Mad Style: To Have and To Hold

Posted on April 24, 2013

We got embarrassingly excited when the episode opened with a shot of those green and blue room dividers, opening up to a tableau of men all dressed in blue and green. We noted in the season opener that Peggy was working a lot of blue and green and that it was reflected in the men she was dealing with. We said at the time that it was a very popular color combination for the period and one that, to this day, still evokes and is identified with the ’60s. Then last week, all hell broke loose on the green-and-blue front and it seemed pretty obvious to us that this was a deliberate motif on costume designer Janie Bryant’s part. But what is she saying? What does it represent? We have a feeling we’re going to be debating that one all season.

And let’s just say it: it’s absolutely possible that Janie’s not saying anything deliberately and that this is just a popular color combination for 1968 that looks good on many of these characters. We’ll see. After all, it wasn’t quite so prevalent this week as it was last week. And the ways in which it’s being used aren’t always consistent. There’s been some talk among our commenters that the B&G combo signals “cheating” or “adultery,” and there’s something to that, since it featured so heavily in the Megan and Sylvia scene last week and then later in the scene where Ted convinced Peggy to “cheat” on Stan and SCDP and go after Heinz.

And this scene also has a very heavy undercurrent of cheating, as all three men meet secretly in a spot designed specifically for Pete to cheat on his wife so they can discuss SCDP “cheating” on Heinz Beans. And if the symbolism wasn’t obvious enough, Pete then offered the place to Don in case he wanted to cheat on his wife (not realizing that Don kept it all under one roof this time) and the Heinz guy literally licked his wedding ring and slipped it off as he left.

So yeah. A case can definitely be made that green and blue signal a form of adultery. As we’ve said before, however, color theory is a dicey thing to apply to analysis, because there will always be instances of the colors just popping up in scenes where no heavier meaning is applied to them, and because stating that “x color = x concept” is too simplistic in many cases. For now, we’re treading lightly, noting the times and places it occurs, and talking it out.


We thought it was interesting that this week, both Dawn and Joan (who wound up forming a relationship this episode) introduced us to women who may be their sisters or may just be a good friend. The dialogue and acting seemed almost deliberately vague in both cases.

Dawn wore this outfit last season. It’s so dowdy it almost looks like a housekeeper’s uniform. In the premiere episode of this season we noted that her outfit looked more expensive and slightly more frivolous than her outfits last season and noted that she’s probably making decent money and loosening up a bit around the office, not worrying so much about needing to be a credit to her race. But Janie Bryant has a tendency to put characters in declarative outfits that send a message and then have them continue to wear their old clothes. It’s a little brilliant, we think; because it allows her to use costuming to tell a story while still allowing her commitment to absolute realism. Because in the real world, even after life-changing events, we all don’t throw out our wardrobes and remake ourselves. Instead, if our styles change to reflect our changing circumstances, it tends to happen over time. Peggy to this day still wears schoolgirl plaids, even after all the astonishing progress she’s made in her life and career. Joan still dresses in tight, sexy clothing even after she’s been made a partner and made a slight shift toward more business-like attire. We are who we are, after all, and change comes hard and usually slowly. That’s been a major theme of both the show and the costuming.

Her friend, on the other hand, is vibrant and seeks all the attention in the scene. Even though the background is full of red tones, her red stands out loudly. Her outfit is naive and simple, which reflects the relatively simplistic view she seems to have of the world, which revolves entirely around romance and her own wedding. Dawn has work to do and an obstacle course to run every day. She’s dressed for it.


Joan is the center of the scene here; her dark indigo suit demanding all the attention away from the creams and blues of the scene. Her friend is also in a suit, but it’s less impressive than Joan’s. The friend is in costume jewelry and Joan is sporting touches of gold. She represents success and money here to her friend.


Hold that thought.


Just a snapshot to note once again how astonishingly colorful the world became practically overnight. Two executives; one in a green suit and one in a yellow one.


Also: blue and green. It’s so brief a moment that we can’t really analyze it except to note that a lot of viewers felt that Scarlett and Harry are having an affair.


Scarlett favors dresses somewhat similar to the ones Joan wore back in the day; body-hugging and bright, with colorful details like scarves and buttons. This dress also has very light military touches to it.

Dawn is probably never going to give her fans the false-eyelashes-and-go-go-boots moment they’re yearning for. She’s not going to be a model for the major African-American styles of the period. In many ways, she’s like Peggy was back when she was a secretary; a working class good-girl from an ethnic neighborhood that seems far away from downtown. And except for the print of the dress, we think this outfit looks very much like a lot of Peggy’s old secretarial outfits. Yellow was Peggy’s old power color, after all.


Boy, Ginsberg really turned into a schlub overnight, didn’t he?

Everybody loved Stan’s “Born to be Wild” getup so we can’t not feature it. It notes nothing so much as the trickling down (and out and up) of counterculture styles to places like Madison Avenue and from there, to Middle America. It’s also notable (to us anyway) that the colors of Stan’s outfit are the colors found in meat-centered food photography of the period; lots of glistening reds, browns and tans.


The ads they pitch to Heinz will feature all the colors of Stan’s outfit prominently. He’s a walking hamburger. Don, for his part, couldn’t possibly look more establishment.


Hold that thought.


Janie always dresses Meredith in naive, child-like clothes, but she really ramps it up whenever she’s interacting with Joan. Here, she’s shot past “child” and landed on “toddler.”  But interestingly, it’s a toddler’s dress that mimics a sailor suit. So both Scarlet and Meredith are wearing military styles in 1968, at the height of Vietnam. Nicely done, Janie Bryant.

Joan wore this outfit for her partner portrait on the stairs, which makes it all the more notable in this episode, which revolves around the fallout from her partnership. Remember: Harry shoved past her on the stairs angrily in that scene, foreshadowing this conflict. Not coincidentally, he is also wearing the same attention-seeking jacket in this episode that he wore in that scene:


Costuming as foreshadowing; costuming to pay off a storyline. People always ask us to give the Mad Style treatment to a whole bunch of other shows on TV, from Boardwalk Empire to Game of Thrones. And while we wish there were enough hours in the week to do something like that, we always say the same thing: Not many costume people on TV are working on the same literary level that Janie Bryant’s working (although GoT comes close – and before you ask: no. Sorry).

Note how the  men are in dark clothing (even Ken, who normally doesn’t wear dark clothing), while the TV and media guys are bringing all the color and pattern into the scene.


Megan’s outfit is working on an ironic level. She’s as demure as she can be; completely covered up. She’s also barefoot, signaling a power differential (because Don’s wearing the ultimate in American power uniforms: the wealthy executive’s suit) and her attempt at being obsequious to him. On the other hand, she’s all done up in pink and red, which in this case signal sex and more importantly to Don, signal prostitution:


This is a costuming version of something we see all the time in the text: Megan has a tendency to agitate Don’s innermost turmoil inadvertently or without realizing it. When they fought later, she acidly joked to him that he probably thought it “never happened” if he didn’t have to see her faux-adultery, without realizing that she was exactly right. She joked with him on his birthday about how “nobody loves Dick Whitman,” not realizing at all how her words were setting off a whole legion of demons inside him. And then of course, there’s the famous, “Why don’t you call YOUR mother?” that had him literally abandoning her on the side of the road. She keeps agitating him simply by existing and interacting with him.

Remember that partner portrait scene on the stairway that keeps getting referred to in the costuming this episode? Remember that photographer’s assistant in the orange dress and white go-go boots in that scene; the one that we kept focusing on because you couldn’t take your eyes off her?


THAT’S the level Janie’s working on. She saw the conflict in the story this season, saw that it was going to play out significantly around those stairs, and costumed everyone accordingly to make subtle callbacks and foreshadowing.

Just look at all the eye-searing color in these scenes. There is some interplay between green and blue here, most notably on Joan’s dress. Scarlet really does look like a younger, hipper version of Joan here, and Joan does have a history of attempting to fire younger versions of herself and then having those firings overturned by partners (Jane Siegel). There’s a strong contrast between Joan’s ruffly, fussy dress and Scarlett’s bold, simple one. Additionally, Dawn’s in the scene, looking absolutely nothing like anyone else in the scene. Her dress is as dowdy as one can get and so loose on her she’s practically swimming in it. It reminds us quite a bit of the dress Peggy wore when she gave her notice to Don, except less expensive and less well-fitted. She’s Peggy 2.0 as of this episode, with Joan as her mentor instead of Don.


Honestly, it’s just a fabulous coat, bag, and scarf and we didn’t want to skip taking screenshots of it.


In a reversal of their previous scene together, Dawn is in a solid while her friend is in a print. But Dawn still looks like she’s wearing a uniform in comparison to her friend’s more stylish clothes. Considering Dawn thinks the ladies at her church are a bunch of harlots, we think it’s safe to say that demure and covered up are the only things on her style menu at the moment.

And interestingly, they both blend in perfectly with the warm reds and greens of the background. They are of this place in a way no other character on the show would be.


Joan and her friend, however, stand out from their surroundings because it’s clear that they’re not normally in a place like this. As a Mary Kay rep, of course Joan’s friend would be in a relatively demure pink suit


Talk about standing out.

Much is made (including by us) of the fact that Joan’s va-va-voom persona and look are out of style at this point, but it should be noted that voluptuous, beautiful women are largely still considered desirable in any setting, even as very skinny ones populate the magazine covers. It doesn’t surprise us at all that a couple younger, hipper guys thought she was pretty groovy. She may look old school but even a couple of downtown hipsters know a babe when they see one.

But yes, her fussy office-wear stands out to an almost ridiculous level in this scene.


Janie fairly consistently uses metallics to signify wealth in women. Metallics were all the rage all through the sixties, but on Mad Men, it’s almost always reserved for the ones with bucks.

Megan didn’t used to be a smoker, by the way. She’s not turning into Betty – she never really could – but it does signal her stress and unhappiness in the same way Betty’s constant smoking did.


The only thing particularly notable about this scene is that somehow, Don and Stan managed to mimic the two Heinz execs on the couch. Don almost matches the one exactly, while Stan and the other one are dressed in golds and brown. Stan always wears that lucky gold jacket on pitches, by the way.

Then Peggy comes into the room like a bolt of lightning, dressed like nobody:


Peggy is business-like and also sporting light military touches. More importantly (and probably deliberate on her part) are the touches of red that tie her to the ad and the product she’s pitching.

Hey, remember when we showed you Sylvia’s black and white furs and Megan’s black and white maid uniform and told you to hold that thought?



There you go.



Mother/Maiden/Crone has been reconfigured as Mistress/Maid/Executive – and in this story, they’re all seen as whores by the men around them.


We were so wrong last season when we predicted that Joan would never try to mimic menswear. Despite the fussy lace (which speaks to her maturity and calls back to Megan’s fussy maid collar, which calls back to Sylvia’s fur collar) this is just about as business-like as a woman could get in 1968. An early version of the power suit. She’s giving up her secretarial ways and secretarial mindset here, passing the torch, so to speak to someone else. Someone in a ruffly pink blouse, which calls to mind so many of Joan’s outfits, and in a plaid skirt and sturdy, style-less jacket, which calls to mind so many Peggy outfits. An entire history and potential relationship being laid out in clothing.



Another check in the “blue and green means adultery” column, as well as one in the “Harry and Scarlett are having an affair” one. This is very much like old-school Joan Holloway, except for the flare of the skirt.


This works not only as a reversal of their normal interactions, where she is in pajamas or casually barefoot and he’s dressed to kill (so to speak), but as a reversal and foreshadowing of this:


Her tan coat, his tan coat. She’s over him in bed; he’s watching her in bed with someone else.


And then the poor thing put on her whore robe without even realizing it. It was pretty much all over once she flashed that red in front of him.


Sylvia’s touches of red are far more subtle and far less likely to set Don off. But after he puts that penny in her hand, he takes her to the maid’s room and pushes her down on the bed, just like the scene he just watched; inserting  himself into the scenario and removing Megan from it.

We realize we’re not saying anything new here, but that man is seriously screwed up.




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  • Sobaika

    Brilliant. I hope Janie Bryant forwards a link to this post to Matthew Weiner and gets a bonus.

    • I’m sure he knows all about it. You don’t get this detailed in costuming without being in direct collaboration with the showrunner.

      • Sobaika

        That’s not what I mean – I just can’t think of any other stylist’s work that would garner this level of interest, analyzing, or buzz. Maybe Pat Field had some of that at the height of S&tC but even then they outfits themselves didn’t speak to such specificity.

        • sarahjane1912

          .. Or symbolism. Agreed.

          Sure, each of the SATC gals had their ‘look’ etc, and it was something of a ‘thing’ to decide whether one was a Charlotte/Miranda/Carrie/Sam etc … but in MM, EVERYTHING just means more and has some fabulous subtext, right down to the colours, hemlines and collars!

        • Glammie

          Yep. Pat Field tapped into the zeitgeist and influenced street fashion, but I don’t remember anything about her clothing choices that moved narrative and underscored emotional development of characters the way Jane Bryant does. It’s really striking what she does, but also subtle–it’s not like she’s working on a big old costume drama with lots of hoopskirts and ruffles.

          • Sobaika

            Exactly! And she’s so much more limited by having using so many vintage pieces and the show’s reputation for authenticity.

          • MsFine

            I think Patricia Field’s costuming for SATC, though fabulous, really meant nothing at all in terms of character. This was really proved to me by the fact that she put 2nd movie Carrie in a newspaper-print Christian Dior dress for a date with Big in which she was really revelling in nostalgia, the voiceover was something like “and all of a sudden it was 1998 again…” And this exact dress was one she had worn in an episode of the TV series in which she attempted to apologise to Natasha (Big’s ex-wife) for cheating with Big, contributing to the breakup of their marriage (and indirectly causing her to fall down stairs and smash her teeth). It was a really horrible moment for Carrie, probably one of her lowest. I can’t possibly believe she would have put that dress back on for a ‘let’s relive our beginnings’ date with Big. If Janie Bryant costumed SATC I’d be looking for a deeper meaning behind the decision, but I honestly think Patricia Field just liked that dress or something.

        • Verascity

          I will say: Breaking Bad doesn’t have the same level of fabulousness or period-richness, since we’re dealing with modern-day middle-class Albuquerque on that show, but it’s the only other one I know of on TV that puts even a remotely similar amount of work into the costuming and the color story and the subtext therein.

          ETA: That said, while I have no doubt that Kathleen Detoro is a fantastic costumer designer, I think a lot of the credit there goes to the famously obsessive Vince Gilligan.

