Mad Style: The Crash

Posted on May 22, 2013

In a way we’re grateful that there were some rather too-obvious costuming and makeup choices made this week, such as the BEAUTY MARK OF DON’S DOOM:

 

Because we feel like we’ve created a small army of color and costume-obsessed monsters and we think it’s time for a mid-semester review, so to speak.

You see, after making a point of pointing out all the notable instances of blue and green popping up this season, we suddenly found ourselves fascinated by all the blue and yellow showing up in scenes last week. But in reading the comments to our Mad Style post, we realized we hadn’t done a good enough job of explaining (or re-explaining) our…we’ll call it “position” for lack of a less formal word. There were parallel responses to our post last week; one that brought up the question of “intent” and one that addresses the question of applying or finding meaning in the costuming choices.

To start, let’s go back to something we said at the start of the season in an attempt to frame the “Mad Style” discussion:

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, it misses the point to ask if Janie Bryant had a specific meaning in mind when she dressed everyone in certain colors. We think we may have misled some of you with all our “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!?” talk of last week. It’s really up to us to decide what it means when certain motifs repeat, just as it’s mostly up to us to determine how deliberate they were.

There’s no right or wrong way to approach this sort of thing, but we’ve always maintained that applying external meanings to color motifs is not really our bag; the whole “in some cultures, green represents…” kind of reading. Again; nothing wrong with that, but that’s not what we’re doing here. Instead, we’re looking for meaning within the story. Red might equal passion or anger in an external sense, but in the season 6 story of Mad Men, it quite clearly represents prostitution to Don. Similarly, purple might represent passion or royalty externally, but in seasons 2 and 3, it clearly represented heartbreak to Joan. Which brings us to our next point: we don’t think you can apply such readings across the board. Purple meant something specific to a certain character during the story, but then it kind of lost its meaning as that part of the story (Joan’s relationships with Roger and Greg) moved to the back burner. Red, blue, yellow and green are repeating motifs this season but that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to unlock a hidden meaning that will explain their use in every case.

See? It’s frustrating, because it’s never going to be exact, nor is it ever going to unlock that secret meaning to explain everything. Does B&G “mean” adultery? Who knows? But isn’t it fun looking for scenes where the two themes overlap?

As for intent, that one’s a little easier to nail down. There was a lot of “Well, aren’t they wearing yellow because it’s spring?” type responses to our post last week, or even comments that questioned whether the preponderance of certain colors was just a coincidence. Again, it doesn’t particularly matter whether it was intentional or not to us. It matters more how the scene comes across after the fact and what can be gleaned from various choices made by the creators.

Having said that, we maintain that the color motifs we’ve pointed out this season have been deliberate, even if we wouldn’t go so far as to propose that Janie Bryant has a strict “Yellow = x concept, Green = y concept, Blue = z concept” color map. Sometimes a creator merely comes up with a motif and sometimes in analyzing it, pointing out that the motif occurs is enough. But in order to “prove” intent, we offer the following. Here’s the creative department last week, all done up in yellow and blue, as we pointed out:

 

And here’s the much smaller creative department this week:

It is much, much more common for Janie to dress multiple characters in a scene like this, where the clothes don’t always match or call back to each other in any way. It’s very unlikely to have a scene like the one from last week, where they were all done up in just two shades; two shades that kept repeating over and over again throughout the episode. As you can see from the above shots – and really, any group shots this episode – there really weren’t very many colors off the menu for summer 1968. Janie has the entire color wheel at her disposal, so when she restricted those choices down to two and then repeated those two in every scene, we think the question of intent answers itself.

Okay, onward to this week.

 

A man at one with his drab, utilitarian surroundings. He is a picture of depression, all done up in neutrals and grays to match the hallway he’s standing in. And what’s on the other side of that door?

 

Color. And life. Everything he wants.

Many viewers quickly noticed the head scarf motif that repeated on Sylvia, Aimee, and the mom in the oatmeal ad, just like they all sported beauty marks:

Well done, grasshoppers. But did you notice how much the pink and pale blue Sylvia’s wearing in the kitchen scene repeated over and over again?

 

Both colors were all over the costuming in this scene – and all the scenes with Aimee. It feels silly stating it, since it was so obvious, but Don clearly mixed up Sylvia and Aimee in his head in a lot of ways, and that only became something he was aware of this week, in a drug-fueled mania. Some saw that as a breakthrough on Don’s part and we’d probably agree, except Don’s had breakthrough moments before, that pretty much amounted to nothing in the end.

In many ways, we kinda checked out this week, because the theme-hammering was so loud it was starting to give us a headache. If you read our initial review, you saw that we enjoyed the episode quite a bit, but did not find the flashbacks particularly revelatory. Once you establish that Don grew up in a whorehouse, it’s not hard to figure out that his sexual and woman issues were probably initiated there, in exactly the way they turned out to be.

What interests us here is not that parallels are being drawn between Sylvia and Aimee, but that Don literally doesn’t see them. He can’t see Sylvia on the other side of her kitchen door, so the pale pink robe and blue head scarf can’t trigger his Aimee memories for him. These symbols and motifs are not subjective to Don and happening inside his head, in a Freudian sense (like the “red triggers Don’s prostitution issues” motif). These symbols and motifs are being put forth objectively, by the universe, in a more Jungian sense.

Consider this:

Heavily laden with meaning in Don’s life, right?

But it’s repeating here, in the most disturbing way possible:

And totally independent of Don’s knowledge or perception.

The point isn’t that there’s a parallel between Sally and the prostitute who molested Dick; the point is that the entire world right now is off-kilter and disturbing; even threatening, which is how a lot of the characters feel at the moment. If there’s any connection between the two scenes, it’s a sense of loss of innocence. In Dick’s case, that’s literal and obvious. In Sally’s case, it comes with the realization that her father is a stranger to her.

This vaguely threatening, disturbing, off-kilter feel is then picked up by Ida’s purple print dress, which refers back to this scene:

 

By repeating the motif of an interloper in a purple print; a woman who “shouldn’t be there” (as both Don and Sally said), who threatens the status quo and plays upon the fears of upper-middle class whites; the hippie chick and the scary negro.

 

In this scene, Sally’s again in a pink and this time, her mother literally compares her to a prostitute, asking her what street corner she worked to get that skirt. Again; this connection of pink to prostitution is happening independent of Don, unlike the times in the story when red signaled prostitution, which always occur subjectively, inside Don’s head.

Betty was on fire this week, wasn’t she? We’re thinking she’s been popping some Mother’s Little Helpers Uppers to get that perfect Candidate’s Wife look.

So what is happening subjectively, inside Don’s head? Aimee isn’t just a prostitution figure to Don, she’s also a mother figure, as is Sylvia to him.

 

And the pale blue of his memories bring up comforting feelings alongside the darker ones, which is why it appears in the oatmeal ad and why his reaction to Moira here was so euphoric.

 

Similarly, there’s nothing sexual or prostitution-tinged about Dawn’s pink dress. She’s attending to Don like a mother figure would; like Aimee feeding him soup or Sylvia asking Arnie if he wanted cold leftovers. Red was a very clear and consistent “whore” signal this season, but the pinks and blues of this episode depict the way Don confuses prostitution and motherhood.

 

So when he stumbled into his home only to be unexpectedly faced with his whore of a wife (as he sees her) wearing pink and the mother of his children wearing pale blue, it’s no wonder he fainted dead away. The themes got so heavy he collapsed under the weight of them.

Okay, enough of Dick Whitman’s Carnival of Bullshit. How’s Peggy doing this week?

 

Well, our gal’s clearly all grown up. Her wardrobe this season is radically different. For years, the only pattern you ever saw Peggy in was a schoolgirl plaid, but she’s starting to wear more vibrant prints and brighter colors. This makes sense, after all. It’s 1968. But it also makes sense because she’s so clearly hit a maturity level that sets her apart from a lot of her co-workers. There’s something very confident and business-like about the way she dresses now.

Having said that, you’d never see nipple buttons on a dress today.

 

She looks grownup now. And not in a “trying to look grownup” way. She’s almost 30 years old, with almost a decade of advertising experience under her belt. She owns a house. She’s in a long-term relationship. She got everything she wished for when she once enviously said to Don, “I look at you and I think, ‘I want what he has.’ You have everything. And so much of it.”

 

This outfit of course continues the theme of women in black, which we feel refers to the assassinations of the period. It’s also notable that the theme could more accurately be called “women in black with white accents,” as we saw here:

 

MMM

And if you really want to hold on to the “blue and green signals adultery” idea, Stan is wearing a green shirt and a blue belt:

 

Although to be honest, we’re more interested in the moments when these color motifs repeat in separate outfits, rather than in one outfit:

There’s a sense of these colors facing off against each other. Notice how even Jim’s tie is a colorless grey. He’s meant to fade into the background so that all our attention is on the blue figure and green figure in the scene.

We thought perhaps there was something confrontational about the use of blue and green here; a sense of facing off. Just like there seems to be something of a lack of confrontation in the blue and yellow combo:

This scene mimics the one last week, when she walked off the elevator wearing yellow, leaving him behind in his blue. But it’s also about the lack of a connection, or at least the refusal to acknowledge one, which reminds us of this scene from last week:

When there was clearly no connection between these two. And it also carries forward into this scene:

Which is ABSOLUTELY about the lack of connection between these two.

So it might actually be a good sign that Ted’s in green this week instead of yellow. It’s better to have Don confronting you than to have him blowing you off.  And perhaps all that blue and yellow last week was about the ways in which SCDP and CGC were failing to connect, just as Don and Ted were failing to connect. Similarly, you could take the green-and-blue thing and make it about connecting and confronting, instead of about adultery per se. It works for certain notable B&G scenes, like the Ted and Peggy ones or the Sylvia and Megan one, the Trudy and Pete one, or even the Joan and Dawn one. You could take it even further and note that the blue and green in the oatmeal ad lady’s outfit represented the way in which Don confronted his madonna/whore issues with Sylvia.

BONUS PICS: Bobby pajamas (which we had 40 years ago and which we find ourselves wanting to own again) and Megan’s ridiculously fabulous dress, just because:

 

 

[Stills: tomandlorenzo.com]

    • Spicytomato1

      The one thing that struck me more than ever this week — not sure why now since the show has been doing this all along — is how well the characters inhabit that time period, including and maybe even especially the kids. They don’t look like they’re wearing costumes. They look like they time traveled right out of that era.

      Also, pure coincidence, I’m sure, but Bobby has the beauty mark!

      • http://twitter.com/hmbscully WendyD

        Very sharp eyes!

      • MartyBellerMask

        Like the babyfaced copywriter- that HAIR!

      • MK03

        So does Betty.

    • Heather

      Love Betty’s return to form – and I don’t mean her former figure. Definitely some pharmacopia at work, tho I think Mother’s Little Helpers were more like valium than ‘diet pills’ (speed)? In any case fabulous review, boys. And I’d kill for Dawn’s pink gingham dress.

      • janiemary

        I am Sally’s age and my grandmother made me a dress just like Dawn’s in the 60′s… I still have the simplicity pattern!

        • http://twitter.com/chylde chylde

          I came across a box of 1960s patterns at an estate sale. Wonder if they use those patterns when they create the women’s clothing for the show…

        • 3boysful

          I had Dawn’s dress with sleeves. Mom made us matching ones.

          • Spicytomato1

            My mom made matching mother/daughter dresses back then, too! I can’t tell you how much I regret that she and I saved only a minuscule fraction of the items she made from that era.

            I’d wear Dawn’s dress now in a heartbeat, I’ve always been a sucker for gingham. While I didn’t have her dress, I had numerous items in that fabric including a blouse, bedroom curtains and a three-tiered, poufy Barbie dress.

        • lacy Betters

          Simplicity. Oh Simplicity patterns. This made me so happy and brought back many memories of my grandmother sewing me a-line dresses for summer as a girl.

      • Melanie

        I had the same thought – Mother’s Little Helpers were Valium, not speed. But I do agree with TLo that Betty’s likely using diet pills to speed (ahem) her transformation along.

        • Aurumgirl

          No reason to think otherwise. There are still “diet programs” and “bariatric treatment centres” that supplement their meager diet plans with shots that aren’t that much different from Dr. Feelgood’s. That really hasn’t changed.

        • Heather

          I love the idea of Betty performing frenzied vacuuming while whacked out on an amphetamine cocktail.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.edmonson.3 Cynthia Edmonson

        I think that baby faced copywriter is the young man who played Frazier’s son.

        • LightBrigade

          I checked IMDB and you’re right! I’m obsessed with Frasier, I can’t believe I didn’t notice that!

      • decormaven

        If you sew or have access to a seamstress/tailor, look at Simplicity pattern 6539. It doesn’t have the collar, but it’s similar in style.

        http://www.rustyzipper.com/shop.cfm?viewpartnum=253994-M53572

      • Floretta

        I had a pink and white gingham check raincoat (plastic, that snapped shut) around this same period. Loved it. Felt very cool. Never got the white go-go boots though.

    • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

      Amazing recap as usual…especially love the women in black and white

    • MilaXX

      I squeed at the realization that Bobby is wearing Speed Racer pj’s

      • 3boysful

        My brother watched is so much I can still sing all the lyrics!

        • MilaXX

          I can sing most themes songs from my childhood, and all the Schoolhouse Rocks songs.

          • 3boysful

            I know! SR was a tiny bit past my time, but I still recall “conjunction, conjunction, what’s your function.” I can even do most commercials. If it was set to music, I can generally remember it.

            • MilaXX

              To this day I can recite the Preamble.

            • Spicytomato1

              I can’t recite it “straight,” I can only sing it. My son just took the Constitution test and I was trying to urge him to listen to the song so he could learn the Preamble in the same manner. Watching it on DVD is probably not the same as absorbing it via countless Saturday morning cartoons, though.

