Mad Style: Man With a Plan

Posted on May 15, 2013

At least once a Mad Men season, we have a brief, mad, completely self-absorbed moment when we entertain the notion that costume designer Janie Bryant is deliberately fucking with the two of us. It passes after a time, but make no mistake, the color story we’ve been documenting all season got seriously upended this week, forcing us once again to question what certain things mean.

We keep shorthanding “blue and green” in our writeups, but not everyone follows this recap from week to week, so …

Previously on Mad Men… the blue-and-green color combination has featured quite heavily and consistently in every episode this season, from Peggy dealing with a difficult client situation, to Megan and Sylvia awkwardly bonding, to Pete’s apartment, which is a monument dedicated to cheating, both on wives and on clients, to Ted and Peggy talking about Heinz to Ted and Peggy kissing, to framing a cuckolded man with a couple of adulterers, to Harry and Scarlett, who seem to have an interestingly close relationship, to Joan confronting Dawn, to Trudy throwing Pete out.

There have been other persistent motifs, like the “women in black” one that hearkens to all the assassinations this year, and the “woman in red” one, which triggers Don’s prostitution issues. We’ve had some fun this season trying to parse meaning out of the B&G motif, offering up water imagery (hearkening back to the suicidal Hawaii ad), motherhood, and adultery as possibilities. We thought we’d settled on that last one, but not only did the combo come back in a very precise way this week that somewhat upended our notions on its meaning (once again), Janie introduced a new color combination that was so persistent and meticulously applied, that we might have had a slight OCD-triggered breakdown trying to take it all in and figure out a meaning behind it.

Forget the blue-and-green discussion for a moment. We all need to sit down and figure out…

Just what the hell this whole new “blue and YELLOW” thing is all about.


Because it was persistent as hell.


No, really. By the end of the episode, our eyelids were twitching.


And you wanna talk about subtle? This motif was so masterfully applied that it took us several viewings – where we were specifically looking for it, mind you – to realize just how pervasive it was.


For instance, it took three viewings to determine that everyone in this conference room is wearing something blue or yellow.


And so is everyone in the creative department.


Are you seeing it yet?


Because there comes a point where a motif occurs so often and is applied so consistently that anyone attempting to provide a critical analysis would sound silly trying to be timid about it.


At first, we thought blue represented Don and yellow represented Ted, which makes a certain amount of sense, because not only do they both wear their respective colors frequently, but the story dealt with the upheaval of the decision these two made last week. A coming-together, complete with the expected difficulties, represented in color. Two men in a dick-measuring contest that’s involving dozens of other people.

But let’s step away from that color combination just for a second.

Because you could look at another motif this episode, which was “women in blue,” something that Janie’s played around with just recently, in “The Flood.” In this scene, Peggy’s doppelganger Marge is dressed similarly to her, in a frumpier, darker version of her own suit.

As a sidenote: it’s so odd to see Ginsberg and Stan in outfits that match that exactly, which is why we think Janie was being more deliberate than usual this week with her color choices.


And it would be impossible to view this scene without taking in how different each character is while at the same time noting their similarities. Peggy and Joan have very different ways of navigating the world and their clothes reflect that, but the blues also reflect two women who sought power in the patriarchy and two women who had unexpected pregnancies radically alter the directions of their lives.

What’s great about both of these looks is that they’re both wearing meant-to-impress business suits, but the effect is radically different on each of them. They’re feeling their power but expressing it in ways distinctly their own. And you absolutely have to refer back to the scene it’s mimicking just to see how far these two characters have come in how they express their worth:

A lot can happen in eight years. One of the great things about Janie Bryant as a costume designer is how well she understands the characters and how well she understands the relationships people have with their clothes. Peggy got her promotion to Junior Copywriter in the above scene.


Eight years later, with so much more power and experience, she still dresses in Peter Pan collars with detailing like large buttons. Her style has changed, but she remains the same person. And it’s notable how little we’ve seen her in her former schoolgirl plaids this season. Similarly, Joan doesn’t dress in that va-va-voom manner anymore, but just because of the reality of her body, she still wears very form-fitting clothing, even as she’s mimicking menswear to reflect her stance as a partner.

But we think the “woman in blue” theme really came down to two women; the two who are most central to Don’s life at the moment.


This is, without a doubt, the most declarative, assertive thing Peggy ever wore on the show. If you’ve been paying a lot of attention to her style over the years, it’s a jaw-dropping look. Everything about it is new for Peggy; gone are the Peter Pan collars, to be replaced by these enormous lapels; gone are the schoolgirl plaids, to be replaced by the loud, modern, totally ’68 print in the skirt. Gone is the timidity and any schoolgirl or secretarial references. With the straps-and-buckles and the emphasis on the shoulders, this suit speaks of power. And power is what she’s wielding here. She’s always had some free rein to speak freely to Don, but she’s never thrown her weight around like this, ambushing him in his office and telling him how it’s gonna be from now on. She’s not the girl he gets to yell at anymore.

Just remember: the last time these two were in a room together and one of them told the other to “Move forward,” it was when Peggy was in the Psych Ward. MASSIVE change in the dynamic.

Peggy’s look here is calling to Megan’s from later in the episode:

But the similarities are ironic. Peggy’s blue and white suit is all about power and assertiveness and discipline. Megan’s blue and white peasant blouse is about not having restrictions, but it’s also, in the context of the scene and in response to Peggy’s outfit, about being obsequious. She’s being the good wife, trying to take time off from her own job so they can spend more time together. Trying to go back to Hawaii (which is paradise) in an attempt to save her marriage. So deferential to him that he can tune her out completely; something that’s fairly impossible to do with Peggy.

Joan’s blue suit went off and had an adventure of its own this week, but let’s put that aside for now.

So what’s the deal with all the yellow? Is it a margarine thing? Yes and no. We’re thinking the endless talk of margarine (including the mention of the word yellow) may have triggered this motif, but like the blue one, we think it comes down to two women, and all the other instances of yellow are calling back to them. And unlike the blue motif, which dealt with the power women hold (or the lack of it), the yellow motif dealt with women trapped; in each case, literally trapped inside a room.


Sylvia willingly let herself be held hostage to Don’s demons and submitted to him because she didn’t want to feel anything. With her husband leaving and her son stuck in Paris during the riots, she sought out a trap and backed herself into it, pretending not to know what she was doing.


Dorothy, on the other hand, is trapped against her will, in a scene that is deliberately staged and shot to look like a perverse, twisted version of Don’s hotel room tryst. Don kept Sylvia trapped there partially because she wanted to be and partially because he laid bare his own wants, without any niceties. He ordered her to stay and she stayed. Pete kept his mother trapped there by lying to her and plying her with alcohol. Yet another way in which Pete’s life mimicks Don in the worst, seediest ways possible.


It also should be noted just how out of style Sylvia is. She always has been, but it really ramped up this episode. Not only is this a dress more 1958-stylish than 1968-stylish, it also has some subtle signifiers that read stereotypically  “Italian,” like the floral, the peasant neckline, and the once-again prominent cross. Similarly, Rachel Menken, who is the Don mistress most like Sylvia, was dressed in subtle signifiers that read as Manhattan Jewish, like the prominent jewelry, lacquered hair, exotic hats, and cigarette holder. The point isn’t that this is how Jewish and Italian women dress so much as it’s how Don sees each woman; as a fetish figure. My Jewish Mistress. My Italian Mistress.


Similarly, when he dresses her up for sexual fantasies, everything about her is a decade out of style, from her Betty Rubble hair, right down to her underwear. It’s interesting that when he had the perfect 1950s wife; he cheated on her with a succession of very modern 1960s women, from Midge to Bobbie Barrett, to Rachel to Suzanne. Now that he’s married to a very modern 1960s wife, he takes on a 1950s mistress. Face it: he’s chronically unsatisfied.

And yes, we did a little fist pump and a “DAMN, WE’RE GOOD” on the couch when she opened up that box and took out that red dress. As we’ve noted all season, a woman in red signals Don’s obsession with prostitution and the fact that he tends to see all women as whores in one way or another:


But unlike the other two women trapped in a room (because yes, there’s a third), Sylvia managed to walk out of hers on her own two feet. Significantly, she didn’t walk out and leave Don behind. She took him with her. This wasn’t an escape from a jail; it was an ending of one; a jail entirely of her own devising. Don never held the power here at all.


Our final trapped woman of the week is Joan. Bob told her she couldn’t stay in this room and she told him tearfully that she couldn’t leave it, which resulted in her literally leaning on him in order to get out. Dorothy: trapped by lies and dementia, not able to escape. Sylvia: trapped by her own ennui and anxiety, leaves on her own. Joan: trapped by pain and embarrassment, escapes with the help of a White Knight.

Joan’s suit of power reads entirely different once she puts on that brilliant green trench. It’s no longer about power, but because we’re back in the land of the much-discussed blue-and-green color combo, it’s not quite as clear what this is all about.

It’s notable that the other trapped women wore yellow and were at the mercy of asshole men. In Joan’s case she’s at the mercy of a man acting kindly toward her and – in a total reversal – he’s the one in yellow.

It’s significant that this scene hearkens back to the emergency room scene in season 3 when Don and Joan shared a laugh over poor Guy MacKendrick’s misfortune. Why is it significant?


Because it’s followed by this scene, which very closely mimics the scene when Don tried to talk her out of prostituting herself. In fact, in many ways, it’s a total reversal of that scene. A man (who looks like Don and has a similarly alliterative 3-syllable name) from her office comes to her home while she’s in a bathrobe. Except this time, instead of coming to talk her out of something sleazy, he’s coming to give her a gift and express his concern for her. Regardless of whether Bob is a shit who’s just looking out for himself, he’s still someone who showed kindness and concern for Joan – and that’s in seriously short supply around that office.

Joan has a long history with floral and botanical prints (mostly roses) that represent the state of romance in her life. We picked up immediately on that print, as well as the fact that the blue-and-green color combo is all over this scene as well.


But when we got to this eye-popping look, we threw up our hands in despair, you guys. It clearly means something that Joan is ONLY in blue and green this episode and that her story was so different from the other women’s. Potential romance was written all over the Bob Benson scenes, even if we find the prospect a little unlikely for Joan, who should have had her fill with office romance by now. Still, we can’t quite claim it means “adultery” anymore, even though it’s been fairly consistently applied to scenes revolving around cheating in some way. Sex? Motherhood? Water imagery? Death? The serenity that eludes everyone in this world? It’s all wide open again for interpretation.

One final thing about this look: Joan is wearing gold jewelry far more prominently this season, which signals her increased power and money. Also: this outfit is almost exactly the same as the one she wore when she hugged Dawn, except rendered in different fabrics. Back in the day we noted that Joan had several versions of the same dress in different colors. She’s always known the value of clothes that work for her and never had a problem owning the same outfit in multiple versions.





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  • Meg0GayGuys6

    Yay! I’ve been refreshing all morning! My coworkers probably think I have a thing for this Hoult fella.

    Great job as always, uncles!

  • charlotte

    I did not notice the blue and yellow theme while watching. Looking at it here, it seems almost heavy-handed.
    Funny, isn’t it?

    • It was that way for us too. We noticed it lightly and then with subsequent viewings we were blown away by it.

    • Could it be simple as an ode to 1968?
      Blue = RFK/sad mood of a nation
      Yellow/gold = Goldwater
      Green = Army fatigues/Viet Nam

    • MK03

      I know, I can’t believe I missed it. I feel like I need to turn in my TLo card or something…

    • AudreysMom

      perhaps so much so, that when the characters are not dressed in blue and yellow, they also have meaning? I’m thinking of the final picture set in the boardroom with Joan. Harry Hamlin (whatever the name of his character from the other agency) is not only in gray he’s wearing a gray tie. Roger is in a white shirt and red tie. We can’t see what Pete is wearing but it looks like a black suit and possibly not blue or gold in the tie. Perhaps the lack of competing color offers more meaning (and question) to what green represents for Joan.

      • Yes, Joan is a chromatic focal point in that scene. The other characters are shades of grey.

      • If we accept that red means something like ‘female sexuality’, I think the look on Roger’s face as he’s wearing a red tie and looking at Joan is interesting…

  • Sobaika

    Really thought-provoking analysis, as always. These posts make me a much more astute viewer than I would have been otherwise.

    Megan’s top looked more like a kurta to me than a peasant blouse (the sleeves, I think?) along with the embroidery. More eastern styles in the 60s.

    • Whatever it is technically called, I will take 3 in different colors, please.

      • Chris

        You can, Talbots makes something almost identical to this in blue and white and few other colors pretty much every year. Classics never seem to go out of style.

  • bxbourgie

    I noticed the blue and yellow theme, but since I was so stuck on watching for blue and green, I sort of threw the yellow aside. I wanted to say that it was Ted’s signature color, (previously Peggy’s power color) because he wore it so much during this episode, but now reading Mad Style, I hadn’t noticed that it was all over the place. Excellent recap gentlemen! I LIVE for Mad Style don’t you know. I kept refreshing and refreshing the page! It is now officially a lovely morning.

  • I’ve noticed that Ted has worn Peggy’s mustard yellow power color two weeks in a row. BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN. I leave brilliant analysis up to TLo.

    • sarahjane1912

      Ohhh I kept thinking about that too. But when you add that to all the other stuff going on … I just have to let TLo’s analysis wash over me and hope I can keep up.

      • i’m going to rewatch this episode after reading this. Astute analysis!

      • Ediths_Head

        This has been striking me for weeks, Ted IS Peggy’s power color.

        But maybe I notice it so much because I’m too dense to pick up on the other motifs?

        Also, Sylvia is out of style but very beautiful. She’s also the most maternal of Don’s mistresses, even as he’s married to a woman without children. What does this mean? Just that his mistresses must be the opposite of his wives? Or that he wants a mommy-whore rather than a mommy-wife? I don’t know, but is there an answer in her clothing?

  • Ihearttlo

    The blue/yellow thing is totally a “new world/old world” distinction,right? I didn’t notice it at all until you two said something about it, but now that I look at the snapshots, you have those that are “with the times” and moving forward (Ted, Megan, Ginsberg, Bob Benson, Sylvia (only with respect the “moving forward” part) and those that are not (Don, Joan, Burt Peterson, Peggy’s replacement who I don’t want to give a name).

    Perhaps Peggy is in a light shade of blue/green, because she doesn’t like change, but she is evolving, even if slowly.

    This admittedly does not explain Pete’s mother.

    • bxbourgie

      I was thinking something similar. Yellow are all the folks from CGC and blue are the ones from SCDP, but that doesn’t pan out all the way through. Then I was thinking maybe one color was for the ones that end up getting axed by the end of the episode, but that doesn’t make sense either. I’m officially baffled. The only color that made sense was the red dress, and Joan’s flowered robe. Everything else is like huh? What?

    • leighanne

      My thought last week was that pale blue signaled vulnerability, but not quite sure what it means this week beyond the fact that Peggy looks so great in this color. Those at CGC entering the new office are in yellow for the most part, while those solidly with SCDP are in blue. Joan is very much in charge still with her bright blue power color. Peggy is somewhat caught in the middle and her dress color is toned down…but later when she speaks to Don she’s in the dark blue (perhaps more sure of her place there and feeling more back in charge).

      • Little_Olive

        I got stuck on that pale blue too. It is so flattering and on point, it feels strong; yet it is objectively unimposing. I guess it is the perfect reflection for Peggy’s new professional strength combined with the anxieties of going back to the origin of her struggles. It is also a cold color; opposed to the gratitude some may thing Peggy should harbor for SCDP (IMO, she does not yet; she is at the learning and fighting stage where life’s gifts are hard to notice).

        • Little_Olive

          Huh, half my comment dissapeared. Thanks, Disqus!

      • Except Bob is in yellow and not blue.

        • leighanne

          True. not sure what to make of Bob yet….

    • formerlyAnon

      One could posit either that Pete’s mother is moving into the new world of dementia, or that she is moving Pete into the grown up world of having a responsibility for another human being. I think both are kind of tortured interpretations, but if the instance of yellow on Pete’s mum is to fit into the moving forward paradigm, there’s that.

      • 3hares

        If we went with her moving forward into dementia, that dementia is moving him backwards as well as forwards, really. Forward in that he’s having to take responsibility for her, but also backwards in that he’s now literally back in his childhood with the mother he tried to escape who sometimes literally thinks he’s a child.

      • You made an excellent point. I had the same issue trying to fit Pete’s mother into the “move forward” message, and I think you’re making a great starting point: she’s entering a new world without knowing it. She addressed that Pete’s apartment was purchased for cheating purposes and she noticed that Trudy kicked him off, not to mention the whole Kennedy assasination; and Pete, of course, doesn’t realize that his mother, in her dementia status, is trying to keep him in tune with what’s going on around him.

    • Zaftiguana

      Oh, I think Joan is absolutely moving forward into the new world. She gave her husband the boot to live as a single mother and a partner and chief financial officer at a Madison Avenue firm. She was stuck in the 50’s for a while, but those days are gone.

      • Yes, even in the images from Joan’s scene – when she was at the hospital she was wearing blue, however when Bob comes to visit and brings the football for her bub she’s now in yellow, and she looks happier = moving forward. Which equals green!

  • sarahjane1912

    I am speechless. I am without speech.

    The only connection I can make is that yellow is part of the blue/green ‘triangle’ aka yellow + blue = green. And who the hell can work out whether THAT means anything? Everything flowed into everything this week and I was stumped for meaning myself … but you guys always always help. And always get me thinking more!

    Of course, when I was growing up in the 60s/70s, one rhyme often chirruped by my mother when considering clothes/accessories combos was: ‘Blue and green should never be seen’. Good old Janie Bryant throws that maxim right out of the water. And I love it.

    • I like the color addition theory. But my brain hurts trying to work out the significance!

      • And blue nd green could still refernce adultery– blue- power, green- fertility (?). Joan might not be an adultress now, but she slept with a married man for years and got pregnant as a result of her own adultery. And she wore blue in Hands and Knees at the abortion doctor’s office. And yellow could be otimism or fantasy. Betty wore yellow in season 1 when she babysat Glen Bishop and he saw her as a princess. Andrea wore yellow and was part of Don’s murderous fantasy. Megan wore yellow a lot in season 4 when she was largely a Marie vonn Trapp esque wonder to Don and the kids. And she wore yellow when Don woke from a fever dream in Mystery Date.

        And one more observation– the print in Peggy’s blue skirt is reminiscent of the print in Megan’s skirt when she approached Don with her now famous Heinz beans idea.

    • golden_valley

      I was 8 in 1968. Our house was filled with green and blue. My mom wore it quite often, but she was a blonde with light skin and blue/green eyes. The blue/green seems 60’s to me.

      • sarahjane1912

        I’ve just been having a little hunt on the interwebby and there are numerous references to the ‘blue and green should never be seen’ and I found THESE two versions of the phrase:

        Blue and green should never be seen except with something in between


        Blue and green should never be seen except with yellow in between!

        I actually like the blue/green combo together myself. Nice to hear actual stories of the combination used successfully too. Thanks. 🙂

        • not_Bridget

          Blue & green was a popular color combination in the 60’s, in clothing & decor. The decorating style began with Scandinavian design–like Marimekko prints. But it was soon seen at Sears. (Red (usually a tomato shade) & pink was another popular combo.)

          But we’d seen the blue & green so often in the show that I can understand why Tom & Lorenzo were looking for meaning…

    • Glammie

      Yeah, I was thinking of color mixing too. Blue and yellow are both primaries, so neither dominates–mix them and you get green–so Joan’s green coat struck me as Joan allowing a connection to be made. Does Bob help put the coat on her? I can’t remember.

      And if the agency merger does work, then the results would be green cash . . .

      I still wonder if Don’s first time is going to be with that blonde prostitute–and just how much he learned about sex in a whorehouse. And, boy, the Sylvia scenes were all about the clothes–into the red and out of the red. I think part of the reason I didn’t have as strong a negative reaction to the Sylvia scenes is because she wasn’t really ever trapped. She could always walk out of the hotel at any time.

      But don’t they always say that it’s the sub who has the real power in a BDSM relationship?

      • Jean Leavitt

        oh ya Don was peeking through keyholes more than the one time he got caught.

        • Glammie

          Yeah, I think we’re moving closer to Don’s screwed-up sexual core. Damn, wonder if we’re going to see him getting hit and hit, the way he was with the call girl he hired during his divorced period.

      • I think that’s true. The sub has the power.

      • Aurumgirl

        That’s what they say. But inSylvia’s case, you get the sense that she’s the one who is more self-aware. I mean, she prays for Don to find “peace”, and gets him to read Dante. She’s guided by her dream to end the affair, and is steadfast and secure in her understanding of it (even though Don insists that she’s dreamed about wanting him, and not her husband). She’s always been the more powerful of the two.

        • Glammie

          Yeah, Sylvia–woods–Dante (Don-te?) lost in the woods in the middle of his life in the beginning of the Divine Comedy.

          Wonder if Don-te makes it out of the Inferno.

          • Aurumgirl

            Not without some kind of Beatrice. And it won’t be Sylvia.

      • Logo Girl

        Well for people who are really into it, a sub taking power is “topping from the bottom”, which is not acceptable in a relationship where there is an agreed upon notion that someone actually is recognized as “Dominant”. But it is all pretty abstract in the end, really.

        • Froide

          I can’t stop thinking about Ralph Cifaretto, who Janice Soprano said “bottomed from the top”. Does that mean he pretended to be dominant but was really a submissive? How would that work?

          • Logo Girl

            It is when you pretend to be a submissive but you are actually directing the show. It often ends up being a passive-aggressive thing: “Oh, I sure don’t want to get punished!!” Which is not actually how it is supposed to “go” with certain folks who take it a certain kinda serious.

      • Froide

        @”Does Bob help put the coat on her? I can’t remember.”
        Joan already has her coat on when Bob enters her office; seems she tried to leave on her own but couldn’t.

    • Really? I have never thought they went until this blog but now I live for the combo.

  • Little_Olive

    Hmm. My head is spinning a bit after the thoroughness of this review.