  • JulieTy

    “Mother/Maiden/Crone has been reconfigured as Mistress/Maid/Executive – and in this story, they’re all seen as whores by the men around them.”
    What would I do without you, T and Lo? Thank you SO much for observations like this one that greatly enhance my Mad Men viewing experience.

    • Thanks to T. Lo I actually paid attention that the three women were dressed alike – but what a treat to see the three pictures together, with the perfect description of how they fit in the world of Mad Men!

    • MK03

      My jaw DROPPED. Genius.

    • decormaven

      Bowing down. That trio of pictures, and your descriptive, said it all. Kudos!

    • AudreysMom

      Add me to the fan club. I copied that line to paste in a post of adoration, and found it already done by another Bitter Kitten. (Thank you JulieTy.) You guys are the best! I know these posts take a long time. They are a real highlight of my week.

      • JulieTy

        🙂 xoxoxoxo

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      Excellent observation. I also think the women in black and white and the room full of women at Roger’s mother’s funeral foreshadow the funerals of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and all those young men that will be lost in Vietnam in 1968. Sadly, there will a lot of wives and mothers wearing black in 1968.

      • TLo did reference the idea of “women in black” becoming a possible theme this season…

      • Yes! Good call. I also think, upon further reflection, that the reason Dawn had so many scenes (for her, anyway) has directly to do with MLK’s assassination, which I think is due at any moment.

      • Benten32

        Jane Sterling wore the same white collar a cuffs on her black funeral outfit.

    • MartyBellerMask

      Megan and Sylvia were obvious, but I did not notice Joan. Bam. You guys must have been itching to get this out! 🙂

    • Elisabetta1022

      Stroke of genius. I also noticed how all of those outfits mimic the black and white of a nun’s habit–especially Sylvia’s.

    • tereliz

      Yes! I noticed the prevalence of B&W outfits, but did not make that connection. Seriously, this post has been the best part of this dismal, rainy Wednesday. Bless you, boys!

    • bingo

      the mother/maiden/crone was a brilliant observation. T&L, you all enhance my experience of the show.

    • Aren’t they The Three Fates from Greek mythology? “The Fates were three female deities who shaped people’s lives. In particular, they determined how long a man or woman would live… Hesiod called the Fates Clotho (“the spinner”), Lachesis (“the allotter”), and Atropos (“the unavoidable”). In time, the name Clotho, with its reference to spinning thread, became the basis for images of the three Fates as controlling the thread of each person’s life. Clotho spun the thread, Lachesis measured it out, and Átropos cut it with a pair of shears to end the life span.”

    • m 00

      I’m so late to the party that the party probably already had grandchildren. But I’m just watching the series now, and was thrilled to see there’s a party talking about the costume symbolism. I spotted Joan’s first B/W outfit ever as a sign of her having to “step it up”, but missed the comparison to Sylvia+Megan, fascinating!

      But – hasn’t anyone else noticed that in this season Joan has lost the ubiquitous pen necklace? She did still wear it as a new partner last season. But does this mean that now she is really putting her secretarial days behind (=won’t take notes anymore)..? Interesting though that the phallic pen is now – when she’s penetrating the male world deeper (pun semi-intended) – being replaced by the circular (a somewhat feminine symbol) brooches etc? While in her dress it’s vice versa, from dresses to more masculine suits.

  • I waited all day for this!!

    • JulieTy

      Me too! 😀

      • Pennymac

        Me three!

    • Violaine

      TLo Mad Men Style posts are rapidly becoming the highlight of my week.

    • LeSourire

      I was actually a little mad when I checked in a bit ago and saw some posts made already today, but no Mad Style post. That is how bad my addition is (and a testament to how brilliant TLo’s analysis is)

  • Nithya

    Oh thank you, thank you! This was so worth the wait. I think I may look forward to your Mad Style posts even more than the episode discussions. You guys always notice so much more than I do, and it’s a pleasure to be schooled by you.

  • dulcinea86

    I thought I was taking great Mad Style notes as I watched but… Omg, the “whore robe!” It’s the exact same outfit, I can’t believe I missed that. This is why I love TLo.

    • sarahjane1912

      Whore robe! Yes! This.

      The red whore robe together with her hair ‘naked’ apart from the stockingette cap after she’s ripped her wig/maid cap off … Pure poetry.

  • Fabulous as always. Watching this episode it was so clear how much of the story was being told through the clothes, but I would have never have noticed if I hadn’t been reading you for so long. Brava!

    BTW, Megan’s wardrobe thrills me every week. Love watching her.

    • sweetlilvoice

      Amen! As soon as I saw Dawn in that Peggy plaid skirt and pink blouse, I knew something was up! Very much a passing of the torch.

  • PastryGoddess

    How did I miss the Mistress/Maid/Executive references?

    Another wonderful MadStyle post as usual

  • aeb1986

    How do you notice all these things!? Amazing. The mistress/maid/executive realization is dead on! Thank you for these posts! They’re so wonderful

  • sarahjane1912

    Refresh [aaagh!] … Refresh … [yelps!] … Refresh [where is it?!] … Refresh … *Applauds wildly*

    Oh WOW. What an update. You’re completely utterly forgiven for keeping me ‘waiting’.

    Fantastic observations, esp. the mother/maiden/crone AND the fact that people still wear their old clothes even as they’re updating with new ones AND the blue/green symbolism. Thank you again.

  • inchoate

    This is the second time this season that we’ve seen a reference to Megan’s weight and possibly wanting to lose weight: in the first episode the fan said “you’re so much trimmer than on TV”, and in this one the swinger wife told her that the weight you lose by smoking isn’t worth the wrinkles. I wonder if they’ll develop this further.

    • sweetlilvoice

      Well, she’s always reminded me of Karen Carpenter, but I hope that is not her sad fate! I hope she kicks Don’s ass and becomes extremely famous.

      • Glammie

        She doesn’t seem like much of an actress though, does she? Her wig style seemed to be designed to emphasis her protuberant teeth to make her seem a bit awkward and gauche. MM definitely plays around with how they photograph Jessica Pare–from dream girl to awkward young woman. They’ll deliberately light and film her at a bad angle in some scenes. They don’t do that to the other actresses, though they sometimes do it to Jon Hamm and Vincent Kartheiser.

        • sarahjane1912

          Oh yes. The lighting. Particularly taken with your comment re the fact that other characters are lit ‘badly’ in order to underlie their characters [not just Megan].

          Pete? Wow, they’ve done a few scenes where he appears pale and almost oily/greasy — and I’m thinking particularly of the office scenes here. I remember when he was doing his Charleston schtick with Trudy he looked young and healthy and part of a team …

          And they’ve made Don look old/lined and puffy from alcohol abuse more than once, esp. in this series post-Hawaii when he’s back at work. Back in the early series, Don was nothing BUT lean/mean/tanned/gorgeous. Everyone wanted to be That Guy. And it was as if he came with his own lighting director. 😉

          Gotta love those tactics.

  • beebee10

    Great analysis boys. Really loved the 3 side by side screen shots! Well done!
    My grandmother was a knockout and a powerful, lonely, female executive in the 1960’s who dressed JUST LIKE JOAN.

    • Jessi03

      Your grandma sounds awesome.

    • I would love to see pictures if you’ve got any online!

    • Eskimoe

      My grandmother was not an exec, but a power-player in her own right as a ranking official’s wife; she had that body type, LOVED her clothes (really. I’ve inherited a lot of them in perfect condition), and dressed just like Joan and Scarlett – it’s one of the ways that I know that Janie Bryant is so right on as a costume designer.

  • T. Sticks

    Wonderful, as usual! I thought Joan’s blue and green flowered dress was so flattering with her coloring. The closeup of her face with that dress looks like something out of a painting. As soon as I saw Scarlet’s go-go boots I flashed back to the photographer’s assistant!

  • Wow.

  • This is great! I wonder how often Janie reads these and provides feedback. I’d LOVE to hear what she thinks of TLo’s interpretations of he costuming/styling.

  • My mind has been blown, as per usual on Wednesday around this time! Thank you for not doing GoT, that would mean I’d have to watch it.

    LOVE Megan’s last coat.

    • “That would mean I’d have to watch it.” Exactly! I started watching Revenge because of TLo. I do not need to watch any more tv than I do.

      • I started Mad Men because of TLo! Well, I had wanted to, but seeing it on TLo gave me the final push.

        • Jessi03

          Me, too! GoT is awesome, though. You should definitely give it a shot!

          • My spousal unit actually watches it, and I get a glimpse here and there. It’s too bloody and violent for my taste.

  • gabbilevy

    These posts are always great, but you guys really nailed it this time.

  • sarahjane1912

    Question: Are Dawn’s clothes ‘off the rack’ from some inexpensive store? A lot of her stuff looks like she ran it up herself, esp. the olive-green number in her second scene with her friend-who’s-getting-married. It really isn’t fitted very well [the darts/seams look all wrong, sorry]. NOT blaming Janie [as if!]; I think the ill-fitting clothes kind of suit her role.

    • I definitely think the green dress is homemade.

    • jennifervney

      I get the impression they’re hand me downs from friends and relatives.

      • decormaven

        What my mom (who often wore hand-me-downs from her wealthier sister) called “dressing out of the missionary barrel.”

        • Lattis

          Dressing out of the missionary barrel!!!!! One of the best phrases I never heard. I’m going to be using that!

  • beebee10

    GoT Mad Style recaps PLEASE PLEASE!! You know you’d love it!

    • SassieCassy

      haha doubt it! but it would be a cool read. they do fun stuff with the colors and set design and use a lot of our worlds references.

    • Jessi03

      Yeah, I went there, too. I know it won’t happen, but I totally watch that show with TLo’s fashion eye in mind. Also, I want nearly everything Natalie Dormer gets to wear in GoT and back in her Tudor days. She’s a lucky lady.

    • Glammie

      Well, they said ages ago they didn’t do GoT because they didn’t want to read book spoilers . . . but, er, maybe a season fashion round-up–two posts, one for the men, one for the women? I would be fascinated to read it and the costuming issues with GoT are quite fascinating–a medieval world that connects to various real historical places and events, but is also entirely imaginary.

  • kaycem

    i don’t even watch the show anymore, but i never miss a mad style post!

  • geans

    These just keep getting better! I audibly gasped at the mother/maiden/crone reveal.

    • sarahjane1912

      Ohhh … reading ‘Hold That Thought’ and yes, the big tri-pic reveal! *GASP*

      • I caught the similarity between Sylvia and Megan, but totally missed Joan. I’m so glad I read Mad Style!

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      Yes, I knew there was something significant about those three costumes, but couldn’t put my finger on it. Brava!

    • juliamargaret

      me, too!

  • wallyeast

    Scarlett IS cheating — having someone else punch your timecard is cheating the company.

    • sarahjane1912

      She wears ROCKING outfits though. Loved all of them.

      • wallyeast

        Absolutely. I generally love what she wears.

      • SassieCassy

        and shes not vavavoom like joan but shes not the typical 60s either. its nice to see those looks on her

        • P M

          I hate to make references to a person’s physique, but: I am so happy that the person playing Scarlett isn’t a 60s stick figure. It makes the costuming choices more interesting for me, the way that clothes move and fall over non-model bodies.

  • Eclectic Mayhem

    “Mother/Maiden/Crone has been reconfigured as Mistress/Maid/Executive – and in this story, they’re all seen as whores by the men around them.”

    By the gods you guys are good. And Janie Bryant is good – and this is all, just, wow… *speechless*

    • crash1212

      SO, SO GOOD!

  • muelonil

    Nothing about Joan wearing blue & green AND roses? or maybe I missed it.

    • sarahjane1912

      *Smacks head* Forgot her roses thing! Well spotted. 🙂

    • kaycem

      and that the roses are damned-near purple, although purple as joan’s “heart exposed” color seems to be in flux.

      • Hasn’t Joan worn that blue ruffly dress before? It looked really familiar.

        • makeityourself

          Yes, I believe it has been discussed as her “blue roses” dress in a previous season.

          • Hmm. She wore a different dress with blue roses on it when Pete proposed the whole Jaguar thing. She wore yet another blue floral dress when she was served divorce papers in the office. I still feel like I’ve seen this exact dress before but I can’t find it. Oh, well. Definitely looks like there’s a connection between blue florals and humiliation.

    • juliamargaret

      Yeah, I was wondering about that.

  • N a

    Thank you for finally getting the Madonna/Whore connection that is all Don… We see it now with clarity, I think. He ‘fell in love’ with Megan when he saw her lovely, kind interaction with his children in CA. He called her Maria Von Trapp! Also note Megan’s jet black hair- similar to the only mother Don knew– who never loved him. So, he’s always chasing that mother’s love. When Megan moved away from him- decided to pursue her own career, she was just like every other whore. Remember the scene when he held on to her…hugging her middle like a child would cling to his mother? He wanted the pure Megan, it’s why he wanted her to love his career, is love of HoJo and the crazy orange sherbret…. he wants his mother to love him unconditionally and be proud of him.

    But when you look back think of his loves- they are either heavily involved with children or black haired beauties… the teacher (good with kids) Midge, (black hair) Rachel (black hair) he was reacting to things we never knew about before. Now with Sylvia and her Madonna/Italian/cross influence and black hair… She is both a mother and a whore. He will never choose her over Megan- but he cannot help himself in forever looking for a mother’s love he never received. The fact that both of his real life mothers were whores demonstrated that he cannot separate the two.

    Sad- he is a man that lives in two worlds- one that can fit into perfectly because of his own natural high-gloss good looks, but nobody understands that he is a shell. Which, is ultimately, an explanation for advertising itself! It’s not about the product, it’s the message you believe about the product. Don is great packaging- but ultimately, a lemon.

    • Jessi03

      Damn, that was deep.

    • MK03

      So in essence, Don is a Jaguar: Gorgeous, but utterly dysfunctional and pushes people toward suicide.

    • Glammie

      Yep, I’ve always thought Weiner was trying to create the perfect ad man–Don is the promise and the lie of advertising–the dream of perfection, but a dream where everyone and everything has a price. And Don is addicted to his own dream. He tells Sylvia, “I want to stop doing this,” but he can’t. I think, as a viewers, we’re *meant* to get sick of Don’s affairs. He’s being subtly aged. He’s no longer quite so pretty; he looks a little more dissipated. He’s wearing out and his attempts at personal redemption–Betty, Anna, Megan–never take permanently–even as his career flourishes.

      Hmmm, and that was his Heinz ad in a nutshell–the missing product as the thing that will complete you/fill you.

      I think it’s the compulsive behavior combined with the flashes of insight that keep Don sympathetic, but also potentially tragic. This has no signs of ending well.