            • MilaXX

              I used it on a test in middle school by “singing” it under my breath while writing it down for extra credit.

            • NoNeinNyet

              Heck, we watched it in my 8th grade civics class to learn the preamble. I’m Just a Bill was also used. The same teacher would make his 7th grade American History classes march through the halls singing The Battle of New Orleans when they studied the War of 1812.

            • TheDivineMissAnn

              I’m Just A Bill was my favorite!

            • H2olovngrl

              “In 1814, we too a little trip…”

            • H2olovngrl

              Whatever works!

            • Bridget Beauchamp

              I just made my son listen to “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly” and “Unpack Your Adjectives” before his grammar test. He got a 97–they still work!

            • Cordelia_Gray

              Me too! In fact, if I can’t sing the Preamble, I can’t recite it. :-)

            • H2olovngrl

              My daughter just did a play in 5th grade based on Schoolhouse Rock. We went over several of them, including The Preamble, Interjection! And Interplanet Janet. We also watched more of them on YouTube just for fun. Fun for her plus a delightful trip down memory lane for me.

            • MilaXX

              That sounds like loads of fun!

      • Hoyt Clagwell

        Megan must have bought those pajamas for Bobby. Maybe he only wears them when they’re at the apartment. Somehow I just don’t see Betty indulging in such a thing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/theatrecampe Shannon Campe

      Not only do we have the omnipresent Mothers/sons motif, I enjoyed the parallels between Sally and Betty and Betty and her own mother, who looked down on her (and I believe called her a whore) for modeling. Now Betty scolds and shames Sally for wearing the latest fashions…ah, the circle of life.

      • http://www.facebook.com/theatrecampe Shannon Campe

        Not to mention the striking differences (and some similarities) between how Megan and Betty view and treat Sally.

        • charlotte

          I remember Betty telling Carla “When did you decide that you are her mother?” and now she said something very similar to Sally.
          The poor girl must be all confused about adults and their responsibilites.

          • jen_wang

            I felt like the false mother figures tied Don & Sally’s stories together. Don has his stepmother and Aimée and Sylvia, and Sally has Megan and Grandma Ida. The main difference being that nobody intercedes on Don’s behalf, but Betty (despite all her own crazy) got to swoop in here and be the responsible one and take Sally (as she requests) back home.

          • purkoy28

            when did she say something similar? do u mean about not getting allowance to babysit?

            • LauraAgain

              Yes, I think so. When Betty says Sally shouldn’t be paid to watch her own brothers. Sally should just do it because she’s the older sister.

            • http://www.facebook.com/theatrecampe Shannon Campe

              I think that interaction also says a lot about Betty as a wife vs. Megan as a wife. Megan sees that in the role of wife she actually deserves to be rewarded and have some value, whereas Betty sees is as duty above self.

            • http://www.GiftedCollector.com/ The Gifted Collector

              My mother once told me that the difference between her generation and mine (early baby boomers) was that her generation did for the kids and got whatever was left over. But my generation made sure that we got our share along with the kids.

            • Floretta

              Sigh .. not all of us. I’m 2 years older than Sally and watched my EIGHT younger siblings for nothing other than my standard weekly allowance, which also included cleaning and other chores – for a princely $1.25, maybe $1.50 at that point. OTOH I could babysit for other peoples’ kids for 50 cents an hour.

      • Frank_821

        What I find interesting is the current dynamic between Betty and Sally. It’s biting and as caustic as ever BUT it seems more equal now that Sally is older and enter her bratty teen phase. It seems they are more comfortable in their dynamic. Betty is still Betty but Sally seems to be giving almost as good as she gets. But Betty seems to tolerate Sally’s backtalk a lot better than I thought someone like her would. You don’t see her losing it and wailing on Sally as much in the past. It’s kind of underscored by Betty and Sally matching in the kitchen scene

        But I still think that skirt is too short for a 14 year old girl…lol

        • purkoy28

          i agree, i noticed that too, like betty just rolled it off to sally being a typical teen, she has more on her mind now and is feeling better about herself and finally surpassing don in the “who won” war after a seperation. and u r sooooo right on atarget about sally skirt, lol.

        • TheDivineMissAnn

          I agree. And I think what upset Betty the most – the length (or lack of length) in the skirt – reverberated through many a household during that part of the 60′s. They went from mini to micro-mini pretty quick, and it was pretty scandalous.

        • Glammie

          Oh, but they were that short. My skirts were that short for a while. And then one year, after years of pushing the midi, they all dropped and short skirts seemed very outmoded. Then punks brought in short skirts again, but black and leather.

          • Lattis

            I had a dress that was slightly above the spot where my fingertips touched my thighs when my arms hung straight down. I made that dress. I wore it to church. My mom caught a lot of crap from her fellow church ladies for having a daughter show up in essentially a red tunic with no pants.

            • Glammie

              Oh, that’s right–there was a finger-tip rule–your mini shouldn’t be shorter than then end of your fingertips. Some were, of course, and that was on the racier side of things.

            • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

              That’s what Megan’s dresses look like to me. Excuse me, miss, you forgot your pants. (Although she did look fabulous in this episode with the big hair and the sorta-flattering makeup, for once.)

            • mediapileup

              My mother (who was 23 in 1968) once pulled out a green minidress she had worn back then. I was a teenager when she showed it to me and even then was like, “Where are the pants?” It was so ridiculously short. I wish I still had it, though. It was green with some kind of blue and white swirly print…I would totally wear it now over pants!

          • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

            Whenever I see pictures of my mother from around 1970 I can’t help laughing at her micro-skirts. They look so ridiculously vulgar now. She says they used to wear matching underpants, knowing they would be visible. I can’t even imagine.

            • Glammie

              I was young enough that minis still look weirdly “normal” to me. I had a blue cotton one with a red and white floral trim around it. Very girlish. Very short. Wore it with little knit tops. Definitely could have hung out with Sally Draper–she would have been my cool babysitter.

            • Lattis

              I’m with you, Glammie. Minis still seem normal to me, too. Unless they are Heidi-short-tight-shiny they don’t register as a sexy skirt – just a skirt.

              Dora K. – I think maybe it’s the job of mothers and daughters to look askance at what they wear/wore. :)

            • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

              My mom’s dad was an old-school Jewish tailor from Poland. He made my mother the most magnificent clothing, from any photo my mother brought him. She’d go through Vogue and point to dresses she liked, and he’d make them for her. I had a few in high school. One was the loveliest minidress of some kind of textured delicate opaque silk, in a pattern of swirling pastels, with bell sleeves and a silk lining. The stitching was perfect. He was a master, trained by his father before the war. He’d had a haberdashery in Paris after the war, and then worked as a cutter for Pauline Trigere when he first came to NYC, before opening his own shop in the Bronx. She was wearing that swirly dress when she met my father, and I think I wore in one Hallowe’en in high school. My mom looked a lot like Olivia Hussey from Zeffirelli’s “Romeo & Juliet” back then, with hair down to her butt and dancer’s legs. So she could really work those looks. I wore what I could of her 60′s era clothes when I was a teenager in the late 80′s, but my body type is pretty different and they just don’t work well on me. I do like to show some leg, though!

            • Lattis

              Olivia Hussey! Weirdly, I just now watched that version of Romeo and Juliet (8th grade son school assignment). When I saw that movie as a kid I wanted so much to look like Olivia. I loved her – in fact I was such a dope for Olivia Hussey that I even liked her in Lost Horizon!

              Anyway – your mom was lucky! It’s funny. I alway think of Twiggy when I think of beauty icons of my youth – but Olivia Hussey is not a Twiggy shape. I guess there was more “beauty icon” body shape diversity than I thought at the time. What I remember feeling at the time was why the hell was I born so damn curvy and short!!!

            • Glammie

              My mother was enchanted with the costumes in that movie–so much so that she made me a red-velvet Juliet costume for Halloween in second grade.

            • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

              Glammie: that is adorable.

              Lattis: I was having the same thing happen when I wrote that my body type was different. I was going to say something negative and then realized that wasn’t fair to myself and women who look like me. My mom was no Twiggy but the key to those clothes is not being a Joan. Having a rack and a big Jewish tuchus make those looks hard to carry off. I guess I’m glad to have come of age in a time when there were better clothing options for the short and curvy?

            • lulubella

              Sounds so amazing. Would love to see pictures!

            • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

              I wish I had some! My mom might still have it in her closet. The fabric looked like a fairyland version of Turkish paper marbling. And it was excellent silk. Papa never used anything but the best fabrics. But if he had to he could have made a 3-piece suit out of pocket lint. I think he saved his ass a few times after the war, making suits from old blankets for Red Army officers.

            • amywinns

              Wow, I am sick with envy of your mother right now.

          • Floretta

            They were that short, though some skirts were actually skorts (a skirt/short hybrid). I usually wore my shorter skirts with pantyhose, or in colder weather, tights. If it was longer than my fingertips it was too long, lol. I remember a favorite dress I had in college which was a navy pinwale corduroy jumper, buttoned up the front, slightly empire and A-line, v-neck collar which I wore with a sheer white long sleeve blouse that had ruffles down the front and flounced cuffs. Had my freshman picture taken wearing it – wish I could find a copy of that picture now.

            • Glammie

              I remember skorts coming in as sort of a nod to modesty because the skirts kept getting shorter and shorter.

              So yours were above the fingertips? Clearly out from under the parental thumb. And that’s right, there was thing for corduroy and romantic ruffly stuff going on. One of my first non-girl dresses–i.e. size 3 in junior petite–was a dark blue corduroy jumper–empire waisted with cherry appliques on the pockets. *Loved* that jumper.

          • Munchkn

            I was watching on old video of Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 preforming “Like a Lover” recently on youtube. The dresses that Lani Hall and Karen Phillip were wearing were so short they almost didn’t cover the “good china”. Naturally, I had a dress that was that short, too.

            • mcpierogipazza

              I was entranced by those singers, and I’d look at my mom’s Brasil 66 album covers in amazement. They looked so cool to me, even though I was a 70s kid and those styles were already dated

        • desertwind

          My niece is 14 now and wears cutoff short-shorts and minis that my mother thinks are ‘just darling’ A grandma’s prerogative, but she sure gave me hell when I wore the same thing at that age!

      • http://twitter.com/zombiearrowhead Whit

        I’m really enjoying their mother-daughter dynamic as Sally gets older! When Betty was mean to her as a younger child, I kind of felt bad for her, but as she becomes a teenager and is able to dish it back, I’m finding their scenes really enjoyable. Also, IMO, I think Betty likes Sally a lot more in general as she gets older. Yes, she gets mad about the back-talk, but I think she likes having her own little mini-me around to spar with :)

      • purkoy28

        agreed, but u gotta admit sallys skirt is short for a 13 year old by todays standard too. i never would let my pre teen wear that skirt…especially with the knee boots megans buying her, lol.

    • janiemary

      Betty (January jones) has a beauty mark just to the side of her nose… Coincidence or was that part of Don’s original attraction to her?

      • KayeBlue

        And when Don met her, she was worldly and independent, but living “with 8 girls in two rooms, eating soup out of cans…”. I guess Don wanted to save Aimee- not just marry Betty.

        • siriuslover

          maybe that’s where the soup idea came from when he had Ginsberg (urg?) and Peggy fruitlessly searching the archives for something in his head. After all, oatmeal isn’t soup.

          • MartyBellerMask

            NICE, you guys!!!

          • Melanie

            Right – Aimee was feeding him soup. That’s a good catch.

            • Froide

              And the color of the broth Aimee fed him is the same color as the “brown juice” (whiskey) Don favors.

            • Heather

              Yes – and the ‘you know what he needs’ tagline is especially creepy, given the molestation that followed.

          • Lisa_Co

            I thought the soup was his personal memory of Aimee feeding him when he was sick. He got that memory confused with the oatmeal ad because Aimee is also the mother in the oatmeal ad. Don’s personal and professional worlds colliding.

        • purkoy28

          lol….thats a good one

    • KayeBlue

      Wow. Just wow. Y’all WIN at analyzing this show. I hadn’t been able to put my finger on exactly *why* this episode felt so surreal and discomfiting, but your explanation of the corresponding color palettes blurring scenes together makes me smack my head and say “duh!”.

      Also, Sally is dressed almost exactly like the girl from Pete’s Driver’s Ed class. She’s not a woman, but Megan (and soon men) will want to believe she is one. Since the end of last season brought about Sally’s menarche, I really hope her first sexual experiences are not impending.

      Now, where can I buy Peg’s black scarf-dress (what did Joan say about scarves?) and Megan’s tights?

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        Yes! I covet Peggy’s black dress! I’ll pass on the pill box hat tho’.

        • KayeBlue

          ITA. That hat is not the look. I am so glad they took the peacock print down before they played Stanley William Tell- I have asked a printer and been told I need an ultra-high-res photo of it to have a copy made.

          • Elizabeth Davis

            There are some lookalike versions available online. Just Google for “Mad Men peacock poster.”

        • http://www.facebook.com/vlasta.bubinka Vlasta Bubinka

          tThat Peggy black dress is almost identical to the blue one Megan wore in season 4 when she got Don the Beatles tickets and he stares at her at her desk. That is often described as the scene in which Don takes notice in Megan and here Peggy wears a similar dress when Stan makes firm the way he’s noticed her for 2.5 seasons.

      • charlotte

        I’m sure Glen will make an appearance (for the very reason that Weiner wants his son to be on the show), and I guess something is bound to happen. Hopefully *just* a kiss.

        Tell me if you find Peggy’s dress!

