Mad Style: The Flood

Posted on May 01, 2013

In an episode entitled “The Flood,” with a closing song of “Love is Blue,” maybe it’s not such a surprise that blue featured prominently throughout the episode. And this gives us an opportunity to float our new “blue and green motif” explanation. We’ll see how long this one holds, but for some time now, we’ve been thinking the heavy uses of blue and green this season are evoking water imagery, from Don’s suicidal Hawaii ad (which set the tone for the season) up to this episode’s likening of tragedy to the Biblical flood. We reserve the right to change our minds next week when blue and green are used to signal sex or death or something like that.

It’s nice to see a return to Peggy’s power color of golden yellow, which was a recurring motif throughout her career and tended to signal either hard work or career advancement of some sort (again and again and again and again and again, all the way back to her very first scene in the series). This scene is a culmination of all that hard work, all the bullshit she put up with, and all the mousy little sweater sets and good-girl dresses in yellow she wore through it all. A nice little costuming callback to anyone paying close attention.

The realtor is sporting that very typical late ’60s NYC look of a heavy fur, goofy hat, and low-heeled shoes. It’s such an awful silhouette because it makes every woman look like a bear with stick legs, but it was popular for a time among moneyed New York women. We can’t look at it without thinking of Ruth Gordon.

Abe is The Man in Black here. He’s ominous and incongruous in the light-filled scene. We could say his black serves to illustrate his mood or we could say it’s foreshadowing for the death to come.


We remember saying last season that fans of the show’s mid-Century look were going to have a mighty tough time of it as the show progresses through the sixties. Because while it’s true that color and experimentation exploded all over design by this point, it’s also true that it brought a lot of items that look utterly hideous to 21st Century eyes. But hey, maybe some of y’all think Megan’s dress is pretty somehow. The metallic part is vintage and Janie Bryant added the pink sleeves, which were a perfectly of-its-time way to reinterpret the dress. Metallics signal wealth in the female characters on this show and the dress also serves a secondary function of hearkening to all the Eastern styles permeating design at the time. Of course, this is more “Eastern” by way of “I Dream of Jeannie,” but still. It’s a loud, attention-seeking, uber-trendy dress; an actress’s dress.

Sylvia’s not only sporting the black-and-white combo that defines her, she’s also wearing the whore-red that defines how Don sees her. But of course, the real story with her outfit is how much it stands in opposition to Megan’s modstravaganza. She is every inch the dutiful Doctor’s wife. It’s just that she’s subtly cast in red and animal print, which give her matronly outfit a more sexual feel.


We’re not kidding when we say we both gasped and blurted out “PRADA!” at the sight of Peggy’s gown. That really could be walking an Italian runway right now. That doesn’t mean it was trendy in 1968, though. Acceptable and pretty, with a more youthful vibe than, say Ted’s wife’s outfit:


But certainly not trendy on Megan’s level. More like something a Johnson daughter would wear at a White House reception. Megan and Peggy are wearing outfits that are having a conversation with each other; one that mimics the conversation they’re actually having. “We’re alike in some ways but very different in others.” With the heavy use of pinks and Peggy’s more traditional flowers going up against Megan’s swirling metallics, it’s like two definitions of female success, laid out in dress form. Two women whose success is tied to the same man but who took extremely different routes.


It’s a shame we don’t see more of this spectacular dress (although it’s all over the season 6 promotional materials), but it sets off a motif (or a deluge, if you will) of women in dark blue.


There’s little to note here except that she’s essentially a Jewish Peggy Olsen, swapping out the Peter Pan collar for the trendier big, pointy one. Ginsberg is a sartorial mess, which is really the only costuming choice for him that makes any sense. She is the focal point of the scene, standing out against all that yellow and red. He practically fades away next to her.


A plaid, a paisley, an ikat and a stripe. Using costumes to depict turmoil, but doing it in a way that you’d never notice, looking at it passively.


We detected a slight uptick in the quality of Betty’s outfits this week. She doesn’t quite give off that feel of having given up anymore. This is stylish in a “respectable wife and mother” kind of way. Paisleys aren’t really Betty’s thing, although she wore a more subtle one back in the Ossining days, at Sally’s birthday party. But they’re very much on the fashion scene now, thanks to the hippies, and this swirling cacophony of colors is yet another example of counterculture styles winding up in highly establishment and traditional places, like a well-to-do Republican housewife in Rye, New York.

There’s so much competing pattern in this scene it’s a bit unsettling.


Trudy is almost always depicted in this setting wearing wild prints that compete with it. She also tends toward autumnal colors that can be found throughout her home. But here, she is in a very definitive solid midnight blue. This calls to mind what she wore on the couch the weekend after JFK’s assassination, but it also helps visually affirm her resolve and the fact that her role in this house has changed dramatically.


We’re almost uncomfortable playing “Let’s compare the only two black characters in the cast,” but since they’re each Don and Peggy’s secretaries respectively, and since they were in identically staged scenes, we think it’s fair to say Phyllis and Dawn are meant to be compared. Phyllis is clearly trendier (dig those pointy collars) and much more likely to call attention to herself in the office. There was some slight indication that Phyllis doesn’t live in the city the way Dawn does and we’re surmising that she’s more middle class in background than Dawn,  simply by virtue of the fact that she dresses better and seems less concerned with how all the white people around her think of her.

Peggy’s clothes are meant to fade into the background in this scene, leaving all the visual weight to Phyllis. But jeez, just how many coats does Miss Olson have? This is like the 4th or 5th one we’ve seen this season. Girl clearly likes to spend her money on outerwear. Of course, all her coats are essentially men’s coats interpreted for women. Business coats.


We thought Teyonah Parris really knocked it out of the park this scene and her blank-faced responses to all these nutty people around her reminded us so much of early-season Peggy Olson. Like Phyllis, she’s all done up in checks of blue and brown. Unlike Phyllis, she’s here to keep her head down and work, so her clothes are, well, a lot more workmanlike and a lot less stylish.

When Peggy hugs Phyllis, she’s in a washed-out blue that causes her to recede in the scene, letting Phyllis’ emotional response dictate things. When Joan quite awkwardly hugs Dawn, she’s so loud and attention-seeking in the scene that she can’t even see the other woman’s emotions. In other words, Peggy was dressed quietly and gave a hug to a crying woman seeking a hug. Joan was dressed loudly and gave a hug to a composed woman who really didn’t want to be hugged.

Having said that, Joan’s outfit’s is pretty fab. That circle brooch of hers is getting quite a workout this season.


Yes, she’s wearing a blue-and-green combo, but we think it’s more notable that she matches her kitchen exactly. Again. When things aren’t so great in the Francis home, you’ll see a bunch of competing patterns and prints on the family, like the scene above or the one when Betty came home with her new hair. But when Betty is, for lack of better phrasing, doing her job well (as she is in this scene), she tends to be more serenely tied to the home.


Just look at that final shot. These men are all costumed so distinctly that you almost don’t need words for the scene. But Janie’s working on an ironic level, because the man dressed the least traditionally is the one making racist comments while the purely establishment Pete is the one expressing outrage and shame. Bert stands as the old, old guard – apart from them, having virtually nothing to do with them from a visual sense. He is utterly pointless in this conversation of warring sides among the young.

Bert rarely – if ever – wears black. It would seem a bit much from a story perspective to argue that the Randian Bert Cooper was in mourning for Martin Luther King, but it does provide a nice extra-story visual reminder of grief and darkness.

Harry’s pants are hilarious. We’d sell our plasma for a matching set of those green chairs outside their offices.


Wearing green while talking about money and feeling just a little dirty about it.


Another example of ironic costuming. The two counter-culture guys in the room are not the ones most strung out (although Stan’s really giving it his all). Instead, it’s the most conservatively dressed man in the room who’s tripping his balls off. This, and the Harry costuming, are more ways for Janie to illustrate how the walls between culture and counterculture have broken down already, six months after the Summer of Love. Madison Avenue has already co-opted the counterculture, and all the ways in which it was signaled, from drug use to free love to more wild dressing, is already being watered down for the masses and stripped of its power.


Don is in a plaid, Sally’s in a plaid. Don is in blue, Bobby and Gene are in blue. You can see who’s related to whom just by looking at the costumes. Megan is the only female character to not wear blue in this episode. We’re not sure if that means anything, but her status as the only person in this scene not blood-related to anyone else is definitely affirmed in the costuming and foreshadows her confrontation with Don at the end of the episode.

Is it wrong that we kind of want Gene’s hoodie?


She’s wearing the pants, people. For the first time ever. 1968 is pretty much the exact moment when the stigma against women wearing pants declined in power. It would still be a “thing” for another decade or so among the more chauvinistic, traditionally minded set to sneer at women in pants, but for the most part, this is when the shift occurred, and the following few years would see the skirt-only dress code fade away in schools and offices.

It’s not a coincidence that she’s dressed in pants for a story about how she’s buying her own home and struggling to keep her boyfriend involved. Peggy’s a trailblazer but she’ll always be a good Catholic girl from an outer borough, so it’s perfectly within character for her to have waited so long to sport them.


Another lady in blue.

And a reversal of this scene:

Megan’s pulling from the opposite side of the color wheel, sporting a declarative orange that ties her in to the bedroom. She’s more confrontational in this outfit than Betty is in hers. This also continues a motif with Don and Megan where one of them is dressed and the other is in pajamas, as in the living room scene above, with the kids  – and about 2 dozen other scenes, going back to their spankfest hatesex on the living room floor at the beginning of last season, which pretty much defined their relationship as one of competing power.


And finally, much like Joan wearing the fur Roger gave her the night she dabbled in prostitution, Janie Bryant is using a former costume of Betty’s to show us how different her life is from the last time we saw her wear it:

That would be the night her previous marriage pretty much came to an end with the revelation of Don’s affair with Bobbi Barrett. How telling that the dress she holds up in the mirror to berate herself for being imperfect is the last dress she put on with the comfortable delusion of thinking her marriage to Don was solid.

At some point, we all need to have a discussion as to why Betty’s still in the story. If Mad Men was a novel, we’d swear it was being written toward an ending where Don and Betty reunite (in California, no less), although we have an almost-impossible time seeing the series end that way. Still, scenes like this one have us questioning.

EDITED TO ADD: There’s been some debate as to whether those two Betty dresses are the same dress. We could point out all the corresponding details it took us an hour of zooming in to spot and note, but we’ll skip all that and just let you know that we sent a message to Janie Bryant asking about it and she confirmed it. She was thrilled that someone noticed(, they said, checking their fingernails and trying to sound nonchalant).




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  • Megan’s dress was just such a wow for me…great recap as always!!!

    • Jessi03

      I liked her dress, too.

    • If it had been a mini it would have been pretty. Definitely wow, but as a maxi the print is just overwhelming.

      • I had to go back and look at the dress and picture it shorter. Agreed it would work better as a shorter version, but she could have never worn a shorter version to that event .

        • Oh absolutely. It’s totally appropriate costuming but I was filtering it through (relatively) modern eyes on what would be pretty now.

        • MartyBellerMask

          I feel the same about Peggy’s dress!

      • Zaftiguana

        As a mini and without the sleeves, I could definitely see something like this cropping up on runways any minute.

      • Anyone remember Dawn dolls? Mine had a very similar dress in a mini…..

        • formerlyAnon

          I think I had the same doll & dress!

          • I still have my Dawn dolls. So much more wonderful than Barbie.

    • the_archandroid

      Gotta count me among the ones that would be into her dress too, though i agree with the commenter below that shorter would have been better, though I suppose hardly appropriate for the event.

    • MarTeaNi

      I think it would have been a cute dress (but not event appropriate) if it were a mini. The pink would have been better balanced.

      But if nothing else I would have removed that hideous ruffle. I have a potent hideous ruffle allergy and I got hives just looking at it.

    • not_Bridget

      It is striking–but I bet that brocade fabric is itchy!

    • formerlyAnon

      I disliked it but it was *perfect* for the time & character. Could have walked out of Harper’s Bazaar or other fashion magazine.

      • Part of the appeal of that dress is definitely the person/character wearing it. I don’t think everyone could have pulled it off.

      • ballerinawithagun

        It is perfect for the time, maxi dresses were the thing and even the expensive ones like this looked homemade.

    • Zaftiguana

      Wow is a good way to put it. I think it’s fabulous. When I was 15, I found a dress just like it (except with more of a blue and silver color scheme) in a box of stuff donated by an older lady at church. I busted it out and wore it to a school dance. That night I learned who the truly “cool” kids were based on who made fun of me and who thought it was awesome.

      • Blue and silver sounds pretty:) Yes in school only the truly cool people knew the appeal of vintage duds.

      • I loved her dress! I worked in a vintage clothing store, and occasionally similar pieces would show up. The metallic fabric is always kind of crunchy, so I loved the addition of those soft transparent sleeves, because knowing the texture of that fabric, it is a pretty contrast.

    • VanessaDK

      And the colors really bonded with Peggy’s dress, though of different styles, highlighting their easy friendly conversation. Everyone else around them has a sort of gold/orange palette going on.

    • Sawa

      My grandmother wore a dress similar to it to my father’s bar mitzvah in 1971! I remember LOVING that dress and playing dress-up in it as a little girl. I suppose she was 3-years behind trend but still pretty hip for wearing something like that in her late 40s.

  • madge

    hey did anyone else notice that joanie stopped wearing her gold pen necklace this season? didn’t she used to wear it pretty much all the time at work? i wonder if that is another signal that her secretary days are in the past ….

    • We did notice it, but we mistakenly thought she stopped wearing it last season. A check of the season 5 finale Mad Style shows she was still wearing it then.

      • madge

        Once I noticed it was missing, I had to check, too. 🙂 I always wondered where she got that piece, since it seemed to be so important to her.

    • MarTeaNi

      No more secretarial work for Joan, she has OTHER people to write things down for her now!

      • JANA WELLS

        I thought the same thing.

    • DonnaD

      good point!– i did notice she was wearing that long scarf around her neck that went down her back this episode…kind of like when she finalized her ‘partnership-deal’ with Herb&SCDP… that hangman’s noose imagery Tlo pointed out then was back in effect in this episode.

