowsella

       I think that is what struck me when I visited Southern California.  People think nothing of walking around in bathing suits– and not just on the beach.  Being from NY, it felt like walking around in underwear, feeling very exposed.   Maybe its the long winters or the social expectations prevalent on each coast.  In California, people “let it all hang out.”

  • I find this the most fascinating television production I’ve ever been obsessed by.

     But about that darkness in so many scenes (Peggy’s family home, Michael’s home, the Francis home) — I think that lighting in the 60s was very different than now. There was less emphasis on natural lighting too. A lot of older homes here in NYC that I viewed when I was looking for real estate, are chopped up, dark inside, and a bit claustrophobic. I think they caught that essence in some of these scenes. Remember how dark Don’s bachelor pad was? Now look at his love nest and how light and open it feels in comparison – it’s in a more modern building than the pre-war ones we’re viewing in the other scenes. Take my word for it, a lot of older New York real estate is exactly like what you’re seeing in MM. I don’t know if the intention was as symbolic as you think it was as much as it’s authentic for the era.

    • judybrowni


  • bluefish

    I just love these posts and all the attention to detail you put into them.  This was such a depressing episode.  I feel terrible for Betty and hope she is able to snap out of it.  I’ve always liked Henry — makes me sad to think that they can’t really be happy together.  The house may be today’s dream but it’s so overwhelmingly brown.  And I like a more shaded house.

    Peggy’s green sleeveless peter-pan collar jumper (love!) and Betty’s blue silk floral for lunch with cancer-stricken girlfriend brought back so many sharp memories of that time.  Jane Bryant is some kind of visual genius for sure.

  • Aurumgirl

    I have no idea where that house is located, but I do know it looks almost identical to Victoria College at the University of Toronto’s downtown campus, right down to the landscaping along the staircase leading up to the entrance.  It must have been a design that was copied often (kind of like Carnegie Libraries, which got built all over the world). 

    • judybrowni

      Although it’s meant to be set in suburbia outside New York city, most of Mad Men is filmed in Los Angeles. (Where the architecture apes just about any style possible.)

      That gothic pile could be, possibly, in the Pasadena area.

  • DoneAgain

    They gave her the body of someone who has gained 30 pounds and the face of someone who gained twice that.  I don’t think they did that great of a job if they wanted to be accurate.  Her face is as full as Mama Francis’s and that woman still has a good 70 pounds on “fat” Betty.

    • sagecreek

      Nah — women gain weight differently. I know some people who are only a few pounds overweight but have a full face, and I know some obese women whose faces are still relatively the same.

      • mixedupfiles

        It’s not the fullness of the face, it’s the chin. Maybe there are some rare creatures for whom all the weight goes right to the chin, but for me that much in that spot is a dead giveaway of a fat suit. Same for Peggy. Women as small to begin with as these two are, a chin that looks like that is at least 80 pounds of weight, not 40.

    • Orange Girl

      I think Betty looks like she’s gained twice that.  Regardless, I never thought I’d say this, but I kind of miss the old Betty!  She’s so sad now.

  • Geoff Dankert

    TLo, I think I speak for the PUFs when I say that reading these posts have helped me enjoy the show on a MUCH deeper level. Thanks!

    My contribution: anyone else notice the TVs in the Draper and Francis residences? Don and Megan have a color set, Henry and Betty have a black-and-white. (Apologies if the point’s been made on the board already)

    • judybrowni

      Old money could be late adopters, not jumping on every new trinket and gadget.

    • funkycamper

      She’s watching a rerun of the Andy Griffith show in the middle of the day in that scene.   So she could have a color TV but that particular rerun was in black-and-white.  The show didn’t start having color episodes until 1965 per Wikipedia so few of those would have been in reruns yet.

  • There is no way in that big house would Betty be opening the door for Mama Francis from the sitting room.  How is that even possible?  There has to be some foyers, corridors, hallways or something. 

    • P M

       It looks like a side-entrance of some sort.

    • funkycamper

      I’m guessing she was sitting in what would have been considered the parlor.  Many parlors have doors directly to outside.

  • aieoh

    Didn’t Don yell at Betty that she looked “like a whore” when she was wearing that bikini she bought from that charity fashion show? And now he doesn’t bat an eye when Megan is wearing almost the same thing. A LOT has changed, I think putting Megan in that bikini was a direct reference to how different the appearances are that he’s trying to keep up now.

    •  I also think he knows Megan would take being talked to like that.