      • editrixie

        And I loved how the actress — the writer/producer’s wife — called him James Garner and nodded toward his picture when she told Megan about the love story. He appears so perfect, so handsome, and the pinnacle of desirable maleness. But we viewers know better.

      • formerlyAnon

        Yes, yes, and yes. I absolutely agree.

      • DogintheParthenon

        “the missing product as the thing that will complete you/fill you”

        Brilliant observation!

      • YES! the product that is in your imagination, unlimited by reality.

      • N a

        well, advertising is ultimately an illusion isn’t it? I think it’s fascinating that Don completely understands this on one level but cannot work it out in his own life. His own persona is nothing more than a brand! He IS someone else (Dick Witman) but as Don Draper he had a clean slate; he was free to invent the man he wanted to be. That worked for a while, in that with Betty he was able to be the ‘wedding cake topper’ couple- as totally perfect as could be. But it was all an illusion. He never felt good enough for Betty with her upper class lineage and education. I think what ultimately drew him to Betty was the thrill of the get. But as Don, like so many of us stuck in the ills of consumerism, we’re not made happy by what we consume. Once it’s gone, we realize it’s not enough to fulfill us.

        As we age, it’s easy to ‘act’ a certain way for a while, but it gets more difficult to live up to something that’s not real. The re-do with Megan was an oversight- it shows how little he is able to understand himself. He can work out the most complex sales drivers as it pertains to his clients but he doesn’t even realize his own motivations. So Don, hitting 40 is now facing some of his real hard-wiring.

        I suspect that by the end of the series he will be at the office, in the same suit, with the same haircut (but white hair) thick glasses with a heavy cough and a drinking problem. He will be the total corner office asshole that people work around. Because wasn’t he something back in the day…but I don’t see any redemption for him. Nobody loves Dick Witman, nobody is allowed to, really.

        • Glammie

          Well, Don is very good at sussing out what people want and how to get them to want something in his personal life, but his is kind of a gut instinct. In that sense, he’s an actor like Megan. She *also* plays intuitively into people’s fantasies. However, doing that with Don is a dangerous business. She’s young enough that she’s only slowly realizing the cost of playing with fire. Don Draper gives the promise of giving you everything you want, but Dick Whitman needs and needs and needs. In some ways, though, that neediness is the key to his success. We’ve seen more than once that Don’s moments of happiness, fulfillment of being “good” take a toll on his creativity. Don’s totally screwed up personal life and his talent are totally twisted together.

          I think the big question mark regarding any kind of redemptioin is Sally.

          • Not applicable

            Great points! Oh… Sally….

          • Glammie

            Yeah, I think there’s got to be a reason she’s so featured. Well, I think Bobby would have been too if they hadn’t had to keep recasting him. Don failed his brother, will he fail his children? So far, he hasn’t. But . . .

    • UsedtobeEP

      I think that it’s very interesting that Sylvia is Catholic (because of the heavy tradition that brings with it), that she is praying for him, and that it’s happening so near the end of the series. Also that her husband saves lives. It makes for a very strong theme of life, death, redemption, and damnation. What will Don get? Will he get to choose, or will it be chosen for him, if, say, he has a heart attack when the doc confronts him or walks in on him in bed with Sylvia? I think I have read Don isn’t supposed to die in the series, so what other kind of death would that mean for Don?

      And frankly, I am just bored with Don’s story line. I hope he can find his way out of his misery, but I want more of the other characters, and less of him. I like to see people succeed, I guess.

    • Anastasia_B

      Excellent observations. I too have been ruminating about the dark hair through-line of all of Don’s women, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Betty recently dyed her hair. We didn’t see her this episode, but they often use her to prove a point, and I have a feeling that there is something more about her hair than that it looks like her mother-in-law’s; which it certainly does and it made it’s point in that episode. But there is going to be some dark-haired Betty and Don interaction in the near future.

      • DogintheParthenon

        But Faye and Anna were blonde; perhaps the fair hair is a way of signaling someone who understands him more deeply…

        • I don’t think Betty ever really understood him, though.

          • N a

            I wonder if Faye, Anna and yes, even Betty represent the women who could have saved him… Faye understood him one a mental level, Anna understood him as a good person and as an equal because of her own experience being judged from the outside (and because he was loyal and took care of her) and Betty ultimately offered him the home and family he thought he always wanted. As a bastard orphan, he had it all. And I think Betty did really love him. I think her upbringing and pride would not accept the affairs and deception. But even she reached out to him when she thought she had cancer, etc.

        • I think the fair hair indicates someone with whom Don could have made it work. They are the possibility of fulfillment maybe?

    • N a

      btw TLo- by “finally” I mean that no other blogs are talking about this Madonna/whore thing and I think Weiner could not be much more explicit than throwing dollar bills in Peggy’s face last season, or handing Sylvia a penny and basically calling Megan a whore for kissing for money. ugh. Don, enough already!

  • T. Sticks

    Whoa! Just noticed that Megan’s fantastic trench coat is giving off a very strong reverse priest collar in the close-up screen grab! Now that I think about it, this episode had a ton of religious overtones vs. lust/whore imagery. But I didn’t catch the priest collar on Megan before now. TLo I think you deserve to be in on the meetings when Janie Bryant plans the season!

    • sarahjane1912

      Great post. I just want to say: I want that trench. And I want it now.

  • Stitches

    does anyone else want to make their wardrobe symbolic after reading these articles or is it just me?

    • kaycem

      totally, although i wouldn’t even begin to know how to do it this expertly / subtly, i’d just start writing shit on t-shirts in lieu of fb updates or something.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      LOL, once when I was buying a new outfit for a presentation I briefly flirted with the idea of getting something in Peggy Power yellow (though I really don’t like yellow). I chose something in red instead and have decided that is my own power color 🙂

    • Judging by the people I’m forced to interact with everyday, the symbolism would likely be lost.

    • Sobaika

      I wish I could put that much planning and prediction into my wardrobe.

      “Today Sobaika’s outfit speaks to her breakup. Notice the rumpled quality, as if the clothes were picked right off the floor this morning? Also the food stains. The flared navy skirt calls back to the dress worn on their first date.”

      “Our gal has successfully negotiated a raise for herself, wearing her power blazer and the now-clean navy skirt. Being the only woman to prove her worth on Madison Ave, her outfit calls to both overly feminine and masculine business attire.”

      • 3boysful


    • sweetlilvoice

      I sometimes do it now. I definitely have a Joan dress when I want to kick some butt. But I really favor bright colors and dressing stylishly. I avoid neutrals unless I’m wearing something else really colorful. I do have a goldenrod cardigan I wear almost daily though–it goes with almost everything!

      • Stitches

        i also have a goldenrod cardigan, and i’m amazed by how much of my wardrobe it goes well with.

    • snarkykitten

      Yes but unfortunately, scrubs can’t really express symbolism that well.

      • Stitches

        if you’re a nurse you can play around with the colors at least, right?

    • reebism

      I hear Mad Style commentary running through my head pretty much every time I get dressed in the morning — and usually it’s some variation on, “poor dear, she’s trying.”

      • Stitches

        yes. this. if i’m feeling awesome and confident i don’t hear it, but if i’m struggling with something that morning i feel like it reflects in my clothes.

        • reebism

          Well, if I feel awesome and confident in my clothes, I give myself snaps! 😉

      • Peeve

        Bless her heart…

      • Cordelia_Gray

        I do too! But mine always ends as “girl, that is not your outfit.” 🙂

        • sarahjane1912

          I am literally laughing out loud. So very very true. *GRIN*

    • crash1212

      I’m dressed in black today to symbolize my mourning the passing of civil discourse. I’m headed to a meeting this evening with truly awful people who like to yell. It was my Janie Bryant moment this morning!

      • Sobaika

        Deal with them they way Joanie would.

      • sekushinonyanko

        Did you wear a printed blouse to symbolize the discord?

        • crash1212

          Nope. Grey and black striped cardigan to symbolize two different points of view working in harmony!

    • I sew my own clothes and yes, I do this to a certain extent. I have “my” colors and I do have the tendency to dress in “costume”, as in have my clothes be fitting for an occasion. Rehearsal for the production of South Pacific that I am in? 40s inspired clothing and my sweater with repro-war buttons. First day teaching elementary school? Pastel-colored circle skirt with a unicorn print top.

      • Stitches

        you sound really cool.

      • pix pls!

      • That’s awesome, Mary! I worked in a vintage clothing store for a few years and often would help theatre departments figure out costuming ideas, and the first thing I’d do would be to ask about the character’s personality. (Finding appropriate sizes was the real challenge after that.) I love it when people really think out their wardrobes and make conscious decisions about what it says about their personalities. I do that too to some extent – if I’m having a day of anxiety, I’ll put on specific colors and makeup to feel more confident. Janie Bryant is my heroine! And this blog is so much fun to read. It brings out the frustrated English/art majors in me.

    • formerlyAnon

      I think that if you care about clothes enough to read these posts, your wardrobe is ALREADY symbolic, to some extent. Perhaps not consciously so, though. I used to do a lot more intentional dressing to reinforce the role I saw myself as playing than I do now, but if I look closely at my ‘go to’ outfits for important/difficult/celebratory days or occasions they absolutely are all either armor or a figurative mounted attack.

      • sarahjane1912


        I don’t work, and my outfits are directed by the outside temperatures [45C plus for five/six months a year] but I swear, in terms of trying to present an image [of sorts] like almost everyone, I want to be seen in a certain way, with certain attributes and qualities. *Muses* It might also be why I never wear ‘costume’ jewellery as well; only heirloom stuff. A lot to think about here. Cheers.

      • H2olovngrl

        I think when I was younger I strove to project an air of confidence and self assurance. More dresses, boots, uber high heels. Now it is all browns and neutrals, flowy skirts, natural fabrics and sandals in the hippy breezy SoCal mode. I am not sure if it is convenience, trend, a certain look that I am attempting to convey, or all of the above. My point is, that I live in a warm climate, in a small relatively affluent community that prides itself on being low key and down to earth. So, I wonder, do I dress this way as a representation of my town, or am I conforming to fit in, or just to be comfortable, like I said? What does your wardrobe say about you? (Must be in essay form, 150 words or less)

      • reebism

        For me it’s the other way in — I didn’t really care about clothing, or think about the way it can accent or underline someone’s motivation or way of looking at the world, until I started reading TLo. To me, it’s like having been given a cipher to a coded language, and it’s awesome! So now I use it when watching good TV shows I’ve been watching Breaking Bad with my husband, and while the clothing is nowhere near as flashy or noticeable as it is on Mad Men, it does use color (and to an extent, shape) to underline motivations of characters, so much so that I could predict some character arcs through the changes in outfits. (And now my husband has started pointing out outfits on GOT to me! I’m verklempt with joy.)

        But in my own life? Ehh. I see it and I understand it, and this geeky chick appreciates it now at a level I never thought I would, but I don’t even have my BA in dressing to make statements, much less be able to make it on Ph.D-level discourse. 😉

  • ovarB

    DANG!! My mind is blown!!

    I LOVE Wednesday mornings because I know Mad Style will be posted but I realize I should wait to read because this is the type of reading that should be consumed with a lovely glass of vino. Something that cannot be done sitting at my desk at work. HA!

  • MilaXX

    Saying Don is seriously screwed up is truly the understatement of the year.Then again, there just aren’t enough adjectives to describe how messed up Don is.
    I like the idea of Joan mentoring Dawn. It will be interesting to see how that effect both women. Especially Joan who for so long has only seen other women as either inconsequential or as adversaries.

    • This is an instance where Dawn’s race works to her favor, because Joan’s simply not open-minded enough to look at her and see her as a reflection of herself or a rival, which means Joan is free to open up to her. Very similar to the Don/Peggy relationship in a lot of ways.

      • MilaXX

        You’re right, I never thought abut that. Oh this could be good!

        • Sobaika

          Yup – remember how dismissive she was of Pete’s old girlfriend?

          • wallyeast


          • sarahjane1912

            Paul Kinsey. 🙂

      • 3hares

        It also seems interesting that she’s allying herself with Dawn as the secretary who’s good at her job and cares about the company even as she’s frumpy, and rejecting women like Scarlet who represent some of the other qualities Joan was known for having as a secretary. Not surprising her talk with Dawn didn’t include any lectures about going home to put a bag over her head and look in the mirror and get her dress tailored.

      • awesomesabrina

        That’s an excellent insight. I hope you’re right about that and Dawn isn’t shoved in the background again.

      • UsedtobeEP

        Yes—Don underestimated Peggy because she was an underling and female, perhaps. Remember how he threw money at her in the end? Just like any other whore, even though he respected her as a colleague.

    • Heather Kenney

      I now watch the episodes differently thank to T&L. Right away I noticed that both Joan and Dawn had ruffles on their blouses; echoing each other.

  • pop_top

    I was so caught up in Joan’s suit that I didn’t even notice the triad. I LOVE these analyses.

    • pop_top

      Also, “And then the poor thing put on her whore robe without even realizing it. It was pretty much all over once she flashed that red in front of him.” So brilliant.

      The one time Megan wasn’t wearing a red/pink, she was wearing that nude/oatmeal sort of color and it reminded me of when she wore that bland audition outfit that read invisible rather than “I’m here!” If I recall correctly, a whole thing was made over how Megan comes and goes and as she pleases when she came to the office in that outfit before the audition too, something Don’s been growing uncomfortable with since she quit SCDP.

  • MK03

    Okay, this might be the single most impressive Mad Style of the lot. And that’s saying something.

    • Thank you so much. This was actually a really, really difficult one to pull together, for some reason. And you never really know if what you’re saying makes sense or not.

      • Heather

        Agree with MK03, Tlo – amazing insight as always, but this one was particularly extraordinary.

      • Glammie

        Add me to the list. This one was great. I’m not surprised it was hard, there’s a lot going on and I’m sure a fair amount involves foreshadowing–so you’re having to wing it a bit this early in the season. We don’t *know* Dawn’s career trajectory and we don’t know that Harry and Scarlett are an item–though, wow, she has a version of Jane Sterling’s updo, doesn’t she?

      • UsedtobeEP

        I have been wondering if they have been harder to do this season, not because they aren’t insightful, but because the clothing of this period was all over the place—younger people were dragging it to a place where people like Don and his peers did NOT want to go. So many people are less sure of their roles within the context of the show, too, and it seems to come out in their clothing. All by (Janie) design, but it makes a signature color or a Joan dress mean new things. It’s great to have you walking us through it. And the crazy men’s clothing…goodness. Polyester, here we come!