      • Yosa Addiss

        Yeah, the scarf down the back is one Joan hasn’t chosen in a long time. Remember the blue dress with the long back scarf she wore when they did the “play” while waiting for Presidential election results? It was another scene where Joan is putting on an act- more literally there:

      • rottenkitty

        Since she’s taken Lane’s place in some ways, the imagery is apt.

    • This season I’ve seen her wear a round gold medallion around her neck. CA-CHING! Time to trade in her watermelon-colored apartment and move to a nice garden flat in Gramercy. Send that stupid mom of hers packing, too.

      • formerlyAnon

        Mom’s staying as long as she wants to – daycare was harder to come by, by far. Plus I don’t think that Joan comes from a background such that it’ll occur to her to replace mom with live-in or near-live-in household help, even if she can afford it. (And I’m not clear on whether or not she could.)

        • reebism

          At one point during an argument last season, her mom tells Joan angrily to get a colored girl, because in so many words, they’re used to taking orders. Joan doesn’t take it seriously, or else Mom woulda already been packing.

  • thesixthbeatle

    Great recap. Me and hubby have also been discussing why Betty is still in the story. She continues having biting words with Don about parenting/ the kids, but she clearly still harbors feelings for him (as shown when she called him about her cancer scare, for example). You would think that all this would be leading somewhere, but as T Lo said, I cant see them back together.

    • not_Bridget

      Betty is still the mother of Don’s kids. The show definitely doesn’t want to lose Sally–and Bobby even stepped up in the last episode!

    • Perhaps instead of them ending up together, it ends with her coming to Don’s funeral. Or vice-versa.

    • MK03

      They were married for over ten years and have kids together; there’s still a bond there even if they fundamentally don’t work as a couple anymore. My parents are divorced, but when my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year, my mom was still concerned about him and they kept in contact.

    • Maybe Betty is still there because it’s fun to see January Jones in all her great costumes. I just know that Betty is going to become addicted to diet pills now and get skinny again; if this were real life I’d be sad for her and urge her to just accept her heavier self, but since this is TV I can’t wait to see what kind of fabulous clothes she wears once she feels good about her body again.

    • Pants_are_a_must

      They hate each other to the point of clawing each other’s eyes out through the phone. I doubt there’ll be a reunion either. I was sure last season was preparation to kill Betty off, but she’s still here.

    • DonnaD

      i like when people like to make up how the shows going to end–always interesting and valid- i think everyone likes to write for Mad Men in their free-time!! *I know I do!* i think Betty’s story is important(everyone’s story is important on the show- Don is the focus but so are the minor players)– it’s important as what was happening to women then- My Mom was Betty too in a lot of ways- my Mom was told to get married have kids… and then?…. what? watch your husband cheat on you? never use your education ? where is your personal fulfillment as a person-not just a Mom-or wife– here is a good quote by Jackie O- a women who had it all but still felt the ennuie-of-ennuieness and went back to work as an editor — ”What is sad for women of my generation is that they weren’t supposed to
      work if they had families. What were they going to do when the children
      are grown – watch the raindrops coming down the window pane? ” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994)

      • Beth Anderson

        Totally agree. Even though Jon Hamm is technically the “star” of the show as Don Draper, I always felt like this show was really about women and how their roles and expectations changed over the course of the 60s. Betty, Joan and Peggy (and to a lesser extent, Megan, who is fully of the 60s unlike the other three) all represent different types of women during this era and I am fascinated to see how they evolve and change with the times. Personally I am finding Don incredibly boring and repetitive this season so far while I still find Betty compellling.

        • Frank G

          Same! I keep telling my friends that I actually fast forward to any story lines involving Don. I’m much more interested in Peggy, Peter, Joan, Ginsberg, and even Roger.

        • I agree too! The women on this show are by far the most compelling characters.

    • Joy

      Not only is Betty still there for her children, but I think the story with Henry is possibly going to expose Don’s past. When they are vetting his candidacy, they are going to have to vet Betty as well. This will expose Don for sure. Not only will it ruin Henry’s attempt at a higher position in politics, Don will once again ruin Betty’s dreams.

      • not_Bridget

        I’m thinking that Don’s Dreadful Secret will stay a minor detail in the past. Sort of like The Dead Turk in Downton Abbey….

      • formerlyAnon

        It would be interesting, but I doubt Don’s past will come out. Vetting candidates’ backgrounds wasn’t the in depth, exhaustive process then that it is today. Betty, maybe – and in some circles just being divorced might be a reason to soft pedal her, though that prejudice is fading – but there’s not going to be any but surface-level examination of Betty’s ex. Or at least, that’s what I’d predict.

        • Glammie

          Yeah, also, why vet the ex-husband? Just not sure why anyone would waste the time on it–particularly for a state senator job. I think the Betty-divorcee-with-kids part is supposed to reflect what happened with Happy Rockefeller who was divorced with four when she married Nelson. I just don’t think it’s going to be a big deal in New York for that level of a position.

          • Lauren Hall

            Besides, she’s married again. She’s not going around being Helen Bishop (gasp).

          • Munchkn

            I was just thinking about Happy Rockefeller. There may have been some chatter about her being a divorcee, but that didn’t keep her husband from running for Republican candidacy for President in ’68.

    • greenwich_matron

      I wonder if she and Henry are some sort of counterpoint to Don. They are the only characters who aren’t in advertising (except the good doctor). I can also see Henry’s career as having some sort of payoff at the end. Maybe when Dick Whitman is exposed Henry will be attorney general or something.

      I am also wondering if I am going to like Henry once he becomes a law-and-order nixonite.

      • Glammie

        But even without Don, Betty’s still Betty–a childish, self-absorbed bitch. She’s doing better with Henry, but being married to her takes a certain amount of denial on Henry’s part. I see Henry retreating into work if he’s elected without even being fully aware of what he’s doing.

        And, boy, January Jones just fades away as a brunette. It’s kind of remarkable. Well, she was tugging at her hair, so maybe she’ll go back.

        • greenwich_matron

          I always like Henry in his scenes, but I think he has a dark side. I can’t forget how creepy I thought he was when he and Betty first met. Hitting on a pregnant woman and asking to touch her belly reminded me of a grown-up Glen.

          • Glammie

            Hmmm, interesting. But, yes, Henry’s always been a bit weird to me. He did, after all, go after a married woman with three young kids. He’s better than a lot of guys on Mad Men, but the standards are pretty darn low.

        • Eskimoe

          I’m betting that the cast photo with skinny blonde Betty and Megan in
          the silver/blue dress and big hair, with Don, Henry, and the kids, is at
          some kind of election function. Pretty sure there are diet pills and
          bleach in Betty’s future.

          • Glammie

            It occurred to me driving home from work today and pondering the existence of Betty that she and Megan may well have a revealing interchange at some point. Don essentially married his mistress prototype in Megan, but is now having an affair with a housewife like Betty. Don always wants the woman he doesn’t have.

          • Eskimoe

            That’s very astute. But Betty and Megan also have a lot of similarities – they’re both favorite daughters, they both have (had) mothers who emphasized beauty above all. They both get petulant and spend days in their housecoats when things don’t go their way. That scene at the end of last season where Don leaves Megan on the set of the commercial – it was a direct continuation of Betty being ushered off the Coke ad set in Season 1, and being told that the company wanted to go with a type that was “less Grace Kelly more Audrey Hepburn” (“European” and gamine – basically, Megan). Both Betty and Megan got their opportunities through Don; the main difference is that Megan is both unencumbered by children and has the right look for the moment. Who knows what would have happened with Betty’s career if she hadn’t been cut off right as she was trying to get started again. She even considered an abortion at an inconvenient time, and might have gone through with it if the doctor hadn’t shamed her. Don’s “mistress type” is just the newest model of the most commercially desirable woman, which has shifted from upper-crust Hitchcock blonde to free-spirited, waifish brunette.

          • Glammie

            Don actually tried to keep Rachel around–when he thought he was caught, he proposed running off with her. She dropped him, sensible woman that she was. While I don’t like how he did it, I actually thought his instinct regarding Faye was right. He has a bunch of kids and Faye really isn’t comfortable around kids. He was looking for someone who could do the family thing for his kids–and Megan does that.

            I agree that Megan and Betty do have numerous things in common–Joan notes to Peggy that Don always goes for that sort of girl–the model/the actress–someone who fits the dream image and also has a pliancy to her. That said, there are critical differences between Megan and Betty–partly a reflection of the changing times, but important nonetheless–Megan hasn’t backed off her career. She even pulled a career switch and is succeeding at it. She’s more emotionally direct than Betty is. Betty had a terrible time trying to emotionally connect with Don. Megan has a knack for pushing Don’s buttons, good and bad.

            My main point though was a fairly obvious one–Don’s previous mistresses had outside interests/careers. Now that Megan has a career of her own, Don is hooking up with a housewife. He barely noticed other housewives when he was married to Betty. Betty’s domesticism bored him. Megan’s interest in her acting makes him feel neglected. (I wouldn’t say he’s being fair, just observing his reaction.)

          • MartyBellerMask

            I agree to an extent about the Faye-vs-Megan thing, in terms of children…. yet Don still doesn’t make time for his kids. Megan has become a glorified babysitter in some regards.

            And here’s the other thing though, Megan is great in that stepmom role. But she’s no more maternal than Faye. Don might not know the difference though.

            I think Faye was good for Don i na lot of ways, and Megan is now (and maybe Betty was at one time). But Don doesn’t know how to treat a good one once he finds one. Certainly not how he handled things with Rachel.

            All his past women should be thankful for the bullet they dodged.

          • Glammie

            Yep, Don puts the childcare on Megan. Just because he neglects his kids (or perhaps because he does) doesn’t mean he wants a wife who does. So Megan being able to handle his kids without seeming to have a strong urge to have her own actually suits Don pretty well.

            I do think Megan, while not massively maternal, is more so than Faye. Megan can talk to kids and seems to like them. Faye was all kinds of awkward with them. And, unlike Megan, was actively frustrated when Don suddenly put her in a maternal role with Sally.

            I think Faye would have left Don eventually. Attractive though he is, Faye’s too sharp to have stayed with him long term.

            Don doesn’t marry grown-ups. Betty’s always childish and Megan’s so young that she’s naturally childish. But she’s growing up, so she’ll be out the door at some point. After all, was she crying because she felt sorry for Don during his confession about his kids or because she realized what that meant about their relationship and any kids they might have?

          • MartyBellerMask

            NAILED THIS.

        • reb

          What is Henry supposed to be in denial about? He knows Betty has low self esteem and is ashamed of her weight gain. He knows she struggles with the kids. And he loves her and values as his spouse anyway.

          • Glammie

            She’s got deeper issues than that–I think Henry, not unlike Don, married the image he had of Betty as this cool, perfect beauty. The real Betty’s kind of a mess–narcissistic and, in many ways, a little kid trying to be a grown-up. As his mother put it, “She’s a silly woman.”

            Unlike Don, Henry seems determined to stick with his bargain, but I think the big romance is pretty much out of this marriage.

  • What sort of internet or costume design awards are you eligible for these posts? In all seriousness, this is outstanding commentary.

    • MartyBellerMask

      Nobody else in the webisphere does what they do, that’s for sure!!

    • twocee

      These are amazing. I don’t even WATCH Mad Men and I come here every
      week for this post and as soon as I saw the first picture with Peggy I
      knew she was wearing her yellow power color.

      • random_poster

        Same here. I don’t really have a desire to watch the show, but these posts are still a huge draw.

        • insertcleverbit

          I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t watch the show, but lives for the mad style posts. I think TLo’s Commentary is better then the actual show (I tried to watch it, but it just didn’t ever click for me).

    • Pants_are_a_must

      Other fashion blogs do similar posts, but none go as deeply as TLo do.

  • luciaphile

    Great style recap as usual. Two things: I think it’s interesting that for the first time Trudy isn’t wearing something that clashes with her sofa. Maybe because she’s in charge of her life? Also those chairs you two want? We have them here at my place of employment. They have crappy stained fabric on them and they could use some staining, but they’re sitting in the room where office furniture goes to die. Sadly, I cannot persuade my boss to let me buy them.

    • not_Bridget

      Trudy’s sofa doesn’t match the rest of her house, which is mostly Early American. (Check out the light fixtures & paneling.) I think the sofa & matching accessories are new (this season); at some point Trudy would like to redecorate the whole place.

      Suburban Housewife Trudy wore earth-toned prints that sort of matched the Early American background–although they were too busy to match very well. The new dress harmonizes with the sofa; perhaps we’ll see Stylish Housewife Trudy in the future.

      Her “out with the old” philosophy includes not letting her husband worm his way back in….

      • MarTeaNi

        I don’t care where it comes from, it’s a hideous sofa. That horrible white monstrosity exists by the truckload in Florida, usually with a plastic cover on it because sitting on something that white with any degree of frequency means it won’t be white for long.

        • Glammie

          I think it’s kind of cute, she said in a small voice. Not that it matches anything except the drapes .. . .

          • formerlyAnon

            It’s a tired, overdone pattern at this point (at least if you’re in or past midlife), but I like it enormously compared to the mix of early American + occasional other dingy patterns going on in her house.

          • Glammie

            I am in midlife and it reminds me a lot of a bedspread I had as a teenager, but I just have a weakness for florals, I guess.

          • formerlyAnon

            We all get to like what we like. All I have to do is read on this site for a short while to discover that many of my favorite looks are frowned upon – or at least considered hopelessly dull or behind the times!

      • MissAnnieRN

        That sofa has definitely been there since they moved in. Not new this season.

        • not_Bridget

          OK. I haven’t watched the older episodes recently. I still think that the couch & matching pieces represent the future “look” she favors; she’ll be losing the Early American decor as she can. (Alas, painting the dreadful paneling off-white is still years in the future.)

          And she’s beginning to dress more brightly–like the green dress she wore to give hubby her walking orders last episode. The lugubrious prints in “earth tones” might be on their way out….

          • Munchkn

            We had paneling painted off-white in our house when we moved into it just over 20 years ago.

      • 3hares

        Hasn’t she always been stylish housewife this season?