        • Carol

          Go to AMC.com ‘s Mad Men section and there is a short video of Janie Bryant (sp?) talking about Peggy’s black and white dress. The coat has a beautiful black and white lining that matched the scarf. I don’t think you could see it on the show though. I seem to remember she said the dress and matching coat were vintage.

      • http://twitter.com/THEmodmother amanda siegelson

        i’m certain megan’s “tights” are just white (or maybe pink) fishnets. easy to acquire!

        • purkoy28

          i have a pair of pink fishnets, u can get them in all colors at holt renfrew : )

          • rottenkitty

            I had pink fishnets as a child. They matched an awesome pink dress I had one year for Easter. I loved Easter dresses. Pastel candy dresses when the weather was hovering in the 50s.

            • desertwind

              Fishnets over tights in matching or contrasting colors is a look I favored at the time, then really went to town when punk came in!

    • I_Heart_TLo

      And now my day can begin.

    • SuzyQuzey

      I liked that Dawn was wearing something fresh, bright, and seemingly new. She’s been too dowdy for too long.

      • jen_wang

        It really struck me as more evidence of her feeling more comfortable in her job. Her earlier clothes felr workmanlike, like she was just trying to keep her head down and stay out of trouble.

        • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

          And is this the first time she’s been on-camera since Joan gave her the new responsibilities? If so, perhaps this is evidence of her career advancement showing through her clothes.

          • sweetlilvoice

            Mmmm…you may be right. I remember shots of Don walking past her empty desk looking confused but not actually seeing Dawn.

          • Spicytomato1

            That’s what I was thinking. When my friends and I were in our first jobs and living paycheck to paycheck, any extra money from a raise or bonus went not to food or entertainment but straight to new work clothes.

            • Glammie

              But the dress, while cute as can be, still looks like it could have been home-made. I think Dawn’s being careful with her money. (I love how Bryant thinks about these things–Peggy’s clothes get better and better fitting with each promotion.)

      • http://www.facebook.com/evie.michael Evie Michael

        I was thinking the same thing- thrilled to see her in an outfit that fit well and was very cute! Very telling as to her feeling of security in the office.

      • Froide

        Maybe she’s getting paid more to go along with her new responsibilities as keeper of timecards/supply room..

      • Girl_With_a_Pearl

        I like that she is wearing something that is fresh and bright, but I think she’s wearing a homemade Simplicity pattern. Nothing wrong with that, I made a skirt or two back in the day, but I think her clothes are still at the stage where they are slowly evolving into something truly fabulous. It will take some time yet as her responsibilities grow. Perhaps when she becomes an office manager or she’s saved up a bit more.

    • Laylalola

      I don’t know, the whole episode felt so ham-fisted — from Don’s last line (someone earlier asked whether the whole episode was written just so he could say that one eye-rolling line) to convoluting the storyline just so Kenny would have a cane in his hand when he did his tap dance — that I have a sense it’s fruitless to pretend there’s any anything remotely subtle or nuanced to bother analyzing this episode.

    • http://twitter.com/rmccarthyjames RMJ

      Peggy and Betty’s coral-striped sleeveless dresses strike me as similar in print and silhouette I don’t know what that means, exactly, but I noticed it.

      Also more with the Sally as prostitute theme…. when Megan asks her to watch the kids, she asks her she wants to earn the boots, the kind of boots her father rejected in Codfish Ball as too sexy, to go with her short skirt. When Bobby questions Megan’s decision, Sally tells him not to feel bad, like Aimee did with Don. I don’t know what they’re building towards, but I’m sure worried about Sally!

      • decormaven

        But notice Sally has on a gold necklace under her yellow nightgown in the telephone scene. Ten to one it’s her SBD necklace from Don. She’s still tied to her parents, but she’s going to test the waters.

        • MK03

          It’s the same necklace. She never takes it off.

      • SFree

        Sally’s saving grace is that she is the grownup. I think she’s starting to realize that.

        • Amy B

          Sally has good sense – I think a lot of kids do before they grow up and start following the rules instead of their own internal judgment! She handled Grandma Ida quite well, I thought.

          She might get into a couple of scrapes but I’m thinking she will be OK. Not so sure about dear ol’ Dad, though.

      • Froide

        @RMJ – I saw the similarity between Peggy and Betty’s dresses, too. I read that as both have become confident in their respective “professional” roles, and that those roles suit them well: politician’s wife and Creative Director.

        • http://twitter.com/rmccarthyjames RMJ

          I like that! Both have the upper hand with Don, too – they are both in a position to scold him.

        • charlotte

          It’s their job!

      • gabbilevy

        I’m not sure I’d buy into Sally making some huge mistake, even with all the prostitute symbolism and her parents, and adult role models, being as messed up as they are. She’s always portrayed as having such a good head on her shoulders that it wouldn’t feel earned for her to rebel and do something crazy just for the attention. (And yes, I do remember when she and Glen ran off to the museum, but considering how traumatic that moment was, she probably learned her lesson.)

        • http://twitter.com/rmccarthyjames RMJ

          I’m not necessarily worried about her making some huge mistake. Mistakes are a normal part of growing up, after all. I just worry about the situations her parents are going to put her in and how she might react, if that makes sense? I feel like they’re building towards some negative or exploitative experience with sexuality/prostitution.

          • gabbilevy

            I would say they’re setting her up for a dangerous moment (not her fault) where the seediness of NYC in this era really crashes into their lives, but they already sort of did that with Joan (both with Doctor Evil and the robbery/Roger sex scene on the UWS). Not that the show backs away from repeating themes, but that would really be heartbreaking for Sally (and us, her fans!).

        • purkoy28

          and they went to a museum….not to do drugs and have sex in her parents bed, lol : )

        • charlotte

          I agree. I like to believe that Sally has had her share of rebellion before puberty, and that she will not become the troubled teen that a lot of people expect to see. But maybe I’m wrong, who knows except Matthew Weiner….

        • tallgirl1204

          I wonder how true to the time they will be with that. It is shocking now, but many of my junior high female classmates were eager to shed their virginity at age 12 or 13 or 14, and I don’t remember that the adults found out or seemed to be involved. Several of my classmates aggressively chased the single male teachers, and sometimes they were successful. Not that it was o.k. Then, and today it would be horrifying, but in my world it was just the way it was– this was in 1970 or so. It never occurred to me that a teacher would be guilty of child abuse for taking advantage– we thought we were much more mature than we were. This would be a very difficult place for today’s audiences to go.

          • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

            This was happening in my jr. high and high school in the mid/late 80′s, and I found it TOTALLY shocking back when I was 13 and my formerly innocent friends were suddenly all on birth control pills, dating high school seniors, and dropping acid. I bet it’s all still happening now. Right?

      • LauraAgain

        I noticed exactly the same thing about Peggy and Betty. I was so proud of myself! But then TLo didn’t mention anything about it …..

    • SewingSiren

      I LOVE the formality of the whore’s breakfast. Lace table cloth, painted china, and silver. That would make a fantastic theme for a dinner party. Formal Whore Breakfast. I’m doing it when my kids move out. But if any of you guys do it first, invite me okay? cause I have tons of depression era whore wear. Its pretty much my M.O.

    • leighanne

      I love this class. I agree that the colors may signify different themes in different times.

      Especially loved Peggy’s striped dress and how Cheshire-cat she looked when she smiled in the copy team’s “tea party”. When Don walks away from the team the 2nd time, there’s a striped cat figurine on a desk echoing the striped look- I thought this was a terrific touch. Then the dramatic change to black. Peggy’s role in the office has certainly changed and Don isn’t sure how to handle this, perhaps…

      • siriuslover

        didn’t someone mention the Cheshire cat this past week or the week before that?

        • leighanne

          I didn’t see a mention.

          • siriuslover

            I mean in the show itself. I could have sworn that someone in the cast said “cheshire cat.” Either that or I’m going loopy…

            • leighanne

              Ah, yes! I think you’re right. I need to watch this a second time!

        • leighanne

          But I’d be curious to know what else was said about it.

        • Melanie

          Yes! They were quoting from Alice in Wonderland this week when they were all high!

        • jen_wang

          Yes, Ginsberg & Peggy brainstorming. (At a fork in the road) “Where are you going?” “I don’t know.” “Then I guess it doesn’t matter.” A trippy book for a trippy episode. :)

          • siriuslover

            oops. your reply wasn’t there when i hit my reply above. How do I delete now? In any case, thanks for the catch!

      • gabbilevy

        Do we think they’re drawing parallels to the way the team was gathered ’round the copy desk and the whores’ breakfast? Lots of color, lots of noise? (This is just a thread of a thought, I haven’t made any connections)

        • leighanne

          I didn’t get that… but then again, both are scenes in which Don is confused and doesn’t quite belong to the group.

    • Moriginal

      The buttons on the front of Peggy’s orange striped dress still kill me. They’re like very wrongly placed superfluous nipples.

      • Froide

        They’re stand ins for a scarf. (Meant to be sexy.)

    • decormaven

      Thanks for the commentary, and especially with the screen caps. I’m squeeing with delight because Sylvia has a Krispy Can Blue Crystals crisper keeper on her kitchen shelf. God, these set designers are good.

      Would love to know if Megan’s dress was vintage, or inspired. Looks like Qiana fabric.

      • http://profiles.google.com/dorothymichael Dorothy & Michael n/a

        I was excited to see the Premium Saltines can in Sylvia’s kitchen. I have the same one. Found it in an antique store a few years ago. AND the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook; mine is circa 1979 though.

        • MartyBellerMask

          My grandma had one (Saltine tin) back in the 80′s. But it was likely much older than that!!

          • Heather

            I love that people ate enough saltines to warrant having a special container for them! :-) Now I think of them ONLY as something I consume when I’m recovering from stomach flu, along with Sprite.

            • MartyBellerMask

              Saltines and peanut butter were her go-to treat. She was not much of a cook. And her sister (my great aunt) used to set saltines with peanut butter outside to feed the squirrels. :)

            • Heather

              I love that the same snack was offered to both grandchildren, and squirrels. :-)

            • http://profiles.google.com/dorothymichael Dorothy & Michael n/a

              They are a must-have in soup for me, and they’re pretty yummy with cream cheese on them too. With a big glass of milk.

          • Glammie

            We *still* have a vintage saltines tin. It keeps the saltines fresher.

            And, yes, I am a WASP. A fair amount of retro food gets worked in there along with the newer stuff as a result.

      • Aurumgirl

        Qiana! God.

      • LauraAgain

        My mom still has her Saltines tin from the 1960′s. I noticed it right away, though it DID seem like a strange place to store it in the kitchen.

        • http://profiles.google.com/dorothymichael Dorothy & Michael n/a

          It was put there for the purposes of set decoration, not necessarily a handy spot for the pretend t.v. family!

          • LauraAgain

            I understand that. But when you look at all of the settings (Draper apartment, Francis home, SCDPCGC), nothing is purposely misplaced or overlooked.

    • mkt-rex

      I saw the blue and yellow on Sylvia and Don in the elevator at the end and just shouted the colors at my boyfriend…. He had no idea what I was talking about.

      Thanks for the great recaps. they might be my favorite of all of the write ups about mad men

      • Jennifer Coleman

        I’m starting to think that the 2 primary colors, blue & yellow (& red, which is a different story in its relation to purple) represent the power or effecting change colors. They can choose to work together (to create green) or stand alone and isolated. Green, as a mixture of the 2, is the more collaborative or reactionary color. Ted and Rizzo wear it as creative minds who are being affected by other plot issues (Rizzo: Peggy and the death in his family, Ted: Peggy and the merging of the offices/Don’s stanky attitude, also last week, Pete’s mom stuck in the apartment). The ladies in yellow are usually standing up to or challenging blue (Moira to Joan, Sylvia and Sally to Don). Also yellow is powerful, but not as aggressive or aware of that power (Ted, Megan and Ginsberg).

    • Tee

      The purple prints! What a great analysis!

      • rachel schiff

        Yes, seeing the connection between those two “interlopers” through style was great! What an excellent analysis all the way through. “Enough of Dick Whitman’s Carnival of Bullshit.”

        • Cordelia_Gray

          “Carnival of Bullshit” is awesome. I’m so going to say, “Enough of your carnival of bullshit!” to my Hubs next time he gets on my nerves. :-)

    • disqus_0TygtVLWR6

      You taught me to pay attention to details, so here’s one for
      you. The bag Ida is carrying is the same green shade as the handbag with the
      money Peggy was hesitant to leave with another black woman (Dawn).

      And have you noticed that for the first time, we
      had a woman (an extra in the background of the creative lounge) showing up for
      work (alas in a weekend) in a very trendy, yellow pajama like pants suit?

      • Lisa

        I don’t see that yellow pantsuit. Is it something that didn’t make it to the screen shots?

        • disqus_0TygtVLWR6

          Check the show, about 21 minutes in. Don is asking Peggy to look for the soup ad. That woman is walking in the background.

        • decormaven

          It’s not in the screen caps but it’s just after Peggy is talking to Don in the creative area. Remember when Stan bursts in the door, shouting “I’ve got 666 ideas!”? Look at the opposite door behind Peggy. You do see a woman in what appears to be a light yellow pantsuit in that doorway. (Note: Whoever is counting the satanic images here, Stan’s shoutout should go on the list.)

      • http://twitter.com/kciccolini Kristen

        Nice catch with the handbag! I didn’t think of that

    • ~Heather

      When Don calls Sally on the phone after Grandma Ida breaks in, I believe he said “I just wanted you to know I’m ok.” It’s like he’s talking to his mother, not to his child. He should be asking HER if SHE’s ok. There goes the ‘Best Dad of 68′ award, Don. (Again.)

      Also, I found a copy of ’1968: The Year That Rocked The World’ by Mark Kurlansky It’s perfect reading for this season of Mad Men – and check out the final quote in the book. (Hint: it harkens back to the first episode of the season and it f***ing blew me away!)