      • I agree with MK03 – this really was one of the best! I’ve been a fan for a long time, way before Mad Style, but I think you guys have really outdone yourselves with these posts. You can tell a lot of thought goes into it, and you guys are often spot on with your analysis.

    • jennifervney

      I second that!

    • MartyBellerMask

      Particularly because this had probably been my least favorite episode in a long time. Then this just put it in a new light. 🙂

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    This is great and makes watching this wretched show worth it. Thanks for the pictures of Stan as I have a big ol’ crush on him. Those black outfits with white accents also remind me of the nuns I had in Catholic school…they were mother/maiden/crone all rolled into one.

    Over the weekend I was looking at the pictures on many of the old “Mad Style” posts. Fascinating to see both how the characters have changed and how they have remained the same. I miss Peggy’s ponytail, but she did need to let that go.

  • So much to think about. Thank you uncles T and Lo. I also notice the costumes/hair of the people in the background. Always spot on for the times.

    • sarahjane1912

      Oh I love the ‘permanent sets/waves’ Dawn and her friend are sporting. Just divine.

  • I said it once, I’ll say a thousand times: you haven’t finished with the Mad Men episode until you get to the TLo Mad Style review. It completely slipped my mind that both Joan and Dawn’s “friends” could very well be their sisters. Awesome observation.

    And is it wrong I’m all hot and bothered by the walking hamburger?

    • Frank_821

      you’re not alone. Stan is a smokin morsel in his full on groovy drag

      • H2olovngrl

        Midnight Cowboy realness! “Everybody’s talkin’ at me, I don’t hear a word they’re sayin’, only the echoes of my mind…”

    • SassieCassy

      i want to do the dirty with stan and am not ashamed

      ill settle for him and pegs to do another scene in their undies i guess

    • Jessi03

      Thinking of Stan as a hamburger makes so much sense as to why he got hot dogs totally wrong. No ketchup on a hot dog! Sincerely, the city of Chicago.

      • And Philadelphia.

    • Hungry Peggy needs to take a bite out of that burger.

      • editrixie

        Oh man, I should not have read that while drinking.

      • Awwww yeah!

    • Stan’s beard has set off a hormonal tidal wave this season.

    • formerlyAnon

      I don’t care for at all for beards, or mostly for men of Stan’s build, or, for most of the series, his personality. But even *I* think he’s rocking it now.

    • Kylara7

      Nope, Stan is the hottest guy in the agency these days. But then I like beards and beefy men 😉

  • pawtley

    Brilliant synthesis, as usual.

    I just noticed the THATH scene had a bed dressed in “whore red” as well.

    • sweetlilvoice

      The red bedroom kills me, I love the over saturation of colors used during that time when tvs first switched from black and white to color.

      • sarahjane1912

        Ha ha! Agree! I’m still spluttering with laughter, however, at the overabundance of royal shields etc on the counterpane AND the coat of arms on the bedhead. When soaps *do* [their idea of] royalty, they really do it to death. Hysterical.

  • OrigamiRose

    Skipping ahead to say “Thank you” for these. You have taught me so much about color theory and enriched the experience of watching Mad Men. You put a lot of work into these analyses, and it is much appreciated 🙂

  • There was a specific line Harry said when Joan was attempting to fire Scarlett. It was something along the lines of “we are a pair”. If they’re not sleeping together or having some sort or relationship, I’ll be shocked.

    Also, I’m so proud of myself when I watch every week and pick up the same themes as you! I immediately noticed the Megan maid/Joan frilly dress connection, but never would have picked up on Sylvia’s coat. Another point for TLo!

    • Melanie

      “We *are* attached!”

  • “Mother/Maiden/Crone has been reconfigured as Mistress/Maid/Executive –
    and in this story, they’re all seen as whores by the men around them.” BANG! Oh my God, you nailed it, and made all the action in this excellent episode even more intense by pointing out what should have been obvious to me, but was so subtle, I’m glad you pointed it out! I love getting my mind blown every week by your MadFashion reviews.
    Now I’m going to be looking for blue and green all over the place. (Yet blue and green have always been restful colors to me, an earth-and-sky kind of thing) This is turning into a hell of a great season.

    • BKagainwiththesweatpants

      Earth (whore) and sky (madonna). The connection is complete.

  • siriuslover

    love this recap through style. I can’t wait to see how Dawn as the Peggy/Joan combination develops this season. And I never really noticed it, but that picture of Stan sneaking into the “K” room, shows he’s a pretty good looking guy.

  • Logo Girl

    Megan’s soap opera scene echoes her first commercial, with the bed in the same position.

  • jenno1013

    I thought I was doing good when I noticed right off that Heinz Ketchup was in a suit the color of money.

    Best Mad Style post ever! TLo and Janie are perfecting their game apace!

  • LeSourire

    The fact that Janie Bryant doesn’t have a costuming Emmy (or even a 2012 nomination) astounds me. It truly does.

    • MartyBellerMask

      She wasn’t even NOMINATED last year! Insanity!

      • H2olovngrl

        SAY WHAT??!! How is this even possible?

    • i just assumed she had one!

    • She is a genius. I really look up to her.

    • CommentsByKatie

      I work in costuming and I always rage at the costuming awards. The Academy and the Emmy equivalent are people who are involved in the film industry, yes, but they usually have no idea how to sew, or about historical accuracy, so year after year the awards to go the Elizabethan gowns simply because they LOOK impressive to amateurs. They might be difficult to sew, but design-wise they are a snooze. Depth/design/creativity/patternwork seems to never win anything. I’m still not over Anna Karinina beating Eiko Ishioka’s work in Mirror, Mirror…

  • Perditax

    Rereading Mad Style posts, I think the first time the blue/green combo was mentioned was in S4E2 when Alison wore a blue/green dress to the Christmas party and then slept with Don. Could be reading too much into it but this was the moment she went from mother figure (buying his kids Christmas presents, bringing his keys over) to ‘whore’. Not necessarily linked, but I thought it was interesting!

  • Nothing about Joan’s friend’s hair? It looked so 1970’s to me, but like the sixties were clinging in the weird tight bits in the back.

    • vandeventer

      Yeah, that hair just did not look very 1968 to me… something so curly would have seemed either very cutting edge, or just like wild curly hair that hadn’t been styled – and I don’t really think either fits the character. Big fluffy hot-roller curls were definitely more 70s.

    • H2olovngrl

      The era of the big curly wig is fast approaching.

  • Ash

    Mad Style articles are my favourite and this one did not disappoint! The black and white outfits! The whore robe!

    TLo can I ask why you won’t do GOT style-caps? Is it because you don’t watch/like the show, lack of time or something else?

    • Because there are 10,000 characters and we’re strangely attached to the idea of sleeping.

      • Jessi03

        The world’s loss.

      • not_Bridget

        Yup. To do the show justice, you’d need to start with a regular recap. And deal with all the “but in the book” types, leaving cryptic (and not so cryptic) spoilers all over the place. (I read the books published before the series started & liked them well enough. But Martin should have made a plan or hired an editor. I’ll probably let the showrunners tell me the rest of the story.) Then you’d need to follow with a style post–tying in historical/multi-ethnic/fantasy elements. All on the same schedule as Mad Men!

        Hope you’re watching GOT for fun. Let your faithful pupils use the skills you taught us to appreciate the details of it & other shows….

        • ohayayay

          Yeah, GOT is not super-subtle in some of its costuming symbolism, at least not this season! Khaleesi is obviously the Madonna figure and is wearing renaissance blues in practically every scene – appropriate given her story arc, and the nickname she will soon acquire.

          Then of course there is Margery Tyrell dressing in the midievel version of Miami club wear and working the public like Lady Di. Contrasted with Cersei and her spoken (and visual) reference to clothing as armor.

          Then there is all of the cultural/geographical differentiation between various houses and sides in the battle. Too bad about what happened to Renly. His rainbow guard (subtle, GRR) and his fabulous horny headgear will be missed!

          • ohayayay

            Another observation about GOT style: they dress certain male characters in Eastern styles to show their outsider/underground status at court. I am thinking of Littlefinger and Varys in particular.

            I also just started thinking about how the main players in Season 1 (the Starks and the Lannisters) mainly dressed (and looked) like Arthurian Barbies, while the Dothraki were dressed like the barbarian horde – fairly standard stuff. But as the world has expanded and the supernatural/magical elements have become more central, the costuming has grown much more interesting.

            I don’t love what they’re doing with the Wildlings this season (snow camo furs?). Their treatment of the Talisa character in terms of her style and characterization is just confusing…but maybe that is just my loyalty to the books talking. Last thought: I am super curious to see what they do with Arya’s future story, through costuming and set design.

  • prettybigkitty

    Genius observations and layout. Thank you!

  • filmcricket

    Fantastic analysis as usual. Thank you both so much for the work you put into this; it’s my favourite internet destination during the week.

    The wrongness of Joan’s friend’s hair kept taking me right out of their scenes (that, and the fact that I kept thinking it was Heather Graham). I don’t think I’ve seen such wrong hair on this show since the 1980s mall ‘do sported by the Marilyn wannabe Pete banged back in S2.

    Scarlett’s outfits are to die for, and I need that bag this instant.

  • baxterbaby

    I am meditating on color combinations.

    All I can come up with so far is remembering back (16 in 1968) was the ubiquity of those two diametrically opposed color combinations; the cool blues and greens and the hot pinks and oranges, and all the variations thereof. How often you would see one style of dress offered in each combination, with touches of white (or less commonly black, which was mostly used to edge a shocking color in a print).

    it probably does mean something, but aside from the use of red=whore, I’m having trouble established a through line. The truth is blues/greens and pinks/orange were everywhere in trendy clothing and home decor.

    More thoughts:

    Those military type buttons were also ubiquitous on “cute little dresses”.

    Scarlett gets my vote for the “Glamour Magazine is my BIBLE” girl.

    Marley Shelton’s hair = all wrong for the period. Unless they were wearing it like that back in Spokane or where ever Joan is to hail from. But I doubt it.

    Where is Joan buying her clothing? As I recall, it was extremely difficult to find anything with a defined waistline in 1968 and I come from a family of Joan shaped women, so I know whereof I speak. Though I can she her having things tailored, as she is too savvy to dress too much to trend.

    Love Pete’s bachelor pad larder; cocktail nuts and a Hamilton Beach blender for those grasshoppers, brandy alexanders and pink daiquiris the ladies love.

    Sylvia dresses exactly like my mother and aunts did. Same hair too.

  • An entire team of psychiatrists is needed for poor Don that is for sure. My two moments: when Joan and her mom and friend/sister are eating and drinking Lancers! And the blue/red/white purse that Scarlet is holding when carrying her box. My mom had a purse just like that but alas, when it went out of fashion she let me play with it and by 1980 it was ruined and tossed out. Oh how I wish I had that bag now. Wonderful post guys, thank you!

  • This is great (as always!), but you missed something from this week. When Joan wakes up the morning after her adventure at St. Mark’s Place, the shoulder of her dress is torn. In the first episode, Betty tore the shoulder of her coat when she was at St. Mark’s Place looking for Sally’s runaway friend.

    • sarahjane1912

      I wouldn’t have made the connection. I do now, of course, but the only conclusion I’m drawing is: Well, that’s what you get for slumming it [Betty in the doss house/Joan with some scamp in a club]. It was pretty clear that the boy who leapt onto Joanie in Electric Circus was NST*. 😉

      *Not Safe in Taxis.

      • formerlyAnon

        Damn. Not Safe in Taxis! I haven’t heard that in a LONG time.

        • sarahjane1912


          NST. It’s a good acronym, no? 😉

      • purkoy28

        what does that mean?

        • sarahjane1912

          Exactly what the phrase says. It’s an old debutante phrase used to differentiate between young men who were polite, gentlemanly and respectful and the NST types, who — thanks to the rumour mill — had reputations for trying it on with their dates/partners in taxis after The Dance/Ball [you know, attempting to kiss their date, groping them, slipping their hands up/down their gowns]. In London cabs, this was especially easy since their was a sliding glass window between front and back seat and those cabs were very dark indeed!

    • LeSourire

      Oooh, good catch. I noticed the torn shoulder this week (and wondered why TLo didn’t comment on it), but missed the Betty connection.

    • Jessi03

      Maybe the walls of St. Mark’s Place are full of errant nails. 😀

    • KateWo

      Well maybe it’s both characters making changes? Betty dyed her hair and Joan seems to be shedding the secretary responsibilities and embracing the executive role.

    • Sam Duke

      Well Matthew Weiner has said that Mad Men is about the decline of NYC. St Marks is the only place in the city so far where we have seen decline, and both times a wealthy woman ripped her clothing.

    • lulubella

      In the Jewish culture, one tears their garment to symbolize grief over the death of a loved one. Parents will place the tear on the left (usually over the heart). Obviously there are many symbols–and overt instances–of death in MM, especially in this season. There are also noted references to and contrasts between the Catholic and Jewish faiths–the Rosens; hiring Ginsberg (someone sometime made a reference to finally “having one” at SCDP); finding a Jewish person in the mail room to make Rachel Menken, also Jewish, feel more “comfortable;” Roger asking about the Jewishness of someone (“Fiddler on the Roof: Cast or audience member?”); Roger’s divorce attorney and the spread of bagels on the coffee table. All of these latter examples demonstrate the unspoken counterpoint: that the dominant culture is obviously Christian. Perhaps Betty’s torn coat is a symbol of mourning for the runaway violinist. I noticed Joan’s torn sleeve as well – hers was on the right. Relatives other than parents tear their clothing on that side. Perhaps both are mourning the passing of their old selves, as each were so out of place in St. Mark’s Place. And there’s another Jewish-Christian reference point: a Jewish symbol of mourning occurring at the place of St. Mark, who was one of the 70 disciples, and who founded the Church of Africa (as if Africans needed “saving,” but I will leave the race relations analysis to another post, although obviously there is symbolism even in this very episode). After their experience at St. Mark’s, each woman is transformed the next day: Betty in her newly colored hair, black as mourning/night; and Joan, in her black “power suit,” recalling every woman at Roger’s mother funeral … except Joan herself, who did not attend. Wearing the black outfit she might have worn at the funeral, Joan–the other mother of an only son–is not dying, but seems reborn (sorry, couldn’t resist), ready to take what’s in front of her (as her Mary Kay friend urged) and assume more rightful power as an SCDP partner. Let’s see what happens for Betty …

      • Glammie

        Fascinating. I’m sure Weiner would be aware of such symbolism even as most of his characters aren’t. Don’t forget, too, Jane Sterling–Roger’s quietly Jewish, assimilated, ex-wife. I kind of miss Jane Sterling–a few more fab outfits would be appreciated.