        I don’t know, I think Trudy gets described as “out with the old” in ways she herself proclaimed herself not to be. She isn’t letting her husband worm his way in on his own terms. but she’s keeping up the appearances of business as usual when other people are present. Her dress immediately reminded me her outfit in The Grown-Ups, but it’s also much more somber and simple than Trudy often wears. It looks like mourning for more things than one.

  • I saw Peggy’s yellow ensemble, and thought “Peggy’s power colour!”. Not because I’m very observant, but because YOU are. Thank you again!

    As for Betty, I always have the same feeling of “why is she here?” but this week’s storyline, for the first time since the divorce seems to be pointing somewhere that is not forgotten the following episode.

    • MissKimP

      I’m thinking Don and Betty are going to be coming together, whether they like it or not, over a storyline/crisis involving Sally, whom we haven’t heard much from yet this season.

      • Gioioio

        I agree. I think she’s still in the series because she’s Don’s ex-wife, it’s that simple. Joint-custody divorce doesn’t mean one partner disappears. Still think Don is going to end up in California though.

    • AudreysMom

      I saw Peggy’s yellow ensemble (back shot) and thought INVISIBLE ZIPPER! In the 1960s the invisible zipper was introduced and all the rage. Especially with all those vivid polyester fabrics that made metal, clunky zippers and zipper plackets too bulky.

      • Yes! I used to have a vintage dress in a gingham, very similar to Peggy’s in that shot – those cute A-line mod styles are very forgiving to someone of my build and I wore them all the time in college. I love her wardrobe this season. That militaristic blue and red getup during the Heinz pitch, I’ve been lusting after since I saw the leaked photos of them filming. Adorable!!

      • another_laura

        Well spotted! The invisible zipper was huge! I was busily making dresses for myself at this time and remember the switch.

      • formerlyAnon

        Gosh yes! I remember the first dress my mom made using an invisible zipper. (Being a snotty kid, I didn’t really understand what was so interesting about it. My poor mom, she really didn’t get the credit she deserved when we were growing up.)

  • MarTeaNi

    I just want to make sure that everybody here sees this:

    I’m going to cheat and say that it’s really about contrasting styles of the 90s with something something something.

  • Jessi03

    Hooray, Mad Style! The outfit Joan wears when she hugs Dawn is so fabulous and I must have it. Also, that hug is so fantastic that I now have it as a gif. Whenever anyone at my office has said they need a hug, I send it to them.

    • bxbourgie

      TLo RTed a tweet from Janie Bryant on Sunday, she said that outfit is her own creation for Joan. She’s bad ass!

      • Jessi03

        She’s amazing.

      • filmcricket

        Didn’t Janie do a line for the home shopping network or something? When Mad Men ends she should really consider expanding. The half-assed Banana Republic line doesn’t even come close to replicating her fabulosity.

        • MK03

          Seriously. I said on Twitter that I would cut a bitch to be able to buy that dress at BR. I really, really hate the lines they’ve put out. If they offered replicas of some of the iconic costumes from the show, they would make a killing.

          • Yes, the BR one was a joke and the clothes looked cheap, even in pictures.

    • ballerinawithagun

      That outfit is modern and still fabulous for Joan, now she can move ahead.

    • CheriCPat

      How does one make a gif? Or if I ask nicely enough, can you post yours in a way that we can all use it? (That means with instructions.) You sound fun to work with!

      • formerlyAnon

        Google for instructions – there’ll be something somebody using something close to your exact computer set up/software has put up. It may take reading some links past the first page of results, but that’s probably the easiest way to find something that works seamlessly for you.

      • Jessi03

        Aww, thanks! I don’t know how to make them, I’m just pretty good at finding them online. I would send you a link, but TLo’s moderation doesn’t let us post them here. 🙁

    • That outfit is one of the most flattering “Joan” has ever worn.

    • That is my favorite thing I’ve ever seen Joan wear throughout the series, including some of her fabulous party/fancier dresses. If I didn’t have to wear a dreadful uniform to work, I would appropriate that outfit and have 10 versions of it made in all my colors. The only work outfits on the show that have come even close to that in my eyes were some of Jane’s dresses when she was ‘working’ at the office.

    • AnotherJulie

      Good for you for adding some hilarity to your workplace!!!

      • Jessi03

        Aww, thanks!

  • Sobaika

    The Francis homestead IS a bit off to the side, like they’re on their own show. Maybe there will be more action there when Henry runs for office.

    • RMJ

      The only person I really care about in that house is Sally. Betty/Henry make sense as peripheral characters, but they are figuring too prominently while being much less interesting than Joan, Peggy, and Sally, whom I would love to see more frequently. Early on, Betty was well-drawn and vital to the show’s vision, but she has little purpose now, except as an occasional conversational partner to Don or Sally. Also, the fat makeup especially is really distracting to me – to quote Nina Garcia, it’s just aesthetically not pleasing, especially on a visually outstanding show like Mad Men.

      However…. I really like seeing them in the Mad Style recaps. Janie Bryant is still doing terrific, interesting work with the Francis family, as with the rest of the show.

      • reb

        How can you say Betty is featured too prominently? She’s only in a few episodes per season whereas Joan and Peggy are in every episode.

    • Aurumgirl

      Well, running for office always requires the ad world! Who knows what will happen when Henry goes out looking for his campaign?

  • “MODSTRAVAGANZA” – word for the day! Maybe Word of The Year. Love you guys and this amazing writing.

  • MissAnnieRN

    “We’d sell our plasma for a matching set of those green chairs outside their offices.” NO KIDDING! I hope there are 4, or else it might get bloody between us, TLo.

    “Is it wrong that we kind of want Gene’s hoodie?” No, not at all. It’s super cute. It reminds me of the Hatley stuff that is popular for little kids right now. Maybe it comes in adult sizes 😉

    I hadn’t picked up on this week’s episode featuring so many women-in-blue. It makes me feel kind of stupid because when the screen caps are all laid out like that, I wonder how I missed it!

    I’ve also floated the idea of a Don/Betty reunion, but it just seems like it would never happen. At this point, Betty has more depth as a character than Don does. I wish that MW & Co. would move Don’s character forward. I’m getting bored.

  • LearnedFoot

    Just wanted to mention that sneering at women for wearing pants went on for a lot longer than a decade after 1968. When I was in law school 11 years ago, we (female students) were advised to NEVER wear a pantsuit to an interview, only skirts or dresses. And there was one judge who was known for not allowing women attorneys to appear in his court if they were wearing pants. I’ve moved far away in the last few years so I don’t know if that is still going on.

    • Sobaika

      It is – I work for a legal aid non profit, and at least in the courtroom/appearing before judges, women almost never wear pants. It’s an unspoken rule.

      I think that is a very big exception though. The legal field is notoriously conservative.

      • the_archandroid

        Wow, I find this FASCINATING! Do you think violating that unspoken rule would be egregious enough to possibly contribute to a loss in the courtroom?

        • Sobaika

          I don’t know about losing, but a colleague told me about how she was wearing a (very covered up) pantsuit and a judge told her to ‘come dressed appropriately next time.’

          I’ve always found it strange because a pantsuit just seems way more business-like and appropriate than a skirt, but there you have it.

          • Gioioio

            Baffled by this.

          • Right? The only time I get asked out on the street anymore is in a skirt suit.

        • another_laura

          You’re working for your client and assessing risks all the time. It’s not worth the risk.

      • Joy

        The firm that I work at is pretty much business casual, but I see some old school legal secretaries that I feel still follow a lot of the old conservative dress rules. I’m always shocked when I see a woman in the summer wearing pantyhose with her dress! I think there are some firms that still require this.

      • AELM

        I also work for a legal aid nonprofit and the lawyers wear pantsuits to court all the time! I do remember though, that when we interviewed for law firms in law school around 10 years ago, all the women wore skirt suits. I don’t think career services formally advised us one way or the other, it was more of an unspoken rule. But when I worked at a firm for the summer, I did wear pantsuits and so did many of the lawyers.

      • 3boysful

        Amazing–I haven’t practiced in 15 years, but I frequently wore pantsuits (in the South, too!) when I quit. They were nice, women’s versions of a man’s suit. Small earrings and pearls de rigeur, of course. Conservative, low-heeled pumps.

      • MK03

        Wow. I’m starting paralegal certification in the fall, so now I’m interested to see what sort of sartorial rules they’ll have. I have some killer pairs of pants that I’ll be bummed if I can’t wear.

        • Sobaika

          Based on the responses here, it’s hit or miss – some work cultures have the expectation and some don’t. I’m in NYC, the people I work with are on the high-powered 24/7 side of things. Hopefully you get to wear pants!

    • unfortunately, I graduated law school 3 years ago and was still advised to NEVER wear a pant suit to an interview. I was honestly astounded.

    • Might be the area. I’m in a sizeable city in the midwest, and women wear pants in court all the time.

    • Danielle

      I got the same advice in the late 90s while in business school.

    • SportifLateBoomer

      For sure. I worked on Wall Street in the early ’90s and it was definitely not cool for women to wear pants then. Like I think it was a rule at our firm (and I was not even client facing). So that lasted a long, long time in some industries.

    • egurl

      This practice also continues in certain courtrooms in the south (skirt suit, pantyhose, and pearls a must).

    • DixieSugarbaker

      I still go before a judge that requires women to wear skirts in her courtroom. That is right, the judge that requires it is female; the men don’t care.

    • meritxell

      I think it might be the region somewhat, as well as the area of law. I graduated law school 4 years ago and I don’t remember getting the “no pants ever” advice here on the west coast.

    • another_laura

      I started working in law in NYC the early 90s and women were just starting to wear pants suits in the office. But we all kept a skirt suit hanging on the back of the door in case of an off-site meeting. I’m not a courtroom type of lawyer but it was definitely understood.

    • Beth Anderson

      When I started business school in 2003 the ladies were advised the same thing. To our credit, most of us said “give me an effing break” and wore pants anyway.

    • Liz

      That happened to me, too. 1999, and we were told never to wear trousers to a job interview.

      (I spent my later high school years violating the uniform policy by wearing dress pants with my Ugly Blouse ™. The year after I left, girls were banned from wearing long pants at all — it was just skirts or culottes. That was 2000, God help us.)

  • I could see Don and Betty having some kind of affair — or maybe I just want to see that — but as you said, the idea of them getting back together is hard to believe. I think Matthew Weiner just likes the character of Betty. He’s always seemed to in his interviews about the show. She definitely represents a certain type of 1960s woman and the show seems to be interested in exploring that kind of life, even if it doesn’t really fit with the main action any more.

    Peggy’s pants-and-sweater combo is adorable. Simple, but definitely in style today.

    • I have a shirt and pants identical to that! I was excited to see her in black slacks. She looked so cute in them!

    • awesomesabrina

      I’ve heard Weiner say he thinks Betty and January are important to the show and not going anywhere. I’m a Betty fan so happy about this, plus I do think she’s important because as you say she’s a certain type of 60s woman, and she and Don do still have a relationship, it’s just very different now.

      • I’m a total Betty apologist. Never forget her shooting a gun with a cigarette in her mouth.

    • yllas

      What version of Betty would Don have an affair WITH? The old, slim, blond Betty? The current fat, dark haired Betty? I thought, well, yes, slim blond Betty, but upon further thought – would he want ‘old’ Betty back?….The current version, even if she IS overweight, might be the one that attracts him! Do you think? (I can’t see them getting together at ALL, though.)

      • I don’t know! We’ve never seen Don interact with a less-than-conventionally-attractive woman before, have we? (Besides Miss Blankenship.) (Betty is still more beautiful than 95% of real humans, let’s be clear, but Don is shallow.)

        I feel like current brunette Betty is about go on some kind of weight loss kick fuelled by diet pills and booze… So when she gets back to slim, blonde Betty, I could see an affair happening.

      • formerlyAnon

        I think Don’s oblivious enough – or compulsively sexually predatory in a self-defeating way enough – to have an affair with his ex-wife, but I can’t see Betty going past a single drunken or emotionally-driven episode that immediately appalls her. She has the man/woman “rules” of her upbringing engraved on her soul – I think she has incorporated a lot of increasingly outdated “rules” into her assumptions. I think sometimes some of her more arbitrary off-putting behavior is her semi-aware or unaware way of trying to resolve the differences between reality and what she was brought up to expect from the world. (ETA: I am especially thinking of the several times when her mind has thrown out some unexpectedly blunt, if not raw, take on something sexual.)

    • MaryAtRealityTea

      I remember him once doing an interview in which he said Betty was based somewhat on his mother. He meant that favorably, but I think it’s in regard to her feeling stifled by society’s expectations or something.

  • jilly_d

    I asked the same question after Sunday’s ep regarding Betty’s continuing presence on the show. Makes you wonder. But seriously, though. Joan’s evening gown and glasses. How fabulous can she possibly get before I just die??

    • KateWo

      While I actually enjoy Betty I’m wondering the same thing. I hope something more interesting happens with her and maybe with Henry’s campaign something will. They used to show her with friends ( What happened to Francine?), and the reservoir project. It’s interesting that the house is so dark and conflicting but her marriage with Henry seems good.

  • MartyBellerMask

    1. Abe is hot. I love his teensy bowtie but he looks even better in a white t-shirt.
    2. How I wish there was a screenshot of Stan cracking up in the office!
    3. Harry’s “flood” pants. Awesome.
    4. That extreme part is not flattering for Ted. But still perfect for the character.
    5. Love the analysis of Joan/Dawn scene!
    6. Last but not least- the profile shot of Sally- FABULOUS.

    • I agree with your number 1. His arms are looking pretty good in that screencap.

    • YourLibrarian
      • formerlyAnon

        He’s sooo stoned. Thank-you for that!

      • MartyBellerMask

        Why thank you!!

    • Heather

      I still think of him and Peggy getting it on after coming back from the beach packed into her friend’s VW Bug, and he was in his little blue shorts – so adorable!!

    • AnotherJulie

      I thought Ginsburg in a tank top was also adorable.

    • Chantelle James

      Harry wasn’t the only one wearing flood pants – Don’s tuxedo pants were short, too. I noticed it as he and Megan walked through the foyer of the apartment building to catch the car that was taking them to the award show.

  • reb

    I have a hard time believing Betty has kept her dresses from her marriage to Don, especially that one considering she threw up all over it after finding out about Don’s affair.