    I wonder if the green will come to be the answer between green and blue, as it is the result of the mix of both colors.

    • Bert Cooper

      well you had Joan wearing green over blue and Bob wearing yellow, and that was probably the most positive character interaction of the episode. plus later Joan wears green when she acts as Bob’s rabbi

  • Megan is in yellow at the end, too. She’s certainly another trapped woman in yellow.

    • Little_Olive

      I am so rooting for Megan to once and for all kick Don’s ass, literally and figuratively.

    • siriuslover

      aaaand, I’m back to the Yellow Wallpaper story.

  • CatherineRhodes

    Is it possible that the color scheme is random? That we’re trying to assign meaning that doesn’t exist? At times, color choice seems absolutely deliberate (whore red)… but most of the time, Janie probably pulls a garment off a rack because she likes it for the character, paying no attention to the color.

    As Freud said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

    • I really, really doubt that.

      • Maryanne525

        She did say in her post that “At times, color choice seems absolutely deliberate,” so I don’t think she was trying to insult Janie Bryant in any way.

        • Maybe “offended” isn’t the right word. But to say that Janie “most of the time” just pulls things because she likes them for a character is a hasty generalization.

          • Maryanne525

            I understand what you were saying, and agree as well. I’m sure she picks things quite deliberately, but I often wonder if we (not this blog, but a show’s audience in general) read into things more than it ought to be. AKA I’d LOVE to read a TLo/Janie Bryant interview! Her brain must be a fabulous one to pick! 🙂

          • I like to check out the mad men reddit sometimes. The watchers there post the craziest things. I have seen 30 posts that Bob Benson is a g-man. So far we have seen nothing to actually indicate anything weird other than he’s really friendly. I know it’s bizarre to have someone really friendly working at scdp but that doesn’t automatically make him suspicious.

          • Maryanne525

            Hahaha, that’s fabulous! I have to go check those out!

          • formerlyAnon

            Cracks me up. I know they take some big time plot swerves sometimes, but what could the feds be investigating at SCDP? Haven’t picked up any hints that there’s major financial criminal activity going on.

          • AViewer44

            I agree, Maryanne! Sometimes it reminds me of the kind of over-enthusiastic literary analysis we used to do in high school for books like Lord of the Flies. There’s plenty of symbolism in that book, but not every single thing is a puzzle waiting to be decoded. Her choices may be related to visual needs–blocking, making sure that background elements pop out, or that people subliminally relate to each other. Or social-historical choices, some fitting in with the color scheme of the time, and others called out. Or choices about each character, like Betty wears icy colors when she’s a blonde, Faye wears more saturated versions of those colors, Joan wears columns of bright color. I doubt it’s all random, but I also find it hard to believe that it’s totally encoded.

          • Please scroll through the responses and find where we directly address the whole idea of decoding. If you read these things carefully, you’ll see we’re quite open about what we’re interpreting and noting, vs. what we think are deliberate choices on the part of the costume designer. In other words, it’s never been about decoding the author’s intentions. It’s been about analyzing the outcome.

          • Chris

            Is this why you have never had a direct interview with Janie Bryant on your site? I imagine that as she is very aware of your work and has invited you to at least one event in the past she would be amenable to it. Would it spoil the fun for you to have her say yea or nay to your interpretations directly? Would it impede your creativity to feel like you were being graded?

          • We’ve tried to schedule an interview with her, but the timing never seems to be right on either side. Regardless, we have always maintained that this kind of reading isn’t meant necessarily to divine Janie’s intentions so much as point out what her work is accomplishing.

          • Chris

            Thanks for answering my question I had been wondering for a while about that. I agree about promoting her work. It’s an art form that has been long under appreciated IMHO.

          • Zaftiguana

            I have to totally disagree. Janie is a designer, not a dresser, and she’s absolutely part of all of the discussions of scenic and visual elements, not someone who sits back and lets others do their thing and then waits her turn to see what looks pretty with it and goes nicely with someone’s hair. There’s a massive spectrum of colors and shapes and styles and patterns available to her, even given the restrictions of the period. To imply that with all of that skill and talent and creative involvement, and with that giant aesthetic spectrum available to her, that anything like a meaningful number of her choices are reactive and random rather than a wholly deliberate part of the storytelling just doesn’t wash. And frankly, it doesn’t seem to give her her due as a creative artist.

          • Aurumgirl

            Thing is, really good film makers think the same way about colour. I once heard an interview with the director of the film The Lives of Others describe the way he chose to stage and photograph a certain character’s apartment. He was deliberate about excluding the colour blue from each scene shot in that location, to convey it’s absence and the significance of what the colour represents by being out of that character’s life. Anyone charged with creating a visual work is going to take a lot of care in designing the look of the thing, down to backgrounds, lighting, colour variations in everything including the characters. I think Jane Bryant is very deliberate and nothing is accidental (of course, what you bring to the experience of watching the story is the only thing she can’t have full control over–but she does manage quite a bit of control over that as well).

            For the record, I always understood Freud’s pronouncement that “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” to be ironic, given what we know of his clientele, his prodigious smoking habit (more than 22 cigars a day), and somewhat intense preoccupation with repressed sexuality. So even that pronouncement is open to your own perspective.

          • There MAY already be one. I vaguely remember it. Search the site!

      • egurl

        But maybe she deliberately chooses a color because it looks nice, rather than for symbolic purposes; many artists operate this way (i.e., aesthetics first).

        • Yes, and then countless people spend centuries sometimes analyzing their works of art. That’s kind of the whole point to art.

          • egurl

            I agree with you that art stands on its own, apart from the artist in that way.

        • Little_Olive

          But don’t forget, color ALWAYS means something. I mean, even in the domain of aesthetic there is meaning to color. This is why Luscher’s (and others) test exists.

          • I’m a painter, and sometimes the colors I choose are the only ones that aren’t dried up. If you tried analyzing my work, you’d probably think I painted half of it in a nuthouse. So I totally get it! But Janie Bryant seems to be very deliberate in her choices. I think what she does is fascinating, because she really uses the clothes to express things in the characters that aren’t necessarily written. And TLo have done an incredible job at analyzing that. I think it’s so much fun to see what code Janie’s embedded in the story for everyone!

        • Glammie

          In my experience as a performer, costuming color choices are never that simple. Color is a big tool and directors use it. Not usually with the sophistication that Bryant shows (which is what makes these analyses so fun–there’s so much there there), but even in quite basic productions.

          Color communicates–you are never, to pick a simple example, going to put the citizens of River City in drab colors once the Music Man comes to town and transforms them.

          Bryant works on a lot of levels–melding what’s period appropriate with what’s going on dramatically. There’s far too much consistency for it to be random.

          • egurl

            I definitely agree that color is being used as a narrative tool here, as TLo’s posts excellently demonstrate. But I also think that for some outfits, the color might have less narrative thought behind it (perhaps she found a great vintage piece or the color illuminates the actor in a way she likes, rather than pushing a narrative forward). I think this might be the case, because not all yellow or green outfits follow the pattern that the others have been demonstrating, narrative wise. I have no inside information though, this is just an educated guess.

          • Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what was intentional or not.

          • egurl

            I just can’t escape thinking about the intention of the artist.

            I’ve been thinking about the spectrum used prominently in this episode: yellow, green, and blue. Maybe character A in green and character B in blue doesn’t symbolize adultery, per se, but more generally signifies that the two characters are getting along and having a positive relationship/interaction of some sort. I think yellow and green could signify something similar. However, in every scene (beside the bigger one with creatives), yellow and blue signify a conflict. For example, the way the boardroom scene is framed, although some SCDP characters are wearing yellow and others blue, in every framed scene (that TLo provided anyway), an SCDP character is in a “conflict” color with a CGC character. Also, when Peggy introduces Ted to Ginsburg and Stan and meets Margie for the first time, Peggy and Ted are prominently wearing yellow, Stan’s prominently wearing green (signifying a closer relationship with Pegs), Ginsburg has a green tie, and Margie’s more prominently wearing blue. Margie’s the “conflict” character here because she gets fired.

            I started thinking about yellow/conflict because of that last scene with Megan and Don; they seem so clearly opposed and on different planes. Yellow and blue aren’t complimentary colors either.

            I do think this kind of stuff is layered and there can be several explanations, as you said, intended or not. This explanation makes sense to me because, unless Janie Bryant commanding a small army of costumers, it would be difficult to keep track of the symbolic value of multiple things. This is an easy way to keep things straight and communicate it to other crew members.

          • Glammie

            But the merger isn’t all a conflict. And one of the bigger conflicts in the episode–Peggy raking Don over the coals has the characters in the same colors.

            Yellow and blue aren’t complementary, but they are both primaries and they can be combined. Ted has been seen in yellow multiple times, while the general palette of the SCDP men has been blue and grey.

            I do think, though, Jane Bryant can manage a lot of layers–and enjoys doing so. Her characters repeat their clothes and JB clearly likes to tell a story with them. MM is a very literary show–Matt Weiner, I suspect, wants a designer with an eye for symbolism and significant details. It goes with how the stories on MM are told.

      • CatherineRhodes

        My point is that the costuming IS very deliberate, however I just wasn’t seeing the particular significance in the blue-green discussion. (Did it mean adultery? Love? Money? etc.)

    • Sobaika

      Yes and no. Sure, maybe they just found a good dress in ____ color, but it’s way too deliberate to not have a certain level of thought put into. When you consider the wardrobe with the set, way scenes are shot, and overall mise en scene, you know they’re trying to tell you a visual story as well.

      • SassieCassy

        mise en scene!! i had to google that.

      • Glammie

        The set design and decoration is terrific. If we could clone TLo, it would be great to have a set decoration analysis paired with the clothing.

        And, no, I’m not seriously suggesting this.

        • formerlyAnon

          I have to admit that set decoration fascinates me more than costuming. I also can admit that there are movies/t.v. shows that I like as much or more for the set decoration as I do for the story line & actors. (Not Mad Men though, which is certainly a tribute to the show.) One of my favorite parts of the Mad Style posts is the chance to examine the sets in the stills.

          • Glammie

            Looking forward to your blog. 🙂 Get cracking.

          • formerlyAnon


            You have to work in an organized and disciplined manner to run a decent blog. I don’t have much of that organized and disciplined stuff, and it’s all currently spoken for. 😉

    • charlotte

      I just thought about that, too. I guess it happens, but I think more often than not there is some sort of meaning and Janie just combines both character appropriateness and underlying subtext.

    • Considering the range of colors that were popular in the late 60s, almost every character in the show dressed in yellow, blue, or green means something. Oranges, purples, multicolor prints–all very popular in the period–are totally unaccounted for.

      • Chris

        Yes Janie Bryant very noticeably dressed Joan in eye catching purple earlier this season and navy and red. The use of so much blue and green plus the addition of yellow is clearly very deliberate. Every piece of jewelry, even the cut of the men’s lapels are carefully considered choices by her.

    • First, this, from our Mad Style post at the beginning of the season:

      “The second thing we want to say has to do with the… well, we guess we’d call it the “point” to this whole obsessive endeavor. Mad Men
      is one of the most analyzed shows on television and probably, when all
      is said and done, one of the most analyzed in the history of television.
      The downside to that can be an awful lot of over-analyzing. And we
      admit we’re as guilty of it as anyone. But the point to this kind of
      reading of the show is to deepen the understanding of it; to open up the
      conversation and demonstrate that there’s more to a filmed narrative
      than just the text or the acting. It’s not to crack open a code and find
      a hidden meaning inside like a prize in a Cracker Jack box. There are
      multiple layers and multiple meanings in any text of any depth. The best
      anyone can do when analyzing it is to understand that and accept that
      they’re bringing their own interpretation to it. There are times when we
      can fairly definitively say what the intent of the costume designer,
      Janie Bryant was, but it’s more important in this kind of analysis to
      sometimes separate the intentions of the artist from the work itself and
      see what the work is saying independent of them.”

      In other words, there’s no such thing as “meaning that doesn’t exist.”

      Second, when you dress every character in one of two colors throughout an entire episode, it’s not likely to have occurred on a whim or randomly. They’re called costume DESIGNERS for a reason. They don’t always just pick things off a rack. That’s what a stylist does.

      • Joy

        I really wish you guys had taught my boring costume history class in college.

      • Please please become style/ costume design professors!

    • Sorry to get pedagogical for a second, but while I take your point, I just want to say that while it is possible to over analyze, that’s still no reason not to try. And I think it’s important that we give the same consideration of Janie’s work that we’d give to Weiner or Slattery or [insert writer or director here]. In this way, it’s really no different than reading a novel–it’s irrelevant if someone intended something or not: what matters is that it exists as an object of analysis and the point of that analysis is to attempt to deepen and enrich our understanding of the text/episode. So yes, it’s very possible that sometimes the color scheme is random. But the fact that our attention can be drawn to nuances, relationships, references by way of that analysis (no matter if it was intended or not) means that it’s a worthy endeavor.

      • EXACTLY.

        • bxbourgie

          Awwww.. group hug!

        • CatherineRhodes

          TLO: Let me first say that I’ve been a fan for years and think the writing you’re doing on Mad Men is genius level. In fact, your whole blog is smart, funny, incisive.

          Next, let me assert that the costuming on Mad Men is absolutely part of the story — contributing what TLO refers to as multiple layers of meaning. Janie Bryant is nothing short of brilliant.

          My point with the “cigar post” above — beyond being contrarian, it seems — is that some motifs on the show seem to be more salient than others. For example, the brilliant analysis that TLO did identifying Joan’s rose theme or metallics signifying wealth or the maiden-mother-crone motif.

          Conversely — and I say this humbly and with the understanding that I could be wrong — I’m not seeing a consistent and defined meaning to the color story, especially the blue-green pairing or the yellow-blue pairing. Others may find deeper understanding, but to me, so far, the choice of color is “just a cigar.”

          Well, this has been a lively discussion… And isn’t that the point? 🙂

          • If you read these posts carefully, you’ll see that we concede over and over again that there isn’t a consistent meaning in every case with the color story. A motif doesn’t necessarily need to have an external meaning imposed on it. Sometimes it’s worthy just to point out that a motif is occurring.

      • A thousand times YES!

      • fursa_saida

        The author is dead! Long live the author!

        • siriuslover

          Foucault, Foucault, wherefore art thou, Foucault!

          • formerlyAnon

            No French or Geman guys spouting theory, dead or alive, please. Graduate school has left me scarred.

          • siriuslover

            Nietzsche and Foucault? Lifeblood, I tell you! Add some Derrida, Butler, and Haraway and I’m set!

          • formerlyAnon

            *You* are the person my advisor thought I was when he recruited me. Much to his later sorrow. To his great credit, he’s stuck by my too-practically-oriented self through my slow trudge through higher education.

    • Little_Olive

      I doubt it in this case, but I get what you mean that over-interpreting (thus assuming the subject of analysis is smarter than it really is) is always a possibility.

    • I think sometimes she does pick something because it is beautiful and fits the character but I also know she puts so much thought into picking colors to be a part of the story. Although subtle it really hits the theme home.

    • siriuslover

      maybe, but then you have Magritte who said “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”

    • P M

      Imagine that you’re dressing up dolls for a party vs dressing dolls to tell a story. Just try this exercise out for size and you’ll quickly find out what differences you yourself start to make in deciding how to dress them. Colour plays a very important role in establishing character mood, etc. and Janie is a MASTER storyteller.

      Exercise 2: Turn the volume to mute. Watch a couple of episodes. Try to guess what is happening based on colour alone. I have, with very interesting results. The colours tell a parallel story.

      That is all.

      • CatherineRhodes

        Yup, agreed on all points. I just wasn’t seeing the hidden meaning in the blue-green, blue-yellow pairings. It does sound like fun to spend an afternoon dressing up dolls. Why do our daughters get all the fun?

    • Not applicable

      I was thinking that too… Recall The Lord of the Flies? Sooo many color references in that book. The author denied that they carried extra meaning or symbolism. My English teacher still made us outline the entire novel for the color references….

      Makes me think about how red = whore I the Mad Men world….

  • MartyBellerMask

    Jesus H., Ginsberg. Get some clothes that fit.

    • Danielle

      My guess is that they’re hand-me-downs. Even though he’s probably making decent money now, he’s so socially clueless that it doesn’t occur to him to invest in some decent clothing, at least for work.

      • Maybe from a thrift shop? Did thrift shops exist then?

        • not_Bridget

          Yup. There was always the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Poor people, frugal people & broke hippies shopped there. (Even if you weren’t a “broke” hippie–it was a way to avoid the garish polyesters in the stores.)

          Back then, “vintage” meant wine, not clothing…

        • Logo Girl

          They did, but shopping at them was considered to be a bit of an embarrassment. Consider Fanny Brice’s “Second Hand Rose”, which when Barbra Streissand sang it probably still had a certain truthfulness to common perceptions, even if it was slightly ironic by 1968:

          Even things Im wearing someone wore before
          Its no wonder that I feel abused
          I never get a thing that aint been used

      • We know he’s insecure about his looks (he seemed shocked when that arranged-date girl commented he was handsome). It can drive you to wear clothing that’s a bit too big so as not to draw attention to your figure, or you may dress shabbily because you think if you tried to look elegant you’d end up looking ridiculous. Apologetic/defensive dressing — not just for women!

      • MartyBellerMask

        I know, the poor thing.
        ETA: Also, SCDP has been so relaxed (to a fault) lately, that I’m sure that leads to it. With “Beanie & Cecil” (as Roger called them) joining the group, their polish might rub off. I think this merger may be good for him, style-wise.

        • bxbourgie

          He’s still adorable though, with his awkward self. I was hoping we’d see more of him this season, especially after his date, but there are so many other thing going on that he’s been pushed to the background, at least for the time being.

        • Did you notice that of course the “not Peggy” isn’t as dressed down as her male counterparts.

      • What is he doing with his money?

    • formerlyAnon

      I know. I just ache for somebody to take him shopping. Of course, spending that much money on himself at one time isn’t something you could talk him into easily, I imagine.

    • I doubt he’s making that much. Peggy certainly wasn’t when she was in his position for a long time. Plus, he’s supporting himself and his father.

      • fursa_saida

        Exactly. And it’s obvious from that apartment that they hardly lived with much disposable income before he landed this gig; those habits of frugality are hard to break (if one even wants to). Add in the whole Holocaust survival thing and it’s hardly surprising he’s not hitting up Bergdorf Goodman.

      • siriuslover

        Is he supporting his dad? If so, that makes his dad going into his wallet to give Ginsburg money to take his date out a very humorous edge.

        • My understanding is that the dad works as well, but Ginsburg is definitely the primary breadwinner. And yes, that scene was funny but also the dad’s way of saying “Relax, it’s okay to spend money once in a while for something like this.”

    • Jacqueline Wessel

      Yes, he is swimming in that shirt … which is how a lot of young men dress today.

    • greenwich_matron

      Yeah, but he is wearing a blue tie with a yellow sweater in the first shot.

    • Chris

      Yes, I think they have pushed his clothing a bit too far. After working there for over a year it wouldn’t be crazy for him to have one shirt that fits him. Even Peggy who was a bit backwards clothes wise never dressed like he does.

      And speaking of money- why did Joan go to such a terrible looking hospital/clinic? She has money now.

      • Cheryl

        I wondered too. Maybe they just went to the nearest hospital, since Joan was in so much pain and distress? I doubt they traveled too far from the office.

        • Chris

          I was thinking “why weren’t they at the same hospital they took Guy to?” But then I remembered its a different office and a different address now. Maybe it was to reference the time she went to get the abortion alone at that clinic as well as the time in the hospital with Don after the Guy incident? For the abortion Roger essentially abandoned her but this time she had Bob.

  • Rachel Murray

    Fantastic, as per usual. God, it really makes you love watching a show that you can deconstruct over and over again – the plot, the designs, the social significance, all of it.

    I wonder how much of it is Jane trying to hint at the psychological motives of the character – Ted wearing Peggy’s yellow power colour in his tie, for example. He seems to be all over that colour, which would make sense. The mimic-ing that goes on in couples (official or unoffical couples) is important – mannerisms, clothing choices, even how we position ourselves physically in contrast to someone else is a huge aspect that can reveal what’s going on inside someone’s head. It would be fascinating to see when certain colours (and patterns) come into popularity and at one time (share your links here, people – I wanna know!). Many of us remember that horrid mattress-quilting-polyester housecoat Betty wore a few episodes ago; that seems distinct to that time. I wonder if that mustard orange is one of those colours that came up in prominence in the late 60s, and when certain colours, fabrics, styles or patterns come back and what it says about us when they do.

    • The idea that Ted is deliberately wearing mustard yellow because he has seen her wear it as some sort of a visual call out to her is really interesting. Maybe he doesn’t realize he’s doing it. He likes Peggy, he gets dressed in the morning and thinks “Peggy looked really good in that color/dress I will try it out, too.”

      • Glammie

        But don’t we see Ted Chaough wear yellow from the get-go. I’m pretty sure his first appearances are in olive greens and mustard yellows–and a turtleneck. (TLo would know.) I know it’s always been a contrast to the greys and blues worn by the men of SCDP.

        All this color going on and Don’s still the man in the grey flannel suit–hidden, a neutral, except for his ties.

        • Melanie

          Because Don never changes.

        • 3hares

          I always tend to associate that yellow with being more “hip”–not that I can really defend that. It just seems like it’s a contrast to Don’s very 50s grey suits that Ted’s in this warm yellow color.

          • Chris

            Yes, Janie Bryant really is in tune with not only the styles of the time but what colors were popular and when. It’s something you don’t think about as much as the cut of the clothes when thinking “period appropriate” but it makes a huge difference. Just looking at old family photos as a gauge she nails it every time.

          • Little_Olive

            To me its health and positivity. Ted’s ties lighten his face and suits. Don’s ties simply punctuate how non-positive he is, both to others and to himself. Don has proven to be the anti-midas, sucking everything around him into his destructive vortex. And because he is no clown, his colors are consistent, matching, dark, plain, sad: there are destructive people that act as if they weren’t, but then their colors project their mood instability. It happens so much in real life.