      • purkoy28


    • purkoy28

      so, betty and joan were in the same building, it just turned to a club? that is cool, ur observation of the torn shoulder….we will have to watch for it again : )

  • Melissa

    You know, I read a lot of analysis and reviews of my favorite shows weekly (Salon, Slate, and AV Club are my big ones), but yours are by far my favorites. On this show, on Rupaul’s Drag Race, and on Glee when you used to review it (I gave up on it precisely the episode you did). I hope you’ll give us a end-of-season-thoughts post on GoT if the notion takes you! Thanks for the hard work.

    • luciaphile

      These Mad Style posts are the highlight of my week! I find myself watching the costuming on other shows and trying to figure out what they’re saying–I echo the hope for a GoT style post.

  • sweetlilvoice

    The actress that plays Meredith cracks me up. She is such an airhead and you can tell that Joan can’t stand her. I’m pretty sure not only did she not know who Joan was when she visited with the baby (a cardinal sin!) but she allowed Joan to be served with divorce papers. I love how Meredith’s clothes reflect her childlike ways and babyish voice. Joan can just steam roll over her.

    • sarahjane1912

      SO true! Joan is just SCATHING in her treatment of Meredith, or indeed any idiot. Joan never really is lost for words when she needs a good put-down either, which I adore. Esprit d’escalier isn’t an issue for her. Lucky duck.

      PS. But I cracked up even more when I read this:

      Janie always dresses Meredith in naive, child-like clothes, but she really ramps it up whenever she’s interacting with Joan. Here, she’s shot past “child” and landed on “toddler.”

    • SJ Alexander

      Every time Meredith comes on screen at my house it’s always “SURPRISE, There’s an airplane here to see you!” And normally we just watch the ep with bated breath.I love the actress/love to hate the character. She looks like she should pop out of a wall on Laugh-In in that infantalizing dress.

  • JMEL

    Maureen Ryan gave a nod to TLo in her weekly post and commented that the black/white combo on the three ladies may also have a funeral-type meaning: death to Megan’s marriage, Joan is leaving her secretarial past behind, and Slyvia… ?

    • sarahjane1912

      Maybe the guilt will get all too much if/when Sylvia’s affair is discovered and she’ll join a nunnery? Hmm?

      Nah. Didn’t think so. 😉

  • decormaven

    I’m intrigued by Harry Crane’s collection of eclectic office furniture. He’s got a Danish modern credenza, a very ornate desk, and the chairs in front of the desk look like something from a living room collection. There’s a brass lamp on his desk, along with a military cannon, and then he’s got what looks like a generic hotel-art street scene for a picture behind the desk. Most of the other offices at SCDP seem to be more cohesive in their look (Roger’s mod office, Cooper’s Oriental-inspired look, Don’s mid-century modern furniture). Why is Harry’s office such a strange cacophony of items?

    • sarahjane1912

      I think that Don/Cooper/Roger ALL would have had an interior decorator ‘do’ the look for them. Obviously, Cooper is neck-deep into the Japanese stuff and Roger? I reckon he’d absolutely want the neo-plastic space-age stuff, given that he’s surrounded by all that heavy antique stuff at home [and when he was growing up; his mother’s house was total ‘Old Money’ New York]. Don probably just told the decorator hired by the company to throw something together that looked businesslike/professional … or he was shown a series of ‘looks’ and he just pointed to the one that wasn’t too offensive, if that makes sense. Don isn’t really ‘of’ his office the way the other men are; of course, it’s his space and it’s important to him, but HE is what’s important in the office, not the surroundings.

      I reckon Harry’s office is just the flotsam leftover from previous executive stylings. He’s just picked up things here and there when people have moved or shifted, or his wife’s bought a few things for him to bring in ‘because she thought he’d like them’ … Or maybe it really is Harry’s style and he’s supposed to be represented by the mish-mash because that’s the way he works. He’s in television and exposed to all sorts of stuff from soaps to Masterpiece theatre, so he sees something and thinks he’ll have it.

      • decormaven

        Jane had Roger’s office done- remember, Roger told Freddie Rumson that when Freddie returned to the company with the Ponds account. I also think Harry’s getting sort of the dregs of leftover furniture from other executives. He reminds me of one old mastadon I worked with who literally memorized who had what furniture in their offices- and would poach the best pieces when they retired/quit/got fired/promoted. Sad.

        • sweetlilvoice

          I know the type!

        • sarahjane1912

          Right! Yes. Jane did Roger’s office. Thanks for the reminder. I still reckon the others probably had decorators in to do it [apart from Harry].
          PS. Your memory of colleague who scavenged for the furniture of others … Very sad.

      • quitasarah

        Just one quibble to your astute comment. Can’t remember the season, but Roger clearly states that Jane decorated the office (or had someone else do it with her direction). At first he did not seem very comfortable with it, but I guess by now he’s used to it.

        • sarahjane1912

          So true. And it kinda makes sense that Jane — when she ‘did’ Roger’s office — would also buck against the old-money trend she had to live with in her inherited surroundings [courtesy of marrying Roger]. Since she met Roger AT work, she still feels like she has a hand in it … more of a hand, perhaps, than she does/did on the home front. And of course, Roger as is his wont, would fall in with that because at least at the beginning, he did want [and try] to make Jane happy.

      • TLo pointed out last year that antiquing was starting to get really popular in that area at that time and that it’s fairly likely that Harry’s weird office was all his wife Jennifer’s doing.

      • P M

        Either that or Don is like my dad in that respect *only* – doesn’t really care about furniture and decor at all, per se, but generally has good taste, so whatever is chosen looks decent.

    • zenobar

      I noticed that too. I think that perhaps Harry’s office decor is a reflection of his place in the company and in the world at large.

      As it pertains to his standing at SCDP, it may be that he gets the “castoffs” or “leftovers” (keeping in mind his in-between status as higher-than-junior-exec-but-not-quite-partner). It could also symbolize the fact that the agency still isn’t quite sure what to make of his position, because while they understand that they need to keep an oar in the TV side of the business to compete, they still don’t seem to realize just how important TV is going to be in the advertising industry. Harry and his department are in a kind of old vs. new purgatory, which the mishmash of furniture styles may represent.

      As an individual, Harry himself is a mix of conservative/traditional and modern. He’s a little too old for modishness, a little too young for stodginess. His office may be a reflection of that awkward-in-between space he always seems to be straddling, in his life, in his career and even in his personal style (such as it is).

      • 3hares

        Could they really be at all clueless about TV at this point? They won an award for a commercial already. They create commercials for a living and need to place them correctly the same way they’d place ads. TV would be central to all their campaigns. They all watch TV all the time, like most people. I think they might be puzzled by Harry having one foot in the Hollywood world, very California. In fact, I could swear somebody once said that Harry’s office reflected that but I can’t vouch for it. Why would Harry have any more cast-offs in his office than anyone else, after all? Seems like besides Harry only Roger has an office that’s done in an in your face style. Except for Burt’s Japanese stuff, but that’s a hobby of his.

        • KateWo

          I tHink they know TV is important but they haven’t predicted that it will become more important than print.

          • awesomesabrina

            I work in advertising and now digital is still lagging behind TV and print in terms of people/clients getting its importance and reach.

          • 3hares

            Shouldn’t it practically already be at this point? They know the numbers of people watching, they watch it themselves.

        • anon

          Maybe it has nothing to do with television, and everything to do with their opinion of Harry.

    • reebism

      TLo hypothesized that when his office was all Americana back in either season 4 or 5, his wife probably did it for him, so maybe he hasn’t been letting his wife near his office since? (Also, perfect username for this question!)

      • decormaven

        Thanks! It was born back in the days when I was a faithful viewer of “Trading Spaces.”

    • i think harry’s office reflects the california hippy’s love of eclectic home deco. things scavenged from thrift stores mixed with antiques and furniture passed down from home plus left overs from previous tenants, with an overall look of victorian baroque clutter. it’s perfect. he sets himself apart from the new york guys with their phony purchased style, buying someone else’s taste. but i don’t put bert in that bag. his orientalia seems sincere, as if he has an emotional and/or intellectual connection with all the things in his office.

    • I thought it looked like an old lady’s house (of course, I don’t know what an old lady’s house looked like in the 60s, so I don’t know if that’s relevant to the time) and really clashes with how he dresses.

    • MartyBellerMask

      Do we think Harry has an office in L.A.? I would think so, and I bet it is modern as all hell. I am itching for the episode from those spoiler pics!

    • makeityourself

      I swear I’m remembering this from way back when the crew defected from the original agency and were working out of the hotel suite, but I believe Harry stole the desk from the hotel. Maybe some lamps and a picture too. There is some vague reference to it when Harry sets up his space in the new office — I think Ken walks in (its our first glimpse of his office too,) and says “Where did you get all of this stuff?” And Harry answers “the hotel,” as though it were the same as taking an ashtray. Just another example of Harry’s assholery.

      If I have completely dreamt this up in my little head, I apologize. But Harry’s off-hand remark struck me at the time.

    • lulubella

      Harry’s office reminds me of some of the movie mogul offices in So Cal … it looks like his attempt at that opulence, but under his hand, becomes ostentatious and chaotic. Agreed with zenobar below, too, that it may be in part cast offs, reflecting that SCDP partners let him fend for himself since he irks them so much.

  • ConnieBV

    I keep waiting to feel the yay for someone on this show, but they are all asses in the end, aren’t they? Not a redeemable soul among them.

  • trixietru

    While acknowledging Don’s Oedipal conflict-still struggling with accepting his lust towards Sylvia. I’m curious if the character is intentionally dressing more matronly because of her background and conservative faith; or if Sylvia is assumed to be 5 or more years older than Don. The story hasn’t shared what makes her so physically attractive or satisfying for him. So unless more of her mystique is unveiled I’m still assuming Don’s pursuit is more about her image and status as a surgeons wife. A man of noble profession Don could never be.

    • I don’t know, their relationship puzzled me a little at first too, but as someone has noticed, when he was with Betty, who apparently filled the housewife role to a T (nevermind that she used to have a career of her own and that this life ultimately made her miserable), he pursued forward-thinking women, and/or women with a career of their own like Rachel. Now that he married married Megan, who never exactly hid her free spirited ways and was obviously not going to be a stay at home mom, he cheats on her with Sylvia, who doesn’t work and is, in many ways, a traditional woman. Basically Don always reaches for what he thinks he’s lacking and not for what he already has – again, I guess, a good parallel between his personality and how advertising works, making you think you want stuff you don’t actually need.

      • trixietru

        Aha! Then Sylvia may exist to be the anti-Megan, and is styled as such. Will still be tuned in to catching whether they drop clues about her age. For some reason I’m caught up with how (although pretty) she doesn’t strike me as ‘the’ woman to turn Don’s head. We know she has a son in college, gave him a book, likes pocket money and is Catholic. But for some reason all Don can think about is being with her. If he’s motivated just to escape his marriage then I could see him bed hopping and not exclusively with Mrs. Aqua Net.

  • jilly_d

    PIcture of bearded Stan + the phrase “walking hamburger” – I’ve never been able to sum up my taste in men as accurately and succinctly as you just did right there. THanks, gentlemen, for enriching my life on a daily basis. And fab analysis, as always.

    • He’s beefy and delicious.What’s not to love?

      • HAHAHAHAHA! All he needed was some love beads in an onion color.

  • MrsAtaxxia

    I didn’t catch the Mother/Maiden/Crone into Mistress/Maid/Executive but I did see it as three kind of variations on almost Nun habits, which further reinforces a lot of the Madonna/whore complex stuff going on this season. We have Sylvia being both mother and whore for Don, we have Megan being a wife and being called a whore and we have Joan being called a whore and trying to now to mitigate her once omni-present sexuality all backed up by these stark black and white outfits.

    Brilliant read as always. And thank you so much for these posts.

    • Jessi03

      I kept getting nun, too. Before it extended to Megan and Joanie, I thought “Wow. They’ve upped her Catholicism so much that now she’s just going to dress like a nun all the time.” Thankfully, Jamie Bryant is much smarter than I am.

    • Another really great point!

    • P M

      I know that nuns have had various ‘meanings/ symbols’ ascribed to them, including purity, detachment (well, more for monks, but work with me :)) and yes, promiscuity (get thee to a nunnery, anyone?). In Joan’s particular case, does anyone think the costuming is indicating her changing her approach to men outside the office? No more Joan Holloway Harris, sex symbol?

  • carnush

    You guys are brilliant. Thank you so much for these posts. I wait for each one with baited breath. Your insight on the Mother/Maiden/Crone blew me away.

  • billy

    The greens are obvious foreshadowing of Heinz ez squirt crazy ketchup

  • spinsLPs

    Hello! Didn’t anyone catch Mister Howard Cosell there with his ABC coffee cup?!?!

    • decormaven

      That’s a good call! I thought the ABC logo mug was a nice touch. Harry’s probably got a lot of network paraphernalia scattered around his office.

  • Lisa

    Great analysis. However, I was surprised to see Janie say in a recent interview that she only gets the scripts a couple of days in advance and then has to scramble to figure out what the characters are going to wear. If that’s really the case, then it would seem that the scenes on the stairs with Joan wouldn’t have been planned out so carefully in advance. Thoughts?

    • In advance, no, but there’s no reason why she can’t have worked backwards from there to create the foreshadowing.

  • laura512

    Of course I can’t find a picture, but wasn’t Jane wearing a blue dress and carrying a red/white/blue scarf when she walks out of the office (well, into Roger’s office) with her box of stuff, after Joan fires her? Just seems like Scarlett’s outfit is calling back to Jane’s outfit during her “box walk.” Am I remembering incorrectly?

  • appliquer

    Love, love, love the Mad Men style reviews. I look forward to these every week.

  • I’m blown away by this analysis. Easily your best one yet.

  • laura512

    OH! Also – and I’m sure it’s been noted already, but it seems like Don and Megan are never on the same “footing” in the bedroom. I don’t think we ever see them both in pajamas or both dressed while they’re in there and it’s never a scene of them BOTH getting dressed. One is always a bed-headed, pajama’ed mess in the bed, while the other one is wide awake and dressed, standing over them. Bedroom as root of power issues in a marriage?

  • duchessofjersey

    In the Joan-Dawn scene, Joan’s high frilly collar reminds me of Miss Blankenship, while Dawn’s gray jacket and plaid skirt is the first outfit I’ve seen on Mad Men that hints forward as far as ’80s (while still looking right for ’68 of course) — it seems like a connection is being made through several generations of secretaries, with Joan and Dawn meeting in the middle, Dawn’s outfit echoing details of Joan’s and Peggy’s past wardrobes as TLo describes.