      • Crystal

        It was very “calling your mom when you’re late for curfew”. I didn’t think of that.

      • Lisa

        Oh, just share the quote then!

        • ~Heather

          The quote was from Dante’s ‘Inferno’. That would be the book that Sylvia gave Don, that he was reading on his Hawaiian work vacation with Megan.

          1968 is wonderful reading for background for this season, to better understand the concern for riots, why mini skirts got to be so short, napalm & Vietnam, etc.

          • desertwind

            Thanks for that. Just bought it on Kindle.

      • chauncey

        On your first point: earlier in the episode Peggy had talked about “the child is the father” when they were batting around Chevy ideas. So this would be an instance of that I guess.

      • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

        I was struck by Don telling Sally “I’m OK” when what he should have said was “Are you OK?” followed quickly by “I’m sorry”. But emotionally healthy people make boring characters, and characters aren’t people. So carry on, Bad Father Puppet! Carry on!

      • http://profiles.google.com/dorothymichael Dorothy & Michael n/a

        I think he told Sally he was okay because he fainted in front of them all. But you’re right – he should have also asked if SHE was okay.

      • Glammie

        Given that he collapsed in front of them, I don’t see that as a problem. Scary stuff to see a parent collapse.

        While he should have told her he loved her, he did tell her it wasn’t her fault, which no one did for him at the same age. One step forward, two steps back–Don in a nutshell.

    • Crystal

      I live for these. So great.

    • siriuslover

      I seriously stopped getting ready for work (and getting the kids’ lunches for school ready) just to sit down and read this post. I’m horrible! Anyway, I love the new thinking about blue / green as conflict. It can even tie into the adultery issue as that is a form of conflict (or not dealing with it as some might suggest). Not mad style, but I still want to talk about all the devil themes in this week’s episode!

    • SFree

      First, “nipple buttons” cracked me up! Second, I love this site and look forward to it every week (once I finally found it!). I do think the change from b&g to confrontation instead of adultery makes a lot of sense.

      • http://twitter.com/susanpcollier Susan Collier

        I can’t get over the pareidolic illusion of Peggy’s dress with its nipple buttons and bust dart. Her dress seemed to be the only thing smiling on her this episode.

    • BrooklynBomber

      Sally’s peasant blouse and the hippie girl’s Indian bedspread skirt triggered intense nostalgia.

      • decormaven

        Yes, Wendy’s skirt was close to my Indian print bedspread in that same era.

        • BrooklynBomber

          Did you use them to make clothes, too? We bought our Indian print bedspreads at the local head shop, where you could also buy strings of beads, sealing wax, incense, rolling papers, and more. I can still see the bedspreads folded and stacked on the shelf. I had one on my bed, and would buy more to make skirts and blouses. (Not quite as early as 1968, though — I was a bit too young — more like 1971 onward.)

          ETA: plus, the peasant blouse with the little string ties on the puffed sleeves!

          • decormaven

            No, that bedspread was the focal point of my teenage bedroom, thanks to my college-age big sister. I had a Peter Max-inspired paper lantern (that I would KILL to find now) hanging from the ceiling, with strips of red burlap on the wall to display important works of art – like Bobby Sherman’s shirtless two-page spread and a black and white print of Napoleon.

            • BrooklynBomber

              Shirtless Bobby Sherman–from Tiger Beat?

            • decormaven

              Yes! I moved quickly from the teen mags to music mags about that time- Circus.

          • SFree

            Can you remember the smell of the new bedspread? I remember buying one as one my first “big” independent purchases. Up to then, it had been records and makeup.

            • BrooklynBomber

              Now that you mention it – yes, I remember that smell! This is also triggering memories of the jeans we bought at the Army-Navy surplus; then we’d decorate the jeans with studs.

            • Lattis

              also colorful Indian fabric patches.

            • Heather

              Yes!!! They always smelled like the head shop incense. :-)

              I had a purple one in college (late 80s) that I used to cover my ripped-up, light-colored couch (side-of-the-road find), both as decoration and to keep my cat from clawing it further. It turned the couch purple!! When I washed it, it faded almost completely. Guess colorfast dyes were not in wide use by the makers of hippie bedspreads.

    • Jessica Stone

      I hadn’t thought of the pink in terms of diluted whore-red, which does seem to be playing of diluted Madonna-blue here in some scenes. I think at the most basic level the prevalence of the pastel colours in general was pointing us to the priority of childhood and innocence in the story.

      On the women in black: I love this motif so much, and I’m guessing it has multiple layers as well. I’m wondering if, in addition to referencing the assassinations and general bloodshed of the period, they also, for Don, hearken to Anna, the widow, the mother, the ‘someone who loved’ Dick Whitman and who, of course, also died. Or maybe it also points in general to all that Don has to mourn. Which, at this point, is quite the tally.

      • MissKimP

        About Peggy wearing black this episode: I think she had just come from Gleason’s funeral, so naturally would be wearing black. That doesn’t mean, of course, that it can’t tie into the women in black theme, just that there was a more obvious reason for it, plot-wise.

        • Jessica Stone

          Yeah, the reason for Peggy wearing it is obvious. Just like the first women-in-black in the first episode of this season, who were also wearing black for a funeral. All the women-in-black (and white) have worn their clothing for reasons that suit their movements in the plot, just as all characters wear clothing that makes sense internally for the character first and foremost before serving any broader aims of theme or story. But we’re not talking about the reason Peggy’s wearing black, we’re talking about its significance as part of a larger thematic framework. Not cause, but meaning.

          If she had been shown at the funeral, with Ted and others in mourning, maybe she would have blended in. But the audience is encouraged to note her clothing, partly because we see her in the office amid bright colours, not at the funeral, and therefore she becomes part of a larger pattern in the show that I think we’re meant to be paying attention to.

          • MissKimP

            Yes, I agree. I should have finished my thought above by saying that the black is dictated by the storyline here unlike, say, a lot of other costuming choices (e.g., Sally’s pajamas), which just highlights the deliberateness of those other costuming choices and the amount of work and thought that goes into it all.

    • MartyBellerMask

      When you started the Mad Style series, you were compiling several seasons worth of costumes and set design choices and it would have been much easier to come up with themes and trends. It’s a whole different ballgame going week by week.
      That you two can even come up with anything is amazing. This post here is nothing short of brilliant.Kudos!!!!

    • Natasha Sims

      I enjoy rewatching previous Mad Men seasons every now and then. Ultimately I find myself digging through your site for different Mad Style posts. What I wouldn’t give for a published volume(s) of Mad Style posts so I could read through your fashion theory after watching an episode!

      • Melanie

        I’m sure there would be image permission issues and what-not, but I would definitely buy this book!

        • sweetlilvoice

          Well, when TLo publish their own book, you should definitely pick it up!

          • Melanie

            Well, sure, but it’s not about Mad Men, which was sort of the point of this whole comment thread.

    • sk82party

      Think of it this way: the writers write the script, giving the meaning they want it to have. Then the costume designer is given the script. Do you think that SHE decides on her own to add extra meaning or different meaning through using colors, as if she is a writer and has something to do with it? This is why you are right to say its all speculation. I think she tries to match the writers meaning through using appropriate clothing – unless the writers are telling her “use yellow here because WE want it to mean bla bla bla”- this is my problem with all these theories. WHO came up with the meaning, the writers or the costume designer? These analysis seem to give an awful lot of credit to the costume designer adding her own meaning after the script is written and I’m not sure about that.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        God, how many times and in how many different ways can we say that the intent of the creator DOES NOT MATTER in an analysis like this?

        But you should probably read up on the job of costume designer. It’s far more complicated and collaborative than you seem to understand. There’s a reason people win Oscars for it.

      • trixietru

        As I commented earlier, though the comment is strangely not visible… The art director sets the palette which the production designer and costume designer execute. I’m sure the costumer provides extensive background for their design options however the way the scene is composed and the blocked placement of actors often dictates color choices. The designer may create a color profile for a character but its a stretch to entertain the use of any color has a collective imagery which sweeps an entire production.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          Your previous comment is “strangely not visible” because after spending several paragraphs directly addressing the idea of intent and how it doesn’t matter for these posts, we’re not going to host yet another long discussion that amounts to “This is fun and all, but you guys know it’s a waste of time, right?”

          This is the end of it. Seriously. Talk about the costumes and what they make you think of, but do not use this space to talk about how this kind of analysis isn’t your thing or doesn’t really matter.

          • trixietru

            Point taken. This is your space.

          • Glammie

            I’m beginning to feel like there needs to be some sort of user agreement before posting: “I hereby acknowledge that I will not post about whether posts analyzing costume design should exist. I acknowledge that this topic has been addressed ad nauseam. I acknowledge that no one forces me to read or post here. If I do not want to read about costume analysis I will not do so.”

            • Aurumgirl

              I dunno, I should think this is so obvious, no one needs a “user agreement”. If you really don’t get the idea or relevance of analysis, especially when it’s around works of art of any kind, then you don’t get it, you don’t see the value, you don’t appreciate it, and you can’t do it yourself, either. You (and I’m using this word to address anyone who thinks this way, not anyone in particular) won’t enjoy this discussion, and you can’t contribute to it, either. So, then, what are you doing here? Chiming in to tell us you think it’s a waste of time is just you, wasting your time, and wasting everyone else’s time as well. Why bother? Find something else to do that is more interesting to you.

            • Glammie

              My suggestion is actually tongue-in-cheek–yes, it should be obvious. I suppose it happens because this is one of the better places on the Web to discuss Mad Men, so it pulls in people who aren’t fashion junkies. Some of us, on the other hand, date back to when this was Project Rungay and know and want fashion to be the main course on the menu.

      • MK03

        “The writers write the script, giving the meaning they want it to have. Then the costume designer is given the script. Do you think that SHE decides on her own to add extra meaning or different meaning through using colors, as if she is a writer and has something to do with it?”

        Seriously? That’s EXACTLY what a costume designer does. Writers do not make those decisions; the costume designer and the creator of the show do, sometimes with input from the director and the actors. Writers do not call the shots when it comes to the look of the show. That’s what production design is for.

        • Zaftiguana

          Thank you. I’m sure there are many times when Weiner or a director or maybe, in rarer cases, a writer ask for something specific (I’m sure the red dress from Saks was just such a situation), but otherwise that’s exactly why you have a designer.

          • Lisa_Co

            My former stylist is a hair designer for Broadway shows. He is given free reign by the show creators.

        • jenno1013

          This. If the only creativity that mattered was the writers’, you would call it a book and sell it by itself. But then you introduce actors, who make choices that affect the meaning of the words. And you introduce costumes, hair and makeup, production design, sets and props, cinematographers, lighting, sound mixing, and composers, all of whom add layers of creativity, all harnessed and coordinated by the director. If anything, the writers often have less influence over the finished product than more, because so much is added visually and aurally.

      • Zaftiguana

        And you seem to be giving awfully little credit to her for doing her job; fleshing out characters, relationships, and themes through her designs. Because that is absolutely her job. I don’t understand why so many people are so eager to dismiss her work as an artist.

    • http://theargiehome.blogspot.com/ Gus Casals

      As much as I love your analysis, I have to thank you for acknowledging the over-analysis the show is going through.
      Nice take on the “confrontation-non-confrontation” color palette.

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        Every well-done, wildly popular show goes through it, and it’s up to the fans to decide whether or not to read into the analyses. I had to stop with Lost, because it became “too much,” and I limited myself to reading just TLo’s recaps, but with Mad Men, I haven’t reached the point of over-saturation yet. So for now, I’m enjoying reading about the different theories and interpretations about the sets, the wardrobes, and the characters overall.

    • maejune87

      I wonder if the green v. blue needs to be seen as confrontation? There’s some definite color theory at work here…if Don’s primary color is blue and Ted’s yellow – and their respective creative teams adapt those color positions as well – green might correspond to the interaction between those two primary groups…Adopting a secondary color as a means of closer connection to the opposing party’s primary color….

      In the case of Ted and Don, maybe it marks the aggressive, territorial aspect of their relationship? Confrontation aside, I also see it as a willingness, on Ted’s half, to negotiate with Don or adapt to the situation; Don, however, is blue through and through.

      I think when we move from color theory to symbolism, things – as mentioned in the article – get tricky…but isn’t it FUN to make these predictive leaps!

    • sk82party

      PS I had those same pajamas that Sally is wearing, we called them Shorty Pajamas, they had the little shorts you wore them only in the summer. I was about Sally’s age in the same year on the show. She does have a huge collection of pajamas she never wears the same pair twice. Dont know if it is supposed to be summer here. Okay maybe she left her summer shorty pajamas at her dads house that would explain it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/judy.julian77 Judy Julian

        I had the shorty pjs as well, only we called them “baby doll” pajamas.

        • janneyb

          My sister and I had baby doll pajamas too. It’s so funny to see the odd and specific ways that the costuming and set design elements make those of us who were Sally/Bobby/Gene’s age in 1968 wax nostalgic!

      • Heather

        I wonder if she keeps them at Dad’s, for practical purposes but also because they read as negligee-like, and I can imagine Betty would have a field day. I suspect she has some clothes that she brings back and forth – she’s often shown with a small suitcase — but as with her go-go boots (which I think she also keeps at Dad’s?), there are certain things that she keeps for ‘city wear’ only, for various reasons.

    • MartyBellerMask

      What do you want to bet that the “street corner” spiel is the closest thing to a “sex talk” Betty’s had with Sally?? This girl is headed for a lifetime of hangups.

      • http://www.facebook.com/georgina.brown.1675 Bawoman

        I disagree, I think if Betty was so able to casually mention that its because she knows Sally knows about it.Either from her or someone else-

        • MartyBellerMask

          Well OBVIOUSLY she knows about sex. :) But there’s a big difference between hearing healthy things about sex from your parents (so not happening here, since sexuality is apparently dirty) and learning things from kids.