          • Glammie

            Yep. Particularly, when paired with one of Ted’s turtlenecks. I don’t think he’s that much younger than Don, but his sensibility is. Don’s margarine improv may have been better, but Ted’s Gilligan’s Island approach was a lot more young and playful.

            Funny thing though, Megan dresses young and hip and Peggy dresses relatively “old” for her age. Don married the younger generation, but doesn’t get them. Peggy is in the younger generation, but not really part of it.

          • Cheryl

            I love to see Ted’s turtlenecks; my boyfriend at the time (1968) always wore turtlenecks with blazers. (Fortunately for the viewing audience, we probably won’t get to see my dad’s mid-1970s polyester leisure suits.)

          • Glammie

            Even at the time, people made fun of leisure suits.

            My dad had a Ted Chaough turtleneck–same color and all.

          • Chris

            Yes that’s why I don’t see her and Abe working out long term. Plus his view of things and her job are going to clash again like they did when they first met and he wrote that piece about advertising and gave it to her. Peggy has dated boys and an old man. She needs someone more like her and closer in age but with some maturity.

          • Glammie

            Yeah, Abe doesn’t really respect what she does and Peggy doesn’t really respect his worldview. Nowadays, they’d be friends with benefits.

          • Chris

            As groundbreaking as Peggy is in her own way she still is very traditional. If Abe had asked to marry her she would have said yes. The way she got so excited about Abe talking about their future children was sweet and a little sad all at once. I feel like she is the one that will have to keep compromising the most if they stay together. And maybe I am too materialistic too but I wouldn’t have wanted to buy the place with the “poop stairs” either!

          • Glammie

            Yep. Poor Peggy, all dressed in her little pink dress expecting a proposal. In some areas she’s more of an accidental trailblazer than she wants to be.

            Poop stairs though–that’s a good investment.

        • I’m not sure – I will defer to TLo and the exhausting cataloging of screen shots. I only picked up on it when he wore the mustard blazer, but that certainly doesn’t mean it was the first time he wore that color, in fact it’s probably not. Just took me that long to notice 😉

          • fursa_saida

            My feeling–though I don’t have caps to back it up–is that Ted has generally tended to much warmer, more saturated colors than most anyone at SCDP except Stan. I’m not sure if the mustard/goldenrod/umber thing has been going on for longer than the last few episodes, but it definitely makes him half of a pair with Stan.

          • Glammie

            Yeah, one should always defer to TLo in these things. I just sort of remember the color contrast–partly because I noticed the golds and avocado greens appearing from outside SCDP (Duck wore a dark green, I think.) and the avocado and goldenrod shag carpets of my childhood started flashing before my eyes.

            Oh, and that’s what Don’s apartment needs–serious amounts of shag carpeting.

    • What I love is that Ted doesn’t seem sleazy especially against most of the men on the show. He seems genuine even though he is in advertising. I also think that he does like Peggy but I feel like if he does make a play for her he will get divorced first.

      • 3hares

        He did already kiss her…

        • Yeah, but it freaked him out that he did it. That scene was so beautifully acted by those two. Peggy calls him “strong,” he kisses her in a drunken moment of weakness, and then he spins around with this horrible look of guilt and “oh shit, what did I do?” on his face. Instead of taking her, he tells her to leave. We haven’t seen much of that kind of moral fortitude at SCDP. Ted and Peggy have great chemistry, but I don’t think Ted is going to up and leave his wife for her, or start an affair with her either (at least right away). If they were at CGC, that might have happened, but it would be really bad for them to play the fool during the merger.

          • Chris

            Yes and he was nice about it too. He seemed genuinely upset with himself for doing that and he didn’t try to “blame” Peggy for it or treat her differently. What he did was human and flawed but how he acted afterwards really showed his character. He is a person who genuinely tries to do what is right- it’s such a departure from what we see at SCDP. Imagine if Peggy started working at CGC first?

          • 3hares

            He was perfectly nice about it, I agree, but I don’t give him extra credit for not blaming Peggy for it or not treating her differently. He would have been a jerk if he did that, but as it is he’s a grown, married man who wanted to kiss her and did it. It would have been worse if he had gone further, but he’s not showing all that much self-control if he’s already kissed her. To me it seems like so far he’s not a jerk, but he isn’t allergic to affairs with employees either.

          • Chris

            I think if he was the type that was having affairs already he wouldn’t be as horrified after kissing Peggy. I’m not saying kissing her makes him a great person but I am comparing him to people like Don who see nothing wrong with sleeping with anyone or Pete who kept coming back to Peggy for a while on and off for sex yet was cruel to her. Ted made a mistake while he was drunk and very emotional after learning his friend had cancer (a type which is typically a death sentence) and that his whole firm is in danger. It was totally impulsive but he apologized, retreated and seemed to act no differently after the fact. In this way he is acting completely the opposite way we have seen anyone at SCDP act. Every single partner (except for Bert Cooper who I don’t know about) at SCDP has committed adultery -right down to Lane Pryce- and seemed to have no remorse over it.

          • Great point! Peggy was really immature when she started at SCDP, and went through years of abuse and overlooking until she got fed up. Not to mention a pregnancy! If she’d started at CGC, I don’t think she would have appreciated Ted as much as he deserved as a boss; and in 1960 he might not have appreciated her as a 20 year old secretary. We don’t know what things were like for CGC at that point, but by ’67 women were all over the place.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    How could I not have noticed that Peggy, Margaret and Meghan were all wearing the same shade of blue this week? And their names are all connected, too! Argh. Meanwhile, I did notice that Ted gets that same gold/yellow a lot, and that Don and Bob had the same sort of coat on. Didn’t pick up on Don Draper/Bob Benson, though, and I should have. ARGH! What does the yellow mean??

    • I feel your pain.

    • Glammie

      Yeah, I’m feeling kind of duh! myself–that’s right Don married a woman with the same name as Peggy.

      Sigh. Worse yet, it’s my given name.

      Don, call me.

      No, don’t.

  • Meh. Even if the repeated colors are intentional, I can’t bring myself to care about what they mean, as much as I’m obsessed with the show. Style-wise, I’m much more interested in how each of the characters dress to define and present themselves, or the changing 1960s fashions — anything that feels like an integral part of the world of the show.

    I guess it’s for the same reason I dislike James Joyce. Having to chase these little motifs takes me straight out of the story.

    • Aurumgirl

      That’s why I have always loved James Joyce. The story is always so much more than just the narrative. Chasing the little motifs gives you the “real”, whole story. Including how you fit into it, as well.

      • It’s about balance between how difficult the motif is to find/parse, how much can be gleaned from it, and how much I’m getting from the story emotionally. I am hugely emotionally involved in Mad Men so I’m willing to do a lot of intellectual analysis. Still, there are limits. A similarity in names between Don Draper and Bob Benson? Noted. Cool. If the first letter of each sentence they say in an episode is an anagram of each other’s ex-wife’s name? Whatever. I don’t care. That’s about how I feel about the blue-green color combo. And I realize where you draw that line is completely personal.

        • Okay if this is not your bag, we would ask that you move on then. Not trying to be rude, but we’d rather host a discussion on the costuming; not a discussion as to whether discussions on the costuming are worthy of anyone’s time.

          • not_Bridget

            Yeah, it’s not as though you’re going to test us; this is fun for those who enjoy it! Although I’ve learned my lessons here–and they helped me appreciate fashions on The Hour (cancelled after only two series, alas) and The Bletchley Circle.

            I’ve seen “making of” features for both these British shows. The people who designed clothes, picked locations & dressed sets all had very specific & detailed messages….

          • Ooh I must watch that special. Is it On Demand?

          • fursa_saida

            Ugh, The Hour was taken from us way too soon.

          • Right. That makes sense. Sorry.

        • MyrtleUrkel

          You remind me of a former roomate’s boyfriend. He’d always start conversations with me about books because I love to read and was an English major, but whenever he couldn’t keep up, he’d pull the “who cares? literary analysis/criticism is all b.s.” card.

          • formerlyAnon

            Harsh (though that’s perhaps more my interpretation than your intent).

          • MyrtleUrkel

            Definitely no harsh intent!

        • Zaftiguana

          I don’t even begin to understand the fact that you have no trouble accepting that there might be something more to an extremely common similarity between the names of two men in that time/class/ethnic group, but you think it’s far-fetched to discuss a ridiculously prevalent color story (color story being one of the most common ways designers communicate themes) crafted by someone on the show’s creative team.

          • Okay, let’s let this go. I asked her to drop it and she has graciously assented to move on.

          • Zaftiguana

            Oh sorry, I didn’t see that one nested in there! Good on ‘er. After a certain point, the comments just all load in a single, non-chronological column for me.

  • MilaXX

    I noticed the blue/green/yellow thing. Most noticeably to me in the wallpaper in Rogers office which I believe is blue/green/gold. I was trying to figure out if we were seeing a combo of the blue/green colors and got the light teal blue of Peggys’ suit. The on thing I did pick up on was that nearly every scene was a call back to another scene like Sylvia trapped in the hotel room vs Pete’s mother trapped in his apartment.

  • sarahjane1912

    Oh … and I feel like a total idiot for not spotting that Sylvia was basically in a fashion timewarp. All I could think was I *knew* that she looked wrong. She did look like a throwback to the 50s and in her stockings/suspenders, like a bit of an old hooker [sorry]. Of course, the stockings/suspenders were still being worn by women in this era but for the most part, loads of women had taken up tights/pantyhose instead. I’m pretty sure by the early 70s, that’s what most women were wearing [happy to stand corrected]. I know my mother did.

    Then again … Sylvia was also in seduction mode so the stockings were true for the scene and her relationship with Don, I suppose. Pantyhose are just SO unattractive when one is trying to ‘get it on’. 😉

    • MartyBellerMask

      Now I need to go back and look up Sal’s wife (Poor Kitty!) I bet there are similarities there.

    • Glammie

      The black lingerie also made me think of Sophia Loren and in a MM context, Megan during the hate-sex scene last season.

      • Chris

        It reminded me of the first season episode in the hotel room with Don and Betty when she comes out in black garters and the merry widow corset and Don can’t….perform. it seems Don likes the 1950’s model now when he didn’t before.

        • Glammie

          He likes whatever he doesn’t have–though at least this time, he has two brunettes . . .

          • Chris

            Yes, Faye really hit the nail on the head when she told him he only liked the beginnings of things. He’s the 1960’s Henry VIII.

          • He’s the 1960’s Henry VIII. Love it

      • Chris

        It dawned on me later it also reminded me of when Don left Bobbie tied up in the hotel room in her black lingerie. Another jackass power move by Don. He really does like putting “mouthy” women in submissive situations.

    • Cheryl

      The similarity between Sylvia’s yellow-floral dress and Pete’s mother’s is quite depressingly nauseating.

  • MoHub

    I’m sure seeing a boatload of red, from accents to full garments.

    • HHF

      Yes, this is what stood out to me – not a blue/yellow theme but a red/yellow theme. If you look at all the screencaps with yellow, there is always something red too. Interesting.

  • ggg

    Joan no longer wears her pen necklace either.

    • bxbourgie

      I don’t think we’ve seen the pen all season. I love that evolution in her style.

      • Maybe she will give the pen to Dawn as a gift at the end of the season. I think the MM geeks would all squee if she did 🙂

      • And position. She’s not there to take a memo.

      • We haven’t.

      • egurl

        Remember when that young copywriter insulted Joan for being just like his mother and wearing the pen necklace to accentuate her figure during Season 4? Did Joan wear the necklace much longer after that incident?

        • She wore it right up to the last episode of season 5.

        • That guy hated women with a passion.

          • Oh yeah, Joey was gross.

          • Carol

            And yet he (often) had a great working relationship with Peggy. Or rather, mid-evolution Peggy.

  • Guys, I know I keep harping on about this, but blue means something like ‘establishment’ ‘power’ ‘status quo’ ‘old regime’; green means ‘freedom’ ‘liberty’ ‘independence’ ‘breaking the rules’ and yellow means something like ‘happy’ ‘sunny’ ‘unsullied’ ‘uncorrupted’.

    I’ve been noticing this for a couple of seasons now and those meanings apply consistently. Megan used to wear a lot of green but now wears blue as she struggles to save her marriage. Peggy used to wear yellow but now has changed to blue. Ken Cosgrove always wears yellow or green.
    Anna Draper wore lots of yellow, most memorably in ‘the Suitcase’ .
    Try it for size. It works consistently and has done for several seasons now…

    • Laylalola

      That interpretation even fits for the blue and green screens in Pete’s new apartment.

      • It’s why it keeps showing up in adulterous situations too – the blue of the rules and the status quo v the green of independence, rule breaking and freedom.

    • procrastinatrice

      this is an attractive idea but it is not like each character wears either blue or green consistently. Joan in this episode, case in point.

      • No, but it shows different aspects of a character at different times. Joan wears blue when she’s the established old guard female against the new hordes is secretaries, then puts on a green coat when she’s literally making a bid for freedom from the office and then wears all green when she’s bending the rules to save Bob Benson’s job. I wonder if the fact that she’s wearing green here means she has some rather unconventional ideas in his direction. Taking up with a toyboy was hardly the done thing.

        Likewise Megan is wearing blue when trying to save her marriage and yellow when she innocently mourns Bobby Kennedy, unaware of Don’s recent corrupt and sleazy power plays.

        • I hope if Joan and Bob do get together it is she that has all the power and he falls for her hard.

          • Little_Olive

            But it’d be nice to see Joan let her guard down for real.

          • I think she did at the beginning with Roger and her rapist husband at first. I just want her to be the one with the power for once in her romantic relationship.

        • procrastinatrice

          I am convinced!

    • Paola – Your take makes the most sense to me. Good job. Thanks TLo for your fascinating recaps!

    • Just been looking at some old Mad Styles (such a fab resource). Ted’s wife is innocently wearing yellow while Peggy and Ted are flirting next to her at the awards show. Dawn is wearing a yellow cardigan when she innocently helps Harry’s secretary break the rules. Ginsberg is wearing yellow on his date when he confesses his virginity. Innocent, untainted, uncomplicated.

      • Paola – What is your take on pink? I was thinking of Trudy’s negligee and Peggy’s outfit when she was fantasizing about Ted. Light red? Whore-lite? Same with Peggy’s pale blue. Those qualities less pronounced?

        • I haven’t thought about pink a lot. It doesn’t come up so much. But possibly a non-sexual happy femininity. Joan likes to wear it. Red is definitely sexual femininity.

          I think you might be right about pale blue. It says ‘establishment’ and ‘status quo’ but not threateningly. Peggy is part of the establishment now, but doesn’t play power games (except when she’s telling Don off). And of course Betty used to be queen of the pale blues – very much part of the established society, but also quite powerless.

      • Yellow almost seems to be Naivety in all these situations. Pete’s mother cannot move without assistance and has no idea what is going on, Ted gets dragged into a drinking match with Don, Megan is ENTIRELY clueless. Even Bob gets a schooling on what is going to happen in his yellow shirt.

        • I think naivety is definitely part of it. But almost in a positive way if that makes any sense. It’s something to do with the characters not partaking in the shenanigans and sordidness going on around them and retaining their own personal decency.

          • You’re definitely right. No one in yellow has deliberately harmed anyone or taken up their own self destruction. Even Sylvia goes back to her yellow dress when she ends her affair with Don. Do you think this innocence/naivety can also be attributed to Peggy’s new apartment?

          • You really got me thinking about this 🙂 and I went back to last week’s Mad Style and bingo! TLo noted that all the men of SCDP are wearing yellow ties, but were unsure as to what it meant. And that is the scene where they finally get rid of the sordidness of the Jaguar account and Joan lets rip at Don. So in that scene they are temporarily uncorrupted and untainted. (Joan conversely is in green – free to let rip at Don, free from the attentions of Jaguar man, and the whole Jaguar affair has perversely given her a huge amount of personal and professional freedom). So I think that yellow at the moment definitely has a meaning of ‘uncorrupted’. Also work’s for Pete’s mom. She might be an emotional bully playing power games (does she usually wear a lot of blue?) but I don’t think she’s corrupt.

            Oh and Peggy is strikingly wearing yellow when she first visits the apartment that falls through. Innocently and naively celebrating the fruits of her labours?

          • (Sorry I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent here)

            I had to go back to last week’s Mad Style too, and Joan’s pink and yellow shirt jumped right out at me. I was really confused by it because it seemed like such an unJoanlike shirt, but she was wearing it before Don screwed up SCDP’s chance of going public. Burt also has yellow running through his vest and the consultant has a yellow tie. Everyone in that room (with the exception of Pete who is about to lose his father in law’s account) is planning better things that will harm no one.

            The more I look at this season, the more it keeps coming across. For Peggy, I was referring to her second apartment. The mustard outfit from the first apartment seemed more Power Trip Peggy, whereas her actual new apartment (and by extension her coat) is a more pale yellow, which indicated to me she was in a place she wasn’t entirely understanding of yet. She is also wearing her creamy yellow hat and coat with hints of yellow when she re-enters the office with Joan, making the reflection back to their first meeting twofold in that she comes in with her yellow/innocence, and then sheds it almost immediately for her blue suit and that amazing dark blue combo when she yells at Don. I wonder if we’ll see her in yellow or her power colour again this season?

            Ginsberg’s yellow jacket from his date also seems like another tick in the Yellow/Innocence/Naivety box. Yellow has always been Ken Cosgroves colour, and he is one of the few characters who has never been as ruthless or self serving as any of his colleagues. And Betty (a few episodes ago), in her frilly night gown, holding her old ball gown against her, an indication of covering/losing her new-found calm and returning to her ice queen ways?

            Joan again, that yellow dressing gown with the blue roses. Rosebuds to signify Joan is finding her heart/self again on a yellow back ground of freedom from the office corruption and perhaps an ending to how she felt about Jaguar?

          • Oh wow, so many good thoughts. I’ve been obsessive about this for three seasons now. So glad I’ve corrupted someone else. Ha!

            I think mustard has always been Peggy’s power colour because it’s a strong form of yellow – meaning she’s successful – but by dint of hard work, being good at her job and staying true to her essential self, not because she was born into the establishment, or plays manipulative power games. (Same with Ken Cosgrove). I hope she does wear it again this season.

            And I love the idea of her apartment as a refuge, a place where she can essentially be herself. A crazy fixer-upper in a rundown neighbourhood, with people pooping on the stairs, but with ENORMOUS potential, seems much more Peggy somehow than a smart apartment in a swanky neighbourhood.

            And I find it fascinating that Joan is wearing much more blue (power), green (freedom) and yellow (optimism/integrity) than she used to, when she would wear a lot of pink, red and purple. I think her new role suits her…

          • 3hares

            How is Sylvia not partaking in shenanigans and sordidness going on around her when she’s spending the day playing dominance sex games with the husband of the other woman in yellow who’s not having an affair? And doesn’t Ted’s secretary also play some power games with SCDP?

          • Aurumgirl

            The thing about Sylvia’s yellow coat and dress: Don replaces her outfit with the red dress from Saks. She may have walked in there in yellow, but she was going to spend her time in there in red.

          • 3hares

            But if she can take it off to have sex and put it on again, isn’t it a fake innocence? It’s like the Heinz guy taking off his wedding ring for a night on the town and putting it on again when he goes home.

          • Aurumgirl

            The point is she is not wearing the yellow when she is with Don. Whatever the yellow represents (and there are a thousand brilliant points about its traditional sunniness, optimism, power, and imprisonment), she isn’t wearing it when she’s with Don except when she first sees him and when she decides that the affair is over. It’s funny, I went and took another look at episode 3, season 5, the “503” of the hotel room, and Megan wears a bright yellow sheath to work that day with her hair styled very similarly to Sylvia’s. She and Don talk about the outcome of Betty’s tumour tests, and Don tells Megan that Betty will be fine. Megan then says, “We’re out of the woods, then!”, another direct reference to Dante’s Inferno. Essentially, when Sylvia tells Don it’s over, and she wants to go home, she is telling Don she’s out of the woods, too. Whatever turmoil she felt trapped in (for which “nothing else” but Don would do) is over.

          • Just wanted to say that I think you’re spot on. And the references to 503 are fascinating. I need to go back and look at the Mad Style for that episode too. And I’m dying to know who Don’s ‘Virgil’ is going to be…

          • Aurumgirl

            Don’s Virgil is Ted.

          • OK, that’s fascinating about the cancer stuff. And I think you might be right about Ted. And next season will see the arrival of Don’s Beatrice?

    • Zaftiguana

      How does Pete’s mom fit into that theory, though? Deeply unhappy, dementia-addled, abusive, shitty relationships with her kids whom she’s treated poorly for decades, etc.

      I don’t think it’s a great fit for Sylvia in this episode either, but a case could be made given the ending.

      • But AT THAT MOMENT Pete’s mom is a confused, overwhelmed, embarrassed old lady sitting bewildered in her son’s fuckpad, while he is too busy with his own power plays to attend to her.

        And Sylvia innocently thinks that she will be indulging in some sexy fun times until she realises that something much more rotten and sinister is going on, finds it shameful and refuses to be corrupted.

        I agree that the colours rarely work for a character’s whole personality or even story arc, but they seem to just give clues to a character’s thoughts, motivations and role in those particular scenes.

        • 3hares

          Pete’s mom’s demeanor is never, that I remember, confused, overwhelmed, embarrassed or bewildered. She’s impatient, overbearing and critical. Her son’s losing power plays to run home and attend to her.

          • She’s so confused she can’t remember whether her husband is dead or not.

          • 3hares

            Yes, I know that she *is* confused but she’s not saying, “Oh Peter, help me. Where is my husband? Is he alive or dead?” She’s angrily saying that his father hasn’t been home for a week because he’s probably out with a whore, just as Pete brings whores to his apartment and by the way she sees his wife left him and he deserved it.

            I can agree with dementia=confused and therefore vulnerable, but it seems like you’re also saying that her character is more admirable than those around her. Suggesting there’s another side to the backstory seems to also push in that direction. You’re marking her out as the one who’s decent when she’s being treated more decently by others than she’s treating them, which was true before she got sick as well.