    • lulubella

      Agreed. Dawn’s grey/pink ensemble is exactly what I’ve seen in the 80s, down to the cut of the coat. Maybe a bit of a message that “integration” is here to stay for the long haul … although looking at 2013, I feel like we are getting more extemist/50s in mentality and tolerance levels.

  • egurl

    Thanks for the brilliant write-up T&Lo!

  • Heather

    Agree about Harry/Scarlett affair — definitely parallels Roger/Jane, though neither Harry nor Scarlett are as interesting to me as characters.

    Also… the scene where Don was watching Megan act recalled, for me, the Season 5 finale, in which he watched her prep for her commercial, then went to a bar and was asked “are you alone?”.

    • pop_top

      She was wearing a bold red then too.

  • I would have sworn on my mother’s grave that you would have said, in Joan’s final scene, she was moving forward as indicated by her more fashiony black jacket/lace collar cuff blouse! I would have sworn. Joan was in her too-tight slightly dated knit dresses all through the show, and in her last scene, she was dressed in a swingin’ sixties style. (Joan can’t dress in Twiggy Carnaby Street mini-skirts, but the fact she has an Austin Powers-ish outfit shows she is changing her look, and therefore she is going to change her job situation. ‘reach out and take it’. Be more of an executive now. and less of the slightly frumpy aging office manager.

    • Nitpick: those dresses aren’t knit. They usually look like wool woven or heavy twill. She probably hasn’t taken a proper breath in two decades. 🙂

      • I don’t know if many women could breathe in that era. My grandmother is pretty close to Joan’s age, didn’t wear tight dresses, but still talks about the crazy rubber girdles she wore every day. You’d have to sprinkle baby powder inside them to get them on and then literally peel them off at the end of the day. She talks about how the holes in the girdle so that it could breathe would leave marks on your skin. When she got home from work every night, no one was allowed to talk to her until she got her girdle off and smoked a cigarette. I can’t say I blame her. I can barely make it through a few hours in spanx.

        • formerlyAnon

          For dressing up, even girl *children* wore girdle-like underwear. They were not super-tight, lightly elasticized like a hold-it-in swimsuit, cut high waisted but stopped at the top of the leg like regular underwear (of what today we’d call “granny panties.”). It started, at least in my circles, before we were allowed to wear high heels or panty hose, but after our dress up (church, special party) clothes were styled more like a woman’s and less like a little girl’s. Somewhere between 10 and 12 or 13.

          • Yup. My mom had to wear a panty girdle every school day, plus Sundays, for all of her teen years, until she went off to college. She used to tell me about that when I was in high school and would complain about having to wear panty hose. And then tell me about her kotex belt when I complained about having to wear a pad or tampon. So glad I was born in the 80s!

          • editrixie

            Oh god, yeah, the dreaded pad belt. Girdles were going out of style around the time I was getting to that point, so I never had to contend with one, thank god, but I did have to contend with the belt. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to wear a girdle, hose, the bullet bra, and one of the fucking belts and a pad every month for up to a week. Hell.

          • formerlyAnon

            I think I’d blocked the kotex belt out of my mind. So cumbersome!

        • Yes, but the other MM ladies are mostly wearing much more relaxed styles by now. The secretaries don’t look like they wear girdles, and we know for a fact Megan doesn’t. Breathing is in again. Joan is a bit of a dinosaur. A pretty, pretty dinosaur.

          • Even with the more relaxed styles, most women–especially professional women–were still wearing some sort of girdle. It would be like leaving the house without your bra on today.

          • Glammie

            Hmmm, my mother was a lawyer and by 1969, she was not wearing a girdle. Once pantyhose came in big, a lot of women did drop the girdle.

          • Interesting. I know my mom still wore a panty girdle every day in 1975. She lived in the South, though, so maybe that explains it.

          • Synfrique

            I will now not ever forget the phrase “pretty, pretty dinosaur” -perfect

  • Thanks, Daddies! You blew my mind with the Mistress/Maid/Executive triptych. Reading this each Wednesday is a delight.

  • crash1212

    I had a visceral reaction when Joan walked in with that black and white suit. It is amazing what can be conveyed by clothing. Really smart Style recap…you guys are the best! Also, I plan on working “put on your whore robe” into conversation today.

  • Rebecca Jay

    Walking hamburger — and to paraphrase the all-beef patty himself, “crying out for the squiggle of ketchup that is my tongue.” (sorry, had to let that out). I just want to sink my teeth into him. Stan has always been the Mad Man that does it for me.

    Love LOVE Scarlett’s blue and green flare skirt dress .. and the fact that Harry un-fired her.

    • MartyBellerMask


  • rodea

    Thank you so much for an always well thought out write up. I’m glad you noticed that Megan was smoking more as well. I thought it spoke to how unhappy she is as well.

    • Jessi03

      Something about her smoking struck me as odd. I thought it was that her outfit was screaming for a cigarette holder, a la Rachel Menken, but it’s actually that she didn’t used to smoke. Now it all makes sense!

  • Julie Parr

    This is some PhD-level analysis. Bravo! Slow clap.

  • MaryAtRealityTea

    These are literally the highlight of my television week! I love it. Thanks.

  • Qitkat

    It takes me totally out of the story to watch with this kind of intensity and attention to detail. I’m not alone in that, am I?

    Nevertheless, I do enjoy coming to these MadStyle posts, sharing diverse opinions and participating in the conversation with such a variety of bitter kittens. I understand what real work these posts are to assemble, requiring intensive time and research, with multiple viewings and referrals to previous episodes. The bar has been raised high by Tom and Lorenzo with their sophisticated costume analyses and how it all ties the multiple story lines and sets together; no one else in print or on the internet can come close.

    Thanks guys for all your work, it’s well appreciated.

    • dulcinea86

      Nope, you’re not alone! As I watched this week, I kept looking for “green & blue,” and Sylvia’s nun outfits, until I finally had to tell myself, “Relax, Tom & Lorenzo will sort all this out for me later!” As for Mad Style raising the bar, I had to laugh when I read a recapper on the Huffington Post (Maureen Ryan) who wanted to make her own style analysis point, but couldn’t do so without first crediting T-Lo’s great work.

  • Excellent, excellent analysis… as always!

    The bold orange in Scarlett’s dress when she gets fired is picked up in Harry’s tie once they are in Joan’s office. Obviously the two are linked professionally, but this could also support the idea of the two as a couple (as TLo often notes, Janie Bryant does this frequently).

  • judybrowni

    It’s just occurred to me: according to TLo’s color analysis last week, Sylvia is the Madonna/Whore wrapped up in one neat package for Don.

  • Scimommy

    That was brilliant. Now, here is what I am thinking: Dawn complains that she can’t meet a decent man anywhere. She sounds lonely. Could we be getting some kind of foreshadowing of an intra-office romance for her? I’m thinking – Ginsberg. And since this is a style post, I thought that their outfits in this episode did echo each other in terms of the color story and general, um, lack of stylishness.

    • Joy

      This is what I have been thinking! I posted this on sepinwall’s blog but know what was feeling it. I bet this is the case. I knew a lot of black/jewish kids in college from NY.

      • Scimommy

        Won’t we feel smug if these two get together? My last attempt at shipping Mad Men characters (Joan-Lane) crashed and burned last season and I’m ready for a rebound.

        • It crashed, burned, exploded, and then some Vikings walked by to pee on it, just for funsies. 🙁

          • lulubella

            LOL. Good one.

        • Joy

          So I watched last night and the previews show Ginsberg talking to someone at night. I’m convinced that it is Dawn. My theory is that Dawn stays late at the office to avoid potential riots after MLK is killed. Ginsberg is working late and that is when they connect. I was also trying to figure out if the booth that Ginsberg is sitting in, during the previews is at the same diner you see Dawn and her girlfriend at, but I don’t think so.

          • Eskimoe

            Ooh. I could see this, they’ve both been in all of the episodes but weirdly underutilized so far, except to convey that they both feel outside of/ left out of what’s going on in the secret space of WASP-male power-brokering. Pretty much the only lines Ginsberg has had were his reaction to Don and Stan’s Ketchup conspiracy.

  • decormaven

    I always love how Joan ties a decorative scarf on her purse. It reminds me when she told Peggy in their first encounter, “Men love scarves.” Joan obviously loves scarves, too!

  • Andrew Schroeder

    This is slightly OT, but has anyone else noticed the rather large number of scenes there have been wherein Megan is talking to Don while he’s in bed?

    • TLo have noted it in the past… Perhaps it symbolizes how disruptive she is for him with her ambition and her entire personality.

  • Lattis

    You know that scene where Don is listening in at the keyhole to Peggy’s presentation to Heinz? I think that is my favorite scene in the entire series. Especially Don’s reaction to her appropriation of his line about “changing the conversation.” And I love what she is wearing for that presentation. In contrast to all the suits, she looks so fresh. Fresh and competent – if that’s not a contradiction in terms. And bright.

    • aesteve212

      I agree! – reminded me of when Peggy stood on her desk to listen into Don’s office.

      I probably imagined it but I *think* there was a slight smile on Don’s face when Peggy said the change the convo line. Probably wishful thinking. Part of the reason I find Don’s plot so boring this year is because there is no Peggy for him to interact with! Those scenes were so great – and there are essentially none of them now.

  • I knew they weren’t going to get the Heinz business the moment Stan walked in in the jacket that was MUSTARD yellow. I thought that was on purpose, as was Peggy’s KETCHUP RED details on her outfit. Of course, it turned out she didn’t get the account either, but she at least gave a better pitch than SCDP. I can’t help but think that subconsciously those color choices would affect the executives and I’m surprised Stan and Don don’t know or didn’t think about something like the color you wear in a pitch.

  • Can we (begrudgingly) comment on how fabulous Harry’s office is – the Art Nouveau wall paper perfectly in style (since Neo-Art Nouveau was all the rage in the music scene) and the impressionist painting which, to me, hearkens to the psychedelic movement (Van Gogh might have been too on point and too intense to really match anyway). I want that wallpaper, and the desk, hat rack, and chairs too please. Fire him so I can acquire his things.

    I think people got the idea that Harry and Scarlet were having an affair because of Scarlet’s “Harry has great ideas” throwaway line, as well as the “We’re not attached” “We ARE attached” bit in front of Joan. Harry might just be really bad at keeping proper decorum though – we do know this already. He might just like her as eye-candy. I like how the green and blue dovetails into that theory though, y’all are so good at finding these leitmotifs, I never would have caught that.

    When did Stan get HOT? I think I just have a beard thing, but RAWR. Ginsberg still looks like Kotter.

  • MartyBellerMask

    Once again, you increase my enjoyment of the show. Thanks for laying it all out for us. Genius men, you are.

  • anotherintro

    I can’t be sure how I feel about Scarlett as a character, but I feel very good about her wardrobe so far. Great analysis.

    • trixietru

      Maybe Scarlett’s modernity threatens Joan as the alpha female? I think Scarlett’s fashion choices exude confidence considering she’s not model thin. Very bold.

  • Awesome work as usual, guys.

    I had a different reading of Joan’s black suit — I thought she was desperately trying to look proper and covered-up and businesslike after Harry called her a whore. Which would show how shaken she is by the public accusation: up to now, she hasn’t let the Jaguar episode or the partnership make her too self-conscious to dress in a manner that emphasizes her femininity or her sexiness.

    Your reading makes just as much sense though! Either way, the fact that the outfit also calls back to Megan’s and Sylvia’s is brilliant.

    Also, I laughed out loud when little Meredith came in wearing that first-day-of-preschool dress.

    • Ooh, as someone mentioned below, Don listening through the keyhole was awesome because he is usually so careful to appear dignified. But now I’m also realizing that it mirrors his sneaking in to watch Megan filming her love scene as well as young Don peeking through the peephole in the whorehouse. Whores whores whores! Whores all around this season. Even Peggy is probably a whore to him in this situation because she is “betraying” Don by trying to grab “his” client… for money, obviously.

  • MartyBellerMask

    But how about Megan’s dress in the dinner scene! It immediately made me think of the HoJo chevron coat last season. YIKES.

  • luluransom

    Thank you, T and Lo. Your Mad Style posts are the most insightful things being written about this–or any–show. Often you illuminate themes and ideas here even more clearly than the plot/theme posts. Mother/maiden/crone: a virtuoso performance!

  • Lisa

    The “red robe” discussion made me go back to check on what color robe Joan was wearing when she talked to Don in her apartment after having sex with Herb, in “The Other Woman.” Not red of course — green.

    Looking over the characters who have worn green in the past two episodes, it seems that green is often used when characters put aside their ethics or in other ways act underhandedly for the sake of important business/career success that they would have a very hard time getting any other way:

    * Megan in the green sweater, considering having an abortion because pregnancy would jeopardize her soap opera job.
    * Ken, in green suit, encouraging Don to abandon Beans in favor of Ketchup.
    * Ketchup, in Pete’s apartment, getting SCDP to pitch him with their ideas by telling Don that the pitch would be confidential (when he obviously knew that Beans would find out about it).
    * Harry, in green suit, coming up with a fun TV show idea to make people forget that Dow is killing people
    * Dawn, in green dress, plotting about how to keep her job and deciding the best way is to suck up to Joan and not worry about whether any of the other secretaries in the office like her
    * Trudy, in green dress, settling for an “in name only” marriage because she doesn’t want to lose her title of Mrs. Peter Campbell
    * Peggy, in her green coat, agreeing to pitch Ketchup even though it’s betraying her friend Stan’s confidence

    Of course, green is the color of money. So the idea that people would be focused more on money than on ethics while wearing it perhaps makes some sense.

    Joan was not acting sexually promiscuously when she slept with Herb. Pete’s line of “What would it take to make you a queen” was corny, but not that off the mark. She only did it because she got something of real value in return. Which is why her robe was green rather than red.

    Probably someone in the comments section last week already said all this and I picked up on it without registering while skimming. Sorry if so.