          • Frank_821

            I can just imagine how hilariously bad a sex talk would be for Sally with either Betty or Don. I could almost see a healthy discussion if she had it with Henry. But that’s only because Henry seems to be the most sensitive of the 4

            • sweetlilvoice

              I agree. And Henry may have been down this road before with his children from his first marriage.

            • greenwich_matron

              It’s funny how they never really come up.

          • decormaven

            Sally “knows” about sex- it’s when “the man pees inside the woman” as she explained to the nurse/babysitter after her haircut experiment in “The Chysanthemum and the Sword.”

            • MartyBellerMask

              I remember that! :) And then how utterly shamed Sally was for her, ah, self-exploration later on.
              Also: This is the episode where Ted Chaogh makes his first appearance. Enough to warrant a re-watch, I think.

        • urbantravels

          OTOH, Betty was unexpectedly motherly (and chilled-out) when Sally had her first-period emergency.

      • decormaven

        I did appreciate how Betty handled talking with Sally about her first menses in “Commissions and Fees.” – “Even though it’s unpleasant, it means that everything is working.” I did find her comment this episode to be short and crude. Maybe it’s diet pills causing the snappishness…

        • Aurumgirl

          Women who willingly starve have very little patience for anything. Just sayin’.

          • Zaftiguana

            Yeah, I know many people are applauding Betty’s return to come kind of active presence in the world, but to me she’s just clearly hungry and jacked up and mad.

            • Glammie

              Yeah, but that’s Betty. She’s almost never a happy person. In the early seasons, it was pretty easy to blame Don for Betty’s unahappiness and vice versa, but now that both are married to better partners, it’s more obvious that they bring the seeds of their unhappiness with them.

            • greenwich_matron

              Agree. Betty is never going to be happy until she forgives Don, and that doesn’t seem likely before Gene graduates from college. Don is waiting for the day when he can pretend “this never happened.”

            • Glammie

              I think it’s not about forgiving Don. I think her unhappiness goes deeper than that. Betty’s an eternal child who doesn’t really have a sense of what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes–her remarks about teen girls–the rape joke about Sally’s friend; the insinuation that Sally was a streetwalker–ugh. Just all sorts of weird and inappropriate.

            • Zaftiguana

              I definitely think being unhappy is standard Betty, and being angry has been a developing trend for a long time now (in many ways understandably so). But I think starving and dancing-just-as-fast-as-she-can Betty who’s faced with the anxiety of being a public figure might turn out to be a whole new and much more unpleasant animal.

      • Heather

        I’m sure there’s been no ‘sex talk’ for Sally, and Judy Blume hasn’t come on the scene yet (where I, and many other girls since, learned about menstruation, masturbation, and sex. BTW, thank you JB!!). Like Sally, my mother told my sister and I NOTHING about sex, yet would disparage us for dressing like ‘whores,’ and I remember being completely mystified about what that meant. So yes, while I’m sure she’s starting to figure it out — probably has gotten past ‘the man pees inside the woman’ – it’s still quite the mystery to her. See her expression when she walks in on Marie and Roger – primarily confusion.

        • sweetlilvoice

          Just a shout out to JB! Love her and she was the main way I found out about that stuff too in the 80s and I had a pretty liberal family. I still own several of her books.

          • Heather

            My favorite was always ‘Tiger Eyes’ — I felt most connected to that character of all the ones in Blume’s books — and I must admit that I was excited to hear they’re making a film of it!

            • racrobin

              The coolest part is that her son is directing it, so it should stay true to the material.

              She wrote a book where the title character has the same name I do – when it came out, I thought it was like a special secret message just for me. God bless ya Judy Blume.

      • LauraAgain

        Don’t forget that Sally had a good long look at Marie Calvert going down on Roger Sterling in “At The Codfish Ball”. That would give any young girl nightmares.

    • Jenny

      I just hope that once this show is over, that Janie Bryant will do a tell-all interview with TLo. A girl can dream, right?

    • http://www.facebook.com/georgina.brown.1675 Bawoman

      Kind of obvious and a bit on the nose for Ted and Stan to be wearing the same exact color. Pretty sure we all know what thats about…

    • trixietru

      The blue knotted head scarf and beauty mark seemed like overkill yet it makes sense that Don only registers these repetitions subconsciously. I found Sally’s pink baby doll pajamas a perfect costume choice to highlight her innocence and vulnerability in that scene. Having her so youth and child like femininity so exposed added tension to the confrontation with Ida the home invader.
      Although the color analysis and symbolism adds a lot of fun and depth to viewing sometimes the costume designer is locked into dressing their characters purely to achieve the art director’s palette-specific to his composition of the scene. If Brown and Bishop want a strong streak of high contrast yellow in a blue kitchen setting then someone’s wearing yellow.

    • http://twitter.com/mirrormirrorxx Paola Thomas

      So continuing Blue/Green/Yellow watch in last week’s in comments discussion. Blue = establishment, dominance, power, control, status quo, rule making,. Green = freedom, independence, free-thinking, rule-breaking. Yellow = innocence, naivety, essential goodness, incorruptible

      Three notable green wearers this week. Ted, Kenny and Stan. The above makes sense for all of these. Ted is wearing green because he has enough independence of thought not to take part in all the office shenanigans. Ken is wearing it because he is being FORCED to take part, because ‘it’s his job’ but damn is he pissed about it. And Stan, he’s just a rule-breaker – wants to break the rules with Peggy and enjoys breaking the rules in the office, though for him it’s not about power and control and the job. Underneath he’s angry with the status quo too.

      As for blue. Peggy totally isn’t wearing it. She’s not in control this week. Sylvia wears it (and uses a green phone) when she and Don talk on the phone. In that situation Sylvia is the one in control (and talking about her freedom from Don’s stalking). Don and the others are wearing it in the office as members of the corrupt office establishment and yay! Betty is back in blue and back in control when she berates Don at the end.

      And yellow. Some notable instances. Sally Draper reveals a lot of her true innocent self in her phone conversation with her father, Sylvia is wearing yellow again in the elevator with Don, she will not be corrupted further by him, and crazy black ‘grandma’ is noticeably wearing the yellow of ‘innocence’ when she first appears.

      Prostitute Aimee is wearing a confusing mix of whore-red, controlling blue head scarf and essential self yellow. Essentially she’s fond of Don and sorry for him, but ultimately ends up dominating him in the only way she knows.

      All of which goes to support TLo’s theory. Blue and green are in a confrontation, Don and Ted and in the society at large. Yellow however ultimately will not be dominated by blue.

    • tallgirl1204

      so, my theory on green and blue is that it does mean something, but not specifically adultery: it’s about loyalty and betrayal. Blue is often the color of fealty– and green is often the color of envy– but twist it just slightly and it’s about the tension between loyalty and betrayal that goes along with adultery, keeping secrets and telling lies.

      I think Stan’s blue belt/green shirt ensemble is a perfect illustration– I think he really is in love with Peggy, and he’s quite loyal to her at work at this point– as she is to him– but that doesn’t keep her from selling out the ideas he told her about a few episodes ago, and it doesn’t prevent him from collecting an opportunistic shag from hippie girl.

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        That’s a really interesting way to look at it!

    • StillGary

      RIght, we are totally with you TLo– there’s no wrong way to interpret visual themes and connections — I thought it would be fun if I could find some some way to tie this imagery to Anna — who (in my opinion) was the most pivotal woman in Don’s life) but no, I got nothin ;)

      • MissKimP

        All I can remember right now is that Anna was wearing a yellow dress when she appeared to Don in “The Suitcase.”

        • Jessica Stone

          Yeah, it was initially used as a warm, optimistic colour I think, so Anna and Peggy both wore it fairly memorably. I’m kind of playing with the idea of the colour yellow being connected to ‘history’ in its present run, though it’s just the beginning of an idea. Which doesn’t preclude TLo’s theory of ‘distance’; we all know how far away Don would prefer his history kept.

          • StillGary

            You guys are better at this than I! Anna could be the original sun that warms old Don — hey, did anyone also think of Peggy when they saw the oatmeal mom illustration?

      • Jessica Stone

        I’ve been thinking of Anna, too. I mentioned elsewhere that the women-in-black could be a subtle connection (she was a widow; and she’s also probably the biggest loss Don has suffered), but maybe the yellows are also calling to her.

    • ovarB

      What I noticed in this episode is how YELLOW connected everything back to the whorehouse and Don’s last remark of “every time we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse” affirmed this connection. If you take a look at last week’s episode, you see yellow starting to show up almost at the same time as things really started to get going at the firm both in the people and in the ad products (margarine anyone??) This is the beginning of the yellow “whoring out” as the firm obtains a new level of trading cash for services rendered.
      It wasn’t until the flashback scene of the whorehouse in which the interior is awash in yellow from its wallpaper to the silky robe on Aimee that yellow really said “YELLOW! I’m HERE!” (Also notice the tie in of reds to accentuate of the “Don’s angry reaction whore” motif.) Now everyone in yellow is tied back to the various forms of the whorehouse itself that Don is familiar with…the Mother, the caregiver, the lover, even the men that come through trading cash for services rendered (both at the whorehouse and at the agency whether they are selling it or buying it…**cough** TED.) This even includes Don’s own daughter who is shown in the screencap of their phone conversation with her in full yellow. Sally herself is now a part of Don’s collective whorehouse as she steps into a caregiver role. Now look back at the screencaps of Sylvia in the kitchen…it goes past the headscarf and beauty mark. Look at her yellow walls, cabinets and red/orange laminate counters and accessories. She is now a part of the whorehouse collective. Even back at the office, take a look at Don’s office awash in sunshine and soft creamy whites and yellow hues, whorehouse! And lastly, take a look at this own apartment with the mustard yellow and reddish oranges that surround the scene when Don comes home to find the police in his home.
      Don will never escape his past and its deep roots in whoredom as he has recreated and rebuilt it all around him in the present day.
      “Everytime we get a car this place turns into a whorehouse.” True but does it really require a car??

    • NDC_IPCentral

      I always look forward to your MM dissections and discussions on Mondays and Wednesdays. You make me appreciate the show that much more, and that’s saying something, since it’s practically the only thing I watch. (Me being mostly indifferent to the Tube, pretty busy at IP Central and without much left over come the evening!)

      Thanks for illustrating the Ida/Hippy Wendy (?) purple print, pink and yellow themes. I wonder whether, subliminally, those color choices were helping to create the feelings of discomfort and reactions of dissonance for so many viewers Sunday night. I expect that’s the case.

      Wish I could spend time trying to read all the comments (and my dislike of Disqus is unabated, no bad cess on you, T Lo), but IP Central calls….

    • Lily

      Peggy’s black dress echos her purple dress (the one she wears when she enters Ted’s office [with romantic intentions] only to find Don). Now, she finds Stan and refuses him.

    • chauncey

      Meaning is a collaborative process, not something that is lobbed out, grenade-like, from the autonomous mind of an individual. These analyses and the responses to them are part of that process. ANYhoo, I think one thing people are chafing at with the color-based commentary is that the analyses from TLo have of late been so focused on color almost to the exclusion of anything else. As much as we would like them to, they can’t do everything. One thing might be to work some of the costuming choices into other aspects of production, like the shot framing. So when Don returns home to see his whole life splayed out in front of him like some kind of dissected frog, we see his point of view of standing at a height above the recessed living room. It is like a moment of vertigo, where past, present, future are laid out in those pinks and blues and he collapses.

      • nosniveling

        you make some really good points. To push it back in the *style* direction, I find the tonality of the entire scenes as meaningful as the specific colors the characters are wearing ; Is everyone in pastels, except for one character that’s in a more primary tone. Or if there are two characters in equally saturated tones, it seems to mean a conflict is imminent.

        • chauncey

          Definitely. Score another point for structuralism.

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        Yes. Also, TLo have mentioned more than once that just because there seems to be a theme with a color/colors, it doesn’t mean therefore that it’s the “rule” for that color, forever and ever. And the colors aren’t the only other subtle way that the story is being told.

    • CatherineRhodes

      TLO: Such genius-level insights this week, that I actually got shivers reading through.

      • Young Dick Whitman and young Sally Draper, both 14, lying in bed, about to have their innocence stolen.
      • Don in the drab staircase, Sylvia in a burst of color on the other side of the door.
      • Headscarves, beauty marks and food — heavy-handed metaphors, but effective.
      • Blue and green facing off against each other, blue and yellow not connecting.

      Thank you so much for pulling it all together.

    • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

      Fascinating. Will this be on the exam?

    • Joy

      I thought Dawn’s outfit this week was her best yet. I feel like she finally wore something that really fit her and did not look homemade or like a hand me down. I bet Mr. Draper gives her a nice bonus! Also, I noticed she is wearing noticeable makeup for the first time too. Maybe she has a secret boyfriend.

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        Just as Peggy’s wardrobe began to change in the beginning of the show, I think we’re going to see some subtle changes in Dawn’s attire as well. Like you said, perhaps fewer hand-me-downs, slightly more stylish, less “work horse” clothes. Perhaps some things that show a teensy bit of personality and individuality. And as with Peggy way back when, I would assume that she’s making a decent enough salary that she can augment her wardrobe a little bit now.

        • Heather

          Yes I agree. We know that Joan has recognized Dawn’s considerable skills and talent, and Don certainly does as well. As with Allison (in spite of their sexual encounter), he knows and appreciates a good personal assistant when he has one. I think the new outfit, and the self-confidence it projects, is a product of both a raise and more power at work.

    • jjk2277

      Peggy’s orange striped dress ties her in with the new orange wallpaper inside Ted’s office. When Don sees Peggy comforting Ted inside Ted’s office, it’s clear that Peggy is on Team Ted now.