    And why is Gene still being portrayed like he’s a toddler? He’s five in 1968.

    • the_archandroid

      As someone who fluctuates in weight, I don’t have a hard time believing it at all, if you bought an expensive dress at a smaller size and went up in weight, you are LOATHE to dispose of the dress. It’s like admitting a failure or facing the reality that you’re not doing what you need to do to get back to your ideal weight. She’s probably not hanging on to her little capris and random sweaters, but a tailored dress, yeah, I’ve definitely been where Betty is holding up old clothes for comparison. In terms of it being that PARTICULAR dress I can kind of see your point, but Betty was willfully denying how awful her relationship with Don was for such a long time, it’s really just one more piece of clothing in the succession of unhappiness that was their marriage. It just happens to be the last one.

      • Violina23

        Yeah, I’ve struggled with my weight since adolescence, and this is definitely true for me. I have this one purple dress that I LOVED and remember buying a size-too-small (since it’s all the store had) and hanging it on the outside of my closet and calling it my ‘inspiration’ dress. I eventually lost the weight and fit into it, but many years later, I’m pregnant with my second baby, and it’ll probably take me years before I can even conceive of fitting into it again. But I refuse to rid of it, it meant a lot to me, as superficial as it may sound, and hopefully it can be an inspiration again…

        That being said, I never would have picked up on it being the dress she wore when she found out about Don’s cheating. Wow, of all dresses…. amazing. And blue, to boot!

        • Fordzo

          I have a red skirt that I am unapologetically attached to. I used to get lots of second looks and comments when I wore it, and one day I was walking down the street (in Philly) and a gorgeous drag queen shouted from the other side of Pine St., “GUUUURRRLLLL! You WEAR that red skirt!” And, just like that, I knew I’d never let that skirt go.

          • Violina23

            That’s AWESOME 😀

          • elizabeth

            Yeah, you know you’ve nailed it when a drag queen loves your clothes!

    • I don’t. That’s a really expensive dress she’s holding and as we saw years ago, Betty had stacks of garment bags filled with her old modeling clothes from the ’50s. Granted, this dress has some emotional significance to it, but we tend to think that might be the point here; that she hasn’t fully let go of her old marriage or the person she used to be when she was in it.

      • AudreysMom

        I agree. I thought of the practical aspect which is that the dress is expensive and her lifestyle with Henry likely doesn’t afford such luxuries. Why ditch the dress when there’s a chance you might wear it (and fit into it) again? And then there’s the more symbolic reason to hold onto the personal past.

      • not_Bridget

        Perhaps Betty thinks “Maybe Sally will want to wear it some day.”

        (As if.)

        • the_archandroid

          Betty Shade! You’re doing it right.

        • Buhahahahahaaa! Yeaaaah, that’ll be the day.

        • Glammie

          Well, Kiernan Shipka would, though not January Jones. I love how little Kiernan has been wearing that vintage look lately. Even if Sally doesn’t go for it, I could see Kiernan showing up in a Betty Blue dress on the red carpet.

    • luciaphile

      I have 3 closets worth of clothes in a wide variety of sizes from probably the past 20 years and I too have a weight problem. While I sometimes cull through things, there are outfits I have saved because they were really good quality or the look is classic enough that I might be able to wear it again.

      • How’s this for saving clothes?

        I was a size 5 when I became pregnant in 1968 and put all my clothes in cardboard moving wardrobes thinking I would wear them the next year after my baby was born. Well, I never did fit in them again and those wardrobes have been stored in a series of garages for 45 years!

        Living in L.A., I kept thinking I should contact Janie Bryant about them, but I suffer from a severe case of procrastination. When the show just started its penultimate season, I figured it’s now or never. She had the whole bunch of them picked up and bought dresses, pantsuits, a mink stole and many other pieces to be used next season!

        There were several things that struck me as I saw each item:

        I wore an awful lot of green and blue as well as shades of orange and pink (often together). So is Janie telling a story using so much green and blue or is it just a reflection of what was popular then? Maybe that’s why TLo are having a hard time pinning down that color story line.

        Fabrics were so much more interesting then and construction was excellent, even on my moderately priced secretarial wardrobe. So much of what I had was completely lined and had covered buttons.

        I had a linen dress custom made for me when I was on vacation in Mexico. What surprised me in 2013 is that the midriff was unlined lace. Just me showing a little skin four and a half decades ago.

        • Glammie

          This is just incredibly awesome. You’ve *got* to let us know which pieces are yours and how they’re transformed.

          Funny, I have a blue-green plaid suit of my mother’s from the 60s. Some part of me just sort of mentally puts it in Peggy’s closet, but, wow, your stuff really *will* be in her closet.

          • I had to sign a confidentiality agreement, so I can’t say any more now. But when anything of mine appears in the screencaps, you can be sure I’ll be bragging!

          • Glammie

            That works. I mean, it won’t mean anything to us until we see it anyway. Come to think of it, I have a Mexican lace dress of my mothers from 1969–or rather cotton with diagonal strips of, yes, unlined lace. I wish I could still fit it.

            Again, congratulations.

            (off to do crunches)

          • UsedtobeEP

            That is SOOOOO cool. What a gift. I hope some of it gets used as is. Some of it will probably be repurposed for the fabric, at least. How much fun!

        • editrixie

          That is fabulous — and knowing we might see some of your pieces next season is even cooler! I hope you’ll alert the bitter kittens if you see some of it.

        • decormaven

          Swoon! That is wonderful. Can’t wait to see your wardrobe items. It’s wonderful you kept them.

        • SuzyQ

          Oh, that is too awesome.

          When my mother passed five years ago, there were a few items in her closet that I desperately wanted to try to offer to someone for Mad Men, or any costumer, actually. In particular, there was a chiffon nightgown and peignoir robe set in a cotton-candy pink, in perfect condition. There’s a picture of my mom wearing it, pregnant with me in 1974 – but you must understand, she wasn’t up-to-the-minute trendy/fashionable, and it was likely a gift from my father around the time of their wedding, in 1969. I’ve seen Betty wearing sets nearly identical to it. But, living in Michigan and knowing no one in the business, I wouldn’t have had a clue who to offer it to – I ended up just giving the items to Goodwill, so they wouldn’t molder away in my storage unit. 🙁

          It will be exciting to see your items on screen, I’m sure!

    • filmcricket

      You’re right about the throw-up, though. Ossining must have really superior dry cleaners.

      And yes, Gene & Bobby both feel too young at this point. I wonder if Bobby’s sneaking smokes & they’re stunting his growth.

      • missd

        it was mostly all champagne though, it wasn’t like there was a dismembered foot all over it.

      • MK03

        They wouldn’t have that problem if they didn’t keep recasting Bobby…

      • gogobooty

        I always thought Betty hurled all over Don’s new Cadillac, not her dress.

        • Heather

          I think it was a bit of both. Of course missd above is correct, it was mostly booze… Thin Betty never ate, so no chunks.

    • Chickadeep

      I wondered about that. He should be four, almost five in this episode. The character is almost exactly my age (born summer of ’63) and I totally remember hearing about and seeing MLK’s assassination on TV news…and RFK’s right afterward.

      I did have his little red shoes (the girl version of the red lace-up oxfords), though, and when I started Kindergarten the following September my dark purple-blue dress had multicolored cartoon flowers and a big pointy white collar. My hair was scooped back in the same ‘do Sally is sporting in those plaid coat shots at Don’s apartment. A lot of my clothes were hand-me-downs from a slightly older cousin so many of my elementary school outfits look just like the stuff Sally wears.

      • Heather

        I wore so many hand-me-downs … from my (eight years older) sister, older girls from church, etc. And we were middle class; it was considered standard rather than shameful. Do kids still do this? Or are clothes too poorly made these days to survive being worn by more than one kid?

        • Chickadeep

          I think some kids still do this; I know my sisters have swapped or inherited clothes for their kids from friends and other family members. There’s perhaps less of the older clothing being handed down (like the stuff from your much-older sister) unless they’re really classic pieces like plain jeans, sweaters, sweatshirts, and coats, though, because of general quality and trendy nature of so much of it.

          In junior high and high school (late ’70s-early ’80s) I had hand-me-downs from my stepmother, too; stuff she’d worn in the 1950s! But they were super-traditional, non-faddy things like Pendleton and fair isle sweaters and a plain wool duffel coat, not poodle skirts and saddle shoes.

          • Heather

            This is interesting, thanks! One of my friends is an attorney, so makes a good salary on paper, but as a single mom of 2 young boys is still stretching things to make ends meet. She said she buys most of their clothes at the Goodwill in the ‘good’ part of town, and finds things that appear brand-new, even with the tags still on – but I haven’t heard a lot about hand-me-downs from kid to kid.

    • LJ39

      In season one or two, Betty showed off all her dresses from her modeling days, so it’s not too surprising to me that she would hold on to others.

    • MK03

      I’m always struck by how, for lack of a better word, cheap that dress looks to me. Because you know in-story it wasn’t; she probably had that outfit custom-made. And I believe Janie personally made that dress for January Jones, so you know it’s expertly constructed. Maybe it’s because it looks EXACTLY like a particularly eye-searing poly brocade I see every time I go to Jo-Ann and loathe with a passion.

  • muelonil

    I buy the analogy, but that’s not the exact same blue dress.

    • Yes it is.

    • the_archandroid

      I think in the older scenes she has some kind of fancy covering over the dress, if you look at the detail at the top it’s the same one.

    • sweetlilvoice

      I thought the same thing at first, but after really looking at the pics it is the same dress. You can barely see the pattern when she’s wearing it while she’s with Don. But the trim at the bust is the same….the chiffon overlay must be removable.

      Excellent costume catch gentlemen! Great review as always. Thank you.

    • Fordzo

      In the scene where she is wearing the dress, it appears that the chiffon is a second layer that can be taken off to reveal the sleeveless dress underneath. The dress looks faded, but it is the same dress.

  • I’m having a hard time being able to tell that Betty’s blue dress is the same one from the Bobby Barrett days. It looks like the dress she holds up has a print that the old blue dress doesn’t have.

    • It’s the same dress. Believe me, we checked and double-checked. The print is not as easy to spot in the older scenes because she’s wearing that sheer, sleeveless duster over it. You can see the print slightly more clearly here:

    • SewingSiren

      It isn’t a print. The strapless dress is made out of a jacquard fabric. The floral pattern is woven into it. I the Bobby Barrett scene she is wearing a sleeveless chiffon over dress on top of the sheath, so the pattern of the under dress is somewhat obscured.

  • Violina23

    I don’t see Don & Betty reuniting, but I think that’s mostly because I still just can’t see any kind of happy ending for Don by the end of the series. As this show has proven time and time again, Don can seem to have everything he ever wanted, but he will never be content with what he has, he’ll never be truly satisfied and happy. If anything, I’m starting to doubt more and more if he’ll even survive the end of the series.

    Perhaps Betty remains in the story to serve as a counterpoint/contrast to Don — she had issues growing up (who didn’t, really), and her marriage to Don was pretty damaging to her psyche, but I think she really is trying to better herself and be a happier person, even if she is still at a point where she lashes out at Don/Megan, or make crude rape jokes to her husband (which *I* still think was mostly an attempt to bring her her “pure” husband down to the level of how much she hated herself). I guess despite all the despicable things she’s done, I’m still just rooting Betty, since I think Don’s just hopeless at this point. There are so many damaged people in the world of Mad Men, it’d be nice to see a few people come out on top in the end — do what Don, the smooth operator of Madison Avenue, can’t even come close to.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      I wouldn’t mind if the writer’s just checked in with Don’s ex-family in very, very small doses. The whole show seems to come to a halt whenever they’re featured. I think the show is much more interesting when the story revolves around the agency.

  • :O

    Shocked @TomandLorenzo:disqus didn’t mention the parallel imagery between Peggy, viewed from behind, surveying her real estate & the same view of the SCDP partners at the end of season 5. Notably, Peggy’s view is less impressive & she’s alone.

  • MyrtleUrkel

    There’s another costume analysis where you mentioned metallics and how they signify wealth and with Megan’s dress, she clearly stood out to me as the “winner”— she won the award that night, I think she’ll ultimately win over Silvia in the situation with Don (Silvia will just get hurt/possibly ruin her own marriage, whereas Megan’s career/accomplishments keep expanding—she doesn’t need Don), and they way the prez of CGC looked at her, she’s still a prime catch.

    • MartyBellerMask

      Totally agree.
      Yet those darned sleeves make it look a bit juvenile- which of course is how Don sees her.

      • Glammie

        Yeah, I was thinking that about both Peggy and Megan–they’re both wearing little-girl pink. In some way, they’re still playing dress-up at a big party at the awards ceremony. Both of them are still quite young. Peggy even had that bow in front of her dress.

        Both Peggy and Megan, though, switch into more sophisticated clothes in other areas. Peggy’s work wardrobe is substantially more grown-up than it used to be, while Megan’s most grown-up in the bedroom.

        I do wonder when Megan’s going to walk though. It’s going to be bad news for Don when she does.

  • I don’t understand the statement that Megan isn’t wearing blue. I am seeing Megan in a blue jacket in the living room. Am I misreading the color? Are you guys seeing black or purple?

    Part of why we’ve never seen Peggy in pants is that we rarely see her at home, and we rarely see her in an informal setting. When she’s home, she’s performing for Ma, or going out to dinner, or something. This is Peggy with her hair down.

    • Sobaika

      I’m seeing a black jacket for Megan.

    • sweetlilvoice

      I thought it was that dark green jacket from last season, but can’t tell now. The one she wears when she goes to acting class.

    • LauraAgain

      Yeah, I think Megan’s jacket is blue, too. Navy.

  • ashtangajunkie

    I have wondered why Betty is still around as well. Other than Mother Francis’ hilarious appearances, the Francis household isn’t all that interesting.