    • i noticed the same thing.  he was so mean to betty when she wore that darling modern bathing suit, and made her take it off.  he also sabotaged her attempt to return to work as a model: a job she was doing well at, before he got her taken off the project.  because he’s on less solid ground with this new wife and is trying to keep up, and because he couldn’t get away with it, he’s being much more casual now.  but watch out if megan wants to switch agencies for career reasons.  i wonder if he’ll be as supportive.  i see some head-butting in this couple’s future.

      • formerlyAnon

        Totally agree. Except Megan’s not switching agencies any time soon. I think she wants to be able to keep tabs on Don.

        • judybrowni

          Megan couldn’t switch agencies, if she wanted to — not yet.

          Who would hire Mrs. Don Draper (their competitor) with a bare few months of experience?

          I doubt that Megan is worried about keeping an eye on Don, he can barely keep up with her.

          • serenitynow02

            Who would hire Megan? Someone who might be interested in getting any inside information on the goings on at SCDp that she might inadvertently let slip. Or someone who might want to woo Don away (like the ones who had hired Betty to model). But I seriously doubt that Don would let her switch agencies – as long as she remains married to him and privy to the company business…

          • formerlyAnon

            I wasn’t thinking she was worried about him, exactly. More that she feels proprietary, is liking the two-career-couple scenario and likes knowing what’s up with him at work as well as at home.

            He can barely keep up with her in some ways, but she knows he can disappear into a male dominated “world of work” that has little or no place in it for her, and I think she likes being a force in all aspects of his life.

      • reebism

        Agree about the bathing suit, but disagree about the modeling experience: it was very clear they were only giving Betty any chance (remember how awkward she was at the audition?) because they thought that if they made an ad starring Betty, Don would come work for them. He didn’t do it in order to spite Betty’s career: he did it for his own purposes. It ends up with the same result (Betty is unhappy), but in your interpretation he’s malicious toward his wife, in my interpretation he’s unwilling to sacrifice principle for a bribe or another’s happiness. 

        Megan’s career is tied to Don, and she’s going to go much farther if she stays with him than if she agency-hops. More likely, if she’s unhappy, she’d convince him to go somewhere else for full creative control and more money — and a bump for her, when she’s got more experience. 

      • Maggie_Mae

        Don didn’t sabotage Bety’s modeling career. She was given that job only because the new agency wanted Don. He declined to switch companies & she was told they didn’t need her any more.  Then she decided she did not want to continue modeling–without an “in” she would have to face cattle calls full of younger women.  (Although he never told her the politics behind her hiring & firing.)

        Megan does not have the resume to work at another agency.  Unless she wants to return to secretarial work….

    • Maggie_Mae

      No.  Don told her she was trying too hard.  Wearing a bikini to the community pool (they did not belong to The Club) was really a bit much for a Mom.  He was too rough with her, though; he should have coddled the poor dear & told her to save her goodies for him…

      Yes, times do change.  They were going to a party with other adults–mostly younger than Don, of course.  

  • aieoh

    Didn’t Don yell at Betty that she looked “like a whore” when she was wearing that bikini she bought from that charity fashion show? And now he doesn’t bat an eye when Megan is wearing almost the same thing. A LOT has changed, I think putting Megan in that bikini was a direct reference to how different the appearances are that he’s trying to keep up now.

  • Offbalance

    I’m surprised you guys didn’t bring up the fact that Peggy’s green dress is like a grown-up girl scout uniform!  Her behavior in the scene made it fairly obvious that was something they were actively trying to show off.  Plus, here she is trying to be hip and just missing.

    • P M

       I wonder if that’s a reference to Pegs doing her duty, even if she doesn’t like it.

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    In the scene where Betty calls Don, the colors are very reminiscent of their home together. She’s in pink, there’s a little more light so the cabinets recall the aqua of their padded headboard, and she has some sun in her hair.

    I actually thought Betty was flattered in comparison to Megan at the business dinner. Betty was better at her role keeping things light and serene, whereas Megan couldn’t keep her foot out  of her mouth (awkwardly blurting “yes” when thrown a life preserver on the “is this boring?” question).

    • kitbag

      I thought the awkward “Yes” was because it wasn’t boring for Megan – it’s her business too. She was put on the spot of looking unprofessional to a client (she finds her work boring) or shaming the client’s wife (rudely disagreeing when the woman was trying to be friendly), and went for the former. Yet another example of the emerging generation gap – the assumptions that a woman wouldn’t be interested in business talk are becoming increasingly out of date.

  • LiterateWonderful

    Thank you; excellent analysis as usual.

    One thing is not ringing true for me:  When Don was interviewing Michael, didn’t he mention something about experience at some previous advertising firms?  Even if he had worked briefly, wouldn’t he have had some serviceable office clothes?  At least a pair of dress pants, even if worn?