      • jjk2277

        Orange is also the color of Sylvia’s vibrant life-giving kitchen. Which she doesn’t match, in her pale washed-out pink and blue. Orange = energy & positivity?

        • AlexKingstonIsMyAvatar

          Orange was a dominant color for Sylvia last week, both when she called Don for sex and when she ultimately forced him back to reality in her yellow and orange dress. Everyone focused on the yellow last week, but I think Sylvia’s uncharacteristic orange was more significant.

      • Jessica Stone

        This is also the second time in a short span we’ve seen Peggy comforting a grieving man. I think what we see when we see him watch her, is a grieving man with no comforter.

    • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

      Fantastic assessment as usual, gents.

    • Melissa Snyder

      Dawn may have been taking care of Don in a more motherly way, but I noticed that she was doing it in a very perfunctory way, as if to remind us that she’s not doing it because she cares about Don, she’s doing it for the paycheck.

      • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

        Maybe, but I think it’s ok. She’s responsible, efficient, and discreet, and really, that’s what Don needs from a secretary right now, AND that’s all she’s providing.

        • Melissa Snyder

          Oh, definitely – she’s doing exactly the job she’s been hired to do. I was just noting that she’s doing the part of her job that includes acting as a paid surrogate for a role that’s sometimes filled by someone who really cares about you.

          • DogintheParthenon

            Joan said as much to Peggy in the pilot, “…What they (the male bosses) REALLY want is a mother.”

            • urbantravels

              Now THERE’S a call back for you. DogintheParthenon wins the Internet today.

            • DogintheParthenon

              There’s SO much on the internet that I don’t really want…
              Can I limit my winnings to TLo and Basket of Kisses? ;-)

            • urbantravels

              It’s like getting the key to the city – you don’t *actually* have to go into everyone’s house.

    • Sally3000

      I have to disagree that Don’s issues with women began when he moved into the whorehouse. Don’s mother was a prostitute who died during childbirth, essentially abandoning him at birth to live with a drunk father and a stepmother who emotionally rejected him because he was the product of a sex transaction between her husband and a prostitute. I think his issues started there.

      I do think it’s meaningful that this woman (his stepmother) who never let him forget his origins then placed him in a position of living in a whorehouse and abused and humiliated him when he engaged with a prostitute. I also think it’s meaningful that Aimee momentarily acted in a nurturing way, then took advantage of Don/Dick when he was vulnerable, only to later humiliate him and claim she was doing him a favor (reminds me of Sylvia’s mixed messages). I just don’t think that’s where it all started for Don.

      • Aurumgirl

        I don’t think they started there either. But to me, it’s significant that when he’s at his lowest point, he becomes physically ill in exactly the same way he did at 14, when he lived in that whorehouse. I don’t want to go into the whys and wherefores, but just let me say this was an incredibly well informed depiction of the way physical “illness” works to express the turmoil and suffering going on in the mind and the emotions. It’s also telling that the physical sickness we see Don suffering from is centred in the lungs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (and in many other ancient medical systems, as well), the lungs can be the place in the body that holds onto the experience of unexpressed mourning, a kind of long held, secret, silent grief. To me, it’s obvious that grief was already there for Don when he came down with what looked like bronchitis, in the whorehouse. It’s significant that when he is broken by Sylvia’s rejection, he immediately starts to cough and wheeze**. It’s as if his body is telling him “pay attention: this is the same stuff, the same problem, all over again, the same as it ever was.”

        To get to the bottom of that grief and that problem, Don has to confront the whole problem and decipher it, learn from it. I really think he understood that and tried to do just that with his feverish search for a way to “win Sylvia back/finally win over GM”, beginning with his whole obsessive search for the oatmeal ad–”you know what he needs”–very much the way the colour story seems to do the same thing. I think Don figures out that he was denied what he needed from the beginning and was somehow made to feel wrong or dirty or bad, and undeserving of that need’s fulfilment–and that he was not to blame for any of it. That enables him to disconnect, finally, from Sylvia; and it allows him to disconnect the experience of his work to the experience of whoring. And that finally makes it possible for him to put a limit on how he and his agency will be used by their clients. We know he’s tried to do this before, and failed (that letter to the tobacco companies– a big attention getter, a lousy client getter…since not even the Cancer Society will sign him up because he’s “bitten the hand” that fed him). This time, he’s decisive and final.

        **And this goes right back to the whole preoccupation with smoking, too–there is a perspective in these older medical systems that people often seek out substances they know will “treat” the ailments from which they suffer. It is no accident that tobacco has been used as a medical substance for at least 5000 years, specifically as a medicine for the lungs. This gives another dimension all together for how the entire love/hate/danger/riches/ingenuity/prostitution scenario that cigarettes and tobacco (and cancer, for that matter) all dance around in together on this show.

        I know this is supposed to be about the costumes, and I apologize for bringing in a whole other perspective! But meaning resonates not just in the appearance of things. This is another part of my background that resonates for me, besides the costumes and history. I find it so interesting how so many different types of knowledge have been made to work together to tell this story.

        • decormaven

          Very apt observation! Well-said.

        • BKagainwiththesweatpants

          Interesting angle! Just want to add that in some cigarette (print) ads going back to the 1940s, doctors endorsed smoking as medicament for the lungs. I’m thinking of Camel and Chesterfield in particular, which is even more interesting because they are/were unfiltered cigarettes. And Don smoked/maybe still smokes Lucky Strike, an unfiltered brand at the time.

        • Glammie

          Yes. While the prostitution/childhood trauma thing has been hammered in over and over, I think Weiner and co. get the psychology of it. I’m not sick of Don Draper’s issues, in that sense, because this kind of damage to a soul just doesn’t go away, it informs everything, going on and on and on. When it’s your life, it’s very hard to step outside and see the pattern. It’s not surprising that Don has such trouble doing so.

          Or, when he can see it, he can’t find the right way to change it. In that sense, Mad Men is psychologically quite apt. Don’s childhood is the root of his madness and his talent. He does his best work when he’s undermining his contentment. Too much stability and he doesn’t function as a creative. No stability (Don, divorced) and Don doesn’t function well either.

    • http://viridianpostcard.blogspot.com/ viridian61

      Don’s pile of cigarette butts and ashes on the hallway floor almost make a heart shape.

    • Kate Sam

      Does anyone else think the fact that Peggy wore orange – the combination of red and yellow – means something? I think it might signify that Don doesn’t know what category to put her in. When he saw her through the door comforting Ted he looked both jealous and lost. I think yellow might signify both a disconnect and disappointment. In all three instances of women wearing yellow, Don was forced to take the lead and become the strong one, the father figure, after first looking to them for strength and comfort.

      • http://twitter.com/kciccolini Kristen

        This is an excellent theory. Especially since he’s thrown money at her before and now that she’s more on his level he has been sort of disconnected to her because of it. Great catch.

      • http://twitter.com/Eurotrash_Freak Miss Disco

        especially since peggy has disconnected from Don’s alpha male shenanigans and clearly connects better with Ted. I thought her colours fitted more with him.

        She’s not there for him anymore, she’s there for ted. And that’s his own fault really.

      • Glammie

        I think, more to the point, orange is the opposite of blue. While yellow and blue can combine; orange and blue don’t and emphasize their differences.

        I saw Peggy’s orange as her standing apart from the whole muddied mess that was the merger this week.

        • Jessica Stone

          Huh. I would have thought orange can pair just as well with blue as yellow can. They’re complementary colours, and they’re always telling you to use orange as an accent colour with blue.

          Peggy does stand out from others’ costuming in this episode in both the black and the orange dresses. That’s got to be significant.

          • Glammie

            Opposites (or complementaries) emphasize the other because they’re opposed. Put them together, though and you get brown instead of a secondary color.

            • Jessica Stone

              Oh, I didn’t know that! And now I know what you meant by ‘put together’. I was thinking ‘juxtapose’, but you were meaning to actually mix. Cool.

            • Glammie

              Yep, I should have said mix, given that one doesn’t actually mix clothes like paints.

    • Lauren Hoffa

      Do Sally’s outfits foreshadow her future at all? Will her approach to sex in the future be based on the relationship she has with her father and his views on sex?

      • not_Bridget

        Betty has probably been a greater influence.

    • http://www.facebook.com/judy.julian77 Judy Julian

      This has nothing to do with costume, but I just wanted to say how great it was that the Draper kids were watching “The Prisoner” at Don’s apartment.

      • http://twitter.com/TMamBo Therese Bohn

        Yes indeed! I remember being 7 when The Prisoner aired in America as a Summer replacement series — My siblings and I were mesmerized by the series, (and we girls were all in love with Patrick McGoohan) Great series,and no doubt a connection to Don being a ‘prisoner’ of his psyche.

      • the_archandroid

        Great catch, that surrealism of that series ties in nicely with this particular episode.

      • desertwind

        I loved that show, but what a shock I had when I watched it recently and saw that it was in color!

        We must’ve bee the last people on our block to get color…

    • http://twitter.com/kciccolini Kristen

      Did you notice in the scene where the four of them are in the creative department, that while they weren’t wearing similar colors, the colors they were wearing blended them into their backgrounds? Stan is wearing green standing in front of a green wall, Peggy’s orange dress matches the orange lamp behind her, Ginsberg is wearing a yellow shirt and black tie and the artwork behind him is a big splash of black and yellow, and the other new guy, not 100% fitting in but his pants are brown and he is standing next to a brown chair. To me it seems that they are finally working well together as a merged group and are finally feeling comfortable with it.
      This photo: http://wpc.4D27.edgecastcdn.net/004D27/2013/MadMen/MadStyleS6E8/MadStyle+S6E8+13.jpg

    • MK03

      One thing that I’ve noticed is that Sally ALWAYS wears the necklace Don gave her for Christmas a few years ago. And I mean ALWAYS; she never takes it off, even when she’s in PJs. I wonder if, after what happened this week, she won’t wear it as often…

      • Glammie

        Interesting, I was noticing the layering on of jewelry on Sylvia–a bit of a tip-off that she’s a bit nouveau riche in her lack of restraint in wearing her tributes.

        But I don’t think the “link” between Don and Sally is so far shot that she’ll drop the necklace–he did reach out to her. Sort of.

        • not_Bridget

          Sylvia is not Anglo-Saxon. (Or “Nordic”.) Yet another reason Betty would look down on her if she knew. Especially since she’s blonde again…

          I agree that a parent-child relationship doesn’t end after one bad event.

        • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

          I don’t think that’s a nouveau-riche thing. I think it’s a Not Northern European/New Englander thing. Jews and Italians like baubles, in my experience, being a Jew from New York with a lot of Italian friends. I can’t explain to you why it’s a thing, but it’s a thing. My grandmothers and great aunts appreciated a fine piece of jewelry, but they also loved to pile on the costume stuff, and I inherited quite a bit of it. I love and prize it, and find myself incapable of resisting the siren call of paste jewelry, too. We just dig it, I don’t know why, and it’s got nothing to do with trying to look rich.

          Restraint is not a prized quality in every culture. In fact it can look quite unattractive from certain perspectives.

          • Glammie

            That may be, but I don’t think that’s what Bryant was doing with Sylvia. We’ve heard Sylvia yelling at Arnie about money and we know she likes the good life. There’s no sense at all that she originally came from money. The jewelry’s quite fine–it’s not flashy as much as layered–pearls and a cross and a pin.

            There’s a strong tradition of European Jews and jewelry-owning and making. I’ve been told it’s because, historically, Jews were often not allowed to own land. Jewelry, unlike land, was portable wealth–a good thing for a group of people who weren’t sure how long they could stay in a place.

            • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

              I guess to my eye, nothing about Sylvia looks particularly tacky or flashy, or piled on. Her jewelry is so small to me I don’t even notice it.

              Yeah, if your valuables were small enough, you could sew them into the lining of your coat or your kids’ coats and easily run away from whomever was trying to rape and kill you, over the border into wherever people might be a little nicer. But beyond that I’m not sure where the aesthetic love of piled-on shiny stuff came from. I do feel like it’s an inherited thing, though. There was a wonderful elderly lady who I used to see in dance class every week. She always had the most gigantic,, sparkly rhinestone earrings and bracelets. One day I complimented her and was rewarded by her saying, in her old-school New York Jewish squawk, “Oh, thank you, honey – I’m like a MAGPIE, I love anything SHINY!”

              A lot of cultures had portable wealth. You see it historically in North Africa and some Bedouin tribes. The Ouled Nail women of Algeria collected and wore their dowry. Pretty sure this kind of thing was also done in Central Asia, but I’d need to look that up.

            • Glammie

              I didn’t say Sylvia was flashy–she’s not–which is what made the layers of jewelry so interesting to me. Once I looked, I saw 3 necklaces and a brooch,, but they’re of quiet good quality, so you don’t register it at first. She’s displaying it though. It’s unusual in the MM universe. Joan has her pins and scarves and her charm bracelet. Does Peggy wear jewelry? A bracelet, maybe? Poor Sally has her necklace from her absent dad.

              Trudy goes for a little more style and flash, while Betty has her pearls or her brooches Oh and *her* charm bracelet.

              Oh and earrings, of course.

              Have we seen only two Jewish women on Mad Men? Rachel and Ginsberg’s date? I think Rachel wore good stuff and the date wore almost none. (earrings?)

              In India, the women pile on the jewelry as a form of insurance as well. If you have to run away in the middle of the night, you own those earrings, nose rings and various bracelets. Even quite poor women will have some silver jewelry.

      • greenwich_matron

        Good catch. I had to really look hard at Sally in her yellow nightgown to see it.