    • Lisa

      People who have worn blue in the past two episodes:

      * Peggy, talking to her secretary and then her creative team, trying to get good work out of them and be a good manager
      * Ketchup, in his initial meeting with SCDP (openly introduced to them by Beans), not unhappy with his current agency but interested in making his product even more successful
      * Sylvia, doing her laundry and listening to her neighbor talk about her troubles
      * Joan, sitting in her office working, when Herb comes in to bother her (she has touches of red on too though)
      * Stan, smoking pot and talking to his friend Peggy about his day (including Ketchup/Beans info)
      * Pete, getting ready to go into work after the household was disrupted by his mistress and before being thrown out by Trudy
      * Ted, informing Peggy that they were going to be pitching the Ketchup account
      * Peggy, after putting aside her concerns about betraying Stan’s confidence and agreeing to pitch Ketchup
      * Don and Pete, talking to Ketchup in Pete’s apartment
      * Dawn, at the diner with her friend, complaining about how hard it is to work in the white world
      * Joan, coming home after a long day at work to have dinner with her mom and friend
      * Scarlett, bringing Harry coffee and asking Dawn to cover for her when she went out
      * Joan, attempting to fire Scarlett and then going to a partners’ meeting, and then going out with her friend after work
      * Scarlett, leaving the office with her box of stuff after being fired by Joan
      * Peggy, pitching the Ketchup account (with touches of red)
      * Scarlett, walking down the hall with Harry after returning to the office (with touches of green)

      I don’t feel like any of these characters are doing or thinking anything that extraordinary. They’re pretty much just trying to get through the day (if often long difficult days that they would rather have skipped in retrospect). They seem to be acting as straightforwardly as people ever do on this show, which is consistent with the idea of blue being a “sincere” color. The only person on this list who is acting less than straighforwardly is Scarlett, asking Dawn to punch her out, but she says later that “Everybody does it” and seems to be telling the truth (at least, in the way that she sees things).

      I’m also thinking here of Betty’s blue coat from the first few seasons. That was a “sad marriage” coat, but it wasn’t like Betty had really done anything to deserve that sad marriage. She was trying her best to hold up that marriage, doing all the things that she thought that she should. So sometimes when you do what’s expected, things work out, but often they don’t.

      • The scenes where Sylvia was in blue, though:
        * She was eavesdropping in the laundry room
        * She was listening to her lover’s wife talk about her miscarriage, feeling guilty and spiteful at the same time.

        Peggy trying to cheer up her staff clearly felt uncomfortable. Joan was uncomfortable by Herb. Stan was sharing inside information about SCDP with someone who is technically the enemy.

        I still don’t think there’s a strong enough connection between any of these things to signal anything with just the color blue. I do think connecting blue and green when they show up together–just like in Pete’s creepy cheater pad–with cheating is a pretty good guess, though.

        • Lisa

          Sylvia is likely my least favorite character ever on this show (for some reason she annoys me tremendously), so I definitely don’t want to defend her. I am not convinced she was purposely eavesdropping in the laundry room though. And other than feeling jealous at finding out that Don and Megan were still sleeping together (which she admitted to Don later), I don’t know what she was feeling when Megan was talking about her miscarriage. Uncomfortable, certainly. But I’m not convinced about spiteful, or even more guilty about the affair than she did at any other time.

          I’d have to look back at more episodes to be sure, but I am thinking that characters on this show wear blue when they’re trying to act straightforwardly or as they think that they should be acting — and then things don’t work out very well or very easily, and they feel disappointed or betrayed (as in all your examples). Like Don is wearing blue more for pitches this year, and he always seems to be failing at convincing the clients to buy his campaigns. I’m feeling like people do better on this show when they wear black (suggesting ruthlessness) or green (betraying one’s own standards for ambition) or gold (nose to the grindstone). Or even pink/red — regardless of what Don thinks of women when they wear those colors, career-wise all of them (Peggy after she left SCDP last year, Megan, Dawn in this episode, Joan when she painted the X on the agency’s new floor) seem to be rising when they do.

          • I kind of got that her jab about how she wouldn’t consider an abortion and how that’s what Megan was guilty about was a little spiteful, but maybe I misinterpreted.

          • Lisa

            Yes, it could be. Even now though, the people I know who are anti-abortion are very sincere and passionate about it, and wouldn’t hesitate to state firmly to anyone who asked that they never would get an abortion themselves no matter what. And in 1968, before abortion was legal, I suspect people were even less hesitant to state those feelings firmly.

            I think it’s more likely that Sylvia went home and prayed for Megan to find peace about the situation than that she purposely tried to make Megan feel bad about it. That does not make me like Sylvia any more, of course. Quite the opposite.

          • trixietru

            Or it could be a soap-plot set up for when Don impregnates Sylvia.

          • Eskimoe

            I don’t think this is happening. She and Rosen apparently only have one
            kid. Just because she’s wouldn’t personally get an abortion doesn’t mean she isn’t taking care
            of things – on the pill, using a diaphragm/ IUD – her husband’s a
            doctor and she’s not so Catholic that she couldn’t marry a Jew. This is
            when family planning really kicks off among the middle/ upper-middle
            classes. My parents were married in 1967 and didn’t start having
            children for 10 years after that, and when they did, just two of
            us, four years apart. Almost all the kids in the fairly ritzy NYC suburb
            where I grew up were four years older or younger (or more) than their
            siblings – so there wouldn’t be two kids in college at the same time.
            There were also a lot of only children.

          • Val Entine

            I find Silvia pretty despicable. In particular in this episode when she tells Don that she prays for him. Her hypocrisy, made the worse by her being outwardly religious, doesn’t sit well with me.

          • formerlyAnon

            I don’t see anything unusual enough about her behavior to find it more despicable than anyone’s affair. Being a religious believer doesn’t mean one is any less of an imperfect human being. (Now, if she were publicly shaming someone else for an affair, that would be different.) And however it comes off, for many believers, praying for someone is an act of caring. Not that I think for a second that Sylvia loves Don.

          • Val Entine

            “I don’t see anything unusual enough about her behavior to find it more despicable than anyone’s affair.”

            How about the fact that she’s having an affair with her neighbor’s husband? It’s truly sleazy behavior because they all know one another and have socialized under a false facade.

            Midge at least didn’t know Betty. Neither did Rachel. Those women at least had a degree of separation from the wife of the man with whom they were conducting an affair. With Sylvia, the humiliation hits right smack in the heart of Megan’s home. If Megan were to ever find out, the reminder that the affair happened right underneath her nose would be inescapable. Even if she were to kick Don out of the house, she would still know that the woman he slept with was only a few feet away. The only escape would be for her to leave her home. This is why I find Sylvia repugnant. Her’s is not the behaviour of a moral or religiously upright person.

          • formerlyAnon

            Thanks for explaining. It’s interesting to me that we’re on the same general wave length but aspects of the situation strike us differently.

            I don’t condone Sylvia’s behavior, but to me, if you’re married, and having an affair with a married man, the fact that you don’t know his wife personally doesn’t make things any better. Maybe makes it easier to lie to yourself about whether or not what you’re doing is harmful, but not a single whit morally better. So it doesn’t feel any worse to me because they are neighbors and casual friends. (It’d be worse if they were intimate friends, who supposedly could trust each other on a deep level, yes.)

            Maybe because I grew up in a fairly religious culture (yes, Catholic) – but often definitely religious in “culture” – a learned and pervasive way of doing things and expressing oneself – rather than a deeply personal religious conversion or conviction experience – I am not especially appalled that Sylvia expresses herself in religious terms while she’s sinning.

          • Val Entine

            Good conversation to have in regards to morality and where people can draw different lines and the perspective from which we’re looking.

            I think there are degrees with which you can violate the sanctity of a marriage when one commits adultery with another person (married or unmarried.) Sylvia & Megan may be casual friends, but the proximity with which they live to each other – think of how easily Don sneaks to Sylvia’s back door – brings a level of intimacy to the affair that would be entirely different if they lived in separate houses.

            To further my point, let’s think back to the episode when Trudy finds out about Pete having an affair. She wasn’t pissed about the affair, per se. She knew he was stepping out on her and their implicit agreement was that he be discreet. What made her livid was that it happened with a woman who lived on their same block. It violated their tacit agreement that it not hinder upon their home life.

            It will be very interesting to see how the Sylvia/Don affair develops. I’d like to see Don get caught. I’d like to see how it will impact Megan and how she will react to him.

  • PowerfulBusiness

    T & Lo, I am STILL haunted by the end of your Mad Style last week where you showed Sylvia in red, followed by the prostitute in red, and made that link with, “But then again, all women are the same to Don Draper” (paraphrasing here). Gutting. It made me see him and his relationships in a whole new light, and it was all from one review you guys did – and I’ve watched every ep multiple times. People have said it before, and I’ll say it again, an episode is NOT complete until you read Mad Style.

    • Pants_are_a_must

      Amen. Mad Style is the recap I look forward to, and I always wish it’s the first I get to read right after seeing a new episode.

  • I live for these posts.

  • Elisabetta1022

    “And if the symbolism wasn’t obvious enough, Pete then offered the place to Don in case he wanted to cheat on his wife (not realizing that Don kept it all under one roof this time) ….” Don is recreating the whorehouse in his apartment house. In fact, Dick/Don recreates the whorehouse everywhere he goes. I believe he thinks he’s the pimp, but he’s really the biggest sold-out whore of all, sadly.

    • Glammie

      No, I don’t think Don thinks he’s a pimp–he’s the one non-pimp of the bunch. He may be trying to be the John with Sylvia, but not so very deep down, he’s always felt like the whore.

      • Elisabetta1022

        You’re absolutely right.

  • amazing analysis per usual:)

  • Lilyana_F

    Brilliant, as always!

  • Krista Seidl

    I’m an art director (so the equivalent of Stan’s job). I can say that it’s not uncommon to start dressing like your account. It’s not an intentional thing, but the work starts to seep into other aspects of your life. I appreciate that it’s noted with Stan’s ‘meat colored’ outfit and Peggy’s pitch dress. Nice touch, JB.

    And your thought on ‘Mother/Maiden/Crone has been reconfigured as Mistress/Maid/Executive’… brilliant.

  • formerlyAnon

    Man, you guys are good at articulating the unspoken. I’ve been thinking that my aversion to scenes of Don & Megan as a couple (which started with her boundary-pushing song at the party and became extreme in the Howard Johnson episode) was just because I was tired of Don’s broken-ness and Megan didn’t interest me. But then you baldly state:

    “She keeps agitating him simply by existing and interacting with him.”

    And BAM. I get it. This describes a couple close to me who do that exact same thing to each other. After nearly 15 years of increasing strife they’re splitting up in an inevitably ugly way and my seat is way too fucking front row. No wonder my skin almost crawls when I have to watch Don & Megan together.

  • I’m so glad you guys are so observant. I feel like I see nothing when I watch the show, compared to you two!

    • Lisa_Co

      You guys are SO GOOD at this. Have you thought of teaching a class on costuming, especially looking at certain tv & Broadway shows as well as some films? I think Parsons, FIT or the Cooper Hewitt might says yes first but lots of other universities I the metropolitan area might find such a class useful for cultural studies. And being an adjunct professor has its rewards. Just sayin.

  • geo_chick

    Another reason why Megan is usually barefoot is because she’s Canadian. Up here we don’t wear shoes in the house.

    • Lisa_Co

      My Canadian mother never let me wear shoes in the living or dining rooms. At the time, I thought she was simply neurotic. But now that I (like Don and Megan) have white carpeting my attitude has changed.

  • Val Entine

    Did anyone else notice that the couple Megan & Don had dinner with – Mel and Arlene – were tied through their clothes? The husband, Mel, has polka dots in his tie and Arlene is wearing a large metallic polka dot print in her dress. The grey/white/black/silver combo is very congruous.

    On the other hand, Megan and Don aren’t tied together at all. She’s in a pink geometric dress and he’s wearing a dark suit with a striped navy tie. She looks like the epitome of late 60’s fashion & beauty – her mod dress, bouffant hair and cat’s eye makeup. While Don’s look and style doesn’t appear to have changed much from the start of the series.

    • makeityourself

      I also would like to give a shout out to Megan’s FABULOUS METALLIC BROCADE COAT that she was wearing in the cab ride home after the dinner. I suppose it matched her dress underneath exactly, which would be the height of luxury. It deserved to be recognized for its fabulousness alone.

      • formerlyAnon


  • Glammie

    Funny, paisley was huge at the time and I’ve been waiting to see it pop up on Mad Men–and, finally, it does–but demurely on Dawn. She may be more cutting edge than anyone realizes and, of course, she’s literally mixing up SCDP.

    Also nice to see that Stan is doing the whole no-tie/but turtleneck thing. I’d love to see a few more of them do that–Roger and Don would be hilariously uncomfortable.

    • MartyBellerMask

      Ooh, just one more way to tie him to Ted- the other turtleneck wearer and the other man in Peggy’s life.
      Oh yeah, Abe too. He exists. And wears turtlenecks.

      • Glammie

        Hmmm, interesting connection. You know who else wore a turtleneck? Duck Phillips when he was at Grey and having his fling with Peggy. Damn, I think you’re on to something. Peggy, meanwhile, sometimes swaps her peter pan collars for a military collar. There’s sort of a Peggy neck motif.

        • MartyBellerMask

          Oh, that’s right! Duck Phillips. Well, well, we have a trend…

      • Lisa_Co

        I wonder whether we will see any of the guys wear Nehru jackets/collars. They were pretty popular sometime around then. Even my Dad (who worked on conservative Wall St.) had a few he wore on weekends.

        • Aurumgirl

          I’m betting Harry goes for the Nehru jacket first.

          • formerlyAnon

            Season after season we predict this, and so far, no joy.

          • P M

            I know – we need something to laugh at! Come on, Janie….

  • CatherineRhodes

    The mother/maiden/crone reference was genius.

  • editrixie

    This is what makes watching this show worth it — I love Janie Bryant’s work, and whoever the production designer is, and I love the Mad Style posts. Thanks for giving those of us who are no longer as enamored of the show something good from it still!

  • Heather Kenney

    My apologizes for saying the same thing as everyone else but…TLo – you are amazing!!

    I didn’t discover this website until season 5. I loved Mad Men until that point but finding your website has put my enjoyment of the show to a whole new level. I notice things that I never would have before while watching the show and I look forward to this post just as much (almost more) as the actual episode.

    I’m sure these posts are a ton of work but please, keep it up. I’d love to know that Janie Bryant thinks of your analysis. (She’s probably like “damn, I thought I was being so subtle!”)

  • Can you stand one more person saying “You guys are so good!”?
    I always start watching the show thinking I’ll be all aware of the styling, colors, ‘conversations’, etc., then about 30 seconds into it I let it go and just enjoy the show, knowing you’ll do the heaving lifting for me later.
    This week I started with “ooh, blue and green!” at the beginning, then got lost in the show.

    My dad had an employee in the 60’s that could have been Dawn’s clone – clothes, hair-do and all.
    Love “Hamburger Stan”!
    This is the first episode where I found myself consciously thinking “I don’t like Don anymore.” (not a style observation, just sharing)

    • VictoriaDiNardo

      Re: lost in the show: Last week I was waiting to bid on something on eBay – I watched it all week, knowing that the bidding ended at 10:24 eastern time. I figured I’d get it for a song because everyone interested would be watching MadMen. So guess who sat there with her computer on her lap and totally forgot about it? ( and it did go for a song – damn! )

      These recaps are just amazing – they so much enhance watching the show – Thanks TLo!