    I agree, at that time, one would have borrowed clothes if necessary not to go into an interview in dungarees (e.g., jeans to us modern folks).

    My grandparents had one of those great old homes near New York City.  My mother and her brothers were embarrassed to grow up in it, and that was in the 40s and 50s.  Sally must be mortified.

    • Yeah, I wondered about that. Don commented upon looking at Michael’s resume that he’d spent some time at Needham, and short stints elsewhere. Seems like he’d have clothes, unless his resume was a lie. I used to be in advertising myself and conducted many interviews, looking at books, portfolios and resumes. It wasn’t unheard of for young wannabes to put copy or art direction examples they liked in their books and claim it as their own. I once had a young guy show me my own work as his. 

      •  Ha! What did you say?!

      •  I’ve been beginning to think that too – that Michael made up a lot of his resume. But then, if he felt the need to do that, wouldn’t he have been savvy enough to borrow slacks from someone? Or, even buy a pair, wear them and then return them? Not unheard of.  It’s an odd detail – the jeans. Or, it’s just a way to signal that he’s odd and out of step, but it gets overlooked for his talent? I guess as we see more of him it will be clearer. His new, fairly decent, salary should afford him the chance to purchase new clothes. If he does, we know he’s just been too poor; if he doesn’t, then we know he simply doesn’t care.

  • Jecca2244

    I thought Henry was old money too. 

  • Jessica Goldstein

    This season might end up my favorite style-wise because it’s getting personal. I have an aunt Megan’s age who looked and dressed much the same. My oldest cousins had Bar and Bat Mitzvah dances where the kids dressed like those backstage at the concert. My own brother wore a jacket much like Michael’s for HIS Bar Mitzvah, so a hilariously good call there. And many years after it fell out of fashion, my mom would put on her old bikini top and high-waisted shorts just like Megan’s to mow the lawn. And finally, Betty’s new house looks like one of the hundreds of Victorian giants in Old Louisville that got abandoned or split up into apartments in the 60s and 70s. Thanks so much for the thoughtful post.

  • judybrowni

    I swear my stepmother owned Dawn’s striped shirtwaist (although you’re right about the earrings being a bit edgy) and Betty’s flowered blouse. My stepmother bought her clothes at Sears or other downmarket department stores, so yes, the outfit is right on mark for Dawn’s income, and cheap for Betty’s.

    My grandmother sported Mrs. Heinz’ look for dress up occasions.

    No one would wear jeans to an interview at an office in 1966! No one, who wanted  a job, that is. Or who got the job.
    Jeans were even forbidden in the dress code for class wear in my public high school — and at the public college I attended, until 1969! (You could wear them to events after class day ended, and that’s it.) In fact, wearing dress slacks was considered edgy  in my freshman year at college, my English professor remarked on it first day of class.

    Peggy’s “school girl look,” right on the money. I made a version of her green dress in high school — but in Ginsberg’s plaid, with white collar, and solid tie.

    However, I disagree about the bra strap showing as part of teen rock and roll rebellion — not until the ’80s. Wouldn’t have even thought to pull it off when I was actually involved in the rock scene in the late ’70s, and dressing provocatively for that scene.

    Until the Madonna era, a bra strap showing would be inadvertent, and/or considered embarrassing. 

    Yup, Megan wearing a swimsuit top would be edgy for the city, but I disagree about Mama Francis’ hair: the teasing, the hairspray, the flip, all early ’60s, not Depression era, although she could have been wearing that dress style for decades.

    (And yes, the dressmaker was on the nose. Women of sizes other than regular would have gone to one. Before petite-sized clothing was widely available, my mother would go to her dressmaker before the season began.)

    • Judy_J

      I agree with you re: the bra strap showing.  I remember being so paranoid about my bra straps that I saftey-pinned them to my blouse if I wore anything sleeveless.  God forbid anyone should see any hint of undergarments.

      • formerlyAnon

        Visible undergarments were considered SO sluttish – and not in the “sexy and enticing” sense of the word, but in the “eewwww, I bet her feet aren’t clean either” sense, (or in the “that one’s gonna give you the clap, fersure” sense among a different social set).

        And THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the root of the generation gap between we “of a certain age” that causes us to go on at what I am sure is tedious length on fashion blogs about the skankiness of dress that is not only commonplace for young women, but accepted for teens and even tweens nowadays.

        [and, yes. you: off my lawn. right now.]

        • TheDivineMissAnn

          Hear, Hear!  And while we’re at it, this trend of clothing stretched tight across pregnant bellies makes me absolutely SHUDDER!  And for God’s sake, it is NOT a “bump”.

          (……off my lawn or I’ll call the cops…..)