          • I still think you’re reading too much into the backstory. Every colour is used just for that particular scene or situation, which is why characters can wear several different colours in a single episode. If you were a new viewer, who knew nothing about Pete and his mom in the past, all you would see is a vulnerable confused old lady essentially being manipulated and lied to by two men in blue – the janitor and Pete. In reacting angrily she is just staying true to her own self and her own set of moral values.

            I don’t think the colours make moral judgments at all. I think they just give us clues as to the characters’ motivations in particular scenarios.

          • 3hares

            I think if I was seeing it for the first time I’d see a woman with dementia and two men in blue dealing with her, but I don’t think I’d see her accusations against her dead husband or her satisfaction at the idea that her son’s been thrown out of his house as staying true to her own set of moral values. She is, I agree, trying to assert reality as she understands it on a situation and sees the two men as messing with her when they try to convince her of a different reality, whether it’s real (her husband is dead), a lie to manipulate her (it’s St. Patrick’s Day so don’t wander outside) or a lie to protect their own weaknesses (my wife hasn’t rejected me). I think even on first viewing I’d see her son as the emotionally vulnerable one even if she was the physically vulnerable one. Their whole relationship is kind of telegraphed in that line about the cook.

            Sylvia’s wearing her yellow dress when she calls up her lover/friend’s husband to cheat with so I probably wouldn’t associate that with staying true to her own moral values. I guess Moira’s trying to make things the way she thinks they should be at SCDP, but so is Joan.

            It seems almost just easier to say that the person in blue and the person in yellow usually have conflicting agendas/realities. Megan and Don are in two different worlds at the end. Ted and Don make their businesses two very different worlds. Moira and Joan represent the different worlds of CDC and SCDP. Peggy came in with Ted but speaks the language of SCDP. Pete and his mother are in two different worlds. Sylvia and Don are in two totally different affairs.

            Each pair finds different ways to balance out their worlds. Don tries to dominate Ted and Ted flips him. Joan hands Moira a task to avoid being defined by Moira. Sylvia ends the affair and Don’s fantasy, imposing her reality over Don’s. And then there’s two most intimate pairs in domestic situations. Don and Megan exist in isolation, not even looking at each other. Earlier Megan tried to speak and Don tunes her out. Pete and his mom try to communicate but miss each other–because those are the two who are truly separated by madness.

        • Zaftiguana

          I’m still not buying that with Pete’s mom. She’s absolutely confused and overwhelmed, but there’s nothing happy or sunny or uncorrupted about any of that. And then throw in the fact that she’s responding to her confusion by being abusive and reverting to her standard script of belittling and manipulating her son and it’s just not working for me.

          I also don’t think there’s meant to be anything innocent about what Sylvia wants or is doing, and she’s already gone well beyond “uncorrupted” to get to this point. It almost works in that Sylvia has certainly retained more optimism about life than someone like Don, but this is still the woman who has repeatedly fucked a man she knows to be supremely damaged goods in her family home. With his wife upstairs. And then left a screaming meltdown in her marriage in her yellow dress to meet said man for some quick-and-dirty at a hotel.

          Anyway, I think it’s a decent theory and you may really have something going with the blue and green (though I think something else is at play with blue, too) but it’s not quite matching up for me. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep running with it!

          • I agree that happy and sunny don’t work in these cases though yellow has been used in that way before. But it seems to signify an inner decency and integrity at the heart of a character. Yes Sylvia does all those things, but ends up deeply ashamed (and the yellow in her dress was mixed with passionate sexy red signifying her inner struggle. At the same time I DID read Pete’s mom as a frightened woman clinging to the shreds of her dignity and her inner integrity in an increasingly incomprehensible world. She does it her way but she’s trying to keep her moral core and values intact.

            It’s a stretch I admit 🙂 but after all she is only wearing a sort of dirty shade of yellow and not the bright, uncomplicated sunny yellow say of Anna Draper’s apparition

          • Zaftiguana

            To each their own, but I don’t see anything integrous about emotionally abusing your kids, and THAT’S what she’s clinging to. I get why (because it’s familiar), but I can’t get behind characterizing it by any stretch of the imagination as having to do with dignity or integrity. I understand that a woman in her situation elicits sympathy, as she should, but she’s still kind of a terrible person who, as many terrible people do when they develop dementia, is coping in characteristically shitty ways.

            Whatever yellow is about just has to be more complicated than that. A few of its major uses in this episode feel almost sinister, so I just don’t think it can be inherently positive thematically.

          • Cheryl

            The yellow of Sylvia’s floral and Pete’s mother’s floral is more of a dingy, faded linen than a bright or vibrant yellow. Musty, not crisp, and smelling vaguely of mothballs.

          • I first got tuned into yellow when Anna Draper appeared in a glowing sunny yellow in apparition in The Suitcase.

            Anna was shown as a beacon of integrity and goodness in a complicated world and symbol of hope and understanding for Don. She is the gold standard (see what I did there? 🙂 against which all other yellows should be measured…

          • See my reply to 3hares above.

            But overall I agree that the use of yellow is getting more and more sinister. In fact I’m wondering if the merger of Gleason, Cutler and Chaough with SCDP (and the relationship between Don and Ted) isn’t some sort of metaphor for the way the optimism, hope and yes, naivety of the 60s was eventually overtaken by the corruption, power politics and warmongering of the establishment. Nixon instead of Bobby Kennedy. This episode was all about power corrupting.

          • I still agree with Paola. Wasn’t Meghan wearing yellow when Don fell for her? When she was at the office and she took care of Sally who had run away from Betty? Maybe it was orange? What’s orange? Anyway, I like this line of thinking for the colors.

          • 3hares

            It just seems like you’re describing Pete’s Mom’s medical condition rather than her personality. As a person, she’s never been shown to have much in the way of inner decency or integrity and the dementia is making her defensive and therefore even more scornful. The person she’s yelling at is being more decent while also clinging to shreds of dignity in an increasingly chaotic world.

          • I don’t think the colours describe personality as such, but are used SITUATIONALLY. So they describe a particular character in that particular scene. Though some characters wear the same colour a lot because they’re in similar situations a lot.

            Regardless of the Pete/mom backstory (and remember we’ve only ever seen Pete’s side of things), in these scenes she’s a sick old lady who’s trapped in someone’s apartment, trying to make sense of what’s going on in her world and the world at large. At that moment I felt sympathy for her.

            But I agree with TLo, I think a lot of her costume at that moment was also to highlight the parallels between her situation and Sylvia’s.

          • Aurumgirl

            I’ve always thought about the colour yellow as sunny and light as well, but there has also always been an element of being “trapped”, as well, and it is not just in this episode. Anna wearing yellow with a cast on her leg and “in the dark” about her terminal cancer, thanks to the machinations of her sister and her niece. Don tries to rectify that while he visits, but he’s shut down and told that he is “just a man in a room with a chequebook”. Peggy’s also wearing a yellow dress in The Suitcase, when Don goads her into staying late and working late, despite her previous commitments. So that’s where it fits for Pete’s mom, and for Sylvia too. After all, she takes off the yellow dress to have her tryst. Unlike the speculation that Dante’s opening lines point out how Don is “lost in a dark wood (Sylvia!) in the middle of his life”, I think it’s no accident Sylvia’s given him that book to read. She’s not telling him he’s “lost”, she’s telling him she is lost. And it is not until she has her dream that she finds her way again, when she tells Don that it’s time for her to go home.

    • pookiesmom

      Love this interpretation. Thanks for sharing.

    • Aurumgirl

      I’m glad you kept “harping” on about it.

    • oh_dear_oh_dear

      I actually just went back and re-read a bunch of Mad Styles with this in mind. It is SO accurate. I know this comment is belated but I just wanted to say I appreciate this theory so much!

  • chauncey

    This doesn’t have anything to do with the clothes for the episode, but did anyone else notice how Pete kept his mother trapped by lying about it being St. Patrick’s Day. Like, “sorry, my WASPy xenophobic mother, but the filthy Irish are roaming about today, so stay inside.” Lovely analysis as usual, TLo.

    • That was such a funny/horrible moment. Making a person with dementia doubt one of the few things they CAN remember correctly (what month it is) — so cruel. Perfectly Pete.

      • formerlyAnon

        A minor cruelty compared to the imperative of keeping someone with dementia safe. The real cruelty is that Pete (not unlike many children) is not prepared to deal realistically with what kind of care his mother needs. The real tragedy is that in 1968 the education and resources he needs are much harder to come by than they are today.

      • 3hares

        Why would it be any different for her to be told it’s March than it would be to be told that her husband is dead? He’s giving her false information to counter the false information she’s trying to act on (the idea that she can go back to her apartment safely) to keep her safe.

        Real cruelty would be handing her bus fare and sending her outside.

    • VictoriaDiNardo

      That may very well be true, but I can also tell you that St. Patrick’s Day is very disruptive in mid-town because of the parade, and it used to be really bad before they cracked down on the public drinking. When I worked in a midtown shop in the 70’s we used to close by mid-afternoon because of the drunk kids ( of all nationalities ) who come into the city to party.

      • Spicytomato1

        Yes, I was thinking he cooked up the St. Patrick’s Day idea not to keep her home out of fear of the irish but out of fear of the drunken crowds. Pretty clever.

      • Sweetpea176

        I took it as a warning about drunken crowds as well. The street below the office I worked in in midtown during the late-80’s was a staging location for hordes of cops marching in the parade, most (all?) of them drunk and rowdy by 10am, and I imagine all still armed, except for the bagpipers. If the cops were all drunk and disorderly, you can imagine what the rest of the crowd was like.

  • lchopalong

    I wonder if this means that the Draper marriage will be saved. For now. As long as she continues to pander to him for fear of losing him. Maybe he’ll even be faithful for a bit if she keeps being submissive.

    • Perditax

      I get the impression that the relationships pretty dead, but that if they carry on like this they might draw it out for a long time before one of them admits this.

      • formerlyAnon

        I agree with this. Megan might believe for quite a while that Don will experience some growth – he has been quite open, for him, with her at various points – and things can rekindle.

        • He’s been a hell of a lot more open with Megan than with Betty. I think that Megan and Don will stay together but unhappily.

          • formerlyAnon

            If they were “real people” I think I’d agree. But the writers haven’t really let many of the characters – and especially not Don – ride out a relationship that we’ve seen from the inside for more than a few years without changing things up.

          • And would we watch it?

          • formerlyAnon

            I think so. But it wouldn’t be the same show, so who knows?

    • formerlyAnon

      Nah. Don’s not really attracted to merely submissive women. Betty was a belle of the ball – the establishment ball he wanted to attend. Megan was bright and up-to-the-minute. Don does want to be able to exercise control over his women – but it’s meaningless if the woman isn’t a challenge or a trophy of some sort. In the end, he’s not satisfied with himself and he’s never satisfied with anyone he’s with.

    • Glammie

      Nah. The marriage may go on for a while, but Don’s a serial cheater. The moment he has any sense of any abandonment–and it doesn’t take much–he’s off playing around.

    • not_Bridget

      Megan could find someone new; Betty did. Or get a job on “the Coast.”

      Let’s watch her wardrobe for hints!

  • BarniClaw

    Hot damn, you guys! That was amazing. And that adjective doesn’t nearly do your post justice. So impressive. Thank you!

  • disqus_L5TiliI0uO

    So, I was thinking.

    We hear “Love is Blue” at the end of one episode. The lyrics:

    Blue, blue, my world is blue
    Blue is my world now I’m without you

    Green, green, my jealous heart
    I doubted you and now we’re apart

    • MoHub

      Interestingly, the original French lyric is happy. The opening line translates as “Blue, blue; love is blue. Blue like the sky that plays in your eyes.”

  • MK03

    That last screencap of Don and Ted in the plane is a thing of beauty. You can just hear Ted thinking “suck it.”

    • bxbourgie

      Ted is bad ass. The look on Don’s face in the conference room when he found out Ted was a pilot was GOLD.

      • I have never wanted Ted Chaough more than I did in that last scene.

        • bxbourgie

          I almost licked the TV screen. Good thing I live alone.

          • Zaftiguana

            Lol, I think there are two kinds of straight/bi women and gay/bi men watching this show right now; those who want to jump Ted’s bones and those who want to jump Stan’s.

            Go Team Stan!

          • NoGovernmentName

            I’m still on Team Ken (but I wouldn’t kick Roger out of bed for spilling vodka).

          • Zaftiguana

            For my money, Ken is an M in FMK. Stan and Roger are Fs. Harry is a K (sad tromboooooone).

        • siriuslover

          and didn’t he purposely mess with the controls to make the plane lurch? Sure seemed like it. hahahaha! That’s for that smart ass smirk in the creatives’ room Don!

      • I love seeing Don realize he may no longer be the Alpha.

        • Aurumgirl

          With the added bonus of realizing he invited the other alpha in. To save his own ass.

    • not_Bridget

      His aviator shades & jacket could be considered affectations–but not for a real pilot! (Did he learn in the service?)

  • VanessaDK

    A commenter last week noted green as an aggressive color against the traditional blue. I think that this idea holds up if we look at the transition from green (which mixes the opposing colors of blue and yellow together) to straight out oppositional yellow against the blue of the status quo. This means that each character wearing yellow is upsetting the status quo in that scene (Sylvia, Pete’s mom, the secretaries at the partners table), while green is pushing a little bit less aggressively against the blue. Joan at the ER in Blue and Green? Conflict. Joan at home in blue roses? Back to the status quo.

    Peggy in Blue and white power suit? Maybe she is acknowledging that she is once again a part of Don Draper’s firm (Blue) but that she is not the same Peggy who left (style).

    • Aurumgirl

      I looked and looked at that print on Joan’s robe, because they did seem like blue roses to me, at first. But they look to me to be a plum print, rather than a rose print. I could be wrong (as the need for new glasses is probably something I shouldn’t ignore anymore).

  • You guys were the first thought I had when I saw the red dress in the Saks box. And I felt triumphant FOR you! Thanks for this fabulous read. Made my morning.

    • Yes! Me, too! Of course, that’s the only color cue I picked up, but you gotta start somewhere 🙂

      • bxbourgie

        me too! It was the only thing I picked up. I felt so proud of myself!

        • Tipsy_Longstocking

          And then the empty red dress left on the bed as they walked out of the room. Like the fantasy was finally dead. Me and the hubs were like “Oh, it’s over now, Don.”

          • I weirdly was thinking “they are just gonna leave that expensive red sax dress I’m the room?”

    • MK03

      Same. My mom and I watch together (and now I’ve gotten her hooked on TLo!) and I turned to her and intoned “WHORE RED.”

      • Qdahling

        yup, me and my sister did the same. I agree, you gotta start somewhere!

    • Ha! One more me too to the list. I saw that box and squealed “Oh! It’s going to be something red! It’s going to be red! This thing is doomed!” Et voila!

      I really never paid much attention to costuming before TLo’s Mad Style posts beyond having conniptions when something was period inappropriate (what can I say, I’m a fool for period dramas), so I have them to thank for a new layer of enjoyment to old favorites.

    • I feel the same! I shouted out “RED WHORE ROBE!” as soon as she lifted the lid. Of course, it was a dress, but still!

  • AlisonS

    I too squealed when I saw the red dress. I turned to my fiance and said “well, that’s the end of THAT” then had to explain about the red, and that now that Don sees Sylvia as a prostitute she’ll begin to realize it herself and leave. Loyal readership has paid off!!

    • SassieCassy

      i think all of us bks had a big AHA! moment with that dress

    • Aurumgirl

      When I saw it, I said “Oooh! I can’t wait till Wednesday now!” out loud.

      • Perditax

        It’s not many shows that can make you gasp just because of the colour of a dress! (I too said “RED DRESS” out loud) It shows how important the costumes are that just the shot of someone in a particular outfit feels like the payoff of a sub-plot.

  • Sally3000

    Is it possible Joan has something more serious than a cyst? If it was something more serious, I don’t know that she’d tell her mother right away. Her mother said something interesting about young men not being intimidated by women with power (unlike Don, for instance). Maybe that made sense to Joan. Maybe she’s got some mortality issues going on and sees Bob as a potential father for her son.

    As for the yellow and blue, if the episode was calling back to years past as was mentioned in the first recap, maybe the colors were calling back to that time? The photos of Joan and Peggy and the women at work in the background featured a lot of blue and yellow. I don’t know. Just a thought.

    • I don’t think that 1968 pathology would be able to detect ovarian ca in that amount of time (overnight), and certainly there wasn’t imaging available to detect it. Her symptoms were pretty classic ovarian cyst rupture. I have decided to not speculate on BB and his purpose in the story just yet, preferring to allow it to unfold. Mostly because MadMen has never been imminently predictable (aside from last year’s suicide…).

      • formerlyAnon

        Plus, as someone noted in the earlier thread on this episode, if she’d been diagnosed with something they saw as serious, she’d have been in the hospital longer. Cost control wasn’t driving things as hard as it does now – people actually spent days in the hospital sometimes “so you don’t go home too soon” – meaning daily life wasn’t too strenuous for them or “just to watch you and make sure” that they were recovering as expected.

      • Sally3000

        Totally agree on the pathology part. I just recall Joan going to that place of “Who’s going to raise my son?” while she was still in the ER waiting room, and it would be very much like Joan to quickly and calmly move into planning and action mode to get a contingency plan in place. I’m not married to this idea, just thinking out loud.

        • I totally feel what you’re putting down. She can also subtly manipulate to place him higher in the company.

    • DoneAgain

      Yes. Keep in mind that if she had advanced cancer, they wouldn’t tell her anyway. I suspect Jaguar Herb gave her a little present in the form of a VD.

    • siriuslover

      Cysts can be pretty darned serious, so I was really surprised she was out of the hospital and back to work so soon. I had one removed in my late teens and I was wiped out for a week, though they had me walking slowly by the end of the first day (of course, I nearly fainted). To remove a cyst is surgery, so how was she back at work so quickly? And I know this is Mad Style, but now that you mentioned it, I thought I’d raise my own little concerns.

      • formerlyAnon

        If a cyst bursts on its own it can be acutely painful but you don’t necessarily have to have surgery. When I had a cyst removed (many moons ago) the primary reason for the surgery was to make sure it was only a cyst and not a tumor. (This was pre- MRI, pre-ultrasound, and before laparoscopic surgery was common.)

        • siriuslover

          Was it a burst cyst? Or was it a cyst? I don’t know that they clarified that. And yeah, my cyst was the size of a softball and it was all kinds of messed up.

  • PowerfulBusiness

    Wow, I didn’t even think of the fact that the last time a person told someone to move forward, it was Don to Peggy in the psych ward. Don’s office has become a psych ward of it’s own, so I guess the reversal is fitting. That said, Don’s words set Peggy off in a skyward direction. Maybe her own “move forward” will do that for Don.

  • When I saw the red dress, I also jumped up and down for you guys. And given that Joan was in so much green and blue and that she had the abdominal pain, I suspected she might be pregnant (maybe that night at the bar with her friend from out of town?). Of course, she wouldn’t tell Bob Benson that.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      Ooh, that would go along with blue/green being a signal for subterfuge. Who knows, it might have even been an ectopic pregnancy (though she probably would have been in this hospital longer if she had an actual surgical procedure done)…

  • leighanne

    Wanted: a poster of Ted in his aviator outfit flying the plane, with the caption underneath Smooth as Butter.

    • Chris

      There is a fantastic gif of him and Don in the plane (circulating the internet) with Ted putting on his aviator glasses and the words pop up “Deal With It” underneath. Love it.

      • VioletFem

        Even though GIFs, aren’t exactly TLo’s thing, I was kind of hopping they would use that Don & Ted GIF in this post.

        side note: I LUV your Spike&Dru avatar!

        • Chris

          Thanks :0) Did you see where they are doing a play together now? Would love to see that.

          • VioletFem

            I did not know that! So cool to hear that they are still working together.

          • Ahh Spike, that sex scene with him and Buffy demolishing a house is my fav sex scene ever!

      • Ren
      • leighanne

        I need to find this : )

        • Chris

          It’s at uproxx among other sites or just google “Don, Ted, plane” etc and it will come up.

    • Write On

      No, “Smooth as Margarine”! LOL!

  • dalgirl

    ‘Betty Rubble hair’-PERFECT description.

    Thanks for a fab analysis, as always.

  • 3hares

    I see the parallels of Sylvia and Mrs. Campbell, but there’s still something really disturbing to me about describing Mrs. C. as trapped by the lies of an asshole. However much of an asshole Pete is as a person, he’s just as much the opposite of Don as the seedier side to him here. Don gives himself freedom to go about his day with Sylvia waiting for him in the room awaiting his orders. Pete’s day is controlled by his mother whose delusions he must ultimately enter into to to keep her in the apartment so that she will not wander outside and get lost. It’s her dementia that’s brought her to this place.

    I think there’s a black humor to paralleling them, but the main way Don and Pete seem similar emotionally to me seems more about that moment where Don pathetically asks Sylvia to stay and Pete is pathetically affected by his mother’s confused offer to have the cook make his favorite meal. Don’s trying to find a loving mother in Sylvia, Pete can’t stop himself from looking for a loving mother in his own nasty and now confused and violent one.

    • Zaftiguana

      Yeah, I’m kind of conflicted about Pete’s behavior here. On the one hand, this woman has been awful to him and there was a lot of ignorance then about the best ways to deai with dementia patients. And the St. Patty’s lie was meant to keep her safe unti lhe can find a permanent placement for her.

      On the other hand, anyone with two brain cells to rub together should know not to let and addled old person stay alone in an apartment all day. When he left her the first time, I turned to my husband and said “She’s going to set his apartment on fire.” And shore nuff. This shit ain’t new, Pete Campbell.

      • 3hares

        I suspect this way of dealing with someone like that at first is very common–especially at that time period. As a man, Pete’s ever been expected to take care of anyone this way. He can’t bring himself to tell his brother he can’t ship her off to Trudy, but he also has demands at work he’d be terrified to blow off. So he tells himself he can do both and spends the days sticking his finger in all the leaks in the dam. It feels possible to him because on some level he still sees his mother as the demanding, difficult adult she’s always been. Give her a G&T and set her in front of the TV. Buy a catcher’s mitt for when she gets violent.