  • Not applicable

    I think Betty and Peggy (and for that matter Dawn and Phyllis) are in the storyline because MadMen is really a story about the Other. It’s becoming really clear to me that MW is using this traditional set up (with our imperfect hero who is also an ‘other’ for being poor white trash) but the different roles of women and now African Americans are shown from these different points of view at this culminating time in history. This show is a college course, I swear to God (and I pitched that to the head of my department btw, and he just chuckled…)

    Anyways- as we discussed last week- Don, traditional man, from his fortunate white man point of view sees all women as virtually madonnas or whores or crones (the latter being the ones he works with whom he as a-sexulized…remember, he’s had no interest in Peggy or Joan…) But these women in the show are FANTASTICALLY portrayed in all the versions of the Other.

    Betty- “perfect” wife and mother- bred to be dispite other interests and talents. She is the woman– the house cat– who’s whole identity is based on her looks and perfection. She is the woman who’s mother called her fat and withheld food- or cut her hair as punishment. This new world is strange and unstructured. How will she be a woman in the spotlight without her good looks and perfect tiny waist?

    Joan- by all accounts ran the operations of Sterling Cooper and should be a partner on merit- and should have been the Peggy- but she was just a bit before her time. She also was past due to be swept up by the perfect doctor and is now the working woman– the one all of us women dread b/c she is not a rumor- she actually did sleep her way to the top. And many women saw this as their only option.

    Peggy- the true pioneer- the career women who literally put career in front of family. Didn’t let an unwanted baby stop her. She ‘sorta’ struggles with the traditional things like wanting to be married, but then again- not really. It’s more what society is telling her to do.

    Megan- the sleeper- she seemed kinda helpless and a Betty 2.0 but she’s also in a younger generation who expects to have a career- but will pay for it by the traditional standards- he husband is already cheating on her. But she’s blinded by her daddy complex- an intellect’s daughter… are her daddy issues a match for Don’s mommy issues??

    And I could go on and on to each female character- but the point is they all are defined first by the only roles the can play in the eyes of men– and even in the eyes of each other. Beauty before brains, wife/mother/home before career. It’s the set up for all of the women on women issues to come- women pitting against each other as they choose a side- traditional or modern.

    And last season and this season- minorities in play. First season they joked about having a Jew on staff! Pete was punished for suggesting they identify a black male demographic to sell TVs. Look, in what a short time, we see that all change. First 2 seasons were waaaay more overt in the ways these characters really feel about any minority. I actually think MW is playing it a bit safe… but I’m so glad he’s taking the time to make this more about these other characters as Don also grapples with his “Other” wanting to be set free…

    • ballerinawithagun

      Thanks for taking the time!

      • Not applicable

        omg- I love having a forum that appreciates this show! this is the only one that really is thoughtful and intelligent…vs. just ranting on Betty hating etc. meh- gots no time for that! 🙂 Thanks to T-Lo for creating these incredible posts!

    • Gioioio

      Love this! I would enroll at your college if there were a Mad Men course.
      Do Trudy next!

  • Damien W

    I also see Joan’s red/white/black-but-could-be-navy-blue checked outfit portraying her as a representative for America itself — a Statuesque of Liberty, if you will. She’s awkwardly telegraphing “As the duly appointed spokesperson for the connected part of the USA, may I offer you and your people our sincerest apologies and condolences for this regrettable tragedy. Would you like a hot towel?”

    • the_archandroid

      I’m having a LOT of trouble in this episode with blues and blacks, because her outfit looks black white and red to me, and so I was thinking oh, it encapsulates the Civil Rights struggle, Black warring with White with violence interspersed. That being said I saw Megan’s coat as being blue and thought (when i watched it on TV) that Ginsberg’s date was wearing black. I think it’s time to go to the eye doctor.

  • MissAnnieRN

    What was the availability/quality of fake hair/falls, or whatever they were referred to as in the late 60’s? Megan is obviously a fan of using those in her formal ‘do’s. Fits in with her being an actress, but if I’m not mistaken they were popular with non-thespians, too.

    • not_Bridget

      They were extremely popular. In fact, Midge even wore a wig (for fun) way back in the first season.

      • Ted’s wife is wearing a wig in the scene above.

        • A ha! I thought so. Thanks to TLo my eye for these things is getting better.

        • ballerinawithagun


        • Gioioio

          Linda Cardellini said in an interview that she wears a wig on the show, does that mean the character is wearing one too? I guess I’m asking are wigs set like real hair in different styles or are they always the same? Never mind, I don’t know what I’m asking.

          • formerlyAnon

            In my limited experience, really expensive wigs might be set like real hair (might be made of real hair) in different styles. The wigs that my mom & her cohort adopted at this time & a bit later were not that expensive and they mostly used them to vary among styles that were hard or impossible to maintain with their own hair – some of the bolder women used them to vary their hair color, making no attempt pretend it was their own hair. My mom kept to the same brown range, but her wigs included a long page boy with bangs and a much shorter cut, shaped a lot like Peggy’s in the first pictures above (but, since this was a few years later, without the backcombed “bump” at the crown).

        • Ted’s wife is wearing a wig in the scene above.

          And a very bad one at that.

          • UsedtobeEP

            My friend’s mom wore a wig in her wedding. Blonde, and she was a dark brunette. I think it was 1967.

        • gogobooty

          I hold in my hand “Modern Salon Styles for 1968”! This salon book was, I think, a last ditch effort to keep women in the habit of the weekly wash and set appointments to achieve and maintain incongrous sweeps, piles of curls and mountainous “pixie” cuts. (Gawd forbid everyone just wash their hair and let it dry,)

          The “Jr Miss Fashion Plates” pages make preteen girls look like grandmas! Also, there’s a page of “Pretty Prescriptions for Problem Faces”! Jeez, thanks! There are mother and daughter ‘dos! Batwing side ‘dos that look ready to fly away! Page 60 features a headline: “Why not a wardrobe of WIGS and WIGLETS?”

          Why not indeed! Every page is a treasure trove of terrible, high maintenance hair. Most of these hair dos could probably only be achieved with professional “styling”. Wigs and wiglets were like hair hats, an easy out. Pull one on and you are ready to go shopping at Buffums.

          My old boyfriend and I once traded stories about being out in public with our moms while they wore wigs. You had to keep a close watch because it was hard to locate your mom in the crowd if she was wearing her other hair. Very confusing.

          T-Lo: I can send photos of this book if you are interested. LMK.

          • ‘Problem faces.’ Dying.

          • AnotherJulie

            Lol -My cousins freaked out and thought they lost their mom on the street due to not remembering it was a wiglet day. She was literally in front of them the whole time

    • formerlyAnon

      Wigs were coming to be widely popular – even among women whose own hair was “good” – in a way they’ve never been since. I’m not sure how long it lasted.

      • Spicytomato1

        I remember that trend barely hanging on in the mid-70s with my mom and her friends. The funny thing is my mom’s wig was the same color and almost the same style as her real hair, which in retrospect seems odd. She kept it in a metal cookie tin with pink curlers, which she would use to “set” the hair. It ended up becoming a plaything for my sister and me eventually.

        My mother-in-law still does the wig thing. But she is essentially stuck in the late 60s, style-wise, she wears very Betty-esque styles to this day. Never, ever pants. Some people can’t embrace the new, I guess!

        • Girl_With_a_Pearl

          Regarding your mom, I’m guessing that your mom was of the generation of women who used to go to the “beauty parlor” once a week to have her hair done? So the wig was probably for the days when her hair started to go flat.

          • Spicytomato1

            Actually, no, she wasn’t. In fact she tended to be pretty low maintenance, beauty-wise, compared to many moms I knew. Now I’m thinking the wig was ones of those things that maybe seemed better or more useful in theory than in reality. My memories of it are definitely more of an unused but intriguing object than something she often wore.

      • Joy

        My Grandmom had a row of wig heads on the top shelf in her closet. She definitely wore the same wig that Dawn wears into the late 70s, early 80s when I was a kid. My great Aunt still wears her wigs. I have no clue what her real hair looks like. She has had versions of the same wig since I was born!

        • Heather

          I can’t decide if that’s funny, or scary!! “A row of wig heads” seems like something from a weird movie. 🙂

    • SportifLateBoomer

      I remember my older sister, who would be about 18 then, having that teased hair and dramatic falls for special occasions — very Megan hair, come to think of it. (I guess I’m equivalent to Bobby in age).

    • ballerinawithagun

      Synthetic, wigs, falls and wiglets were all the rage. On a family trip to Las Vegas for a convention, my mother’s Kinokylon wiglet melted in the rear window of the car, ruined all of the glamorous hairstyles she was planning for the convention. Our family babysitter who was very glamorous, had a short wedge haircut like Joey Heatherton and wore a long fall over it. Nobody worried that everyone knew they were fake!

      • Qitkat

        So true. We didn’t care that they looked fake. I had a cheap long blonde wig (I’m a brunette), and it felt like I was playing a different character when I wore it, different clothes and all. FUN! I was so p. off when I came home to my apartment one evening and discovered I had had a break-in. The wigs and my unique radio I built from a Heathkit (I see I’m outing myself as a very early nerd) were stolen, along with my prized Bob Dylan vinyl Blonde on Blonde double album. I was so upset that I moved out almost immediately. It was a basement dump anyhow, but all I could afford at the time.

        • decormaven

          Just like Bobby’s HeathKit radio he asked for at Christmas!

          • Qitkat

            I built mine when I was 15, and my 9 year old brother was dying to help. I was afraid he would mess it up, and didn’t really let him help. When he was 15, he built a motorcycle in his bedroom. No kidding. He turned out to be the brightest kid in the family, with a PhD in aeronautics.

            Here’s hoping Bobby will be more than a footnote in Don’s life. Although sadly, it’s unlikely.

  • I’m surprised there was no mention of Pete’s black pocket square…he just seems like the type that would always match his tie and pocket square, so I took the black pocket square to be his way of mourning MLK.

  • Jessy_N

    I’ve always hung onto how in one of the first episodes of the series Roger comments about marrying the same woman twice (in reference to Lucy and Desi), so I, too, have a similar Don and Betty suspicion.

  • As soon as I started reading, “Love is Blue” started going through my head.
    Great commentary as always.
    I noted Sylvia is wearing gloves for her trip.

    • ballerinawithagun

      The French version of Love Is Blue was very popular at the time. I actually knew the lyrics in French. I think that is definitely foreshadowing the demise of Don and Megan.

      • Qitkat

        Me too!

      • Munchkn

        The orchestral version of Love is Blue by Paul Mauriat was number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 earlier in ’68.

  • filmcricket

    Great piece as usual, gentlemen.

    Joanie’s black & red houndstooth outfit is so fab, I want it desperately. I’d also like at least half the things they’ve put Scarlett in this season.

    I was thinking about Peggy this morning. She may be a trailblazer, but I’d bet good money against her ever being the kind to go die on the barricades. In fact, I can see her in later life becoming one of those small-c conservatives who’s very much in favour of equal treatment under the law, but very much against affirmative action or the ERA, because “I did it without help, why can’t you?”

    TLo, you guys need to do a furniture trip to Toronto. Half the stores in my neighbourhood are filled with that mid-century teak stuff, although I suspect the quality varies.

    • Maybe. She’s supportive of her female secretary, was trying to be supportive of Dawn during that weird night at her apartment, and she was supportive of the idea of working with others with talent. I can see Peggy being a pretty democratic, but cutthroat boss.

    • Melanie

      Elizabeth Moss has said repeatedly that Peggy doesn’t see herself as a feminist at all, so I think your speculation is probably pretty dead-on.

    • Glammie

      I think Peggy’s been a trailblazer, in part, because she tunes a lot out. Her focus is her career–but emotionally she’s always just a bit backwards. She doesn’t really get things a lot of the time. Because she has that narrow focus, she can shrug off some of the pressure to be a particular way. Very different from Joan, who’s basically been forced into being a pioneer when her goal was to pursue a traditional route (marry up) to success.

      I don’t think Peggy will be anti-ERA–she’s not a queen bee type. I don’t think she gets off on being the one woman in the room. She likes having women friends, even though she’s not all that adept at traditional feminine role-playing.

  • par3182

    I like to think they only keep Betty around so we can have access to Sally.

    • Laylalola

      I agree. Though I admit, I originally thought the whole Fat Betty storyline might have been in part to let Megan establish herself and her relationship with Don before the ultimate fashion & personality showdown between Megan and Skinny Betty (but maybe that would be too predictable a storyline for Mad Men).

      • H2olovngrl

        Man, I really hope Betty gets her groove back! Looking good is the best revenge and all that…

  • bxbourgie

    When Betty picked up the blue dress and held it against her I KNEW TLo would tell me when was the last time Betty wore it, because I knew I’d seen it before. Bravo for another fabulous Mad Style!

  • Scimommy

    Great analysis, as per usual. And I agree that Teyonah Parris knocks it out of the park. She is always fantastic as Dawn, and her face in that scene was perfect.

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    The episode began with Peggy looking out over a balcony in her power color in the bright sunshine. The future looks very bright career-wise for Peggy. It contrasts sharply with the ending of the episode with her mentor Don sadly looking out over his balcony after his son seems more worried about his step-dad and with Don’s mistress in Washington, D.C. during the riots, not to mention Don always being unhappy.

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    I really liked both of Joan’s dresses, particularly the dress she wore for the awkward hug. Joan’s clothes are finally becoming more modern after the black and white dress she wore at the end of last week’s episode and the red, black and white one this week.

  • formerlyAnon

    The furniture, office equipment, lighting, clothing and accessories of my formative years. Pretty much blinds me to picking out meaning, luckily I can rely on my blogging favorites.

    In other news, I *really* want [what I expect to be] Betty’s upcoming makeover to include doing something with that house. How hideous IS the headboard on her marital bed? Maybe if she goes the way of diet pills as she spiffs herself up, she’ll enter a phase of manic redecorating. Wonder if that’d punch Henry’s buttons and we’ll see him acting out and being unreasonable for just about the first time ever.

    Stan & Ginsberg together could be 2 of my high school teachers. I wonder if Ginsberg’s dress is ever going to pull together as he becomes more professionally adept. He’d clean up well.

    • Glammie

      Hmmm, the last time Betty went redecorating, she found a new husband . . . .

  • You’re a little off about Betty’s blue dress. The blue one she held up in the mirror is the one she wore to the Sterling Cooper 40th Anniversary banquet. This was right after she found out about Don’s secret past, so in a sense it was the death knell of her marriage, as you suggested.