          • Jessica Goldstein

            I somewhere in the middle on this. I still shudder and sew in those little straps that keep bras in place, because I cannot deal with visible straps. But when I was pregnant 6 years ago, I lived in little jersey tops that clung to the belly/bump.

          • judybrowni

            I’ve become accustomed to both.
            But at 62 doubt anyone wants to see my bra straps.

          • ThaliaMenninger

             In the 60s in my household, the bra straps showing was a sign (like raccoon mascara or your slip being longer than your dress) that you were old, uncool and sloppy, not young and hot. We would alert our mother to her bra straps showing by saying, “Bracelets!” in her general direction.

          • P M

             Did you ever use the phrase ‘Sunday is longer than Monday’ in reference to slips being longer than dress?

          • duchessofjersey

            The phrase I learned for that situation is “snow down South.” I love etiquette-related code words!

          • P M

             Yeah, I grew up in the 80s in the Middle East. In the humid heat, our uniform was a stiff pinafore in navy blue, with a white shirt underneath. Some girls wore full-sleeve; how, I can’t imagine. We also had navy blue socks and black shoes.

            I still hate navy blue and *refuse* to wear navy suits or shoes. Can’t imagine why ;)…..

          • SignLadyB

             Love you two!!!! Especially the tight clothing on pregnant bellies. I have no problem with being proud of one’s baby belly (wish I could have dressed/felt prouder of them in my day) but a little discretion is a good thing as well. I especially cringe when the protruding navel is the focal point.
            And you’re right it ain’t a ‘bump’ except a the very beginning of an obvious pregnancy (or, I suppose if one is extremely slender even into her 7th or 8th month).

          • mamacita32

            Really? Because you dont like seeing pregnant bellies? I dont get it. Jersey dresses are so comfortable when you are pregnant and I couldnt afford to buy 3 different size as I got bigger round the middle.

          • Sweetbetty

             Back when maternity clothes looked like maternity clothes the dresses were full and skimmed over the body so you didn’t see every bump, crease, and roll of the expectant mother’s body.  Same thing with tops; they covered the body but didn’t cling to it.  If you’re a model-size person, a jersey dress stretched over a nearly full term belly might not look so bad but if you’re a bit above ideal size to start with the skin-tight tops and dresses don’t present such a pretty picture.

          • purkoy28

            dressing in clothes that are too tight or ride up, ect. are never a pretty picture,lol. It doesnt matter if you’re pregnant or not, short or tall, skinny or fat. mis sized clothes look awful : ) 

          • P M

             speaking of jersey in general, I REALLY hate the stuff with stretch in it.

          • mamacita32

            Really? Because you dont like seeing pregnant bellies? I dont get it. Jersey dresses are so comfortable when you are pregnant and I couldnt afford to buy 3 different size as I got bigger round the middle.

          • purkoy28

            should pregnant woman dress in like potato sack tops and baggy dresses? i think a woman should dress just as fashionable and sexy while preggers as in any other time. If you got it then flaunt it, women are so beautiful while pregnant and look great in tight tops and knee boots and short dresses (fyi, sexy doesn’t mean inapropriate) Do you also shudder when you see a pregnant woman in a bikini? Looking good helps you feel good (its the truth; not shallow, just honest) and lets face it, when your pregnant you want to feel as good as possible, since after the baby’s born looking good will not be on your mind for a few months,lol.

  • Did anyone notice how Betty in the ball fringe dress is not only covered in a big tunic dress but she’s holding pillows all around her to separate herself and hide her body more? 

    • formerlyAnon

      Yup. Because her husband’s in the room.

    •  Pillows as body armor – I believe it’s a real thing. Look at any group of women sitting on a sofa or upholstered chair. If there’s a pillow around, it’s likely to be on top of a woman’s lap, or slightly hiding her from the side.

      • sweetlilvoice

        I have never thought of this before! Thank you!

  • I laughed out loud when Betty was at the doctor and he referred to her as “middle-aged”.

  • Can’t find the comments now but for those who have been saying 1. that January gained weight because she was pregnant  – google January Jones 8 months pregnant and look at images, because the girl was ONLY belly. And 2. some are saying January didn’t start filming until after the baby, but she was actually filming while 8 months pregnant. 

  • DONNA T Mallard

    Great post. I love your observation about Michael’s jacket possibly being from his bar mitzvah. The arms are too short and it’s baggy (or maybe the wrinkles just make it look baggy), which makes me imagine him as a chubby kid who later had a growth spurt. Also, the pale paisleys in Betty and the Heinz lady’s dresses: the matronly styles and pattern do mirror one another but their respective attitudes don’t. I would say that the Heinz lady represents a woman who has accepted her matronly status. Even in that brief scene, she came off very warm and comfortable in her skin. A direct opposite to self-loathing Betty who wants to hide from the world.