        I really hope there’s more to this story, actually, but I don’t now what more I’d want. The situation’s just so…primal and honest, I guess.

        • Zaftiguana

          Exactly. In the end I can see from the outside that Pete is screwing up, but only a few minor aspects of those screw-ups are really due to Pete being uncommonly shitty. So much of the rest of is, for better or worse, either understandable or authentic. Or both.

          • Cheryl

            Pete doesn’t know that his mother has dementia. At the time, she would be considered “senile,” which was sort of expected of someone old, and not seen as an illness or disease. It was annoying and confounding to the family, but Pete really can’t be expected to be too sympathetic, because to him it’s not a no-fault process, but that she’s — like my 99-year-old ex-father in law — just becoming “the same as she always was, just more so.”

          • Zaftiguana

            Sure, but senile or suffering from dementia, you don’t leave them alone all day in an apartment with appliances that generate heat or fire unless you’re being kind of a dummy. Sorry ’bout it, Pete Campbell!

            But again, about a lot of other things I’m prepared to cut him a ton of slack based on his mother apparently being a shitty parent and person (which he apparently learned at her knee) and the times being what they were.

  • golden_valley

    On another matter, what’s up with Meghan’s teeth? They were prominently featured in this episode. I remember when she first appeared as the secretary who was willing and seemed to expect to be hit on by Don, the teeth seemed prominent. After she married Don, she became the beautiful fashion plate and the overbite was not too noticeable. Now that Don is unhappy with her, the overbite appears again. Is this my imagination or is this something that the producers want us to notice?

    • MasterandServant

      I noticed her teeth a lot this week, too….very strange, no?

    • I think Jessica Pare’s Wife of Bath smile is one of the sexiest things about her. Since she had so few scenes, I didn’t feel they were overly focused on, it’s just her grill.

      • MoHub

        “Gat-toothed she was …”

      • Spicytomato1

        Agreed. I wish she didn’t get so much grief for them.

        • MasterandServant

          No, not grief….when Don was tuning her out I thought there was a huge camera focus on her teeth. Like an accentuated speaking motion. Like I feel that MM doesn’t do that zoom in and focus thing very often…… it was interesting to me

          • bigeasybridget

            I think it was more a focus on her mouth….to show that Don was just watching her mouth move as she spoke, but wasn’t hearing a thing. So since there was an intentional shot of her mouth to illuminate this point, obviously her teeth are going the get a little more attention than before.

          • Sweetpea176

            I agree that the way that was shot made her features look exaggerated and was probably deliberate to make her appear sort of silly and cartoon-ish (from Don’s POV).

  • Jennifer Coleman

    I think at least in this episode, the colors also represent mixing (or not mixing) of the different companies, new people relationships, in addition to all the great points you bring up.

  • 0peramanda

    I thought that, for the most part, the characters in yellow could be see as interlopers. The color figured prominently on the CGC staffers — notice Joan’s confrontation on the stairs, Ted wearing the color when trying to establish himself in the partners meeting and while flying the plane. Sylvia the Other Woman wore it, as did Pete’s inconvenient mother. Even Bob the White Knight’s coat was a yellowish tan.

    • And Megan? Or Roger? Or Meredith?

      • Perditax

        Looking through these pictures, I got the impression that the yellow was representing some kind of new (possibly disruptive) influence in the scene. It’s most applicable when worn by the new staff, and Pete’s mother. Peggy is back on old territory so she isn’t directly ‘New’ like Ted. Bob is still an unknown quantity. Sylvia had a new dynamic with Don this episode and their relationship was over by the end. With Megan, the scene was of her reacting to the news of the assassination, something that could disrupt things next episode. Jim is technically new, but he seems to be fitting in well, hence the blue. Meredith is always a disruptive influence! (I may be clutching at straws here…)

        Was Roger’s yellow in his tie? While he’s not strictly ‘New’ he has seemed more energised lately, we’ve even seen him actually doing his job!

        Like with the blue/green it can be hard to pin down a colour combo to one specific meaning but I think there might be something behind this idea, even if it’s only one facet.

      • Zaftiguana

        I wonder if it’s that the people in yellow are still actively striving for something. Even Ted, who despite having “made it” as a partner and creative director is still always eager to learn more and do better work and inspire the people on his team. Or Sylvia, who despite struggling in her marriage and being in a depressing affair still has faith in the possibility of something better. Even Pete’s mom who keeps by-god insisting that there’s not a damn thing wrong with her and she wants to go home. I don’t know, I’m not sure it works all around, but it feels like there’s something there. Optimism vs. cynicism.

      • 0peramanda

        Maybe “interloper” is not the right term. Maybe it’s more “other”ness and intrusion. Meredith had a chair and Don didn’t. She was, literally, in his space, so Ted moved. Megan — has there ever been a scene that pointed more directly to the conclusion that she and Don are not alike and that her presence is an intrusion to him? As for Roger and the other SCDP folks, I thought the touches of yellow signified the turmoil at being intruded upon.

  • Bravo. Well done, gentlemen.

  • Spicytomato1

    I was also struck by Sylvia’s less than mod fashion sense this week, too. She truly looked like she belonged in the first season, style-wise. It’s like Don had come full circle and ended up right back where he started.

    Love the new yellow angle, so much to parse. I mentioned in the episode recap that while yellow is commonly thought of as sunny and optimistic, it also can have sinister connotations, which were heavily impressed into me by a college lit prof. So I tend to think the symbolism may have less than sunny implications. It will be fun to tune in and see how it plays out.

    • fursa_saida

      I can’t believe this didn’t hit me till now, but regarding sinister yellow and trapped women: The Yellow Wallpaper, anyone? (I’d link, but then the comment won’t show up for a while.)

      For anyone who’s not familiar, it’s a foundational piece of early feminist literature, and it’s a horror story about a woman brought somewhere by her husband to convalesce from “hysteria” (in this case, it seems like post-partum depression) and being stuck in a room with yellow wallpaper. She starts to see a woman in the pattern, darting in and out, and over time the wallpaper takes up her whole mind until she sees herself as a woman who has emerged from behind the paper too, like scores of others, and refuses to be taken from the room. It’s never been clear to me whether it’s meant to seem that she loses her mind, that she hangs herself, or that she actually transforms into a wallpaper-woman (in a more fantastical style of horror tropes), but it ends with her gleefully perceiving herself, at least, “creeping” around the room in circles, hugging the wall and stepping over the body of her husband, who’s fainted at what’s become of her–whatever exactly that is–as she goes.

      It’s all about being trapped, and being trapped in specifically gendered ways; about your prison taking you over and coming to define you. That doesn’t apply to every instance of yellow here at all, but in terms of two women stuck in rooms, consistently wearing yellow–and patterned, wallpaper-y yellow at that–it’s fun to think about.

      • Tipsy_Longstocking

        I’ve never heard of that story and now I desperately want to read it. Thanks.

        Also – my oldest daughter’s name is Saida. 🙂

      • Thank you for sharing that story. I am sure that costume department definitely knows that short story.

      • siriuslover

        yes, i went there as well, so you’re not the only one!

  • MasterandServant

    My biggest thing was Megan’s ‘sunny yellow’ at the end in her pajamas (sobbing) while Don was dressed for work (again!)

  • I thought Ted’s shades of yellow were more of a mustard, and were a call back to Peggy and her signature color. As for yellow signalling being “trapped,” that could be dead on. Read “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

    As for the blue…it makes me recall the episode “The color blue” and the line from Don’s then mistress, the teacher. Blue is definitely important, but I’m not sure how or why.

    As for Sylvia, her dress silhouette and her lingerie were pure Betty Draper in the early seasons. Sylvia’s floral calls back to the floral dress Betty wore when she met Henry at the coffee shop, and Sylvia’s black lingerie was identical to the lingerie Betty pulled out of the tiny purse when she and Don were in the hotel room on Valentine’s Day. Sylvia is dark Betty.

    • fursa_saida

      Gah, I just wrote a long comment about The Yellow Wallpaper right above this. Shows what I get for not reading further first.

    • Joan Arkham

      Yes! Just about to make this comment, but beaten to the punch. 🙂

  • PowerfulBusiness

    Could Ted be wearing Peggy’s yellow power color because he is the new Peggy at SCDP, to some effect? He’s now the new guy, trying to work for and work with Don Draper, and figure him out at the same time. Peggy is beyond this. She doesn’t have to impress or understand his personality or motives – she just has to deal with them. But that phase of impressing Don Draper is over for her. She has achieved power to a large extent, she’s not looking for it anymore, and especially not from Don Draper.

    • He wore a Mustard yellow blazer just last week.

    • Lilithcat

      Ted is not the “new Peggy” and he’s not working “for” Don. He’s a partner, one of the alpha dogs there. The firms merged.

  • For yellow, I thought of the short story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It’s about a wife trapped in an upstairs room with yellow wallpaper, where she slowly loses her mind. I read it in college, and it definitely applies to Pete’s mom and Sylvia.

    • Sobaika

      Oooh, that’s a great reference.

    • I absolutely love that short story. The image of the woman crawling around the room, rubbing a ring onto the wallpaper. It’s my absolute favorite of all time. I also read it in college (which was 15 years ago, ahhh! AGE) and it has stuck with me so vividly. It applies to all 3 trapped women, I suppose, just for the yellow/trapped motifs.

      • Me too — I graduated 17 years ago (when the cicadas were last here), and it’s such a memorable story. I’m sort of wondering if yellow applies to femininity here — we think of Don being such an alpha male, but Ted and Bob, who wear yellow, seem to have more respect for women. But Roger doesn’t fit that scenario.

        • Spicytomato1

          I think you’re on to something there.

    • YES! I noted this in the comments of Monday’s post about the episode. I also immediately thought of that, especially because it’s not just yellow but yellow floral print.

      • Chris

        Yes you called it a day ago on the first Mad Men post! I was very impressed because after you posted it, it seemed so obvious but I had never thought of it.

        I imagine Matthew Weiner and Janie Bryant sitting around having a Ted Chaough style “rap session” throwing out ideas and themes- “yellow….margarine…The Yellow Wallpaper” to mix into the show and costuming.

    • I said the same thing 😉 Definitely thought of that story.

    • Write On

      I just taught that this week! Get out of my head! Ha!

    • 3hares

      And in the end Sylvia and Don both walk out of the room, because the whole “trapped’ motif was a game. Joan’s led out of her trapped room with just a little help. Where as Pete’s mother actually is losing her mind, and as of the end of the episode, Pete’s still her caretaker who’s trapped in a tiny one bedroom apartment with her. Their last exchange has them kind of sharing a madness together. When she tells him about Kennedy he tells her “that was years ago” in his confusion, making him the one who’s slipped back in time. She tells him he’ll be late for school and he I think just responds with “5 more minutes” as if he is a child.

      • fursa_saida

        Plus, in that last scene, he’s lying down–the story ends with our nameless protagonist circling the room and stepping over her husband’s body as she goes (he faints after seeing what’s become of her).

    • That’s a great insight. I read that story in high school. Really relevant here.

    • Ooh – I’m going to have to find and read this. This sounds right up my alley.

    • Zaftiguana

      Oh, I think you’re onto something there.

  • ashtangajunkie

    Thanks to these posts, I get so much more out of watching Mad Men. I pay attention to as many details as I can, looking for themes and patterns that you two have discussed. It’s absolutely brilliant.

    I definitely had a “whoa” moment when I noticed the roses on Joan’s robe when Bob stopped by! Blue roses with green leaves. I have no idea what it means, but it’s fun to think about.

    • Chris

      When Janie Bryant used to put that motif on Betty she referred to it as “frozen roses.” Maybe it’s to reflect Joan’s frozen emotional state (romantically speaking) and maybe Bob thawed it out?

  • VanessaDK

    Also want to add that I am stunned again by the additional depth you get to by the time you are on your Mad Style post. the idea of each of the women being “trapped’ in a room is just brilliant analysis that I had missed entirely.

  • MarTeaNi

    Don’t think I didn’t notice that now that they have Peggy, they immediately ditched Marge. One vagina in creative at a time, otherwise they’ll be running nothing but tampon and dishwasher ads.

    • formerlyAnon

      Yup. Not always conscious, necessarily. But definitely the feeling “one is enough.”

    • Frank_821

      Well even Margie knew she was a goner

      • bxbourgie

        “Nice knowing ya.”

    • You know what’s funny? In the back of my head, before they revealed her name, I thought “I bet that lady’s name is Marge.” She seemed like a Marge. My boyfriend liked her because she reminded him of a Far Side character!

    • DogintheParthenon

      Plus, everyone knows that women’s periods attract bears

      • Aurumgirl

        Oops! I was told women’s periods attract wolves, up here in Canada. Ha ha. So that’s what periods are for!

  • Oh and in the same way that Betty is a Hitchcock blonde (will she ever fully lose the fat suit? Grace Kelly never lost hers), Joan is a 50s sexbomb and Megan is a coltish Jean Shrimpton/Julie Christie type, Sylvia IS Gina Lollobrigida/Sophia Loren. I love the way that Janie Bryant uses these 60s celeb stereotypes in her costuming…

    • Lisa

      And Peggy is Irene Dunn, Don said.

      • Not Don, Sal! But nice call back.

      • I wasn’t familiar with Irene Dunne but just looked her up on Wikipedia. Apparently she is the ‘best actress never to win an Academy Award’ after being nominated five times for an Oscar. Telling that Peggy didn’t win the advertising award? Julie Christie (Megan?) has every award going of course….

    • Laylalola

      Have we seen Betty recently? I thought the last time we saw her she was holding that blue dress up in the mirror, knowing she’s going to be in the public as the possible wife of a senator? It’s been one or two episodes now without her; I don’t know what that is in Mad Men time. I kind of take it she’s been super-dieting all this time. Maybe we’ll see a body reveal at the end of the season.

      • bxbourgie

        That was the last time we saw her but I have a feeling after Henry’s “I can’t wait for people to meet you.” the next time we see Betty she’ll be back at her fighting weight.

        • Chris

          Or at least as slimmed down as much as she can be in the month or two since we last saw her. I am also guessing she will be back to blonde again. Can’t wait to see!

        • siriuslover

          We saw her right after MLK’s assassination, right? And this is Bobby Kennedy’s, so a few months later.

      • My guess: Betty is going to get amphetamines from the doctor. They prescribed them to my mom in 1969 after I was born. When my grandmother found out, she made my mom quit them immediately. They do help with weight loss though!

      • Cheryl

        They’re only going about a month between episodes. Wasn’t that the MLK episode? That was April 4, and this week was June 5. So it’s only been two months, and I don’t think she would have lost that much weight in two months. She, of course, could have changed her hair color already, though.

        • Sweetpea176

          It didn’t look to me that she had too much more to lose?

  • soupytwist

    To me, trapped women + yellow = The Yellow Wallpaper ( ). Although admittedly that was published a long time before the 60s!

    The blue and yellow thing also occurs in the comparison of the current “Joan and Peggy and one of them is in pain” scene with the first-season one: in the modern scene they’re both in blue, in the first season scene, they’re both in yellow. What that means I don’t know!

  • Joy

    First- YAY!! No turtleneck this episode!! Woohoo!~ He got the memo. I hope he replaces all turtlenecks with aviator glasses. I did find the bomber jacket hysterical.

    Now, I was thinking that Yellow meant the future. I don’t think we EVER see Don in Yellow. We will know that he is coming around and “moving forward” when we see him in yellow.

  • Alanna Wisteria

    Silly question, but does anyone know the ratio of constructed vs. found clothing on the show? In other words, how many of the costumes are made specifically for the actors, compared to how many are found at vintage stores? I assume most are authentic period clothing, but Janie Bryant and her colleagues must need some purpose-sewn things to fill in the gaps.

    • luciaphile

      I don’t know the ratio, but I think it depends on what Janie Bryant needs and what is available. If you have or can get ahold of the dvds, the ones with her commentaries are always quite enlightening.

    • We don’t know the exact ratio but we can tell you Janie made the outfit Joan is wearing in the final scene, as well as the similar one she wore when she hugged Dawn. We also know she made that blue gown of Betty’s, that she wore in the Bobbie Barrett scene and then held up in front of the mirror a couple episodes back. Our sense over the years is that it’s not as tipped toward vintage clothing as you might think. A lot of the clothes are made for the show or they’re vintage pieces that have been significantly re-worked, like Megan’s award dinner gown from a couple episodes back.

      • Yeah — it seems like they’d have to make a lot of clothes, maybe using era-specific patterns. Based on my vintage-store browsing, it’s hard to find things that fit well if you’re not petite.

      • Lisa

        I was surprised to see Janie say in an interview that she got the scripts with everyone else and had only a few days to get the costumes together. They all seem much more thought-through than that. Could I have been misunderstanding?

        • FINAL scripts. She would know from the beginning what the story arcs are for the characters that season, as well as what the themes will be, but yes, final drafts of the script have a very short turnaround time in TV production.

          • judybrowni

            Tlo is right, earlier versions of the script can be around for weeks before the shoot.

            Final version may include changes, of course, many or not many.

          • not_Bridget

            Gosh, wouldn’t you like to see the costume room? With a rack for each character & the clothes they’ll be wearing that season. (Plus some from previous seasons–like Betty’s dress.)

          • decormaven

            AMC should have an Ultimate Fan drawing. I would die and go to heaven if I saw important costumes from pivotal episodes. Ditto for seeing set decorations.

        • Chris

          Janie Bryant said in an interview this week with the GQ blog “Seeing it on film is always an incredible moment, even me who’s getting
          the script months before. To see it all realized it’s amazing.”

          As TLo say below she is referring to the final scripts in the interview you mention.

      • Chris

        Peggy’s dark blue suit was a vintage piece. I think Joan has the highest percentage of custom made pieces (based on reading and listening to Janie Bryant interviews over the past few years) and I suspect part of it is because she is not a “sample” size. There are probably many more vintage pieces for sale or rent in Peggy’s range. I also remember reading that for Joan, Janie Bryant buys larger vintage pieces and has them sized down to fit her perfectly. I will say that gorgeous blue suit of Joan’s is spot on for accuracy- my mother has one of almost the exact same color and fabric from that year (only it is a dress and jacket).

        • Cheryl

          The feature on the AMC site about this week’s fashions focused on Peggy’s “suit,” which was made up of separates, and wasn’t a complete suit. I know she specifically mentioned the buckle pattern on the skirt, but can’t remember where she said she got them.

      • I’d imagine much of Joan’s wardrobe is constructed. As a fellow woman of ample bosom/hourglass shape, you do NOT find pieces that fit a body like Christina Hendricks’ that well off the rack. It’s nearly impossible to find pieces that fit me in vintage stores – they are all teeny tiny. Of course, that is probably due in significant part to living in Nebraska.

    • Having helped lots of theatre costumers at a vintage clothing store over the years, finding great vintage pieces is difficult for modern bodies. People have evolved over two generations – not just in terms of weight, but overall: we’re taller; have larger feet and heads, etc. Even our slenderest, petite-est customers would lament that sleeves were too short, or waists were too nipped. Clothing made in the 1950s-60s had very little give in the fabric, and a lot more tailoring structure. I had to explain about what undergarments people would have had to wear, and some would say “I’ll starve myself and it’ll fit.” That wouldn’t have worked, either. Most of the stuff we sold was from the late 60s-70s, because polyester had more give to it and fit people better in general. (I think Jay Ferguson’s been joking about that lately!) When I look at the show, I figured that Janie Bryant might be making a lot from vintage patterns (and probably fabrics), or reworking a lot of pieces, because finding exact matches for modern body types, or curves like Christina Hendricks’s, would be tough. But it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s really vintage and what isn’t – and that’s such a testament to Janie’s talent!

      • Cheryl

        Score one for double-knit polyester!

        • Lord knows it needs the points. That stuff is miserable in the heat!

  • decormaven

    Great commentary; we’ll just have to let things percolate and see how the next episode is presented. A comforting note- Peggy still has her red Thermos! Some things never change,

    • formerlyAnon

      I am fonder of that thermos than is remotely rational.

  • Django

    Could blue represent water, as the CGC people come flooding into the SCDP office, and green represent land, as Joan, wearing green, provided an island of safety to keep Bob from drowning?

  • LauraAgain

    Joan must have an impossible time buying her clothes off the rack, so it’s not surprising she would have her tailor/seamstress make multiples in different fabrics and prints.

    • If only Christina Hendricks would apply this to her own personal style. I keep saying – Christina needs to dress like Joanie would in 2013.

  • BigShamu

    I still miss Joanie’s hanging pencil

  • Lilithcat

    What about all the touches of red/pink amid the blue/yellow theme?

    Peggy’s red cups, the secretary in pink/red behind Moira, pink in Burt Peterson’s tie, in Sylvia’s coat and dress, in the dress the secretary wears in the partners’ meeting (which is the exact color palette as Sylvia’s floral), in Joan’s scarf, and, of course, the massive amount of red in Joan’s apartment.

    Don never held the power here at all.

    Thank you for that! I couldn’t believe all the people who thought Don was controlling Sylvia.

    • Lisa

      Even in “successful” BDSM play, the sub always has the power.

      • Lilithcat


    • SassieCassy

      dont get it twisted, don was definitely trying to control her

      she just wasnt into it and ultimately didnt let it happen when she realized what was really going on and what shed made of her life

      • Lilithcat

        He may have been trying, but he wasn’t successful. As Lisa points out, the power is in the sub.

        • He shouldn’t have taken away her book. Alone with our thoughts we ladies can get downright bored.

          I agree with you Lillithcat, Sylvia was always in control of that situation. I loved how calmly she informed him that it was over.

          • not_Bridget

            Instead of spending all that time desiring Don, Sylvia finally thought things through…..

        • Zaftiguana

          I think the fact that he was trying is the point people were making. In fact, it’s why the BDSM isn’t ultimately successful in this scenario; he doesn’t understand that the power is hers and he rejects that possibility because it doesn’t fit in with his motivation of control.