  • decormaven

    Thank you so much for the screencaps! They really bring out the details of a particular scene. I totally missed the chain detail straps on Sally’s jumper in the kitchen scene; I would have seriously coveted that outfit back then. I still am trying to determine what the female-shaped tchotchke on Peggy’s desk is. It reminds me of those old “Love Is” figurines, but it’s not that. Again, another great job, sirs.

  • Laylalola

    I just wanted to say it cracked me up both when I saw the show and in the top photos here that the blinds are crooked in the apartment Peggy’s looking at. So true to life. (But you just know, given how life is funny like this, it just took them forever to get it perfectly crooked on set.)

    • My OCD totally wanted me to jump through the TV and straighten out those blinds!

  • decormaven

    You just gotta know Peggy’s mom crocheted that flame-stitched afghan on the sofa. We had one in very similar colors.

    • formerlyAnon

      Somehow EVERYONE had one of those. (My mom’s version was in blues & greens.) Godhelpme, there’s one browns & oranges in my linen cupboard now, that I think my former mother-in-law made or got from a friend back in the 1970s.

      • Qitkat

        My husband refuses to get rid of the one his mom made, in brown and tan. It’s ugly as sin.

        • formerlyAnon

          My ex would never let me get rid of the one from his mom, either, but somehow when he moved out he didn’t take it with him. It’s definitely relegated to “the heat went out & we have extra people sleeping over” use, but I have to hand it to its unknown maker, it’s apparently going to hold up forever. When I do the last downsizing I guess it will go in its ugly acrylic yarn glory to Goodwill.

          • decormaven

            Yes, Goodwill got our afghan. It probably lives on – and it was at least 30 years old.

        • Glammie

          Same here, only it’s green, brown and cream.

      • MsKitty

        I have a green, burnt orange, and tan one that my Aunt gave me for Christmas about 15 years ago, and it’s my go-to blankie for curling up on the sofa. I call it the cat magnet because whenever I pull it out my two critters come running so they can claim a spot.

        • Munchkn

          We have one that various hues of blue. My husband’s grandmother made it. I don’t know if she knitted it or crocheted it. It’s king-sized and has a big hole in it, IIRC, made by one of the cats. The knitting pattern is just made with a combination of yarn-overs (YO) and knit two togethers (k2tog). That blanket is not going anywhere.

    • bxbourgie

      I still have mine. My great grandmother made it from leftovers from others she had made, so it is literally every color under the sun. It matches NOTHING, but I’d never throw it away.

      • AnotherJulie

        Hilarious – mine too – including leftover fabric from some amazing polyester pantsuits!

    • You’ll be seeing some of my grandmother’s crochet work next season!

  • Missjulie D

    I just have to pipe in here and say I OWN SYLVIA’S SUIT! My Grandmother had that same suit in the ’60s, and it was one of the items I kept of hers after she passed. It’s more of a burnt-orange than a red.

    I’ve been looking for a chance to wear it, now I think I’ll just go as Sylvia for Halloween this year. 🙂

    • Gioioio

      “Who are you going as?”
      “Sylvia, the neighbor Doctor’s wife/whore from Mad Men.”

    • Joy

      You rock for having this!! I was just thinking, I only saved 1 of my Grandmom’s dresses and it is more 1972 than 68. Maybe I’ll see it next season.

  • pop_top

    I thought it interesting that Abe and Megan were dressed alike in their scenes, is that because they both represented the undercurrent of death? Or to indicate they would be leaving the dynamic they were shown as part of?

  • Heather

    This isn’t really related to costume, but I loved the distinctions in behavior between the tripping client and stoned Stan. A nice way that Mad Men gets the subtleties of things…. they’re not just set apart as ‘druggies,’ but are engaging with the counterculture in very specific ways.

    • That’s true. Stan was clearly stoned out of his gourd and the client was clearly tripping. It’s hard to make that distinction in the same scene and they did it really well without drawing attention to it.

  • Gioioio

    I live for these recaps. Thanks again, gentlemen!
    If there’s anything to his costume I would think Bert Cooper is in black out of respect, if that makes any sense.

  • I’m fairly certain there is a dress very similar to Megan’s awards dress/gown hanging in a closet of my mom’s house.
    Whether it was hers (she would’ve been in college) or my grandmother’s, I couldn’t say.

  • ballerinawithagun

    Blue, green and paisley! During that time period my family moved into our first upper middle class home, that my parents had built and then decorated themselves. I was able to choose my own wallpaper. A paisley of blue, green and a little purple, I was in heaven!

  • jl

    Does anyone make anything of the realtor wearing red, white, and black houndstooth in the first scene, like Joan in the awkward hug scene? They + Sylvia = three women in red, black, and white. Hmmm. I could be just coasting on fumes from the ‘three women in black and white” from last week, but surely it can’t be an accident.

  • I’ve seen Gene’s hoodie at high end craft fairs around the northeast. Cute, still in style. McHale’s Navy on the TV! I’d watch that.

    • The print on that hoodie is so much like the wallpaper most of my friends put up in their sons’ rooms.

    • Munchkn

      We watched McHale’s Navy all the time back then.

  • appliquer

    Yeah, Wednesday!

  • Spicytomato1

    Minor point but I was shocked at how matronly Ted’s wife looked. I don’t know why but I pictured him with someone younger, or at least more youthful. It’s hard to tell if she looks older than him because her dress, hair and makeup are so aging, or if he’s a babyface who looks younger than he is. Maybe it’s both.

    • missd

      i swore she was younger in season 4?

      • Spicytomato1

        I was trying to remember if we’ve seen her before but clearly my brain didn’t register her presence prior to this episode. However, her getup would add a couple years to just about anyone, I think.

        • eb1966

          It’s definitely the same actress as in The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. OMG, that was a dirty look she shot Peggy.

          • MartyBellerMask

            I fear for the safety of Peggy’s job. I can totally see Mrs. Chaogh (is that right?) giving an ultimatum to fire the harlot.

    • Heather

      Good point. Tlo have mentioned various times how aging women’s styles were (for women over 30 at least) during this time – ie Betty dresses similarly to her mother-in-law. I suspect they’re the same age, but that she codes as older because of her dress, wig, etc.

    • Me too she looks so much older than him/ when she was introduced. Easily 50.

  • I have Joan’s brooch and another version in my jewelry box…they were called “circle pins”.

    • Qitkat

      So do I, it was my mom’s. I’ve been trying to figure out if it is valuable, but there are so many variations on vintage jewelry sites that I can’t identify the exact version.
      This is where Mad Style really shines; I didn’t notice we were seeing it over and over again. Details, Yeah!

    • Glammie

      My mom had one–my sister has it. I was watching the second episode again last night–struck me that that the circle pins in that episode were about things coming “full circle”–fall-out from Joan’s night with the Jaguar guy and Pete’s screwing around on his wife and getting caught. Joan and Pete’s hook-up were wearing the two circle pins. It was a bit of visual punctuation by Jane Bryant.

  • missd

    why would betty ever want to wear that dress again? Oh, the dress where someone revealed that your husband was a b************** I’d have cursed it and burned it. Probably along with his stuff too.

    • not_Bridget

      Betty wore the dress the night she discovered that Don was unfaithful. The discovery of his bastardy came later–and had more to do with her wish to end the marriage. (Although finding hubbie #2 really decided her.)

      • missd

        bastardy wasn’t the word i was thinking, more ‘bollockingshitbag’

        • greenwich_matron

          New word of the day!

  • sweetwatervt

    When I saw Bobby’s fleece-collared jacket and jeans I thought, “Dick Whitman”– did we see Don/Dick dressed in a similar outfit at some point? I did a quick google image search and didn’t find anything– maybe I’m making that up.

  • Carrie L. Boram

    The blue dress Betty’s holding up is not the one she wore in the Bobbi Barret revelation scene – it’s the one she wore to the award ceremony for Don shortly after opening Don’s box.

    • Janie Bryant has confirmed that it is the same dress she wore the night she found out about Bobbi.

      If you scroll through the responses, you’ll see this has come up several times and we’ve provided a link to the award ceremony dress, which was clearly different from this one.

      • editrixie

        It’s kind of hilarious how everyone keeps saying it’s not the same dress. I thought it was immediately when she held it up. Especially since I grew up at that time, and I remember very well how many clothes items people kept for the rest of their lives. Very few women would ever give up a dress like that, even if they’d never wear it again.

  • Zaftiguana

    I was wondering if Betty might still be in the story because she was going to illustrate something interesting about the evolving condition of the American housewife. Maybe a Feminine Mystique moment, maybe having her own affair (NOT with Don, god help us), etc. It seems like “Dolls” may yet come into play, or some other substance abuse issue (shades of Betty Ford in the increasing presence in Henry’s political aspirations?). But I’m becoming concerned that she’s just being tagged along as Don’s ex and mother of his kids. That would be supremely disappointing.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      Good call about Betty possibly having a Betty having an alcohol or pill problem in the future due to Henry’s political career. There was some heavy-handed foreshadowing with Henry saying how he wants everyone to get to know Betty. I thought that was kind of a weird thing to say at the time, BTW) and Betty looking at first very pleased and then a bit not so sure.

      Oh, and I think it seems Matthew Weiner must have read the Feminine Mystique in coming up with Betty’s character.

    • MartyBellerMask

      Betty Ford, yes!

  • Sweetvegan

    ” we sent a message to Janie Bryant asking about it and she confirmed it.” You guys are awesome!

  • AudreysMom

    For a bit of era-accuracy, let me validate Phyllis’ dress. She walked into Peggy’s office and I thought: my 8th grade class picture (in 1968)! Same plaid; same color (different body – I clearly didn’t have Phyllis’ curves).

  • In regards to Janie Bryant actually now being aware of your brilliant critiques … to quote Bobby “Jesus…”

    • Oh, she’s known for years. She invited us to her book party in New York a couple years ago.

      And thank you for “brilliant.”

      • Invited you to her book party? [goggles] Did you go?

        • We did! She’s very sweet and gracious, but we really only had time enough to say hello and move on. She links to our Mad Style posts from her twitter account frequently and constantly thanks us for all the attention to her work. We never ask her to confirm or deny any of the interpretations we come up with here, though. That takes all the fun out of it.

          • editrixie

            For some reason that reminds me of one of my favorite Monty Python lines: I wouldn’t want to know everything. Takes all the mystery out of life.

          • Glammie

            And I don’t blame her. Damn, it must be great to have this thoughtful appreciation of one’s work as a costume designer. It’s a real gift for all of us.Thank you.

          • UsedtobeEP

            You know, I think it would be a wonderful idea if you and she collaborated on a book together when the series is over. Coauthoring is lots of fun (as you two already know) and it could be an inspiring text for future costume designers—that is, if she doesn’t mind giving up some of her trade secrets. Coupled with your analysis, it would be fascinating to read. I would buy it!

  • Great catch on the blue jacquard dress, TLo. I would never have recognized it without the chiffon overlay.

    Love Phyllis’s checked dress, Joan’s incredible blue satin evening gown, and Peggy’s too cute pink and green number and jeans and sweater. Peggy’s actually weathering the late sixties better than many other characters style-wise because she isn’t one to chase every trend or go to extremes. She sticks to the simple, serviceable things that suit her looks and her lifestyle, and the pictures in her photo album are going to age very well. Er, except for her maternity get ups.

    I swear I hope Trudy redecorates now that she’s come to her senses and kicked Pete to the curb, because that is one butt ugly house. I don’t know how she can like it that way when her New York apartment was so attractive and had such clean, simple lines – people are usually more consistent in their tastes.

    Do you see those tall glass decanter-type things, one turquoise and one brown, in Don and Megan’s apartment behind Megan in the shot where she’s zipping Gene’s jacket and Sally’s sitting on the hassock? We had one exactly like the turquoise one when I was growing up. My father, who would be the same age as Peggy (and who has TOTAL mid-century modern tastes, just like he hardly likes any music created after about 1980!), bought it or won it before he got married and used to keep his spare coins in it back in his single days. It was actually a lovely item that never really went out of date but looks like a fantastic vintage item these days. Alas, it got broken sometime in the nineties or it would be mine now – my father has commented it would have been the perfect thing to put in my turquoise living room. Which it would have [weeps bitter tears].

    • Logo Girl

      I actually think that Trudy is the classic one and Pete is the modern one, given that both NYC apartments, perhaps more “his”, are/were modern, while the house, certainly more “hers”, is more classic.

      • Glammie

        Hmmm, but Pete’s a very traditional dresser and Trudy was very trendy before motherhood and the move to the suburbs.

        Sigh, I know Trudy should dump Pete, but I love the character, so I want her to be around. More Trudy!

        • Logo Girl

          True. Maybe their dress style and decor preferences are at odds? And agreed on Trudy. She is about my favorite character on the show.

          • Glammie

            Well, once Trudy became a mom and moved out to the burbs, she became pretty frumpy. Some women, even now, really go matronly once the kid arrives. I had a friend who did sort of a reverse Cinderella–chopped off her hair, gained a ton of weight, started wearing glasses after she had her child. It was kind of startling. Even she admitted, “I look like my mother.” Sort of like she thought this is how she should be in her new role.

  • greenwich_matron

    I sew a little, and I couldn’t help but notice the perfectly fitted french darts and perfectly matched plaids on the dress Phyllis wore. Given her bust, it looks pretty custom.

    • And those lines were perfectly matched. I thought it might be a little too expensive for a secretary to be wearing.

      • Standards were higher in those days, if my complaining grandmother is to be believed.

        • formerlyAnon

          They were. Ordinary things were *lined.* Of course, I don’t remember there being nearly as much cheap clothing – and the cheap clothing I remember was comparatively unattractive.

  • I am of the opinion that don and Betty will be getting back together. Both are so flawed that neither of them deserve a perfectly happy ending. Ps this blog is fabu

  • Peggy and Abe’s apt: that ‘3-way’ floor lamp! Also, ‘his and hers’ typewriters. Peggy’s on a real desk, Abe’s in the middle of the room on a fold-out table. Like its temporary. Just sayin’.

    Thanks for the great recap, as always.