  • yay! that’s my friend Mari Weiss as the fortune teller!

    • sagecreek

      Hooray! She did good 🙂

  • GrFace

    There’s nothing wrong with the Francis house itself.   I like modern “Dwell” style design but there is plenty of great material in the house.   The woodwork, walls, staircase and flooring, as you clearly show in the photos, are amazing (though the kitchen indeed sucks as they do in the 60s).  The problem is the furniture and lighting. Clearly the family has turned it into a museum of the damned but if a new family moved in, like uh… mine… we’d tear down the wall paper, brighten up the plastered walls, give it better lighting and by george it would be glam enough for Megan and her groovy friends (not that we’d invite them – because the 60’s are so 40-some years ago). 

    If course, I’d also do this to it just for fun and resale value be damned:

  • BrightsideSusan

    I had (actually made) dresses just like the yellow one Megan is wearing but it was more like 1968 or 1969 and had sleeves.  That sort of shift dress was still popular out here in CA for some time.  But we didn’t go for the big hair here.  Long and straight from the mid sixties on.

  • Lilithcat

    Deleted because it ended up in the wrong place. (I hate Disqus.)

  • sockandaphone

    i just wanna say how much i love these posts. Mad Men stylist (set and clothes) are just geniuses and theyre probably one of the biggest reasons why this is my favorite show.

  • NDC_IPCentral

    Fabulous post and analysis; you gentlemen have encyclopedic memories to make these pan-Season associations.  It makes watching so much more fascinating and Matt Weiner’s weaving of themes over the years of the story admirably masterful.

    Best show on TV, and T Lo’s analyses are go-tos.  I recommend them to ALL my friends who watch “Mad Men,” and I chastise those who have the links and then don’t do their required reading!

    All the best,


  • SignLadyB

    My heart is breaking–I went to AMC both Monday and last night to see the rerun a la the preview last week and they apparently aren’t regularly doing the video reruns. Thank gaaah for your recaps with pictures and your Mad Style also. The brief video clips they ARE showing on AMC are not at all satisfactory!
    It is so interesting to read your comments about the Francis house–I grew up in the same town I am living in now. I remember clearly that the houses on the ‘lower’ (eastern) portions of Pine, Mapleton and Maxwell were older homes (no where near the mansion category shown here) that were built in the early days of Boulder but by the ’50s and ’60s in general thought of as lower class (whatever that meant at the time). This is particularly vivid because I drive down these streets often still and see how they have been renovated, cleaned up and are now quite the upper level homes for the very comfortable business families. I have even thought to myself what a difference 20, 30, 40 years can make.

  • Michael’s Lower East Side flat, you’ll see apartments just like that if you visit the Tenement Museum on Orchard Street. The typical design was always three rooms; you enter into the kitchen area; just off that is a tiny bedroom (literally a windowless closet); then the “sitting room.” Bathroom (a toilet you shared with all the other tenants on that floor) is in the hallway (pre-plumbing, it was outhouses in the courtyard). When these types of buildings were first built, just after the Civil War, they didn’t have that window in the kitchen; landlords were required to add that in later, in the 1880s/1890s, under new housing rules. The only thing that landlords were required to do later was replace the wooden center stairs with new ones in nonflammable materials. 

    Now that the Lower East Side is hip, I imagine that many of these buildings’ apartments no longer look like this.

    • While most of these LES tenement apartments are gone, or renovated beyond recognition, a friend of mine has been living in one of the few remaining old-style buildings that haven’t been overtaken by developers (yet).  He’s got the bathtub in the kitchen, right next to the sink (keeps a flat board on it with his dish rack, just like the Ginsbergs).  The apt also has that ledge space between the kitchen and living room, for passing dinner dishes.   The windows are small and a little sad, and no elevators.  He got in there in 80’s and still pays under $400, the bastard.  I mean, bless his heart.

      • judybrowni

        My first two apartments in NYC were bathtub in the kitchen: $200 a month in the early ’70s.

  • mom2ab

    I thought the sparklers scene was pretty interesting- the gloomy mauseleoum is looming in the background, its twilight, her kids are running around celebrating, Henry is absorbed in the paper, the baby is looking away- and Betty’s blouse is covered in funeral wreaths.   And that dear friends is why I love this show. 

    • Sweetbetty

       I thought it was strange that this scene took place in the front yard.  A house like that must have had a lovely back yard and that is where most people sit out, not in front of the house with traffic, though I assume this house is on a quiet street, and no privacy.