  • Lisa

    When Joan and Bob were at the hospital, it definitely reminded me of her being with Don at the hospital after the guy got his foot cut off with the John Deere. But I didn’t realize until I looked at your photos that the gift that Bob brought Joan tied into that too — a football!

    I was a little surprised by all the positive comments about Bob in Monday’s discussion. I might have given him the benefit of the doubt, but after he tried to pay for Pete’s prostitute at the whorehouse, he totally lost me. It would have been different if Pete had been a client, but for a co-worker or boss? That’s just bizarre. Isn’t it?

    • Chris

      Did anyone else notice the last gift Joan got was the flowers from Don with the red ribbon around them (a personal gift for her referencing how attractive she is) and now she is getting a gift from Bob, but for her son also with a similar red ribbon around it.

    • bxbourgie

      Bob’s always been kind of a “suck up”. That person at your job that seems to always be UP UNDER the boss, agreeing with everything, buying them coffee, or lunch or in this case a prostitute. He’s THAT GUY. So that didn’t surprise me at all. Bob Benson bought Pete toilet paper. Why not a whore?

  • KayeBlue

    My $0.02 is that the green/blue combo harkens back to Dr. Faye Miller’s summary of the human condition: “It’s all about what I want vs. what’s expected of me”.

    • formerlyAnon

      That has the ring of insight! I hope someone runs with it, I can’t really do the color analysis stuff, I mostly have to just follow along. I founder on the shoals of “well what IS yellow? or blue?” when I try to do these color analyses – when is gold yellow, when is it gold, when is teal/aqua/etc. blue, or green or blue+green for purposes of analysis? (Compounded by the fact that I know I don’t perceive some colors in the green spectrum quite as most people do.)

  • Winter_White

    Wow, imagine being Janie Bryant and reading Mad Style each week! It would a thrill for any creative person to have their work analyzed so closely, by such discerning eyes. She has the respect of the industry, she has an Emmy, she’s not toiling away in cold anonymity…but this has to be an especially delicious treat for her. To follow TLo’s thought process – and seeing images they’ve grabbed that capture exactly what she was going for – re the subtle details and the major themes. (I’m picturing her curled up with her laptop and a cup of coffee going, “Yes! They got it, they GOT the blue-and-yellow!!”) Great job.

    • I also have this Mr. Burns-esque picture of her chortling maniacally going “yes, I have stumped them! MUAHAHAHHAHA”

  • Glammie

    It’s funny, even though Peggy’s asserting herself visually and vocally when she confronts Don over Ted, she and Don are completely matching. Main difference is she has her suit on and he has his jacket off. But it’s a blue/white pairing.

    • Chris

      Dark blue became Peggy’s new power color over the last few seasons. When she helped Joan out and got the nasty cartoon maker fired she was in navy. When she interviewed with Ted she was in a great navy and orange trimmed suit. When she pitched to Heinz, convinced the Koss executive and in this episode where she confronted Don she was in navy as well. It’s such a great, strong color for her and very professional looking. Janie Bryant said she put her in the pale blue at first when she goes back to SCDP because she is being more laid back and taking everything in at first.

      • Glammie

        Interesting then that Peggy’s power color moved from yellow to blue and now we’re seeing Peggy’s two power colors dominate the merger episode. Hmmm, a hat tip that Peggy’s going to come out on top of all of this?

        And advertising had women running the show before other industries did–Mary Wells Laurence is definitely coming to mind.

  • Qdahling

    All I know is that as soon as Sylvia opened that box with the red box, my sister and I screamed at the TV “Red for a whore dress!”. Haha we are obsessed with the show and your style reviews.

  • baxterbaby

    What a superb analysis (even with the cry for help at the end; “What does it all mean?”). These posts deepen and enhance my understanding of the show in a way none of the (many) recaps and analyses that abound online and in print do.

    It’s striking how the last screen cap differs from the others in this post. The rest of the episode shots are so beautifully crafted; even in the office when things are pure chaos, color, in costume, set design and lighting, creates compositions that are unmistakeable in intent.

    But that last shot is all business and Joan is wielding the subtle power that is hers in spades. She’s always been super competent, and although she doesn’t have the agency of the other partners, she has a more direct way to use her influence that is not as reliant on her air of sexual superiority as in the past (which is ironic considering how she gained that influence).

  • Chris

    I have been puzzling over the use of yellow since Sunday night. I was sure it related to Ted as the women who were tied to him or impressed by him were wearing it in the conference room scene and Peggy kept having touches of it in her sign, notebook etc. Added to the fact Ted’s wife wore it when we saw her two episodes ago I was sure it was referencing him. Then they put Megan, Silvia and Mrs. Campbell in it and I am officially stumped.

  • I just love that every bit of clothing that Ginsberg wears is exactly what all my male teachers wore from elementary school into high school, ’68 to 76.

  • Kiteway

    I’m not sure if anyone’s mentioned it yet, but this whole yellow-women being trapped connection struck me as a connection to The Yellow Wallpaper, a story entirely about a woman trapped in a room by her husband for “hysteria”.

    • OrigamiRose

      Great reference!

  • bigeasybridget

    Women in yellow = trapped in one way or another (except for Ted’s secretary) = canaries in cages. Pete’s mom is even framed against those windows with bars all over it. Megan’s blue, when she’s trying to reconnect with Don, changes to yellow, when she learns the news of the assassination and is trapped in the sorrow of the times. Of course Sylvia’s yellow dress is for when she gets caged and for when she lets herself out of the cage

  • bigeasybridget

    also, is Ginsberg’s shirt literally made out of sackcloth?

    • formerlyAnon

      thanks for the laugh

  • VictoriaDiNardo

    Reading the thoughts about the yellow I kept thinking of “this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius” for some reason.

    This posts are absolutely incredible! Thank you!

    • T. Sticks

      Me, too!

      • Aurumgirl

        I also thought that, and I don’t know why. What is it we’re trying to remember about that song?

        Also, I’m tying it back to Wiener’s fascination with the tarot cards. His “sign” card is The Sun. Bright, brilliant, sunny, golden yellow.

  • Cuddlebunny

    My prediction: blue = knowledge, awareness, jadedness to the realities. Yellow is naivete, innocence.

  • I like that Sylvia is probably going to be less damaged by her relationship with Don than Megan probably will be. Old-fashioned or not, she’s more in control of how she fulfills his fantasies, or not.

    • formerlyAnon

      Oh yes. Unless it comes out and disrupts her marriage, this affair will just be an incident – or perhaps an interlude – in her “real life” with husband and son. It might be pivotal to some transition she goes through internally, or of note for some other reason, but less so than it could be for Don, if it really eats at him how she called the shots in the end.

  • dickylarue

    I definitely don’t believe color scheme is ever random. Having directed a few things I’ve always talked to my production designer and wardrobe about a color palate I’m using for specific reasons. When I first started out I was very into primary colors and was trying to evoke a live action Simpsons look in comedic things I shot. That gave the creatives I worked with a decent jumping off point to do their thing and develop a look and style. The colors they’re choosing on Mad Men are not a coincidence. It’s jaw dropping to watch something so meticulously styled that always reflect the attitude of the script, the lighting, the photography, etc. They’re on a completely different level. I’d say only Game of Thrones comes close but they often keep characters in the same costume for awhile and don’t have the options and flexibility Mad Men does.

    • I would give my second born for a GoT style review which seems very in the realm of GoT to go handing out the second born. Could you do one since T-Lo is too busy and Mad Style almost kills their amazing sartorial brains? And yes I enjoy run on sentences far too much.

      • bxbourgie

        I second this!

      • dickylarue

        Candice – I wish I had the time or the insight that TLO have to take a whack at Game of Thrones. I wish they would do it, but I think the time issue holds them back. I wouldn’t be as adept at breaking down design/fashion as they are. When I work, I usually tell the production designer/wardrobe a general idea of what I’m envisioning that they use as a jumping off point. Many people who do that are so damn creative. They’re smarter than I am in those areas and usually give enough options & reasoning where a director can say yes/no while discovering how clothes, set and color help tell the story. I’d love to know if Weiner walks in and says “this season is all blue/green/yellow” or if he talks about tone, story points and then his creatives come back with the palette to help him tell the story. Either way, they’re excellent at what they do.

        I think Game of Thrones would be fascinating to see broken down, but like I said, the characters are often in the same costumes for several episodes with the exception of the people in Kings Landing. Although, a treatise on Varys, Tyrion and Littlefinger’s costuming and what they suggest in the scene would be sublime.

        • thank you for the insight you’ve given already. It is true that in GoT they don’t change clothing often there would be so much to pull from not just style in clothing but to also delve into the architecture, decor and family sygnets. Any design element discussed in detail and the thought process and it’s creation is heaven to me.

  • VictoriaDiNardo

    On a side note, last night I saw the documentary Room 237, about people who endlessly study “The Shining”, looking for clues to the hidden messages, like that it’s really about the Holocaust or that the moon landings were faked. I had to laugh, because these posts on Mad Men have made me much more conscious about the symbolism in the composition of what I watch, and the documentary illustrates how far people can go with it, given the right mindset.

    Thankfully TLo is using their analytic superpowers for the pursuit of good!

  • I’m in over my head – thank goodness you two are here to figure it out for us. All I got was the ‘a-ha!’ when Sylvia took out the red dress.

    It also struck me at the end when Don was sitting on the edge of the bed and the news was on in the background, that Don’s hair, shirt, and tie – his whole 1950’s ‘look’ that never really changes – mirrored Kennedy’s. The destruction of an era mirroring the destruction of Don. The death, both real and symbolic, of this iconic image of the young, handsome, clean-shaven, neatly combed man in the black suit and white shirt.

  • MissKimP

    My first thought was that blue and green together seems to signal “messy situation.” Then I realized the same could be said for almost any interaction on Mad Men.

  • msdamselfly

    Could the colors be about the season–spring and early summer?

    • Cheryl

      I like the modern yellow-and-blue pairing but I don’t think that was especially common at that time.

  • Aldona Dye

    I always liked that Ted’s signature color is Peggy’s former mustard-yellow power-color. He just can’t get any cuter.

  • Tee

    Maybe green this week represents some sort of care/nurture role? Joan wears the green coat out of the office as Bob pretends to pester her for help (so no one knows she needs help herself). Mom comes home in a green coat. And Joan wears the green outfit when she saves Bob’s job.

  • yllas

    Sooo….nobody’s quite sure this week what the colors mean? Color me disappointed! I can only say that tie Bert Peterson is wearing is the most hideous thing I’ve seen on the show since Betty’s mattress-cover bathrobe. Because we don’t like Bert, and he’s been fired, he gets a Bad Tie. (and the look on Don’s face in the airplane is just priceless!) I’m still puzzled by Joan’s bright green coat in the ER, was it a thing to wear raincoats (like London Fog) in any color except neutrals? I had two coats and a raincoat, all in neutral browns/beiges, to go with everything.

    • formerlyAnon

      I took the brightly colored rain coat as another sign of increased prosperity – bright colored clothing, especially fashionable and trendy clothing means you don’t have to worry about keeping your “investment pieces” in neutral, go-with-everything colors. I was too young to really afford Iconic Name Brands like London Fog, but I remember a huge trend for brightly colored plastic rain gear. I *think* it was about this time (though it might have been later) that clear vinyl rain gear with bright geometric shapes printed on it was big.

      • Qitkat

        Interesting, your take on brightly colored possibly meaning prosperity. While it wasn’t a trench or rain coat, in the late sixties, while still single, I bought myself a brilliant green suede mini-coat, which made me feel like a million dollars and cost as much as anything I ever bought during that time. It hasn’t fit for years but I still own it, as it seems to represent some kind of powerful feeling that I had about myself during that time. Definitely was an investment piece.

        • Cheryl

          I still have my favorite clothes from 1968. It was an especially happy time, and I can’t part with them. (Of course, I can’t fit into them either!)

        • formerlyAnon

          Ohh, I had a couple of those purchases when I finally could quit temp’ing and got a real, grown up professional job, with benefits and everything! (The first was a sewing machine – on sale from Sears – the second a real, grown up set of matching crystal wine, water & liqueur glasses – also a killer sale!) It’s funny how much each purchase made me feel like a real adult, in a way that a job, my own apartment and paying my own car insurance hadn’t. Also funny how you’d think I’d be terribly domestic given which things had that power, when it turned out that I’d much rather read or waste time on line than be a householder.

          P.s. A green suede mini-coat is SO MUCH cooler than any outerwear I ever had until I was in my 30s! No wonder it made you feel fabulous.

      • yllas

        I remember (cheapie) rain slickers…they were vinyl, and so HOT (and not in a good way). I had a friend from a rich family who had a white – white! – expensive rain coat, which of course had to be dry cleaned a lot.

  • greenwich_matron

    This is brilliant. I might have eventually noticed the red…

    Both Burt Peterson and faux-Peggy were wearing blue and lost their jobs. The characters in yellow emerged triumphant in some way (Pete’s mother is a bit of a stretch, but Pete thinks she won this battle), except for Meghan. I looked through the previous Mad Style posts, and there is a lot more yellow than I noticed. I especially notice it with the scene with Dawn and Scarlett (Dawn is wearing a yellow sweater and Scarlett is wearing a blue dress).

    It looks to me as if Ginsburg is wearing yellow with a blue tie with both outfits, but I never know where blue ends and green begins. Stan’s shirt looks green to me (especially compared to Burt’s suit, which is a similar hue and value).

  • MyrtleUrkel

    Great analysis, guys! Very thought provoking. I’ve watched this episode twice and I didn’t notice the similiarities between Silvia wearing floral yellow and being trapped in the hotel room and Pete’s mom wearing a yellow floral and being trapped in his apartment. I’ve been looking forward to this post since after the episode aired and you didn’t disappoint!

  • siriuslover

    Great recap as usual! Loved your commentary on Peggy’s new power suit. She owned that room and it was evident from the smile on her face the moment Don entered it. She was in control, she was the one dominating.

  • Valdri8

    I do not have time to read all the comments, so sorry if I am restating something, but I thought in light of the whole Dom thing going on with Don, it was very interesting that Peggy’s suit when she confronted him had buckled straps as jacket closures.

    • Tara

      I wondered about that, too! I thought it was more like a straight jacket, but it could comply many things, including BDSM.

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    If Janie is fucking with you, it shows how impressed she is with your reviews. The rest of us are in awe too.

  • Looking back at the other episodes, I think green equals the fool and blue is the power color.

    At the end of this episode, Joan is in a power blue and then succumbs to Bob and puts on her green coat, but you can still see her blue. At her apartment, she’s still got touches of blue on, but her mother, who is totally taken with Bob, is in in green. Then Joan’s in full green when she’s doing something for Bob.

    Peggy and Ted trade blue and green for whoever has the upper hand at the moment. When she kissed him, she was in blue and he was in green. He didn’t want that but was powerless for a moment. At the awards, she and his wife both have green on.

    When we first see Peggy, she walks into a situation unaware in a green coat, then dominates it in a blue suit.

    Scarlett has the upper hand with Harry and wears blue, but not with Joan. She’s got touches of green in her outfit.

    The blue and the green really clash with Pete as he’s engaged in a full power struggle with Trudy. Hence the giant panels in his apartment. He got what he wanted, but he’s a fool too.

    When Megan and Silvia have their chat, Silvia is wearing blue and Megan in green. Silvia has the upper hand and Megan is the fool.

    For yellow, I’m just going to assign it to the optimists.

    • Chris

      At the awards Ted’s wife is all in bright yellow. No green.

    • not_Bridget

      Michael Weiner’s “logo” at the end of each episode is based on the Rider-Waite “The Sun.” And Anna knew her way around a Tarot deck….

      (No links now, but there appear to be some sites analyzing Mad Men–through the Tarot.)

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    Not a fashion comment, but when I look at Megan speaking, all I see is her lips moving too.

  • Back this last Christmas T-Lo showed a blue and green holiday dress on Emma Stone and from then on it has been my power color. I always get compliments when I mix the two together. It does not forebode adultery in my future however. It just looks good on this icy, curvy blonde : )

  • Jessica Goldstein

    I hope you figure out the blue and green motif soon, because I just bought a pair of turquoise pants and mint green shorts, plan to wear both with navy tops, and need to know what I’m saying! But seriously, I find it very interesting that a color combo so popular in 1968 has come back for summer 2013 just as we’re discussing it. And I’m self aware enough to realize that even though I’ve always liked this combo, I wouldn’t be wearing it if I weren’t seeing it on Mad Men every Sunday night.

  • Dave

    Yellow seems to represent a certain vulnerability in the characters who wear it, but also an awareness of their own vulnerability. Ted is a more emotional and friendly version of Don, Sylvia realizes she’s lost in the end and wants to go back home, and even Pete’s mother realizes her own limitations to a degree. There is a lightness to these people that those in blue don’t possess. I think the blue+yellow=green formula works very well in the last scene with Joan – she transitioned throughout the episode from a blue ‘power’ suit to the yellow ‘soft’ robe and ended in a green suit with more control and awareness in the end, the perfect combination.

    • I think you’ve got something there. I wrote somewhere higher that yellow seemed to signal femininity, since most of the male characters who wear it (except Roger, dang it!) are more in tune with their female colleagues, show them respect, etc. than the alpha males like Don. Blue seems to mean authority, or perceived authority — Burt and Marge wind up losing their jobs, and Don gets schooled by Sylvia.

  • jenno1013

    Have we ever seen or would we ever see Joan in yellow, color meanings aside? My mental images of her are in cool colors and cool reds, with some black and white, but not lemon yellows and autumnal golds. For example, while it might have a lot to do with the home-from-the-hospital makeup-less makeup job she’s sporting in the scene with Bob Benson and her mother, the beige background of her bathrobe is doing her skin tone no favors. Redheads of course look good in many warm colors (the black and orange dress in the Season 1 screencaps above is evidence), but that’s not the part of the color wheel where I picture Joan, at least not the Joan of the last several seasons.

    • Yes, she had a black dress with yellow/gold roses on it she wore last season; most notably in the episode when Lane hung himself.

      • bxbourgie

        She also wore a black dress on the last episode of Season 4 when Don goes to LA and proposes to Megan. (I just watched it like two days ago and noticed it immediately, thanks to TLo.)

  • You had me at “chronically unsatisfied”.

    And the blue and gold thing? Another one that has me going back to rewatch. My take on it, at least from agency POV, is that it’s a merger signifier, not so much Don and Ted, but each one of the agencies and how they are fighting and merging each other. If you add up those two colors, you get green, of course…

  • suzinrva

    I’ve actually thought about this theme since the idea was initiated at the beginning of the season. Blue to me is a “dreamer” or “head in the clouds” color whereas green is the grounded, “down-to-earth” shade. This is a season of choosing between dreams and ambitions and what is the most pragmatic path. Sometimes there is a balance of both colors on a character showing the desire for balance or what they believe to be the equilibrium at that point.

    The yellow is to show a separateness of from the core group or a “otherness” where the character does not quite belong. When you separate the green into primary colors you get blue and yellow – neither the dreamer or the pragmatist. A yellow outfit or a hint of yellow- the secretaries, Pete’s mom, Sylvia, Ted’s tie and Ginsberg’s sweater – signifies that something or someone does not quite belong.

    Don’t get me started on the red and black color theories!

  • MikeW_Vegas

    I REALLY need to start netflixing (Is that a word?) this show.

    • bxbourgie

      Do it! You won’t regret it.

    • JeanProuvaire

      The Mad Style posts were what made me start watching, too! I’d never seen the show, but I’d be reading and re-reading the posts because they were so fascinating, and eventually I just decided to catch up on the show (I think there were only three seasons at that point) and it’s been my favorite show ever since.

    • judybrowni

      But be sure to start from season 1, episode 1.

      Mad Men builds like a novel, you’ll be missing a lot if you start in media res.

      • sweetlilvoice

        Exactly! Little, tiny details don’t seem important unless you’ve watched in from the beginning. I always say that MM is a show for smart people. You have to pay attention and this blog is a great guide to help with that. My viewing experience has exploded due to the style posts! Plus, I love the closeups of the clothes and sets.

  • Mermint

    Coincidence that the only other time we’ve seen that bright blue Joan is wearing was on Sally a few episodes back?

  • Tara

    Could it be that yellow is still representing power, as it did for Peggy in the past? Sylvia, although “trapped in a room,” still wielded the power in that relationship in the end. And Pete’s mom has total power over him; she’s not trapped in his apartment so much as Pete is tethered to her and her need for care (he did miss the big meeting in upstate NY because of her). And Bob Benson: he kept his job, whereas Bert got fired, and, dare I say, Bob manipulated Joan beautifully (I do believe he’s the man with the plan, for sure). It was a banner day for Bob! Ted’s yellow is also all about power; I think we’ll see him triumph over Don in their little passive-aggressive war.

    In sum, I think that this episode still uses yellow as a power color. And perhaps those in blue are doomed (yes, Peggy included – she’s been wearing a lot of blue lately. Her yellow of earlier seasons represented her ascent, but her blues as of late could signal she’s peaked, and is sinking with the rest of blue-wearers, which looks to be all of SCDP).

    • Tara

      And I’d like to add that Joan mixed a little yellow (power – by using her position to cleverly save Bob’s job) in with her blue, and thus ended up wearing green. But I think that Joan is ultimately doomed (please read the John Cheever short story called “Torch Song”).

  • Thom Bardin

    Now that you’ve pointed out the blue and yellow color scheme, and having watched Weiner interviewed on “Inside Mad Men”, I think the pairing of blue and yellow seems to represent challenge and control: the partners’ meeting, Joan and Moira squaring off, Dorothy Campbell maintaining what she thinks in her mind is true, Sylvia 86’ing her affair with Don, even Ted Chauogh dragging Peggy back into the office she broke away from. The workplace, Sylvia’s and Don’s marriages, and Dorothy Campbell’s way of life are vulnerable and in-flux, and none of these people are on the same page.

    I really paid attention to the fluorescent orange housecoat Sylvia was wearing, and the orange in her printed ensemble: I guess that was her crying out her distress, but I really appreciate now how the yellow in her ensemble came to show her breaking away from Don. That a dress printed in two colors can show such a progression is beautiful.