  • DonnaD

    Q:’whats black&white&red’ all over?’
    A:’The women of Mad Men wearing a lot of black&white&red after MLK assignation… I guess sort of representing Black&White relationships with the Red blood of a fallen leader of humanity joining them together.’

  • purkoy28

    aww betty, i sympathize with u….holding the dress up.

  • Joy

    I am so happy I discovered you guys!! No one at my job wants to talk about MadMen so I have to hang out here :). Yesterday I was shopping on my lunch break and I noticed a lot of shiny brocade dresses. The style is definitely making a comeback.

    I would wear the dress Phyllis is wearing to work today if the collars were shorter. Actually, I would wear Peggy’s yellow dress (without the scarf) and Trudy’s blue dress. All of those items would be great in my work outfit rotation next fall.

  • purkoy28

    all those blue dresses reminded me of the blue dress sally wore in ep1 this season.

  • LuluinLaLa

    I started rewatching Mad Men from the beginning while simultaneously watching this season, and I actually happened to watch the Bobbie and Jimmy Barret episode the same night this aired. So I thought it might be the dress, but then dismissed it because it wasn’t quite right. I think the confusion lies in that the dress looks like it has a second overlay piece that is missing from the recent scene. That piece has the sheer shoulder straps plus the jeweled belt/bodice which makes the dress so distinctive; however Betty only holds up the main piece, which you can’t quite see under the overlay.

    • not_Bridget

      Perhaps the dry cleaners couldn’t get the vomit out of the overlay! (And you just know that Don’s Cadillac was never the same after that night.)

      • LuluinLaLa

        Ha ha – good call!

      • gogobooty

        I love the idea that every time Don runs the heater in that car the aroma of Betty’s disgust heats up and permeates the air.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    The corresponding fresh faces and slightly limp brown hair in the end also speaks volumes about the similarities between Betty and Megan. Joan, like Bert, is curiously sporting black at the office. Both of them never do, normally. Interesting.

  • not_Bridget

    Discussion of “competing patterns” reminded me of The Bletchley Circle, now showing on PBS. It follows four British women who helped win the war by cracking code at Bletchley Park; now it’s 1952 & they’re using their skills to track down a serial killer. The last episode shown (2 of 3) was followed by a feature in which the production team explained their choices in costume, location & set dressing.

    “Pattern recognition” is one of the skills useful for code work—and detection. Therefore, fabrics & locations with geometric patterns (rather than floral designs) were chosen. The creatives also depicted the drab England where rationing still existed & bomb damage remained; but the women’s drab, humdrum lives also reflect a come-down after their exciting wartime years. (Their work at Bletchley was top secret during the war & for many years thereafter; everybody thought they did “clerical” work. Now they ought to be happy to go back to “traditional” female roles!)

    At times, I’ve been tempted to wonder whether Tom & Lorenzo were seeing more than the creators of Mad Men intended. No, the British crew was just as detail oriented in creating their vision of the past. Our boys have cracked the code of Mad Men–and have helped us appreciate shows they don’t have the time or inclination to cover!

    • Qitkat

      And now you’ve tipped me onto another British period piece. Sounds great.

      • formerlyAnon

        It is pretty good. (I like it better than the one about Selfridge’s, which is a trifle too soapy without the compensating snap of a dowager duchess).

        • Selfridge’s is boring and Jeremy Piven clearly doesn’t give a shit about the show or his character.

  • LauraWL

    Peggy.In.Pants!!! Been waiting for that.

  • baxterbaby

    I know I’ve said this before, but a very big part of my adoration for your screencaps is that they allow me to scrutinize every little detail of the set decoration. Whomever is responsible has a flawless touch.

  • ConnieBV

    TLo, not sure if you noticed but for me the opening scene of her staring out the window recalled the SCDP partners staring out the windows of their new office at the end of last season. That was their benchmark for success, and this was hers.

  • Czanne

    Re: Betty and the Victorian house — she fits there. In the first scene, her paisley dress echoes the colors of the window curtains and the sink ruffle. When she’s in Bobby’s room (same dress) she picks up the colors in the painting over his bed and on his coverlet. When she and Henry are talking in their bedroom, her blue and white patterned dress echoes the blue and white wallpaper pattern in Bobby’s room.

  • I’m surprised TLo didn’t go more into the weird combination of girly florals and shiny metallic green of Peggy’s bizarre dress. To me, it represented her transition from girly-traditional up top, sort of like the dresses her mom and sister would wear, to a more sophisticated money position with the long shiny green. There’s not much girly floral – it’s mostly shiny green. Then, to top it all off, her usual pussy bow is right on her abdomen, foreshadowing the whole “kids” talk later in the episode.

    • I didn’t see all of that. I thought it was just one ugly dress.

      • That too! (It was super hideous.)

  • Sara

    Didn’t Betty throw up on that blue dress in S2?

    Wonderful commentary as always.

  • VCR1

    Love Mad Style! Maybe at some point TLo could do an interview with Janie Bryant? It would be wonderful and fascinating!

  • Qitkat

    In the last shot of Peggy sitting on her sofa, which is kind of ugly, and doesn’t match her either, she has never looked more sweet and adoring. It’s nice to get more of a scene with her and Abe in their personal lives, where she shows her softer, more uncertain, fragile, feminine side, all the while wearing the pants she can’t wear to the office.

  • love love love this recap….

  • shelley514

    I think Betty’s holding the dress up against her frame, and touching her hair signals that we will be getting the old Betty back real soon. She’s headed straight to the bathroom to dye her hair back to blond.

    • not_Bridget

      Please, no. She needs a professional to undo the Clairol Brown…..

    • AnotherJulie

      It can’t happen soon enough for me

  • MartyBellerMask

    Completely baseless first impression: Ted’s wife (Phoebe??) is an alcoholic. Look how her drink completely matches her dress. And in the close-up she looks hammered.

    • AnotherJulie

      I thought the same thing…. maybe that would add credence to the marriage retreat?

  • eb1966

    Any one else make note that the pattern on Betty’s dress when she’s lying on the bed talking to Henry looks like rope or chains? Maybe a symbol of the news about State Senate irrevocably binding her to the political wife role? (Thanks to TLo for teaching me to think like this!) 🙂

    • T. Sticks

      I thought it looked like Bobby’s wallpaper! 😉

  • Is it just me or are some of the dresses Peggy is wearing this season (with the colorful scarf in a pussy bow) call back to some dresses Joan wore?

    Awesome you two talked about Peggy in pants and why it took so long for her to wear them

    But seriously, Peggy’s gown reminded me of Lil DeVille

  • AutumnInNY

    That’s some not so great wig they stuck on Mrs. Ted.

  • Melanie

    Holy cow – I clicked the January Jones link at the end, and in that post, there’s a pic of Kiernan, and she was SO so tiny! It’s amazing how much she’s grown since the beginning of this series!

  • I am one of those people having difficulty adjusting to the late 1960s fashion. Megan went from perfect in season 4 to occasionally awesome in season 5 to eye-gougingly garish this season (with her hair and makeup as bad as the clothes). Joan lost her sharp classic style and of course Betty is no longer Grace Kelly. I love Mad Men and I love the historical accuracy, but I do miss, in a shallow sort of way, the aesthetic “wow” moments I had in every single scene in the early seasons. I’m preparing myself for a lot of ugly clothes going forward.

    • It’s too bad they won’t be going into the ’70s. Then you’d see some truly awful fashions. We knew those clothes were ugly even as we wore them.

      • I had to wear my older cousin’s hand-me-downs in the 80s, which meant I had a lot of mid-late 70s fashion, way out of date. I remember that awful polyester hot feeling. Got made fun of a lot, too.

    • not_Bridget

      That’s why many of us adopted “counter-culture” styles. Hit the Salvation Army & Army Surplus, get some jeans. Wash your hair & let it dry. Minimize makeup. Down with polyester!

      Of course, St Laurent adopted street fashion to create the “rich hippie” looks–which even we granola-eaters lusted after…..

    • AnotherJulie

      I’m with Dora. Looking at Betty now hurts my eyes. January Jones must hate coming to work!

  • Orange Girl

    I don’t think Peggy’s pants and sweater combo symbolize power. Rather, she’s dressed like Megan when she was an unemployed actress. There’s a scene from last season with Megan, barefoot in the kitchen, making Don’s dinner, wearing nearly the same outfit as Peggy. And in Peggy’s scene, she’s discussing her future family with Abe, and seems happily surprised that he mentioned it.

    • I didn’t get happy out of her face – I got more of an “oh, shit, really?” vibe! Her face registered a whole ton of different emotions, but I didn’t really get joy out of that.

      • LauraAgain

        I agree with Orange Girl. Peggy seemed to be suppressing a big smile when Abe talked about where they would live when they had children.

        • purkoy28

          i thought she seemed happy and surprised cause she didnt know abe thought of them having kids and stuff. i got happy out of her response too.

  • editrixie

    I can’t stop staring at the Harry vs. Pete pics — the orange-red and brown owl pic hanging on the purple wall, the blue and green geometric print on the peach-colored wall… genius. I have this picture in my mind of the production designer and Janie poring over materials for hours. I know they must do their jobs separately, but they are both such geniuses I prefer to think of them as a team.

  • rachel schiff

    Wow, this is so brilliant! You’re really helping me understand the tense feeling I’ve been having watching this season through the clashing colors, patterns, and styles. Bobby’s patterned wallpaper that “didn’t line up” really captures the sense of cacophony for me.

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    Thanks for another great style recap. I really enjoy these.

    Of course Peggy has a lot of coats, she’s a New Yorker. I find that I also have quite the outerwear collection because you need to accommodate every kind of weather as you’re out in the streets everyday. The only problem is that the closets in these little apartments don’t hold enough coats.

    And regarding Bobby’s wallpaper, what kind of wallpaper hanger would do such a bad job of matching up the pattern and why would you put that seam in the middle of a wall instead of say in a corner. Seriously, that mismatched wallpaper seam should never have existed like that. (Yes, I’m picky about quality workmanship.) Bobby peeling the paper away and looking at the stuff underneath reminded me of little Don looking through the peep hole at Uncle Mac and Abigail.

    • editrixie

      Some women have a shoe thing, some women it’s jewelry, for me it’s outerwear. I have way more coats and jackets than any woman who works from home in her robe ought to have. I can identify with Peggy the over-coated.

      • Me too! I live in central PA, and the weather changes here so much that I think most of us have at least 5 different kinds of coats.

    • not_Bridget

      It also reminded me of Young Amy Pond, frightened of the crack in her bedroom wall.

      Bobby needs a Doctor! Not the one in Don’s building…..

  • Kristina Toma

    Um, guys. I love that you can just e-mail Janie Bryant to confirm a dress used on the show AND get a response from her. Kudos to that.

    As always, excellent post.

  • gogobooty

    I have a circle pin like Joan’s that I can see from where I am sitting. The wives at Pete’s house wore them too, I think. My mom had a flower pin that Joan wears to hug Dawn that could be an exact match. Not sure if she still has it, wish I could see it.

  • Are Sally and Peggy wearing jeans? If so, is this the first time we’ve seen a character in jeans?

    • I think Peggy is just wearing regular slacks. Sally, I couldn’t tell.

    • reb

      Betty wore jeans in season two.

  • ideated_eyot

    I’m very surprised to find no mention of the brash, abusive realtor. I can’t do costume analysis on par with T/L, so I’ll just point out the heavy grids and checks she wears in all her scenes; plus the loud accoutrements. She really pushes Peggy around in this episode, to the extent that I wonder if she maneuvered her out of the apartment deal on purpose. Big hopes for more of this kind of hard-edged behavioral stuff in the season!!!

    • The realtor is mentioned in the recap! I can’t do better than what TLo did with her outfit. That fur coat does make her look like a “bear with legs!”

      • lulubella

        Gwyneth did it better in “The Royal Tenenbaums” with her loafers, Izod dress, and parted hair. Like a cool “Peanuts Gang” character.

  • I would like to see Janie Bryant get a writers’ credit on this show…
    Also, I wish Peggy’s realtor was my realtor.

  • Erin Chen

    The pattern/ color of Betty’s dress when she’s on her bed is the exact same as the wall paper in Bobbie’s room. The pattern shows up again rendered in brown on the real estate agent as she’s telling Peggy she didn’t get the apartment. Both scenes are about loss or destruction of home. Additionally, Bobby wears a similar pattern in brown on his pajamas as he’s caught ripping the paper. And maybe it’s going too far, but Don’s blue bathrobe is in a very similar plaid.


  • titaness25

    Megan’s dress looks kind of like a modern shalwar. I therefore automatically love it and want it in red.

  • AutumnInNY

    It is a shame we don’t see more of Joan’s beautiful blue dress at the awards. It looks perfect on her. Again, she takes a screen time backseat to Megan. The director couldn’t have had her enter or at least pass Peggy and Megan to show off that dress? Great job Janie B. on all of these party dresses.

    • Hi AutumninNY, you can see the dress much better here:

      • purkoy28

        just looked at the link, i always thought gene was a little wierd cause he never blinks or makes any noise…like a doll, after seeeing the pics i think he really is a doll. kidding, but he does look wierd, like a duplicate of cage from pet cemetary.

      • AutumnInNY

        Thank you so much Tlo for taking the time to send that link. Your brilliant episode and style recaps make my day. Christina looks stunning. Again, certainly a missed direction opportunity for that dress to not have had some camera time.

  • My son has Gene’s raincoat with the trucks — It’s a Hatley. (I think they just come in kids’ sizes, though. Sorry, gentlemen.)

  • LauraAgain

    When I was in 2nd grade we lived in a rented house in Wichita, and there was a small tear on the seam of the wallpaper in my bedroom, just above my pillow. I started picking away at it, and eventually my mom had to pull 2 or 3 layers off the entire wall! She wasn’t too happy with me. Hah – just realized that this was in 1968!

    • formerlyAnon

      Yeah. Once an imperfect wall paper seam came to my attention – especially if it was right by someplace I was forced to hang out and be bored, like bed – at that age, I would have picked at it until I did enough damage to realize how much trouble I was going to get into, the point of realization sometimes coming far too late! (And I didn’t have nearly the emotional issues to work through that Bobby has.)