      • not_Bridget

        Don is still Sally’s father. And, despite her anger, Betty will still want somebody to take the kids off her hands every other weekend. Don & Megan will be more careful now. Or Megan will get that job on the Coast & Don will be careful…..

        • MK03

          Ehh, I just can’t imagine Don caring enough to be more responsible. I doubt Megan will ever leave the kids alone at night again, but I could see Don doing it without a second thought.

          • desertwind

            We haven’t seen a housekeeper at Betty’s. I wonder why she doesn’t have a ‘girl’ who would accompany the kids to the city. Oh, wait – earlier, she didn’t send Carla either. She hopes the kids are a burden for Don and Megan. That it will break the kids’ bond with their father and break up his marriage, too.

            Betty and Henry must be out of town or out late a lot now. How long can they rely on Pauline?

            • 3hares

              Why would Betty hire someone just to stay with Don? If he needs a ‘girl’ to keep his marriage together he can easily hire one himself.

    • http://twitter.com/Merneith Merneith

      “Dick Whitman’s Carnival of Bullshit” should have been the title for this episode. I feel like I’ve been on that carousel for one too many turns. I am so over him. I’m so glad Peggy is, too.

    • purkoy28

      Looks like Bobby gets to have ice cream before supper when hes at dads…. they really make it hard for Betty to ever look like a good guy.

    • purkoy28

      infront of teds office, him and peggy were wearing orange and brown, which really tied them to his orange and brown office. Infact, there was alot of orange detail, also in megans dress and sallys skirt and obviously sylvias kitchen is orange.

    • shopgirl716

      I really need to watch this episode. Betty has Pat Nixon hair in the kitchen scene and I covet Megan’s entire closet.

    • purkoy28

      I also thought Tlo would comment on how Betty and Sallys outfits called back toeachother in the same colors, bobby was the one who stuck out in blue while gene betty and sally all in red and pink. Also no one specifically mentioned yet that Betty died her hair back after her hubby is running for office…just like alot of people called.

    • http://twitter.com/RawrArgh Fiona Skinner

      Is it worth noting that Stan and Ted seem to wear matching colours a lot? Maybe a connection between them and Peggy?

      • purkoy28

        i love ur pic fiona skinner…its so cute : )

    • Zaftiguana

      Any possibility that blue and yellow was coincidence was obliterated this week when Sylvia and Don stood side by side in that elevator FOREVER in the same colors as their last ride (pun sort of intended). And then when Sally got on the phone? Forget it.

      Peggy’s little orange striped dress has to be one of my top fave favorite things she’s ever worn on the show. Peggy’s been arriving for a while. In fact, one could argue that she’s been slowly arriving since her first day at Sterling Cooper. But in this episode, with everything beyond out of control all around her, it’s really clear how much she’s arrived. And it shows in her wardrobe. No more schoolgirl outfits, but also no more of those hilarious sartorial experiments that plague us all in our 20′s. She’s a grown woman who knows how to look good but also how to send messages with her clothes, feel good in them, and have fun with them. It’s really a joy to watch. Love her.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1129137319 Paula Pertile

      I remember wearing almost that exact outfit Sally has on in the last scene. Those little peasant blouses!

      Also – I miss those old phones. There was something so satisfying in hanging them up (or slamming them down), the way they felt in your hand, fiddling with the twisty cord while you talked …

      Is that a movie poster on the wall behind Stan’s head? Sharper eyes than mine can maybe make it out. Its fabulously 60′s illustration. Also, digging the circle templates and triangles on the wall – I still have a draw full of those, and still use them!

    • purkoy28

      that grandma ida lady was so scary when she looked mad, wholly shit if i were them i would think she was going to murder me ( and no, not because she is black, before all the people who were very sensitive to that this ep., get mad and offended )

    • NoGovernmentName

      What you are hitting on, TLo, with your lengthy disclaimer, is a basic element of critical theory: the intentional fallacy. Many people who critique literary works try to psychoanalyze the author (or designer, in this case Janie Bryant) and glean her intent to inform the interpretation of the piece. That is strictly not necessary to understanding the work. What matters is how the motifs and themes in the work come across to the reader/viewer. That is to say, any interpretation of the work that is supported by the text is valid. Doesn’t matter if it was “intentional” or not. Often literary works channel the author’s unconscious, and themes might go deeper than even the author can articulate. Also, most people who view a literary work have zero access to or interest in what the author says about the work. They see what they see and it has the effect it has. That is what you gentlemen are writing about, and you are totally correct to say that authorial intent, while interesting, is largely irrelevant to what you are doing. And what you are doing is FASCINATING, so much so that I have started analyzing the outfits of my co-workers. Hey, it passes the time in boring meetings.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        Well, I didn’t “hit on” it. I actually studied it in film school. But thanks for the backup, and the compliments. -T.

        • NoGovernmentName

          When I said “hit on,” I didn’t meant you stumbled across it by accident. It’s obvious that you studied it extensively. I meant you were hitting on it in the sense that you were trying to bring the concept to your Bitter Kittens. It’s a pretty esoteric point, but definitely necessary when doing meta-analysis like this. It gets people off your back when they question the deliberateness of the motifs. They don’t need to be explicit or deliberate to be valid. Thanks for bringing your expertise to this. It makes viewing the show even more fun and interesting.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            Don’t mind me. I’m tired and my reading comprehension is shot.

    • purkoy28

      its funny how in the 60s, girl bands consisited of usually 3 girls and they all looked identicle, hair, make up, clothes. Nowadays its the opposite, there are like 5 in a band and all have distinctivly stereotyped differences…ex: the goodgirl, the “smart” one, the bad ass, the tomboy, and so on. Not madmen realated i know, but 60s related : )

    • 3hares

      Love everything here, but now I’m also especially excited at the idea of blue/green being confrontational vs. blue/yellow more of a missed connection or drifting apart. All the people from the previous episode in blue/yellow were in different worlds, it seems. If they were talking, they were speaking different languages. As if also the case here.

    • Glammie

      Just a quick Bravo guys for doing this twice a week and actually reading and reflecting on our 1,000-plus comments. It must feel like you’re reaping the whirlwind.

      Oh, I still think there’s kind of a basic color wheel thing going on. Yellow and blue make green–except when they don’t. Also, Bryant plays around with pure strong hues (last week) v. toned-down greyed ones (this week.)–moving forward v. crazed confusion.

      • greenwich_matron

        “Yellow and blue make green–except when they don’t”
        A perfect analysis of the analysis.

    • nomoreprinces

      I kind of feel like the blue/green thing is more about power and who has it (blue) and who is either giving it up willingly or never had it to begin with (green).

    • LauraAgain

      Oh please, please, please tell me where I can get Dawn’s pink and white gingham dress! It’s gorgeous!

      • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

        Modcloth has lots of gingham!

    • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

      Bobby has a beauty mark, too! What does it MEAN?!

      • MartyBellerMask

        It means they finally found an actor to play him permanently. No more recasts!! :)

        • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

          Haha!

    • Dave

      Excellent analysis, reading this piece a little bit later in the week than all the other Mad Men recaps is great too, you can approach the material with a more clear mind.

      I still think the blue, yellow, and green motif deals with power versus vulnerability. Just as Joan appeared in green in her final scene last week, Ted appears in a green jacket, signaling the combination of power and an awareness of his shortcomings. People dressed in either color, like Don or Sylvia, are viewed through a singular prism, but those in a color combination are shown to be more multi-dimensional.

      I suppose Stan’s green shirt throws this theory off slightly, because I’m not sure he’s really shown to possess much power, but maybe that’s just in relation to Peggy.

      Peggy’s entire wardrobe this season has been very professional, stylish, and sharp. She can wear almost any color or dress and still be herself – she’s the woman we’ve always wanted her to be.

    • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

      Fantastic analysis as usual, and I especially love the screencaps. I always notice all sorts of things I missed during my viewing — such as Sally’s reading material, Rosemary’s Baby! Adds another level of spookiness to the late-night intrusion. She was remarkably calm.

      • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

        When I saw her reading that, I remarked to my husband that the Draper apartment reminds me of the one in the movie version of “Rosemary’s Baby”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

      I didn’t see Don’s conflating of Sylvia and Aimee as a breakthrough so much as a bleed-through. He’s getting more obsessive, less able to distinguish between internal and external, his concentration is breaking down. His long-established pattern of compartmentalizing his life is breaking down. He is one fucked up man and this is not going to end well. It is a thing of beauty to see a character’s unraveling portrayed well.

      How’d I miss the beauty marks?!

      LOVE Sally’s micromini. I’m still holding out for her to move to the Lower East Side in a few years and become some kind of Lydia Lunch-like figure, dressed in black thrift store clothes and shredding a guitar, living in a walkup with a bathtub in the kitchen, over a Ukrainian butcher. I wish I could see THAT episode.

      This isn’t a Mad Style comment and really belongs on the earlier thread, but Bobby is learning the lessons of sexism quite well, isn’t he? I cheered inside for Sally, making him get his own damn suitcase and his brother’s instead of doing it for him. Bobby’s going to grow up to be an empty space who joins a cult and commits mass suicide. Or he’s going to become an accountant and fade into the wallpaper.

      • http://thatswhatthemoneyisfor.wordpress.com/ lizlemonglasses

        I want Sally to become Chrissie Hynde.

        • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

          Honestly, that may be more likely. She seems smoother around the edges, and also like she’d actually become a pretty good guitar player.

      • mcpierogipazza

        “LOVE Sally’s micromini. I’m still holding out for her to move to the Lower East Side in a few years and become some kind of Lydia Lunch-like figure, dressed in black thrift store clothes and shredding a guitar, living in a walkup with a bathtub in the kitchen, over a Ukrainian butcher. I wish I could see THAT episode.”

        I want to LIVE that episode!

    • leighanne

      I may have missed this along the way, but did Phyllis find another job? She disappeared after the merger.

      • judybrowni

        Probably cut as redundant like many of the staff in both agencies.

        After Joan spared Bob Benson in the partner’s meeting, they next moved on to who they’d cut in the secretarial pool.

        Back then, mostly white firms were content with their one token.

        • Eric827

          I don’t know – I’d think the head copywriter would need a secretary, and I’d expect Peggy to be very angry if her secretary was fired.

      • 3hares

        Peggy mentioned not wanting to share her when she was moving into SCDP again so presumably she’s still working for Peggy.

    • peggylarner

      A few random things that struck me (don’t know if they have merit):

      Aimee in certain poses really reminds me of Bobbie Barret. The hair sculpting, the makeup, and even a little bit the facial features. The colors and lighting particularly remind me of the gold number Bobbie wears that last day in Peggy’s apartment.

      Dawn’s pink dress reminds me of Peggy’s blue schoolgirl outfit, also with the dropped waist.

      Sally is sure channeling Megan in her first look, and then it’s all really young blousy stuff the rest of the time. Ugh, did not notice the creepy connection to Aimee’s underthings. *shudder*

    • Eric827

      “Mother’s little helper” was valium, right? How would that help Betty look like an ideal politician’s wife?

      • judybrowni

        Mother’s Little Helpers varied by the doctor.

        Some doled out barbiturates (downers, “tranquilizers” to keep mommy too doped up to complain), some amphetamines (speed, for “energy” and dieting).

        Read “Valley of the Dolls”: barbiturates for sleep, amphetamines to keep the women up at night and thin.

        • Eric827

          Ah, okay. Speed would definitely help with the weight loss.

      • peggylarner

        Potentially but I thought it was some form of speed. Keeping up with houskeeping and such is the context of the phrase, as I learned it.

        They took downers all the time, though, too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/johnny.neill28 Johnny Neill

      Speaking of themes running through that aren’t necessarily obvious to anyone in the show itself, the drawn woman’s face in the Oatmeal ad looks like Grandma Ida than a white woman. The broad nose and curious smile match Ida’s actual facial structure, regardless of the color of the skin. You know what he needs… Oatmeal.

    • Chloe A.

      I might have missed or forgotten something that explains this, but where is Don’s brother in the flashback scenes?

      • judybrowni

        He’d be a baby, if you remember his stepmother was pregnant when they arrived at the brothel.

        • Cheryl

          Did she have the baby at this point in time? Or is she still pregnant?

          • Adelaidey

            She’s nAot pregnant in the flashbacks. Presumably Baby Adam is tucked away somewhere.

      • decormaven

        I’d say that Adam is a toddler now, because we’re now looking at an older Adam than when he & Abigail first arrived at Uncle Mac’s. Look at the flashback to Adam’s birth at the beginning of Season 1′s “Babylon.”

    • Glammie

      It’s interesting, even as Don’s kids are having issues in his apartment, Sally and Bobby blend in well with it as does Megan–they’re wearing things that go with orange and warm tones. In that pix on the bed, they look at home. The one who stands out is Gene in Betty-blue–and he’s the one child who never experienced Don at home as his father.

      We’ve seen Bobby in red, white and blue before.

      Oh, and I think the pair of Don and Sally isn’t Sally as prostitute (despite Betty’s comment), but Sally and Dick Whitman as innocents being exposed to adult corruption at the same age. In both cases, adults take advantage of their innocence.

      As Cutler does of Gleason’s daughter.

      I think Don/prostituion is tied into a more general commentary on the sexual revolution and its effect on very young women. Cutler’s teen daughter is sort of offering herself up in the name of free love and not dealing directly with her own grief (like Stan), but her lack of boundaries are being quietly exploited by Cutler–who looks like the epitome of The Man–the old power establishment.

      Interesting, too, that Peggy finally knows how to say “no,” even when she’s attracted. She wasn’t able to say “no” to Pete.

      There’s also a very direct comment about the fashions of the year–both Megan and Sally’s uber-high hemlines–making even innocent women and girls dress in a way that’s overtly sexual. Sally’s compared to a streetwalker and Megan’s accused of using the casting couch.