    Also, Peggy in that plaid coat reminded me instantly of the morning after Abe “proposed” to her: she’s trying to blend in and skate past any notice.

    • leighanne

      Yes- When CGC and SCDP lined up outside the Heinz reps’ conference room for their presentations, yellow and blue squared off as well- Peggy was in navy and faced Stan in a gold jacket. Yellow and blue are continually opposites throughout this episode. No two people could be any further apart/in different worlds than Don and Megan in the final scene, with Don sitting on the other side of the bed with blue & white and Megan in her sunny yellow.

  • I think I’ve just always seen blue v. gold or yellow to denote who has the power in the room or feels they do. It’s Peggy’s ‘power color’ but she’s in a position of having to ask for it for the most part from people in blue. Need to think this.

  • Maigan Hulme

    In looking at it, it almost seems like a self-perception of power thing – with blue dominant over yellow. That theory goes really well with the Don/Ted relationship as it plays out in this epsiode, where Ted feels powerless until he straps on the aviators.

  • 213 comments so far, and no time to read them all right now, so I’ll just jump in ~

    Here’s my artist’s take on the color thing.

    blue + yellow = green (you all knew that, I’m just saying.)
    So it all adds up to green in the end. Whatever green means.

    Maybe we’re all overanalyzing just a bit. Maybe it all just makes a pleasing picture and doesn’t mean a damn thing.
    At least some of the time. Ms. Bryant might read the script and see the storyboards for how the scenes are laid out, then work out a pleasing ‘color story’ for each shot. I’m sure she sees the entire episode as a whole, then breaks it down into smaller pieces. Like a big canvas, which all works together, but has areas that stand out, and others that recede.

    She might be ‘into’ margarine yellow or think that’s a fun theme to work with, or dig the 60’s blue and green, or find inspiration in one special vintage piece she just HAS to use, so works some color story around that. Maybe. Other times (like with the whore red) its obviously a motif that is consistent and easier to pick up on (thanks to you’re brilliant ‘picking up on’).

    I’m in awe of what she does, however she does it. Its like we’re standing in front of some masterpiece at the Met, analyzing and pondering and being moved. And I’m not trying to trivialize any of her color decisions by suggesting they’re made in some arbitrary way. I’m just offering that the creative process for working out the color story here may involve … hmm, how do I say this … more than just linear thinking, more than just working out a ‘formula’, if you will. There’s more to it that we are able to ‘get’, on the level we’re trying to ‘get’ it. We FEEL it, and are in awe of it, but its just out of reach, because its an artistic vision, that defies analysis.

    Wow, what was in my coffee this morning? Not sure that made sense to anyone but me. Could probably use an edit, but oh well.

    Anyhoo … love it all, am tripping a little on all the yellow and blue which I didn’t even notice while I was watching, and as always, am wowed by your insightful post.

    And LOVE “Betty Rubble hair”!

  • T. Sticks

    You two are so good that I imagine even Janie Bryant is hitting “refresh” on Wednesday morning to see what you have to say. I think sometimes you even pick up on things that she didn’t intend, but would probably agree with after reading this. I would love to see an interview where you interview her and vice versa!
    Also, I think we need a scene of Ted in the bomber jacket kissing Peggy.

  • LaurieS

    Ok, here is my theory on the colors: blue indicates power and authority, as it always has, and yellow indicates an interloper on that existing power structure- someone whose power is on the rise, someone who is about to take control, someone whose ideas are going to be the norm in the future. Ted, with his civility and punctuality, is closing in on Don’s turf, and we know that in the future, his way of doing business will be considered superior (if it already isn’t)- Peggy, whose power color has always been yellow, is the pioneer, the woman who decided to become a copywriter, not a wife or perpetual secretary. While Pete is bullying his mother, she is definitely

    • 3hares

      I think Pete’s mother is bullying him more than the other way around. Pete’s impatient in his corrections of her, but he’s spending the episode running around to care for her, placate her and make room for her. He’s never had any power in his relationship with her. She is much more insulting and hostile in what she says to him. And she comes with a backstory of abusing others.

      • LaurieS

        Very true! I must have been blinded by my contempt for Pete. 🙂 Although for some reason this season I hate him a lot less than usual, maybe because of his enlightened views on race and the fact that Trudy finally dumped him. So my theory holds! Yellow = intruding, upending the power structure, or as another poster above said, progress. 🙂 I am excited about what this Bob Benson character is up to, as well as what’s next for Megan.

      • LaurieS

        Very true! I was blinded by my contempt for Pete lol. This actually strengthens my theory! Although I like Pete a lot better this season, maybe because Trudy is finally rid of him and he showed some decency about race.

  • sanguinic

    Perhaps there’s so much yellow because it’s spring, and yellow is a spring color.

    • So are pink and purple. The point is, the costume designer specifically restricted the choices to a specific set of colors and repeated the motif on all the characters in virtually every scene.

      • And monochromes look pretty on the screen when there’s harmony – check out the tableau of creatives above.

        The Francis residence always looks cacophonous with all the weird mix of colors and patterns, as does Trudy’s.

        • Cheryl

          I wore quite a bit of orange — and peach, and coral — at the time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen those particular colors show up on Mad Men. Also, in the winter, burgundy. Another color family you don’t see very much on this show.

          • formerlyAnon

            Oh yes. As a fair blonde, I wore a LOT of burgundy, usually with white accents. I’d forgotten. Burgundy jumpers – in cotton, in corduroy and some kind of cotton-polyester blend, burgundy-on-white wallpaper patterned blouses, burgundy skirts, at least one velvet burgundy winter party dress, then later, getting into the ’70s a ton of burgundy sweaters, a below-the-knee burgundy coat, scarves, knee socks.

  • DulceMeow

    I noticed that in the last pictures that Joan’s pin has changed from a circle to something that looks like three petals opening. I can’t help but feel that is another flower/ flowering hint.

  • Thanks to my training from TLo, the yellow started messing with my mind from the minute I noticed a theme. I knew it had something to do with power, my over-analysis says it signifies a shift in power.

    Ted wears yellow, and the power shifts from Don to him. New secretary wears yellow, power shifts quite visibly from Joan to her (even if for that moment only). Bob wears yellow, and power shifts to him via Joan. Sylvia wears yellow, she has the power to get Don out of the office, and when she wears again she’s regained power over the whole affair. Megan wears yellow in the final scene, which I think indicates that there will be a shift in power from Don back to her since his affair is now (hopefully) over.

    Might be a stretch but this whole episode was all about power shifts and I know the yellow has *something* to do with it.

  • Could the yellow be foreshadowing the Vietnam war, with these characters representing the peace movement?

    • Glammie

      Not foreshadowing, the Vietnam War has been going on for years at this point.

  • Well, blue + yellow = green. That’s all I got. Great analysis, Uncles! As always.

  • shell1234

    In the past, I’ve thought of Ted wearing Peggy’s power color as showing that he is helping her progress. So when the episode opened with them in blue and yellow, I viewed it all through that lens. The “winners” in this episode are in yellow, the “losers” are in blue.

    – Joan and Peggy are both in blue because the merger isn’t really a positive step for them.
    – Ted in yellow vs. Don in blue – Ted wins their struggle once they are in the airplane.
    – Roger with a hint of yellow vs. Burt in blue – Roger wins.
    – Bob in yellow vs. Burt in blue – Bob’s the one who kept his job.

    – Ginsberg in yellow vs. Margie in blue – Ginsberg kept his job.
    – Ted in yellow in the conference room vs. Don and Pete both in blue – Ted has the secretaries on his side.
    – Ted’s secretary in yellow vs. Joan in blue – Joan let her win the little battle on the stairs.
    – Bob in yellow vs. Joan in blue – Bob takes control of the situation. (Her green may signify their teaming up, or the uncertainty of intentions? I haven’t decided. And no yellow on him when he comes to visit her, which may be a sign that he wasn’t being nice only for his own gain?)
    – Pete’s mom in yellow, and Pete in blue – she may not have power of her own, but Pete sees her as derailing his career.
    – Sylvia in yellow vs. Don in blue – once she puts her yellow dress back on, she has all the power.
    – Meghan is in blue when Don first gets home, but by the next morning, she’s in yellow, reminding Don of where things stand.

    • Lisa

      Fascinating. In general, I still think that the color blue here is not unrelated to the emotion “blue”: that people who wear it are in some way not happy and feeling disappointed that things did not work out the way they hoped. Like Betty’s “sad marriage” coat. Or that blue dress she held up to the mirror a few weeks ago, that she had previously worn on the night she realized for sure that Don was cheating on her (and on someone “old” at that). I do think that blue is a status-quo color here, but there seems to be a consistent tinge of sadness or disappointment about it. Though maybe that’s just related to the theme of the show, that when you get what you want, it never is what you hoped?

  • LauraAgain

    A minor note: It looks to me like Stan is wearing green rather than blue. A dark, forest green that, along with his beard, reminds me of a lumberjack.

    And Joan’s green dress/gold jewelry in the final scene? I saw $$$$$.

    I also think Bob Benson is adorable and won’t turn out to be a *bad* guy.

    • Chris

      Stan is definitely wearing a dark green as is Ted. I loved the scene where Peggy is between the two of them and impresses them both with her margarine trivia. They are both looking towards her with complete admiration. They are like bookends.

    • Love Bob and Ted. I hope Joan and Peggy end up with them.

  • guest2visits

    I think there is a kind of blue that says a new era is creeping in. It’s not the subtle or staid blues of the 50s. It’s not the ‘fun’ shades introduced tin the 60s, either. These rather hard, obnoxious blues are trying to be seen as work-a-day, relaxed fashion. The uniform of the day. And here they are, slowly flooding the mustard gold, tan, and willow landscape. Some of the less off-looking blues have survived to be very successful, for both men and women in fashion even now. I see red leaving the scene almost completely; except in places deemed very exotic; as in ‘the bedroom’, or as a ‘vacation’ color. Or until a big splash mid-80s, and then again in more selected ways and a variety of tones, today.
    For me; this was a good example of personal styles (dependent on their ages, their stations), and the changing decade; all melding somewhat discordantly but accurate of the times.

  • Marybelly

    Blue means security/power/established- green means full-on conflict is happening-yellow means changes are coming: Joan in her blue suit directing everyone where to go/assigning offices–she’s in control until she puts on the green coat when she is in physical conflict–also note that the only person who challenges her that morning is the yellow dress secretary, signaling change is here.
    At the Heinz meeting SCDP team is all in blue, comfortable with their job/standing with the beans campaign, in comes green suit ketchup guy causing conflict.
    When Peggy walks into the meeting she’s walking into conflict wearing her green coat, once she removes the coat she’s in deep blue, signaling her control of the situation, note that the dress has green accents, she’s not 100% in a power position. When Peggy confronts Don she is in a strong vibrant blue, no more pale blue, she’s secure/confident in her standing with Don, there’s no green, she’s not conflicted about what she’s saying.
    Sylvia in her blue dress, she has no guilt about her affair with Don until she’s faces Megan in green–for the first time she’s starting to feel guilt/conflicted about her situation.
    Pete’s apartment has both blue and green, he’s conflicted–he wants to cheat on Trudy, but he still wants to be married to her.

    Pete is in blue the morning Trudy throws him out, he wakes up thinking he has gotten away with his affair with the neighbor, until he’s confronted by Trudy in all green.

    Peggy is in a mix of pale blues and yellows when she walks into the office–she’s changed, but she has a comfort level at the SCDP that the others, like Ted and his secretary do not.
    Yellow in various shades and brightness can be read as slow changes and big changes: Sylvia is wearing yellow with a red/rose pattern, red of course means sex but the yellow signifies that things are going to change. The brightness of the yellow dress on the secretary makes her stand out, and her actions towards Joan make her stand out as well. Pete’s mother’s drab yellow signifies Pete’s life is about to change even further. The scene where Megan is crying in BRIGHT yellow signifies that things are really changing.

  • Yellow as hope and/or youth/naivete (for some reason I keep thinking of Ted’s “Don’t you have any hope?!” in response to the copywriter voting for Nixon), and blue as cynicism and/or, well, not so much age as wisdom from hard-learned lessons? Except Don. He’s not wise, he’s probably just cynical – and in his case the blue may just mean inner despair (as usual for Don). See also the recently re-fired accounts guy (name escapes me).

    Women in blue is, to me, seeing without illusions what’s going on – both Peggy and Joan in blue reminds me of Peggy and Joan in Joan’s office when Don announced his engagement; cynical but knowing. Same for Margie, who knows where her job is going. I don’t know how Megan fits in, except that she knows something is wrong – she may be closer to Don’s despair and cynicism rather than wisdom and cynicism – I wonder if that yellow nightie is a sign that, not unlike Betty’s deciding moment after JFK’s death, Megan knows it’s time to get out and hope for new things elsewhere. Dovetails in well with the trapped Sylvia and Pete’s mom (trapped in ignorance, both self-imposed and brain-disease-imposed; sort of both betrayals of self-hood, in a way).

    Bob’s yellow might represent a willingness to submit to another person – after all, what is submission if not a hopeful act (for mercy, for kindness, etc., which Sylvia discovers are not coming with Don).

    Ok, as for non-color-theory notes…
    Also – I love the pattern on Joan’s blouse under her suit. It’s loud and a little garish (in grand late-60s style) but the colors and shapes are fabulous enough that I love it. I also love Joan’s mother’s coat, which seems very stylish compared to the other women in her age-range on the show.

    Bob Benson seems too… I don’t know, bland? for Joan – I feel like she’s generally more attracted to men with more ego and self-regard than the constantly obsequious Bob. Though if he’s going to give her a little worship, I would not be opposed to it; Joan should be treated like the goddess she is.

    Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now.

  • dashransome

    In terms of the color symbolism, I would consider looking at how Dante used color. I did a google search on “color symbolism in dante divine comedy green yellow blue” and found a link to an ebook (The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri – Volume 2 – Page 218). I can’t link to the text, but here is some info I pulled:

    Green= hope, a distinguishing feature of Purgatory

    Red= fire, divine love, Holy Spirit. ….red combined with black signified the devil and Purgatory

    Blue=heaven, the firmament, constancy, fidelity

    Yellow =the sun, God’s goodness, initiation, marraige, faith. Muddy yellow =deceit, jealousy (associated with Judas Iscariot)

    Green= season of spring, hope, the hope of immortality, victory

    Violet = love or truth, or passion and suffering – often worn by martyrs (look out for this one!)

    Gray = mourning (color of ashes)

    Black = death, negation, the earth, darkness, wickedness.

    I’m nearly certain that going up and down the elevator relates to descending the different levels of Dante’s Inferno into Hell. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mathew Weiner used Dante’s color symbolism as well!

    • dashransome

      Oh, just read:

      Black + White together signifies purity of life and mourning and humiliation. There was a recent Mad Style post in which the three women (Sylvia, Megan, and Joan) were all in different forms of black and white. TLo pointed out that they represented “Mother/Maiden/Crone reconfigured as Mistress/Maid/Executive – and in this story, they’re all seen as whores by the men around them”. I feel as though the color symbolism works as well.

      Here is link:

    • LaurieS

      Violet- Joan’s sad purple! Remember all the episodes where horrible things happen to Joan while she is wearing purple (I just happened to look at some of the old mad style posts yesterday)?!! You are on to something! The characters wearing yellow also tend to have a very sunny outlook and disposition- Ted, Bob, sort of Peggy.

  • Irene_Krys

    See also: “The Yellow Wallpaper” about being trapped.

  • marymaryk

    With regard to the blue & yellow – I keep reading it is dominance / subordinat, and then upending the power dynamic. For instance Don & Ted – Don won the first round, sure, but Ted upended that by the end. Similarly Bob was at everyone’s mercy at the start, but his actions saved him. This also works with Don & Sylvia, and her reclaiming her power.

    I think the green, when viewed through the blue/yellow lens, may signify changing alliances, which in turn can be read through the filter of adultery / cheating.

  • For a while now, I’ve been convinced Bob Benson is a spy of some sort. And with all of the blue and green this week in Joan’s scenes with him, I’m now even more convinced. (Unless he’s married and we don’t know it.) Joan is cheating on SDCP with a spy! I say this with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.

    Sort of.

  • I love these posts, and I do not even WATCH Mad Men…

    • Why the heck not? 😉

      • Aw just cuz I have no TV, not enough time. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy the show.

  • Every time I read one of your articles this season, James Tayor’s Sweet Baby James starts playing in my head.

    Goodnight you moonlight ladies
    Rock a bye sweet baby James
    Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose
    Won’t you let me go down in my dreams
    And rock-a-bye sweet baby James

    I know this probably doesn’t mean a thing. I just thought I’d throw it out there. Maybe Janie’s a JT fan.

  • This works! This is why I come back a few times a week! : D

  • appliquer

    I love you guys! I so look forward to the Mad Style post every Wednesday. Janie Bryant is a wizard at costume design. It would be interesting to see how she and Matthew Weiner collaborate on ideas.

  • OliviaCarmichael

    Fantastic post, as always! I think the “blue and green” theory can still hold up, even with Joan. In the final scene, when she’s the only one wearing blue and green, she slyly makes a move to make sure that the man who took care of her didn’t get fired. Even if nothing happens between Joan and Bob – and even if his kindness is just shrouding his impressive manipulative skills (as seen when he got Joan into a see a doctor) – she’s now protecting him, potentially at the cost of the company. So maybe it’s not literal adultery – i.e., sexual between two people – but adulterous in that she’s using her pull as partner to look after someone she may care for. And after all she’s done, SCDP could stand in as her husband, and Bob the Other Man. What do you think?

    • I think that’s not bad. There’s something to be said for the idea that it’s about compromising yourself or your principles.

      • OliviaCarmichael

        Yes! That’s what I was thinking. Maybe it represents something larger like being unethical/immoral..?

        Btw, you guys are my HEROES. Just so you know 🙂

      • OliviaCarmichael

        Yes! That’s what I was thinking. Maybe it represents something larger like behaving unethically/immorally, even if it’s just compromising your own morals.

        Btw, my last reply looks like it got erased, so in case it did, just wanted you to know that you guys are my heroes!! 😀

        • Zaftiguana

          Maybe it’s about moral ambiguity.

          • formerlyAnon

            I like this take, that it can include moral ambiguity as well as an active moral compromise of one’s principles. Because I think a lot of the semi-shady favor trading and influence wielding, like Joan’s move to help Bob, are seen by those acting as being the “right” thing to do, so they don’t always feel as if they’re making a moral compromise. Unlike Pete’s affairs, which even he would have to recognize as morally wrong, even if he feels entitled to them.

          • Zaftiguana

            Right, but I wonder if that entitlement isn’t what makes it ambiguous for him. Sure he knows it’s “wrong” in an academic sense, but he’s Pete Campbell, so it’s his due. It’s okay. There’s a special grey area just for men like him. I bet he even pats himself on the back for supporting the local economy when he visits a prostitute ;).

            All of which is really different from Don who I’m not sure thinks a whole lot about justifying his behavior to himself or anyone else. He just doesn’t think about the moral implications and/or doesn’t think about what he’s doing. In the rare moments when he does think about it, he doesn’t justify it. He just hates himself.

    • 3hares

      Interestingly, it’s not so sly as it’s not noticed by Pete who also wanted to save Bob. So he’s got two partners looking after him because of his kindness, and seeming to recognize that they’re both doing that. Which calls back to Roger telling Burt Peterson that no one spoke up for him when it came time to be fired.

      • Chris

        I loved that little look Pete gave Joan, like he thought she manipulated the situation for him because he wanted Bob to stay. I hope Peter doesn’t get it in his head to try something with Joan. He was really trying to ply her with drinks after the meeting with the accounting guy to go public.

  • But I think it’s possible that blue & green can have several meanings actually. I also think in this episode the characters who are forward facing generally wore yellow and those who are not moving forward tend to wear blue. And blue and yellow make green so perhaps that color stands for conflicted characters generally

  • Another great analysis…I look forward to these every week.

  • joything

    My two cents on blue, green & gold:

    Blue – fantasies, illusions, dreams, working at keeping them going, making them real.
    Green – tender feelings, openness.
    Yellow – here’s where the power is! Mom & Sylvia were driving those scenes. Ted was feeling his power. Moira and Meredith were power-gazing at Ted. Settin’ it up, makin’ it roar. Peggy’s growing power seduced us all. Yellow focuses the eye like the sun.

    • joything

      I’ve been reading through the comments and somebody tagged yellow as the power color of interlopers … I can totally see that. An interloper disrupts, pulls focus, brings the unexpected. Moira was an anomaly in the partners meeting – she mucked up the seating arrangements, and then her and Meredith’s silent admiration of Ted’s gallantry gave him unexpected power. Perhaps the power of Yellow is power nobody really knows how to handle.

  • ellyn

    perhaps stating the obvious, but blue and yellow make green? i think it’s so groovy now, that people are finally coming together….

    • guest2visits

      I think blue and green are as close to yellow as the next decade ever gets. The bouquet of colors unleashed by the 60s is about to become fairly uncool, for some reason. Possibly the mood of the country.
      The pretty spring greens, daisy yellows and all the other bolder, brighter oranges, reds, pinks and blues are suddenly outgrown. Say hello to harvest gold, avocado green and brown.
      Of course; there’s two sides to everything. If you were a child of the 60s these colors were as natural as the sun in the morning. The adults of the 60s would temper the brightness; pink would most likely become a softer peach, or coral. Spring, or grass green would become fern, or pale mint.
      If you were a child of the 70s; all you would want is something other than the dreary, already dated looking autumnal shades that tried to pass as earth-tones. The world was awash in cars, home decor, and fashions for the living dead.
      Everything was covered in a kind of mulch. Apart from a disco or dance fringe; the youth were interested in DENIM.
      Blue jeans. Blue shirts. Blue jackets. Blue hand bags. Blue jean skirts, dresses…and whatever could be worn with denim. Anything to feel freedom from the more grown-up, seriously dowdy and tired shades of the adult world.
      I don’t think the 70s were completely devoid of life and color; but it certainly contained many of the most horrendous fashion ideas…ever.
      Maybe Matthew Weiner is getting the most out of yellow (and other shades) before it slips away. I am on the edge of my seat, so to speak, to see how he and Janie Bryant perceive the near future of fashion.