  • janierainie

    Way to have a brush with greatness TLo!
    I had to look close to compare Betty’s dress at first too, but realized it was the sheer shoulder detail that was throwing me.

  • I loved Megan’s dress too. I imagine it included in one of those ‘my mother’s style’ articles you see in fashion magazines. I would definitely show off a pic of my mother or grandmother in a dress like that.

  • I was hoping to hear your thoughts on Megan’s hair!!! Didn’t they call those “falls”? very Valley of the Dolls…

  • Bobby’s room was visually chaotic to me. Nothing went with anything else, and much of it actually clashed. How could one thoughtfully put that bedspread in a room with that wallpaper? The whole room looked like an afterthought, a foundling’s room, made for confusion and low-level misery.

    • not_Bridget

      They lie in a lovely old Victorian home. But those piles need slightly lighter decoration to suit a modern family. (In the 1960’s or the 2010’s.) Not full-drag contemporary decor–just lighter colors & simpler lines….

  • Gents, this is an off the cuff memo, but a mad style point: going back to the interplay of horrid pink-blue nightgowns of wife (Megan in light blue) and former wife (Betty in light pink) both in flammable bed mattresses: Janie Bryant did this last season as well (which you mentioned) w/ Beth (light pink airy gown) vs. Trudy (light blue airy gown). Just drawing the whole thing up into a bow, as I’m as obsessed as you are. I’ve done costume design for theater and I can say the process was truly cerebral and I found myself directing as much as I could, right alongside the director, with color motifs and stories. Thanks as always for the truly eloquent breakdown. 🙂 -Lauren

  • Also also regarding Betty: the point counter point in some of the Megan vs. Betty costumes (again, the matching mattress nightgowns) may be hinting at some sort of weird reversal showdown with Megan and Don, an echo of the one Betty had w/ Don. Betty’s already been through the Don ringer, and it would HIGHLY entertaining to see her in action if the Megan/Don marriage ever blows up (it REALLY seems like it will, in fantastic fashion.) I wonder if there will be some sort of connection between those 2 women over marrying into the Draper mess? Hmmm.

  • Final Megan vs. Betty point-counterpoint (I don’t know where else to post these, so please bear with me): I’m thinkin’ on one of my fav early MM ep’s: Betty with the shot gun (aw, yeah.) The death of the modeling dream, which Don (unbeknownst to her) denied her, but perhaps out of some weird love, and also not wanting to be beholden to a creepy client who bartered in offering housewives dreams of stardom. COUNTERPOINT: Megan gettin’ all modely/needy/actressy and again, through Don and Sterling Cooper, getting the shoe ad, this time with Don’s tepid approval. This time, the career help is the undoing of what (could’ve been? maybe?) a happy marriage. Sorry, I just HAD to put them back to back, as I’m seeing so many damn comparisons between the 2 of them in the show, via wardrobe, plot line, etc. I personally love Betty as a character, and enjoy January Jones acting, so…I for one hope she stays on the show.

    • missd

      I don’t think Don denied her her modelling dream. He knew that the truth was she was a ploy to get him, but was there any way he could have told her that without hurting her feelings more. She probably knew her career might have been over. I think he was sad for her, because he seemed really happy in the scene where she’s sorting out how to get paid, and there really was no easy way to make her feel better other than to say that she was a good mother.

      What could Don have done there? Go over to McCann to make Betty happy? As if she wouldn’t have still been dumped once they got Don.

      • not_Bridget

        You are right. Don declined the move to a different agency. So they dropped Betty, who had only been given the job to lure him. He did not tell her the truth. She decided on her own not to continue modeling.

        I do remember her trying out for the job–waiting with a bunch of younger women wearing fashions of the day, while she sat there ladylike in her Grace Kelly dress. (Hey, a Style Note!) It looked like a rough, competitive line of work. And, even in her youth, she was not one of the top models….

      • Belated reply to missd: You have some valid points, but I think mine hold water. 🙂 I think in the Betty/modeling scenario, Don made the more ‘moral’ choice and (in a rare instance of love/respect) didn’t give in to Betty’s/McCann’s wishes, as they came at too-high a cost. I think the point is…he ‘could’ have done such a thing, to please Betty, if he were that sort of husband. Betty wasn’t privy to all the wheeling and dealing, so she was more of an innocent party. (She could’ve been dumped post-commercial too…but I’m talking about what did happen.) I will say that Don did not deny her her dream on purpose; he mostly saw it as not giving in to an outside pressure. But in the end, it was still a deeply felt dream deferred to Bets. In the Megan instance, SHE drove the whole scenario of ‘Get me a commercial audition, pleeeeease?’ I think it’s notable that both wives were vying for idealized beauty spots in commercials. I’m not a Megan fan, but this season is hard to watch in how he treats her post success. She got the shoe ad via his influence, but i doubt he’d get her a role on a soap, even if he could. Anyway: my point is I’m seeing lots of cross play between the 2 wives and it’s fun to pick out call backs.

  • DogintheParthenon

    I don’t think the dress Betty holds up in the mirror is the same one she wore the night Jimmy let her in on Don and Bobbie’s affair. If you look closely, the dress from “The Flood” has a pattern of blues, greens and teals in the fabric; the dress from season 2 is solid blue. Both dresses have silver beading, but the “mirror dress” only has one row, while the season 2 dress has three rows of beading, as well as sheer chiffon straps that continue through the waistline and form an overlay to the skirt.
    It’s interesting to think what parallels might have been intended, but it’s just not the same dress…

    • It IS the same dress. If you’d read the last paragraph of the post, you’d see that we asked Janie Bryant about it and she confirmed it.

      • I think it is the sheer wrap that is layered over the dress in season 2 that is throwing everyone off. The additional beading is on the waistline of the wrap and not on the dress underneath. She only holds up the dress in ‘The Flood’ so the additional detail from the wrap is missing but it is the same dress.

        • purkoy28

          exactly, thats what i was going to say too, cause its definatly the same dress.

          • Another thing I thought AFTER reading TLo’s recap of that season 2 episode is that the wrap missing makes total sense because Betty puked in the car on the way home. So maybe the outer layer of the original dress was ruined and Janie Bryant continues to amaze me with her attention to detail and staying true to the show’s story line.

  • Hey TLO – go to eBay and put this in the search:
    “Danish Mid-Century Modern Teak pair of Chairs green vinyl seats retro Findahls”

    US $295.00

  • imakeart

    Would you believe I worked in an office from ’84-’89 that did not allow women to wear pants? And it was a television station, no less. Owned by a Californian. Who allowed smoking and drinking in the office. Go figure.

    • imakeart

      And I’m one of those rolling their eyes when there are scenes with Betty. She’s just taking up precious screen time and is nearly unnecessary to the story.

      • rakitoon

        Maybe she will be called to testify against him when he is court-marshalled for desertion.

  • gracedarling

    Late to the party because Disqus ate my homework: I was struck by how beautifully Peggy’s pants moment echoed Joan’s, from a few seasons back when Joan was working as Harry’s assistant. She wore pants and a headband and possible even a striped sweater in a scene where she read scripts at home instead of cooking dinner for Greg. Two scenes of women negotiating the power dynamic in their relationships; two very different outcomes; God bless Janie Bryant for all the subtle and wonderful ways in which she rewards close viewers.

    • purkoy28

      and both women look great in them, those pants are so flattering, i love them.

  • Dagney

    Betty…the hair…I can’t.

    • purkoy28

      some women r just not meant to sport the dark hair look

    • librarygrrl64

      It’s so disconcerting because it’s not JJ’s “real” face, either. So the whole thing looks fake and mask-like to me.

  • Carol Lawrence

    What? No

  • Carol Lawrence

    What? No analysis of Peggy and Abe? Once again, their clothing styles and colors are miles apart. But oh, I loved their argument — it was direct, candid, un-mean, and abrim with Resolution. Those guys are good together (despite the meaningful looks from Boss Ted to Peggy.) And in this episode’s typewriter scene, and the earlier earphone scene at Peggy’s office, each is cheerfully respectful of each others’ work crunches, even though that work makes the other completely unavailable. Can’t Peggy have it all?

  • brjun

    I don’t think the people in black are omens, necessarily, or at least that this is all that’s going on. It seems that, actually, black is used in the literal sense — the absense of color. Every time someone wears black, they are not expressing their own opinions in that scene, and others are projecting onto them. Consider — the women at the Funeral in general (Roger: “More women for me to disappoint!” Mona: “No, they love you!”), the old lady who seems like she wanted to talk before Roger out of some spite but actually wanted to introduce him. Pete’s and Don’s mistresses in that one episode (and I forget what is going on with Don, but for Pete that scene very much involves him not realizing that she had emotional attachment to him). When I saw Abe above wearing black, I was wondering what the deal was, and if it was the realtor thinking that he is buying an apartment. But it is not just the realtor projecting her own social values on him, it is Peggy thinking that he wants to live on the East Side when he doesn’t.

    • purkoy28

      wowie, thats great. it sounds like u took that straight from a tlo post. great insight : )

    • Erin Chen

      Actually I think you can take the black and white theme pretty literally. It pops up when people are caught between two diametrically opposite roles (i.e. mother/whore). It’s also interesting to think about the theme of black and white running through a season where the civil rights movement is so much at the forefront.

  • purkoy28

    to tom and lorenzo…if u even see it,lol.
    have u guys ever been to janie bryants closet on the set of mad men? and does janie bryant ever contact u to say thanks for the publicity?

    • Yes, she’s thanked us many times. We’ve never been to the Mad Men set or anything like that, though.

      • purkoy28

        thanks for anwering, especially so fast. i always think of u guys as celebrities and so am surprised that u answered. a little part of me thought u guys probably employ people to answer and read through the posts : )

  • purkoy28

    atleast both of dons women have dark hair, that way megan wont suspect hes cheating if she sees a long dark hair on dons coat, lol.

  • purkoy28

    for anyone living in winnipeg, there is a vintage store that looks like the closet of the madmen set, they are full of high end pieces for dirt cheap, designer labels like givenchy and channel, from the 50s all the way to the 90s. even the jewellery. its called the ruby dress, if anyone is interested. real fur shawls and jackets ranging from 40 to 100 dollars. its heaven.

  • purkoy28

    tlo touched on the military feel on fashion at this period before, but just to add on to it… i noticed alot of military style on the fashion, some more subtle, this ep, aswell as patriotic blue red and white on mens ties and the flag pin from ep 1 on the sheriton guy. i guess there would have been lots of that at that time.

  • ideated_eyot

    I do wanna point out, fwiw, that Randy does not necessarily represent a co-opting of hippie values. Dick Alpert and Tim Leary were gorging on LSD and popularizing it in academia before MM’s 2nd season would have taken place. They looked and dressed about exactly the same as Randy does here.

    • Randy represents the co-opting of the lifestyle by Madison Avenue.

      • ideated_eyot

        Well, the ad he proposed was totally crass, so you may be right. That period was so confused, I want to see more depth or crossing influences there and not just plain hijacking.
        I’ve been pretty impressed with the show’s handling of LSD, both practically and as a cultural totem. I like that Roger has become deeply introspective as a result of it, but is behaviorally unchanged.

  • “If Mad Men was a novel, we’d swear it was being written toward an ending where Don and Betty reunite (in California, no less)”

    I would gross sob for weeks if that somehow happened. Of course, I’d want them to both go through more arcs and..well become better for each other for somehow. I just want to hear Don call her Birdy one more time. I’ll die happily.

  • Jen

    You guys are so amazing. I’ve been following since the projectrungay days and can’t wait until your Madmen recaps are posted. I was glad to hear that Ms. Bryant was thrilled that you noticed the dress – but she would totally freak if she read all your Mad Style posts, I think. Hey, maybe she has 🙂 Anyway, nobody does it like you fine gentlemen, thank you.

  • All of it was so good and my favorite line was “spankfest hatesex.”

  • R B

    Still not totally convinced that Ginsberg isn’t gay. Oh, and the line forms here for Stan. Grrr.

    • purkoy28

      lol, stan? i think he looks like a modern day chicken hawk

      • R B

        I don’t know what a chicken hawk is, yet alone a modern day one. I may have to check Google.

    • My theory is that he’s bi. I believe him when he says he likes women, but I still keep getting this vibe that he might be into dudes as well. Who knows, with Ginsberg.

    • librarygrrl64

      Ginsberg? No, I don’t see it. I see insecurity and a naturally uptight nature, maybe repression, even trauma, but not homosexuality.

  • Mar Calpena

    Has anyone else noticed (or have I missed the comments on this) that Joan doesn’t wear her pen necklace anymore? She seems to have grown out of it, as it was a piece of equipment she used when she was just a secretary (albeit head secretary).

    • purkoy28

      great point, i didnt notice that, thanks for pointing it out : )

  • librarygrrl64

    I believe you guys, but the dress she’s holding sure looks like a strapless number in a patterned fabric. Is it just wrinkled? Is it the lighting? Anyway, great post. Mad Style is one of the highlights of my week. 🙂

    • mhleta

      That dress is shown in the earlier shot with a sheer over dress in a deeper blue, which makes it look like a deeper blue. It’s def the same dress, though.

  • little bit behind in Australia but I really loved how much that first shot of Peggy mirrored the episode’s end with Joan silhouetted in the new SCDP offices last season.

    Nice callback to link two ladies moving up in the world on their very different paths.

  • maya s

    TLO, was it too obvious to mention how Peggy is “drapering” the hell out of that apartment at the very first scene?
    isn’t it staged just like the ending of the season opener?

    Though i think Don’s scene is kind of hopeless and morbid and her scene is sunny andlooking to the future.


  • (I’m rewatching some of seasons 5 and 6 now and reading y’all’s commentary and I only just now saw the ETA – I never doubted you guys, in part because my mother had this brief fascination for a time with evening gowns that had detachable sheer overlays. She sews and made some herself – one was a sheer hooded treatment, very fabulous. Betty’s dress seems to have a similar treatment, and I think I remember you guys noting way back in that episode where it appeared that the dress looked like something she had made rather than bought in the store, unless I’m mistaken. It popped into my head. Anyway, I’m so excited for Mad Men and your recaps to come back, so I’m quenching my excitement with rereading your old posts. LOVE.)