  • Yum. Yum. Yum. That was delicious. More please.

  • egurl

    I have not made the “red connection” to prostitution. But after reading about it here, I re-watched the final scene of last season: In it, Megan’s wearing red in a scene where the bed is prominent. Blew my mind!

  • Zsanica

    I would definitely like to point out with Megan’s continuted barefooted apartment living that she is indeed Canadian. It’s normal (even at the time) to never wear shoes inside the home. Even considered to be rude if you do.

    • purkoy28

      do americans wear shoes in the home? im candadian and i never see anyone wear shoes when they are in the house.

      • They do and I find it weird as hell. Why do you want dirty shoes tracking god knows what all up in your house? Gross.

        (Diabetics excepted for obvious reasons, of course.)

      • 3hares

        Some do. I don’t. It’s normal both ways, I guess. Especially if you’re living in a place with bad weather it makes more sense to take off your shoes when you come inside.

      • Kylara7

        I find that many Americans wear shoes in the house, particularly those from the warmer regions. Those from the snowy areas tend to do the shoes off at the door thing as well.

        • purkoy28

          unny, even in summer we take our shoes off. i always thought they only kept them on in sitcoms, and we always laugh cause it never made sense that they kept them on. I would be pissed if someone left there shoes on in my home, lol.

        • Zaftiguana

          This, and people in the warmer regions are even starting to catch on, in no small part due to lots of immigration from places where shoes aren’t worn inside.

  • formerlyAnon

    I think schlubby Ginsburg is crying out for a makeover. Keep his little moustache, grow his hair a bit, put him into some tighter clothes, and he could rock a lady killer vibe. His kind of weedy good looks played very well in the ’70s. But unlike others, I do NOT want he and Dawn to get together. Dawn deserves a guy whose family isn’t going to have a cow if he brings her home to dinner.

    • trixietru

      Very interesting. Ginsburg has mentioned feeling like an alien outcast and Dawn is the fish out of water. Both seem to have strong moral codes in that shark tank. I don’t think Ginsburg has anyone but his stepfather whereas Dawn may have the bigger family obstacle. Wow, I’m even over thinking the fringe players!

      • formerlyAnon

        Oh, NO WAY would Dawn’s family be o.k. They’d think she’d lost her damn mind. But my (perhaps unfounded) prejudices are that if a young woman is set on an unacceptable man, she is more likely than a young man to simply hide the relationship until she’s ready to commit long term. I rather suspect she simply wouldn’t tell them, not for a very long time. But Ginsberg only has the one family member, apparently and they’re protective of each other. I don’t think Ginsberg would be emotionally capable of hiding anything that was emotionally significant to him for very long – even though he might try. He’s also such a march-to-his-own-drummer type, albeit in a weird way sometimes, that I can kind of see that he’d simply expect whomever he liked enough to bring home would be at least politely accepted.

        • editrixie

          Well, remember Peggy presenting Abe to her mom? She hid that for as long as she could I suppose!

          • formerlyAnon

            Yup, that was my take.

    • formerlyAnon

      posting in wrong place

  • Peeve

    Until you guys started doing these posts, I had absolutely no idea how much thought could go into costuming to advance the stories. These posts must take forever. Thank you for doing them–it’s totally fascinating. I so look forward to them every week. For a not very observant person, these posts are a revelation!

  • Pants_are_a_must

    God, the costuming here is nothing short of a masterclass in how costuming should always, always be. Thank you for pointing everything out.

    (on a self-indulgent note, I would’ve loved to see what you’d think of Hannibal Lecter’s parade of menswear already evident in “Hannibal,” but wishful thinking, I guess)

    • I second the suggestion for a Hannibal post! The visuals on that show are so attentively crafted it wouldn’t surprise me they put some extra care in the meaning of their costuming choices as well. Also, as a long time Mads Mikkelsen fan I already knew that that man definitely *can* wear a suit, but it’s nice to see that point driven home so consistently in Hannibal XD

  • Pants_are_a_must

    I find the hairstyles also fascinating this episode, particularly the women’s. I think this is the first time I’ve seen Joan’s hair relatively relaxed at work. Helmet hair was obviously still rife, though not very popular with the younger characters, as hair product lost its popularity with men. I wondered about the choice of making Megan wear a wig on her soap opera, particularly when the wig was so close to her own hair color and length, sans bangs. Hair speaks so much of culture, age and heritage, especially on a carefully produced show such as Mad Men. I’d love to hear more about it.

    • Aurumgirl

      I’m thinking the wig on Megan was all about consistency for the character she’s playing, nothing more. It is a hair style that we always think of when we see “french maid costume”, so it would make sense that it would be styled that way to go with the wardrobe Megan wore as her character.

      On the Helmet hair–i don’t know if you’ve ever read Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride–in it, she has a character who is a specialist in military history. One of her observations about women in power is the hairstyles they all seem to choose–they are all structured and lacquered like impenetrable helmets. Think of Margaret Thatcher’s sprayed-still bouffant bob in the 80’s (many years out of date but it was always the same hair, throughout her run as PM).

      • Pants_are_a_must

        I would actually like to apply the genius Mistress/Maiden/Crone reference to the hair as well, in all honesty, seeing as all three women sport hair that is, as you said, structured and lacquered. All three are trying to create a specific impression, and it shows in their hair as well. It’s the choices themselves that make it curious for me. Sylvia’s hair recalls specifically (for the viewers) the hair of the Francis ladies. Joan’s hair is dignified yet relaxed, but not trendy. Megan’s hair is schoolgirl hair, not fetishistic French maid hair. I guess the point about the wig as hair continuity is well made, though. Last time I had hair discussion on this website about Mad Men, someone related to the show actually said all the actresses weren’t wearing wigs on the show. I found it ironic, in context of this discussion.

  • As a former female corporate executive (I now work for myself, thankyouverymuch), it REALLY irked me that none of the partners stood up for Joan when Harry insulted her and undermined her authority. He should have been punished for that, not given a check. So then she walks in the office in black and white and looking like she could bite anyone in half, I thought, Damn right, Joan. Show them who’s boss.

    • Deep down, they probably agreed with him. Yay, misogyny.

    • bd73

      pete, did a little, but he’s complicit so of course.

  • purkoy28

    joans lace collar reminds me also of Mrs.Blankenships fussy old style lace collar.

  • Tipsy_Longstocking

    Can I just say that I am hooked on these posts? I just found out about you guys during last season, but I am now going to rewatch the entire series and read the Mad Style posts so I can fully understand what I saw. Thanks for your insights!

  • Amazing, amazing, amazing. Thank you.

  • I just discovered your site on Monday and I’ve been obsessively reading it ever since. I’ve laughed out loud at my desk more times than I care to admit. I have to say your opinions ARE fabulous and your Mad Men recaps and Mad Style are brilliant. But especially the Mad Style. You’ve taken my post episode recapping to another level. Thank you for the thought provoking posts and all the work that goes into them. Keep it up!

  • CarolinLA

    I really want to see a reckoning on the Don front. I want him to fell the consequences of his actions, I’m sick of him getting away with this shit.

  • CarolinLA

    Does anyone know if these clothes are made or pulled or combo of both?

    • It’s a combo. Janie Bryant wrote a book called Mad Style and it talks a little about her process with the show.

  • Martha Anderson

    when I saw Sylvias outfit, in the elevator, the first word that popped into my mind was
    It looks like a habit,

  • “And then the poor thing put on her whore robe without even realizing it.”

    I laughed so loud at that line because as I was watching the scene that was my exact thought. As soon as I saw her put on the red I knew a confrontation was coming, and that there’d be a whore reference in there somewhere.

  • Did anyone notice Scarlets scarf? The colours are so close to Joan’s that its almost like she’s being strangled by Joan herself!

  • My little bro HATED Joan’s eyeshadow (that matches her turquoise dress) noting that as a Redhead, she needs to avoid having both blush and loud eyeshadow. And that it works on brunette Peggy better

  • DesertDweller79

    T and Lo, thank you so much. It was so great to see all the black and white looks tied together here. You two are amazing. These posts are maybe the best thing about Mad Men. Thanks to Janie Bryant as well.

  • jtabz

    And then the poor thing put on her whore robe without even realizing it.

    It goes without saying that I love these posts for all of their brilliant analyses, but it’s these touches of patented TLo sardonic-yet-sympathetic humor that really make me adore them. Thank you.

  • Melissa Snyder

    I think an argument could be made for blue and green as colors of regenrations and renewal – older characters trying to reinvent themselves with the advent of the youth culture.

    Also, that soap opera bed looks like a parody of Don and Betty’s suburban marital bedroom to me.

  • Dan

    Is Dawn carrying the Hermes shoulder Birkin? Perhaps I am hallucinating.

  • I like reading your articles and watching out for subtle little things such as the blue and greens. I too felt the whole embarrassing excitement at seeing it pop up. I totally didn’t pick it up in Scarlett’s outfit. Some part of me hopes that she and Harry are having an affair. Any woman that dresses like Joan ( Adultry non withstanding ) Is a woman I’m willing to watch.

  • Dan

    Also, does anyone else think the way Sylvia is dressed recalls the way Fellini (well, his costumer) dressed certain female characters in his films. Specifically Amarcord and La Dolce Vita.

  • I really hope that woman is Joan’s sister. What great casting! They really could be related. Good to see Wendy Peffercorn’s still getting work 🙂

    • purkoy28

      unfortunatly, she isnt joans sister. The only reason i know that is i watched matt weiner explain this episode on th e amc webpage.

  • So, I may be on my own here, but did joan’s lace and black outfit make anyone else think of Jimi Hendrix? I read it as her accepting the way the culture was moving and embracing it, while still wearing her ‘Joan uniform’. Am I that off?

  • Heather

    Megan looks like Jessica Biel with those big bangs!!

  • disqus_3EJoKgmlGR

    I think the Dante’s Inferno angle deserves more thought. The book is about a lost soul’s decent into hell. His guide is the lovely, chase woman Beatrice who helps him navigate when he has lost his way. Dante’s writing uses themes of darkness, light, redemption and sin. I think it’s no coincidence that Don was reading that book, which Sylvia gave to him. Throughout this episode, themes in the Divine comedy have been in the mad men episodes. Is anyone else out there thinking about this, or am I reading too much into this?

  • SuzyQuzey

    Bravo, TLo! Yet another excellent Mad Style. I really love your analyses of these episodes. They make everything make more sense.

  • LML

    I picked up on the three women dressed like maids/nuns and I just knew you would collage them together! I think Janie is definitely making that “whore” connection by ironically having them all dressed like nuns/maids.

    Thank you for connecting Megan in her dressing room to the prostitute in the flashback. Their black and white outfits under red robes are nearly IDENTICAL! Now that Don see’s Megan as a whore, the marriage is doomed. Like another commenter pointed out, Megan represented the “motherly figure” Don never had, but now she represents the only other type of women he sees- a whore. Interesting that Sylvia seems to be both types of woman. You’re right that Don and Megan are NEVER on the same page. One is in bed, the other is up. One is dressed, the other is undressed. One is sitting, the other is standing.

    About the Canadian no shoes thing: I had a Canadian friend whose mother would give you the death stare if you did not take off your shoes immediately upon entering the house.

    Also, did anyone else notice that Pete’s hairline receded by like, three inches between this episode and the last one?! Vincent Kartheiser revealed in a video that they shaved his hairline back. I find it a little too obvious. We know Pete is aging. He’s been kicked out house and is blatantly paralleling Don, who seems to get older and lamer by the episode. I wish the hairline thing had been just a tad more subtle and realistic since we really don’t need it to prove that he’s aging.

    • Kylara7

      It’s definitely a Canadian custom that you take off your shoes at the door. It probably is a partly due to the climate/weather…we also have “boot trays” in the entry way that catch the melting snow, ice, and sidewalk salt from your outerwear 🙂

  • Excellent commentary. Thank you, Tom and Lorenzo.

  • lucylu

    In the pitch to Royal Hawaiian, Don references blue and green specifically. Hear that and more fun stuff in this Matt Weiner NPR/Fresh Air interview w/Terry Gross.

    • OrigamiRose

      If that’s the same podcast I’m thinking of, Weiner also says that final season story-lines were moved up to this season because the producers felt he was withholding too much drama.

  • uprightcitizen

    I didn’t see “Easy Rider” in Stan’s fringed suede jacket. The entire outfit is “Midnight Cowboy.” He just needs the hat and the little neckerchief. 🙂

  • Love the inside. Excellent Observation

  • librarygrrl64

    Janie Bryant leaves this part-time costumer breathless every week. Genius design and costume plotting.

  • purkoy28

    when megan was just another secretary on s4, she smoked, i guess they decided to change that when she became a real character.

  • purkoy28

    this season, megan has been in her beige clothes while talking to don lying in bed, a couple of times…….maybe it is supposed to represent something? i wll watch to see if they keep doing that.

  • purkoy28

    Remember s5 ep. Dark Shadows, her friend got the role on the soap,and Megan was jealous. Then she was making fun of her to the blonde friend later in the season. Her friend basicaly said megan has everything handed to jher and then she gets the same kind of job and gets famous, while redhead got fired. All becasue Megan married Don. I wonder if she will be in this season, the redhead i mean.

  • R B

    I’m just happy the pants are getting tighter. Yeah, Stan. I’m talking to you.

  • mhleta

    I’ve never been able to read this branch of the blog because I’ve always been so many seasons behind on Mad Men. I’ve finally caught up. This analysis is brilliant. I didn’t even realize the show was working on this many levels. You’re teaching the world how to watch television with an eye toward literary analysis. So many brilliant observations here. Thank you.

  • maya s

    “Stan is a walking hamburger” will be stuck in my head FOREVER 😀

    • OrigamiRose

      And it makes me hungry to boot.

  • Merv

    What’s black and white and red all over? A) The prostitute in Dick’s flashback. B) Megan, in her maid costume with the red robe over it.

  • KatFromJersey

    Just noticed, in the background of the Ginsberg/schlub photo: there’s Bob Benson with his ever-present cup of coffee!

  • Ruby Joy Grey

    Dawn dressed up in the first episode for picture day!

  • Lina

    Nothing wrong with wearing green and blue, I love it. The old edict of “Blue and Green should never been seen” was a bit 1950 ish. Still love the pencil skirts they wore, particularly black with a white cotton shirt.