      Peggy can say no. Will Sally be able to when the time comes?

      • MartyBellerMask

        Insightful as always.

    • siriuslover

      Also, totally not Mad Style, but Mad Men office politics. Peggy is above Stan, right? As copy chief? So why does she get the horrible office with the post and Stan has that awesome office? As much as I like Stan, I think that the hierarchy is a bit off here.

      • urbantravels

        Stan shares that office. Can’t recall whether it’s with Ginz or somebody else now.

        • siriuslover

          OK. Because I only saw “Stan Rizzo” on the door. But that’s a good answer.

          • Zaftiguana

            When he’s having sex with Gleason’s daughter in there later, you can see Ginsberg’s name on the door, too.

        • Zaftiguana

          It’s Ginsberg.

      • Lisa

        Stan is an art director. Whether he is the head art director, I don’t know.

        • siriuslover

          That’s a very good point. Thank you for responding.

    • onebluepussy

      This is probably a stupid question, but how in the hell do you wear a headscarf like Aimee? Whenever I try that it just slides off, even when I use hairpins to keep it in place…

      • Glammie

        Are you criss-crossing the bobby pins? That will hold them.

        • onebluepussy

          Thanks, I’m terrible with hair stuff. I’ll try that next time :)

    • fitzg

      One thing I noticed and one thing I THOUGHT I noticed (you all can disabuse me). The thing I noticed: In the scene in the kitchen with Sally and Betty (and the “street corner” comment), Sally and Betty are still connected through the use of hot pink in their tops, which are also cut the same way. Sally’s skirt, of course, is all Megan. So at the beginning of the show, the costuming appears to reflect that Sally’s got a foot in both camps, and at the end of the episode, when she says she wants to go “home,” she appears to be making a choice. I wonder if she’ll be in more Betty-approved clothes going forward.

      The thing I THOUGHT I noticed — when the staff is gathered in the corridor discussing Gleason’s death, I thought that all the former CGC people were wearing some variation of orange? Showing some kind of commonality having actually worked with Gleason vs. the SCDP people. But it was a really quick cut, so I’m not positive; i’d be interested if anyone else noticed that. Also, I have no idea what, if anything, the orange might signify.

    • Winter_White

      Had to jump in after noticing that Sally is reading Rosemary’s Baby: Mad Men fans, if you haven’t seen that movie – or haven’t seen it in many years – I highly recommend it. (Streaming on Netflix now.) It’s set in the 60s, and after all the practice you’ve gotten from reading Mad Style, you’ll LOVE looking at the clothes! Just seeing those 60s styles…and noticing how style and color, etc, are used expressively in the film.

      • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

        Yes! Plus, when I watched Rosemary’s Baby (just a year or so ago) it reminded me a lot of Betty in season 1, and the sense of patriarchal conspiracy between her husband and her psychotherapist.

        • Winter_White

          Lol, I wanted to avoid spoilers! But it’s okay, surely a lot of people have already seen the movie and know the story. I’d seen it decades ago, badly-edited for TV, so it was fascinating to watch again – especially now that I have new, improved eyes after reading Mad Style.

          • Lisa_Co

            Another good one is The Panic in Needle Park (Al Pacino’s first feature film). It was released in 1971 but supposed to take place in 1964. Shot on the UWS of NYC you get a glimpse of how seedy the area (mostly white BTW), people and their clothes are.

            Ironically the Dakota (where they filmed Rosemary’s Baby) is only 2 blocks east on 72nd St. from Needle Park.

            • Winter_White

              Thanks, Lisa Co! I see that it too is streaming on Netflix.

              (Netflix…my seductive, ever-beckoning, time-devouring lovah…)

        • sweetlilvoice

          Ira Levin wrote both Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives…great books both. As is the sequel to RB. Great movies too, even the remake with Nicole Kidman.

    • LauraWL

      I normally don’t have much to add to these discussions (bc I don’t watch Mad Men) but I always love reading these recaps. Anyway, I thought you guys would be interested in this site that shows the color palettes of different movies based on your discussions of color theory: http://moviesincolor.com

    • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

      If anyone knows the vintage sewing number that Dawn’s dress was (perhaps) made from, I’d love to know the number! It would be fun to see the pattern envelope. And perhaps to make my own dress. :)

      • Cheryl

        I also have a question about Dawn’s dress (although I wouldn’t call it vintage, since I’m in her generation!). I thought it was very cute, but not appropriate for a Madison Avenue office in the 1960s. I think I called it “gingham chic” on Sunday. Maybe it was supposed to tie back to Dick’s life on the farm?

      • KTBSN

        Very close pattern here ( Ms.Bryant no doubt visits this site) : http://momspatterns.com/inc/sdetail/104935

    • MartyBellerMask

      Thanks, by the way, for all the Stan pics. He was looking mighty fine this week. Peggy’s got a lot of self-control to resist the beard-on-the-neck nuzzling.
      And Jay Ferguson did a great job; this is the first time we really got behind the Stan facade and I liked it!

    • rjohnson

      It’s interesting to note that Aimee and Sylvia aren’t just parallels, but also inversions of one another. Aimee with her sexy pink nighty and blue robe and Sylvia with her domestic blue dress and pink apron. Direct physical manifestations of the whore/ mother complex.

      • Glammie

        The whore masquerading as a mother, but becoming a whore again.
        The mother masquerading as whore, but becoming a mother again.

    • ailujailuj

      Regarding the reduced creative team scene (right after the best damn amphetamine-induced triple time step i ever did see): I noticed that in several frames, each one of them was wearing a color motif supported by/complemented by a similar color motif in the background of the scene – kind of ugly betty-esque:
      - Peggy’s bright orange was picked up in the awesome lamp behind her;
      - Stan in green, standing in front of a green wall w/ a green bottle in the foreground;
      - the other bouffy-haired guy is in pants and tie w/ darker earth-tones, matching the brown of the file cabinets behind him and the burnt orange wall to the left of him;
      - and most striking of all, Ginsberk and his taupe and gray and faded gold striped shirt with a starkly contrasting black tie… against that awesome peakock print with the same contrasting colors (that i realleh want).

      Why? dunno… creatives are often a product of – or inseparable from – their environment – IRL. What a great read this week… thxsomuch.

    • ailujailuj

      …and the nipple buttons made me very nervous.

    • Mlzx

      I don’t even watch Mad Men, but I read these posts week after week. You are intelligent, funny, and engaging. This blog helps me so much to de-stress after a long day. This may sound silly, but thank you. I appreciate and enjoy your posts so much.

    • flint

      I really think the costumes of the “girl in black with white details” may have been inspired by outfits from the characters in the Prisoner, which was shown in this episode

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Adams/1143985903 Sarah Adams

      If you lived anywhere near where I do, I would invite you to be guest speakers to my literature classes. I’m completely serious – that was the best explanation I’ve seen of why the intentional fallacy doesn’t work as an analysis tool and how to do a close reading. If you’re ever in CA…

    • H2olovngrl

      That is one glorious screen grab of Betty bitchface! Well done!

    • ideated_eyot

      I’m coming around gradually to hypothesize that Amy is Dick’s mother. Neither of them knew at the time that he lost his virginity. The photo on her vanity is him. And that is what’s going on in Sally’s outfits this episode. She might be the same age Dick’s mother was when she got impregnated by Archie.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mythologicality DC Sheehan

      Dawn looked so much more put together here that it sent me off on a whole ‘Dawn is moving up the office ladder so she realises she has to dress better’ fantasy. Joan’s her mentor and so Dawn is consciously making more of an effort.

    • zenbabe

      “but the pinks and blues of this episode depict the way Don confuses prostitution and motherhood”

      Understandably, since we were privy to the flashback. The flashback was -important- in this episode, darlings.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        That’s kind of an odd way of looking at it, since everything from the flashback to the costuming were choices, not inevitabilities. The flashback was important only in the sense that the creators decided to tell the story that way.

        • zenbabe

          Well, we know, thanks to the flashback, just how severely vulnerability (illness), trust, being nurtured, having the mother figure become the sexual aggressor then revealing his shame publicly (betrayal), and the other mother figure being physically abusive were all imprinted (with all their imagery) in a horrible jumbled mess onto Don’s psyche in the space of a few days in his past. I say “we” but perhaps it’s better to say that the flashback really brought it all together for me clearly, whereas I could only assume how it played out before. It was worse than I imagined, since it included kindness and nurturing and wasn’t only seedy.

          So “the pinks and blues depict the way Don confuses prostitution and motherhood” .. I am not sure how that conclusion could be as clear as I agree it is if we didn’t have the flashback, which showed just how deeply and quickly that confusion sunk into him.

          This feels like a chicken/egg conversation and I get distinct sense I’m missing your point. Perhaps my brain is still befuddled and drugged from watching the episode yesterday.

          Anyway I’ve adored your guys for like five years or longer, make one little post, and you find my perception odd. I feel like a .. what was it.. unborn fawn? Distressing! I’m going to look at Twila and feel better.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            Well, you’re conflating two distinct points. The first is whether the flashbacks were necessary or useful; the second has to do with how the themes of the episode played out in the costuming. As we said, they’re distinct and separate from each other.

            We’re not upset with you or anything. You really shouldn’t get worked up if we don’t see it the same way. It’s all discussion.

            • zenbabe

              Woops. I see what I did there. I totally did conflate. Yet even as I realize it I find it difficult to unconflate them ;)
              Oh art, how does it work?

              Was being silly dramatic about my reaction. Very much appreciate the discussion.

    • snarkykitten

      Apropos of nothing, I finally saw the Iron Man trilogy over the weekend. When Howard Stark had his 5 minutes of screen time, all I could think of was Roger saying something sarcastic to Don about peace.

    • Floretta

      The one thing that struck me about Megan’s outfit, especially for going out at night, is she should be wearing dark hose, as I remember it from back when. Tights in cool weather, dark sheer hose at night otherwise – for her age.

    • Lisa

      >What interests us here is not that parallels are being drawn between Sylvia and Aimee, but that Don literally doesn’t see them. He can’t see Sylvia on the other side of her kitchen door, so the pale pink robe and blue head scarf can’t trigger his Aimee memories for him. These symbols and motifs are not subjective to Don and happening inside his head, in a Freudian sense (like the “red triggers Don’s prostitution issues” motif). These symbols and motifs are being put forth objectively, by the universe, in a more Jungian sense.

      I know that Mad Men is not presented as if all from the eyes of one character or a few characters. We periodically see little private moments about a wide variety of characters, that don’t seem like they’re in (for instance) Don’s imagination. But still, in this scene, I intuitively would have thought that Sylvia was wearing that outfit in Don’s imagination, and that she actually might have been wearing anything.

      The idea that he might originally have been attracted to Sylvia because on occasion she wore the same kind of get-up that Aimee did is interesting. I never could figure out what the attraction might have been to her otherwise.

    • Sandra

      Betty has a beauty mark, too, but it is between nose and lips.

    • lacy Betters

      Thanks decormaven! This site is wonderful.

    • ailujailuj

      I admit I have not read through all the posts, which always reveal provocative perspective (as if TLo’s wasn’t enough). But I’ll suggest that I interpreted the sunny yellows toward the end as signifying someone Donte (my new nickname for him after seeing him fantasizing dante’s inferno) sees an angelic or superior being; someone toward whom he owes respect and penitence/contrition (first sylvia, then betty, sally, and finally Megan). Perhaps it also symbolizes renewal, rebirth… but I’m so bored with donte’s “carnival of bullshit” that I’ve become indifferent. What a fantastic description.

    • Miss Rowley

      TLo, you say He can’t see Sylvia on the other side of her kitchen door, so the pale pink robe and blue head scarf can’t trigger his Aimee memories for him. But surely her appearance in The Collaborators, in a headscarf and silk kimono robe, begging her husband for money, could have. That was the screen shot I thought I was going to see side by side with Aimee. :)

    • Qitkat

      Thanks for the link. Just another cool example of never quite knowing where this blog will lead. I love that the creator of that site stated that one of the goals was to share color palettes with artists for their own creative uses. I’m inspired.

    • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

      Dawn’s dress seems a few years older to me — it’s more like Betty’s old 1950s-style shirtdresses, with a fitted bodice and full skirt. Plus a dropped waist and a little flat collar. I’m sure there are very similar things in the Vintage Patterns Wiki website but it’s not searchable by keywords…

    • librarygrrl64

      I started noticing more yellow when Ted Chaough became more prominent in the story. That gold-toned yellow seems to be a favorite of his, so I was assuming that bringing more gold/yellow into the SCDP world was also indicative of Ted’s increasing influence on the merged company. And, dipping into a little color symbolism for a moment, I think there might be some merit to yellow as a symbol of loyalty/cowardice and instability:

      “Yellow-green can mean deceit, and creates a disoriented feeling. Yellow is the color associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra. This chakra deals with identity. When overused, yellow may have a disturbing influence; it is known that babies cry more in yellow rooms. In heraldry, yellow indicates honor and loyalty; later the meaning of yellow was connected with cowardice.Yellow is an unstable and spontaneous color, so avoid using yellow if you want to suggest stability and safety.”

    • Dyl

      The theme of Don confusing prostitution and motherhood was crazy this week. As if the clothes weren’t enough, when asked who taught him to tap dance, Ken replies: “My mother… No… My first girlfriend”

    • pam artese

      Holy mother of god bobby has a beauty mark.

    • V No Privacy

      In addition to the yellow commonalities between Megan and Sylvia, I wonder if Sylvia’s star-shaped pin on her yellow suit is perhaps a call back to the star on Megan’s Sharon Tate tee?

    • Sarah Liebman

      I noticed that both Betty and Peggy are wearing red/orange horizontal stripes on a cream background when we first see them in this episode. Any thoughts on what that might signify?