      • funkycamper

        Really?  We never did fireworks in the backyard.  We did them in the front yard so we could also see everybody else’s fireworks.  In our neighborhood, everybody was in their front yards to do this. What I thought was odd was that you didn’t see any other families outside or other children running around.  So does this mean they’ve made no friends with the neighbors?  Or are there no other children around?  Seemed like a sad, lonely 4th to me.

        • Sweetbetty

           Different customs in different areas, I guess.  I assumed that the reason there was no one else in the scene is that their property is so large there aren’t any close neighbors.  I agree that it looked like a sad, lonely 4th.  My childhood memories and those of when my own kids were young are all about lots of people celebrating the 4th together, either at our home or someone else’s.  There was always a cook-out or gathering of some sort.  I’ll bet the Draper kids’ previous July 4ths were spent that way too in their old neighborhood.  Good to see Sally and Bobby at least having a good time for a while.

        •  I’d be surprised if there were any children in a neighborhood like that in the 60s. They would have all grown up and moved away by then.

      • librarygrrl64

        I remember that era being much more of a front yard/ front stoop/ front porch kind of place. Everything moved for good to the back yard once decks became the big thing in the 80s.

  • MsKitty

    I forgot to mention in my previous post that I’m also enjoying everyone’s personal style recollections from that era.  I was a toddler in 1966 so I’m looking forward to taking part in these discussions when we get to seasons 6/7, which should coincide with when I became somewhat cognizant of these things.

  • Logo Girl

    Hmm. My mom dressed like Megan in the purple, but was Betty-sized/shaped. She made her own dresses and also made mine. I know for sure I had a dress much like that but kid-sized and in the same color palette but with butterflies or berries on it. 

  • judybrowni

    I noticed that the indolent Betty was in pastels — blues and pinks, or florals– in contrast to work-a-day Peggy’s utilitarian olive and  brown, and the hip teenagers in acid green and psychedelic flowers.

    Dawn is also wearing a work dress with utilitarian stripes, muted blues, and mustard! — rather than pastels.

    No pastels for our working gal Megan, even when off the clock: her florals are bold without being psychedelic.

    • judybrowni

      In the one scene where Peggy is wearing blue, it’s a utilitarian navy skirt.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    So Don has upgraded from a Hitchcock blonde in the late 50s to Laura Petrie in the late 60s. By the late 70s, will he be with Princess Leia or Annie Hall?

  • music52809

    Hi guys!  This synopsis is GREAT.  Fab comparison of the patterns in the fabrics of the dresses.  And I DO love that dropped waist number on Megan.  Having worn a number of those styles of dresses, back at that time, and being that it was one of the few styles that really looked GOOD on me, I dig that dress!

    I feel sorry for Betty, and I’m afraid for her.  That scene with Henry Francis on the phone with Don…  Henry’s obviously angry that Betty even called Don, at all, about this, and then he proceeds to tell Betty it was ‘no one’ on the phone.  Henry Francis is a MEAN MOTHER, and I am AFRAID for Betty.  Can’t STAND the mother-in-law.  Henry Francis learned how to be so mean from someone… again, I’m afraid for Betty.  RUN… Betty… RUN… grab up them kids and hit the road, while you can, darling!  That scene on the front lawn, with the sparklers and the …looming… house in the background.  It IS a very SINISTER looking house.  That scene gave me such a sad, frightened, feeling, in the pit of my stomach.  Reminded me of the kind of family situation that I grew up in, in the 60s, sans the money and the huge house, of course.  But the …feelings… surrounding the whole situation, felt kinda familiar to me!  I know… scary, huh…

    Enjoy immensely your writing and your KEEN observations.  KEEP IT UP!  And I’m so excited Mad Men is back weekly.  It’s been so long that I almost …forget… that, oh yeah, there’s another episode in just a week!  Yippeeeee!  Thanks for all you do!  I’ll be out here, reading… and watching …  .Sally

    • Sweetbetty

       Betty has nowhere to run *to*.

    •  I don’t think Henry is mean at all. He tries very hard to be sweet and supportive to Betty even when she’s not willing to accept it. And he didn’t question his role as step-parent to her kids. He’s a tough politician and it’s only natural for he and Don to have an adversarial relationship. He was mad that Betty confided in Don, but rather than confront her, he swallowed it by saying it was “nobody” on the phone. I think he’s simply trying to walk through the minefield of Betty’s emotional landscape without having his legs blown off.

  • Great post. Yes, I gasped when they showed Betty the first time. And I also agree with many of the minions that there is something suspicious about the house. Betty clearly didn’t decorate it. It is most defitnitely in decline. How did they end up there? I can’t wait to find out.

    The window inside the appartment  made me think of Godfather II. The scenes from the lower east side appartment of the young Corleone family.