      • formerlyAnon

        I didn’t think anyone disliked the earth tone trend in decor more than I do, but I think you are that one!

        • guest2visits

          It must have been pretty awful, style-wise; if even as a teen I looked around and thought -uck!
          It was the fake nature that hurt the eyes. Making everything mud-brown and olive-green does not equal woodsy. Not at all the way earthy, natural elements are reproduced today; real granite or stone, wood or products that emulate the real materials beautifully… what a dream compared to the clunky, moldy, depressive decor of the period.

      • ellyn

        very true observation about color. though i actually liked the muted, earthy colors of the 70s, which are starting to be introduced this season, i much prefer the bold colors of the mod mid- to late-60s.

  • NoveltyRocker

    I can’t believe I didn’t notice all of that blue vs. yellow staging! It becomes even more interesting when I think of Peggy being in yellow so often but in this episode, she’s suddenly only in blue. I always noticed that Ken was in yellows and browns while Pete in blues and greys. I never attributed any deeper symbolism than Ken’s warmer personality being represented with warm colors pitted nicely against Pete’s cooler personality represented by cool colors. Wonder if we’ll see Peggy back in yellow and this episode had a self-contained symbolism or if the blue signals some kind of shift for her and she’s graduated from yellow altogether. So curious what that shift would be! I love Peggy, if blue is meant to group her in with Don, I hope it isn’t because blue equals some kind of gloomy final fate!

  • Adelaidey

    I mean, it is technically possible that Bob Benson is engaged or married. And we’re witnessing the begins of an adulterous situation. Possibly.

  • Someone may have already said this, but I think the red I’m Don’s tie in the conference room scene is a reference to Sylvia waiting for him in the hotel room.

    Perhaps the blue and yellow motif is a metaphor for themes that have yet to be established. Commonly in Mad Men the penultimate episode or season finale are the ones where all the pieces seem to fall into place.

  • gracedarling

    I made a Yellow Wallpaper gag a few weeks ago about Bobby, but OH MY GOD YOU GUYS The Yellow Wallpaper!!!

  • jr

    “Move forward” is a recurring theme in Mad Men. For example, not only did Don say it to Peggy in the psych ward, Duck asked Don if they could move forward after the Mohawk/AA fiasco. Mona burst into Don’s office and blamed him for Roger leaving her for Jane because he said “move forward” to Roger after they let Freddy Rumsen go.

    • Don also told his brother Adam, “My life moves in one direction: forward.”

      • jr

        Perfect. I love when they reuse lines. My favorite one they use all the time: “I don’t know if that’s true.”

      • AELM

        On the other hand, when Betty told Henry at the end of Season 4 that she fired Carla because she wanted a fresh start, Henry said, “there is no fresh start, lives carry on.” I love that moment. Showcases a central theme of the show – you can never really move forward (hence Don seeing all women as prostitutes).

      • formerlyAnon

        Ooohhh. Good one. I had forgotten that line – and it was so important to seeing who Don was, and is. (ETA: and how he sees himself.)

  • Bert Cooper

    Here’s a thought. This new blue/yellow color scheme has arrived in the show with the merger. Maybe this new palette serves to herald the new era of SCDP. maybe because the colors clash, it’s an indicator that this isn’t going to work out? There’s clearly a great deal of cramping and friction in the office now. The colors were also used with regards to Pete and his mother, clearly a dysfunctional arrangement, and the Don/Sylvia relationship, which ended due to Don’s attempts to control Sylvia, much like what he’s doing with Ted.

  • Zaftiguana

    The thing I keep coming back to is that the all of the key figures in blue have attained some sort of power and/or status that they thought would make them happy, but it hasn’t. Although that’s a general enough theme for this show that I’m not sure that’s sufficiently distinct. I’m still kind of at a loss with yellow except that it’s often being worn by the apparently lower status person in a lot of the blue and yellow pairings.

    It’s so funny to see Joan changing her wardrobe colors so dramatically. Especially since a lot of her old reds and pinks and rusts and purples would work just fine in ’68.

  • MissusBee

    There was also a bit of a ‘sunshine and rain’ theme, with the plane ride at its core, which is a blue and yellow idea. I can’t break it down more than that, but it ties into the idea of power play (as per the old fable of the man in the cloak), sometimes the storm looks powerful, but the sun achieves more. There’s a tension and ambiguity in it which perfectly underscored the merger, with everyone trying to find their chair. (Peter gets his but loses kudos compared to Ted who gives his up.)

    • joything

      Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! I love that fable about the power of the sun being in its … sunniness.

  • lily c

    Great analysis as always!

    After looking over pictures from the episode a bunch of times, I’m starting to wonder if blue tends to be associated with power and yellow with… less power, more uncertainty. Ted (yellow) looks to Peggy (in blue) for advice on where to go, upon entering the SCDP office. Bob Benson (yellow) thinks he should report to Burt Peterson (blue). Moira (yellow) is given instructions by Joan (blue). Dorothy and Sylvia wear yellow and are trapped by men in blue. I think it’s interesting that as Joan loses her footing briefly, she puts on a green coat – a balanced, intermediate color, and again appears in green in her last scene as she saves Bob’s job. It also seems interesting that in Don’s and Peggy’s confrontation, they’re both in blue, and neither of them is giving in to the other yet.

    Megan’s blue shirt doesn’t really fit the idea – but the blue with cream accents reflects Don’s tie, and maybe reflects her obsequiousness towards him.

  • nosniveling

    One thing that is obvious to me is that Joan has on pure, saturated jewel tones. It really draws your eye to her since everyone else is wearing much lighter value/diluted colors. Joanie B. mentioned in her interview that these colors are very important to the Joan character. If you look at the stills more like a painting, it’s the color values that affect the composition as much as the actual colors themselves.
    Although, the nasty yellow prints were very similar to each other on the “trapped” ladies.

    • purkoy28

      and like ususal, all the secretarys are in solid colors looking like a crayon ox, even the new ones.

  • Pennymac

    Oh, Precious Uncles, these Mad Style posts are so much work, and are so appreciated! What a joy to come home to today. In my office today I dealt with a Pete and a not so nice Roger, and although I wish I can say I’m Joanie, running around the office, I’ll admit I’m more of a Ginsburg. None of us had a color theme going, but I did split my pencil skirt clear up the back when I sat in my car after lunch. (Thank God for the old fashioned half-slip) It was at the very least, a very dark comedy.

    TLO House of themes and obscure color reference International is my favorite hangout when I work and no one can see my monitor!

    • formerlyAnon

      Rough sounding day. Hope the end of the week is better!

  • purkoy28

    maybe sylvias out of style cause she cant afford new clothes, they have hinted to money problems in the arnie and sylvia home.

  • In the final scene, Joan is also wearing a scarf next to her bare skin rather than over a jacket, which I thought was a callback to her more sensual Office Queen style. It’s also the most we’ve seen of her throat in the office in a long time. I also loved how Peggy’s dress, Ginsberg’s tie and Stan’s shirt reflected one another in the Creative room. You can tell these three will be the core of the new team.

    • joything

      Don’t you know I would totally watch a show about Peggy, Ginsburg and Stan, coming up with campaigns and trying out products every week? Junior copywriters would come and go like Murphy Brown’s secretaries — known only as Beanie and Cecil. Don and Ted would make appearances, like the TV comedy star did in the Dick Van Dyke Show. Peggy and Stan would go out on pitch sessions with Don and Ted. OMG. Squee! I am back in half-hour sitcom heaven.

      • formerlyAnon

        It wouldn’t even have to be a sitcom. I see it as a “dramedy” – an hour long, lots of humor, but they really are keeping a new business going and growing, with client drama, moral dilemmas, financial & staff crises, along with subplots from their personal lives!

  • Its Just Me

    My apologies if this has been brought up already. I will read all the comments but it will take a while. Since Green is created by mixing Yellow and Blue perhaps the colors represent merging/separation and insider/outsider status? Green being the cohesive and transitional color and yellow representing the status quo. The bold blues appear to me to be the forward, more assertive colors.

  • egurl

    This is a repost about my own theory on color use in this episode, from a reply on a thread below. I wanted to repost to see what others might think of it. I don’t think there has to be one explanation for color/costuming choices, though, and I’ve enjoyed reading other’s interpretations.

    I’ve been thinking about the spectrum used prominently in this
    episode: yellow, green, and blue. Maybe character A in green and
    character B in blue doesn’t symbolize adultery, per se, but more
    generally signifies that the two characters are getting along and having
    a positive relationship/interaction of some sort. I think yellow and
    green could signify something similar. However, in every scene, yellow
    and blue signify a conflict. For example, the way the boardroom scene
    is framed, although some SCDP characters are wearing yellow and others
    blue, in every framed scene (that TLo provided anyway), an SCDP
    character is in a “conflict” color with a CGC character. Also, when
    Peggy introduces Ted to Ginsburg and Stan and meets Margie for the first
    time, Peggy and Ted are prominently wearing yellow, Stan’s prominently
    wearing green (signifying a closer relationship with Pegs), Ginsburg has
    a green tie, and Margie’s more prominently wearing blue. Margie’s the
    “conflict” character here because she gets fired. And of course one of
    the biggest conflicts of the episode is Don vs. Ted. In their “showdown”
    in the creative conference area, Don’s in blue and Ted’s in yellow.

    I started thinking about yellow/blue as conflict because of that last
    scene with Megan and Don; they seem so clearly opposed and on different
    planes. Yellow and blue aren’t complimentary colors either.

  • Dan

    I took the green that Joan was wearing to signify the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day. I could,be mistaken but I thought that it was mentioned in passing? So maybe has something to do with luck? I’ve thought about the story of St. Patrick too, to see if that holds any water, but I have to watch again to see if that’s just a stretch.

  • stephanation

    I’m a little late to the party, so I apologize if someone has already proposed this theory, but I think that yellow and blue symbolize not “old world vs new world,” but “old problem vs new problem.”

    For the pictures above, first we see Peggy and Ted reacting to being at SCDP (new for Ted, old for Peggy).

    Then Joan and the new secretary dealing with combining staffs — old for Joan, new for yellow secretary.

    Bert and Bob — old storyline for Bert, new problem for Bob.

    Pete’s mom, plumber — old, ordinary apartment that he’s familiar with, but for her, a new place and a new problem.

    Marge is dealing with old problems of sexism (there can only be one female in creative), while Ginsberg is dressed in both blue AND yellow, as he represents old stereotypes, but also new blood and ideas.

    Sylvia in the hotel is doing something that’s new for her, but it’s just the same thing we’ve seen before from Don.

    And first we see both Megan and Don in blue — their marriage is an old problem. But later, Megan is reacting with new emotion to the death of Bobby Kennedy, while Don has been the focus of at least a couple assassination episodes throughout the series.

    In the plane, Ted has taken up a (relatively) new hobby, while Don embodies the oldest human condition — fear.

    Joan goes to the hospital (again) wearing blue, with a new guy, wearing yellow.

    Old problems vs new problems!! Sorry to be so long-winded!

  • blue + yellow = green. green =’s weed. Legalize it, mon!!!! (So uh, there you go, and you’re welcome. I’ve cracked the code. No need to thank me.)

  • Theory #2: Maybe Bryant’s Ritt dyes exploded this week and everybody got dyed the same color on accident or due to budgetary concerns!

  • TheAmericaness

    Blue. Yellow. Green. Blue + Yellow = Green. Men and women tinge each others worlds no matter how hard they try to be independent of one another. When one is feeling particularly independent, maybe they are represented in a more primal color. When they start to realize how much they might actually be under the control of another or maybe a circumstance, the color tinges = like Joan going from BLUE to a meh Green. I dunno. Just a guess. I don’t follow the show enough to know for sure and I’m basing this on your pics alone (I’ve only really watched the first couple of seasons).

  • Itsonreserve

    So going off the idea that blue and yellow create green, I think blue and yellow are representing people when they are not tied together, blue and green representing ties that are in in flux–forming or devolving–and matching blues or yellows mean existing ties. My evidence would be:

    Almost all of the out and out conflicts or misunderstandings are people in contrasting blue and yellow; Joan and Moira on the stairs towards the beginning of episode, Burt yelling at Bob on the stairs, Pete’s mother is harassing the man in blue coveralls, and in relation to Don you have he and Ted during the drinking scene, he and Megan at the end and he and Sylvia throughout most of their final dom/sub fling and break up (when Sylvia is in charge she’s in yellow, but when Don is in charge she’s either naked, in whore red, or in black.)

    So matching: we have people with strong ties, good or bad. Burt and Marge are matching the SCDP partners in a very bold way because their relationship with the company is ending at SCDP hands (Burt is fired by Roger and the strong tie to Peggy with Don and SCDP clients is what seals Marge’s fate). Similarly Ted is obviously very tied to Moira in her scenes, having only his secretary in the partners’ meeting and giving up his chair for her (I also hypothesize that we are seeing kinder Ted now because that’s what Peggy is seeing, but she will soon see that he’s no savior from her Don problem, and I think she’ll find out he’s been sleeping with Moira for a while, but that’s just my theory.)

    Green is flux: the strongest is with Joan and Bob. Beginning in opposite colors their story begins with her in her green coat and while his shirt and coat read yellow, you could argue that his suit is a very light sagey color. The next day, he has swung to blue; in his scene with Burt he was in yellow, thinking his boss would be CGC’s Burt (who was felled by old SCDP ties) but here when he’s trying to connect with SCDP’s Joan he does full blue. Joan is opposing in yellow but with faint blue flowers; she’s undecided about him. Her mother who suggests giving him a chance is a monolith of green. In the scene where she saves his job later she is green as can be, suggesting she is connecting professionally with him but we the audience are left curious how that will evolve. Pre-layoffs, while Marge is strong blue Ginsberg and Stan have bluey greens and tannier yellows because no one knows if they’re redundant yet. Similarly Pete’s apartment represents his life; his life is in flux, up in the air, and his apartment has bold blue and green glass doors.

    Peggy is interesting. When she enters with yellow Ted her coat and hat read yellow but underneath we can see a peek of her faint blue dress, representing that in small ways she is tied to SCDP; she seems a little happy to be back with her friends (better talent and more respectful than CGC charges) and we the viewer also know that she will be unable to keep herself from being tied to her old mentor, he will make sure of that. When she starts working and gets more comfortable the yellow is gone leaving the dress. The next day, she never gets to be green with Don; by exerting her power she’s tying herself to staying at the agency and trying to change their relationship, and thus she’s accepting that her future will heavily involve Don. For Megan, her story line for the first part of last season involved Don trying to turn her into Peggy and her outright rejecting it, causing marital strife. Her relationship with Don isn’t in flux, it’s in Danger; she doesn’t get green either but when she’s trying to save their marriage she goes all in with a Peggy moment mimicking blue outfit. When he doesn’t comfort her when she’s crying she’s purely yellow.

  • Kay

    What if “blue and green” means love (small patches of it could mean blossoming love; the start of an emotion), while blue/yellow signify dominance/submission?

  • The Kritik blog post about this episode has an interesting idea about Bob Benson’s macintosh (paragraph 9):

  • Srw

    I wonder if the green blue motif has more to do with army green and navy blue and that the Vietnam war is always in the background at this time.

  • Logo Girl

    Has anyone mentioned the harlequin Coke can yet? I have specific memories of those, and I had a picture of myself with one from 1969. Interestingly, Don and Joan (one of them, who?) opens a Dr Pepper bottle in “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency”. That was another iconic container: the bottle with the clock on it.

    • purkoy28

      spot on : )

  • purkoy28

    *Interesting Note……
    All the episode titles upto now an dthe next 2 episode titles that just released, are all related to marriage or husband and wife. There is the definate pattern.

  • purkoy28

    the writing team for the show ( the married couple) are leaving the show after this season : ( they are the only writers, with the exception of Weiner, that have been writing since the begining of the series…….Hope they get a good team for the last season !

  • Andrea

    I submit that blue and green represent an unexpected, uncomfortable, uncertain, unconventional, and/ or morally questionable coming-together of two things, people, lifestyles, companies, etc. Now that the merger has been revealed I’m looking back and seeing a larger “merging” theme over the course of the season. It explains why in this episode, in the first scenes we see of the new merged agency, blue and green are not only in everyone’s clothing, but can be seen EVURRWHERE. It dovetails nicely with Joan’s rose print to possibly shed more light on the meaning of that bathrobe scene. The only blue/green scene with which it doesn’t really make sense is the one where Pete and Trudy’s separation is being wrought. Thoughts, y’all?

  • Ann Greiner

    blue + yellow = green. The plot thickens.

  • monkeygirl

    Random comment, but I bought a dress from Banana Republic’s ‘Mad Men Collection’ (just because I like the dress, I did not realize there was such a collection at first) and it is blue and green, as is their costume jewelry from the same collection.

    • purkoy28

      they have a collection? wow, not wear im from ( get it… wear…lol)

  • purkoy28

    on wiki it tells u how many episodes each character is in, i wont give it away but its not what i would have expected in terms of who gets featured.

  • purkoy28

    funny how bob benson was half a step behind ted chaugh as he walkked in on hist first day….. bobs nose is always brown ; )

  • LarryFrank

    When Bob visits Joan at her apartment, he is wearing a Penn tie (red & blue) and gives her a Penn colored football. We learned earlier in the season that Bob was educated at Penn and that his family has been at a specific bank for 3 generations. When Joan’s friend visited, we learned about her confined and humble midwestern background. Although Bob is the low man on the totem poll at the office, and Joan is now a partner, there are some seriously interesting class and status dynamics going on here!

  • the_archandroid

    Whew, quite a whirlwind of an analysis, and I certainly feel off kilter. I guess here is as good a place as any to observe that I found the yellow significant on sylvia, because the etymology of that name is linked with “woods” from the latin silvus. (which now that i’m typing this is something that was probably already pointed out) Given that Dante’s inferno kicked off the season I saw Sylvia’s yellow as her emerging into the sunlight from the dark woods of her affair with Don. And i guess conversely Don getting further into Sylvia could have been him getting further into the dark wood, but now that she’s left, he’s totally alone in it.

  • MMay

    Tom and Lorenzo- gentlemen, your site is genius; so glad to have found it. I am new to your discussions, so please forgive the potential redundancy of this query: I am wondering about Joan’s pen necklace; what does it signify? is it something that was ever in fashion, or was it a more eccentric/ exotic accessory? was it meant to be purely symbolic of something ( position of authority, signifier of accedemia et. al.) or truly functional, an actual pen used for writing? Whew- I know that’s a lot for one question, but I have always wondered and I trust your analytic prowess. Thanks-

    • Well, it was just a wonderful piece of retro jewelry that did double-duty: First, it let you know that she was business-like and feminine. Second, it draws the eyes straight to her bust.

      Joan had no office for years. She wandered the floors of SC tending to business. It made perfect sense for her to carry a pen with her and she couldn’t very well tuck it behind her ear or stick it in a pocket.

      It became a symbol of her secretarial past when she STOPPED wearing it; a symbol-after-the-fact. She hasn’t worn it at all this season and you could look at that as her attempts to transition into a partnership role and away from a clerical/secretarial one.

  • just3003

    Blue and yellow represents crashing worlds.

  • If this has been mentioned before, I apologize. I am at work and only get to scan a little bit here and there.

    Do you remember “Mystery Date” (Season 5, Episode 4)?

    The 1966 Chicago Killings. Grandma Pauline on the phone to a friend talking about the murders when she sees Sally walk in the room. Sally petrified from the understanding – as a child – of such evil existing in the world (as she has been so sheltered from it in her income-privileged home).

    The woman who SURVIVED the horror of the Chicago killings . . . the woman who hid under the bed . . . wore a YELLOW dress. Yellow. A trapped woman . . . under a bed in Chicago.


  • There’s another trapped woman in yellow – Megan in a yellow nighty the end if the show. And she is as trapped as anyone else is.

  • Liz

    I’m tracking a sort of honesty (yellow) vs. dishonesty (blue) trend. Not that it works perfectly, of course, but it would also fit the theory that yellow is Chaough’s color and blue is Don’s. Plus it would work into the idea that blue and green together represent adultery. Interestingly, I think that’s a thread that maybe could have existed all the while and only POW! came to the forefront in this episode (yellow is Peggy’s power color! etc). When you look at someone like Sylvia, for example… sure, she’s cheating on her husband, she’s dishonest to Megan and herself a bit… but on the whole, she’s a straightforward person who tells Don that no, this is ending now.

  • I kept thinking of “The Yellow Wallpaper” when I read this review!

  • mhleta

    “But the similarities are ironic. Peggy’s blue and white suit is all about power and assertiveness and discipline. Megan’s blue and white peasant blouse is about not having restrictions” Late to the party here, but I remember that the “generation gap” was a big, big issue at the time. (My dad had a bumper sticker on his Mercedes that read, “If you don’t like the police, next time you’re in trouble, call a hippie.”) The younger generation gravitated toward hippie-speak (cool, groovy, wild, far-out. See “Ted.”) Where as the older generation, the more conservative one refrained from such things. Peggy is embracing a conservative, militaristic-uniform style of dress, literally girding her loins for battle with Don. Megan’s dashiki-influenced shirt is high-style hippie. She takes the pacifists approach to her relationship with Don, killing him with peace, blow-jobs and trips to Hawaii.

  • librarygrrl64

    “it also has some subtle signifiers that read stereotypically ‘Italian,’ like the floral, the peasant neckline”

    Hmmm. You’re right. I favor florals and love those peasant necklines. Guess I am more Italian than I thought. 😉

  • Katie Ryan

    I always took the whole blue/yellow contrast as blue = corruption and yellow = innocence and naivety, they’ll become corrupt when interacting with the blue. That’s why I think it’s been so strong this season with the joining of the two companies, the companies are in a power conflict but it’s SCDP that will always come on top.