  • When Michael was talking to Peggy, he said he didn’t have any family, friends, no one. Then he goes home to his father. And was that his apartment, or his fathers? Do they live together, or was Michael just visiting, bringing him the farmer’s cheese. Kind of tragic, the contrast between who Michael is putting himself out there to be during the day, then what he goes home to at night.

    Good call on the color matching between Peggy’s outfit and Michael’s tie ~ I totally missed that one. 

    Betty’s been eating for a while. That household is a bomb waiting to go off.

    I was in grammar school in ’66, and I remember there being ONE black girl (except that she was a Negro back then) in my class. We were friends. And my parents made a point of telling me how nice it was of me to be friends with her. And I remember thinking “well why wouldn’t I be – she’s nice.” I didn’t get it.

    Love your posts. Thanks for giving us a place to hash it all out.

    • music52809

       Hey Paula!  It’s me, Sally (music52809)!  Love your post!  I just posted, like, an hour ago.  Isn’t it FABULOUS that MM is back on, weekly?  I’m digging it the most!  I missed the Peggy’s outfit/Michael’s tie thing too, until I read it here.  That household IS a bomb waiting to go off.  …a scary bomb…  Because we both grew up at this time, and with all the …everything… that was going on then, I think it’s pretty cool that we have this great opportunity to observe the similarities between the lives of the people in this show and our actual lives.  Through this show, people who came along WAY after this time period can get a ‘feel’ for what it was like.  Super cool!  I think MM staff are doing a REALLY GOOD job of portraying what it was really like ‘back then.’

      And it’s all because of you, dearie, that I even watch MM and read TLo.  Sincere thanks!  Really… I enjoy both, immensely! 

      And I think we are so fortunate that TLo are willing to share their razor-sharp observations with all of us; they catch so much more than I can.  Yes, thanks so much for giving us a place to hash it all out!  .Sally

    • judybrowni

      In that period, Michael might have been ashamed of his yiddishe papa, too old world, too religious.

      • Sweetbetty

         I got that feeling too.  What a change for him to go from the sleek, modern, brightly lit offices of SCDP to that dim, dingy little apartment of his papa’s, filled with gloom and decay.  It felt like he was being a dutiful son but would rather have not been there.

  • Call me Bee

    I was 12 years old in 1966 and I had a fabulous green plaid dropped-waist dress with a pleated skirt that my mother made.  It was short as well, even though we were made to kneel on the floor at school (a public school, BTW) to see if our skirts touched the floor.  If they didn’t, we were sent home to change.   
    I loved that dress…

  • Sweetbetty

     “I’m sure Betty hasn’t spent much money on clothes lately.  She’s had to
    buy stuff in new sizes, but surely, she thinks, she’ll be “back to
    normal” any day now.”

    My thought exactly when TLo commented that her “fat clothes” looked cheap.  I’ve gone up and down 30-40 pounds several times in my life and it really took a lot for me to admit I had to buy a larger size when I could no longer fit into what I had been wearing.  Anything I bought in a larger size I always considered “temporary” and wouldn’t invest a lot of money in it.  Therefore I ended up fat in cheap clothes, quite the stereotype .

  • I kind of disagree about Megan in the dinner scene. She was perfectly savvy, but she was actually a bit foreign for the Heinzes. She was dressed even more stylishly for the era than usual and it made her contrast completely against the Heinz wife. And then the wife cut in with “I’m bored” because Megan was confusing her by being interested in the men’s conversation. Betty would have been able to just be a nice-looking accessory for the dinner.

  • chatelaine1

    A little fashion note:  when I saw Betty’s white and blue and green floral print outfit at the doctor’s office, it reminded me immediately of a retro Prada floral print dress that Madonna wore in 2008.  The prints have the same shiny off white background and colors and look to the fabric.  That Prada look was so retro that it was worn (by Madonna) with shoes in the same matching floral print.  I remember loving that print and thinking it was such a great vintage early 1960s look and now it shows up in a different form in Mad Men.  Janie Bryant nails it again.


  • formerlyAnon

    The persons at those links are defining “Too Much Fun” in the arena of home renovations and decor!

  • Bozhi

    The yellow dress Megan wore at the office was quite trendy then, it was the “empire waist” that became all the rage.  And twice, at the restaurant and at her apartment, Megan is wearing a headband and has longer hair.  That is because she was wearing what was called a “fall,” which was a hairpiece that was popular in the mid 60’s.

  • lindacas

    I love all the references to scenes in previous seasons.  When I clicked on the link to the last time Betty wore blue roses:

    did you notice that there is Megan in the background, wearing her yellow dress?

    About wearing a “fall” – underneath the fall we wore a “rat.”  The “rat” made the fall look like it was teased up, and we also wore a headband between our real hair and the fall to hide the transition.  

  • FloridaLlamaLover

    Yes, yes, yes.  There was near-seismic social change in 1970 at my elementary school (and the whole school district) when girls were allowed to wear “pant suits” to school.  A very detailed letter was sent home to all the parents and if the parent allowed their daughter to pant suits, the parent(s) had to sign a form. Not jeans (those were allowed by, IIRC, by 1972 or 1973) not just a pair of slacks with a shirt, but specifically the Maude-style pant suit. I felt so sophisticated in fourth grade when I wore my first outfit to school!

  • ChaquitaPhilly

    I think Momma gave Henry that awful old house and moved to someplace smaller and nicer. But it’s still HER house and she can boss “poorBetty” around.

  •  Great catch!

  •  And then, as well as now, it’s near impossible to find decent larger sized clothes without spending $$$. And while I don’t think the Francis’ are short on money, Betty would be unwilling to invest in larger sized clothing as it would signal that she’s totally given up. Temporary clothes – like the tacky maternity clothes of the day – were cheap and not cheerful.

  • librarygrrl64

    “Here’s the thing about the Francis house: to 2012 eyes it looks pretty fantastic, if a little dark. That’s not how such a house would have been viewed during this period. Refurbished Victorian mansions were not what the average housewife wanted to live in. The suburban dream was still alive and well during this period and we can’t imagine that Betty’s really happy living in that kind of a house.” Right on the money, as usual. When my parents were buying their first home here in the Philly suburbs, we ended up in a brand new split-level. One day about 10 years ago I was driving with my dad through a suburb closer to the city, and we passed a gorgeous (refurbished, I’m sure) late-Victorian/early-20th-century house, and he said, “Oh, we almost bought that house in 1968.” I said, “What??? It’s adorable! Why didn’t you? Was it too expensive?” He answered, “No, it was about the same price, but it would have been a lot of work. And your mom wanted something new.” Now the split-level would probably sell for about $350-400K, while the older home (in what is now a slightly more upscale neighborhood) would sell for about $700-800K. Stupid parents with no foresight! 😉

  • e h

    …And she seems to be responsive to Henry’s kindness – at least, as responsive as Betty ever gets.

  • Great recap as always.  I am surprised you didn’t see that Sally only taking a few bites of her ice cream while her mother, Betty devoured her ice cream was a thinly veiled slap to her mother.  Sally was showing her mother that she had more self control than her mother. 

  • margaret meyers

    Young Ginsberg should have been wearing chinos with that madras jacket and Clarks desert Boots.  Check out My Three Sons.

    • judybrowni

      my thought as well.

  • valerenta

    I can’t believe you didn’t talk about how awful and offensive the fat suit was. It’s a bad comparison to make, probably, but I see it almost like doing blackface. It’s just so so offensive. Mad Men has really stooped low this season. I think it’s jumping the shark.

  • valerenta

    oops this was meant to be a reply to jeeplibby02


    Hi, nice to meet you. Wow. My weight does not determine my success or happiness in life. I can’t believe how offensive your comment is. I’m certainly not feigning happiness. I’m extremely happy and successful in my marriage and my career, so maybe you need to check you ridiculous and offensive assumptions sometimes. 

    I’m also far from the only happy fat person. How shallow can you actually be? My goodness.

  • MadAboutMen

    Giant subject bounce:  I loved Betty on the couch eating Bugles……Bugles – I forgot about them – made me laugh.

  • Does anyone else wish there were a TLo lounge for Mad Men?

    • Sweetbetty

       Yes!  I couldn’t stay awake through the show last night (big Easter dinner) and saw bits and pieces and want to know what the heck happened.

  • Scinclair Bloodthorn

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this Francis house. I think the reason it’s so dark and dreary is because it is riddled with the memory of the late Mrs Francis (version1). My guess is that she decorated the house as well, which is why it seems so old and dated. They’re living in a mausoleum.

  • As far as the makeup thing goes with Dawn, back then (and to some degree now) proper Black women don’t wear makeup. We shouldn’t need it. It has something to do with make up is synonymous with being worldly and only fast women wear make up. To this day, and not that that I wear makeup that much, but my mother does NOT like it when I put on a face full of makeup, unless it’s a special occasion… like my wedding. That was the last time I wore sanctioned makeup… 14 years ago!

  • Am I the only one who thinks that Betty’s pink outfits in this episode are a way to show her like a piggy-like fat woman? It is very curious to see how fussy clothes look glamorous on her when she is thin and foolish when she is fat.