Looking at the Past and The Future of Mad Men Style

Posted on April 11, 2014

We’ll let you in on a little secret: we’re smarter than we look. When Perigee, our book publisher, asked us what release date we’d like for the book, we specifically asked for a February date, because it would take us through Fashion Week, awards season and right up to the season premiere of Mad Men; a time of the year when the mainstream press tends to be most interested in what we have to say.

Our mamas didn’t raise fools here.


First on the roster, The San Francisco Chronicle sat down with us the other night and asked us to make some predictions for the season based on what we know about the fashion. We should say that this is purely a fun little exercise, so take these predictions with a grain of salt:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out in the end this is Peggy’s story and not Don’s,” Fitzgerald says of the secretary turned copy chief. “She’s had the biggest evolution.” Elisabeth Moss’ wardrobe has matured from the girlish sweater sets and Peter Pan collars of early seasons to the more recent career-woman day dress ensembles and suit separates as she’s risen in the agency’s ranks. But, Fitzgerald warns, do not expect Peggy to go to work pant-suited this season.

“We got a lot of comments about that after the last season’s finale,” Marquez says of a moment in the episode where Peggy seats herself at Don’s desk while wearing a pair of slacks.

“That was not common in 1968 for a woman to wear pants to the office,” Fitzgerald clarifies.

Make sure to read the whole thing to see our thought on all the other characters.

Next up, Yahoo! TV asked us to look backwards, instead of forwards, with an article (and accompanying FABULOUS set of illustrations) all about our picks for all-time favorite character looks:

Tom: “My favorite look of Betty’s is either the time she met Don for Valentine’s Day and came down the stairs – it was a stunning shot (pictured) – or in Rome. Everyone says Rome, but wow.”

 Lorenzo: “And it just floated. I also like the blue dress when Don won the award.”

Tom: “Yes. ‘Doesn’t mommy look pretty?'”

Tom: “I hate to say it, but when Joan got raped, that outfit was stunning, and I think that was so smart of Janie [Bryant] – let’s put her in something that you will not forget because it is so beautiful, and then let’s degrade her and have the worst thing imaginable happen. That’s how you use costuming to engage the audience and force a more emotional reaction out of them.”

Again, go and read the whole thing for all our thoughts.

Psyched for Sunday night yet?


Picture credit: Yahoo! TV

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    • PastryGoddess

      I am now even more excited for Sunday. I have brought an extra large bottle of gin in anticipation

      • Capt. Renault

        Gin and Utz.

        • PastryGoddess

          A man after my own heart. Marylander here, I too love Utz.

          • boweryboy

            Is Utz for real? If it is. it must be an East Coast thing ’cause I’ve never heard of them.

            • MartyBellerMask

              They have it at World Market.

            • boweryboy

              Yes! World Market. We have a few around here. I’ll check them out to see if they have them.

            • Capt. Renault

              I’d never seen them until I wound up in a Wegmans, and I nearly soiled myself in the excitement that they were a Real Thing.

            • MilaXX

              Yep, I think fairly regional as well. I’ve only ever seen them in Maryland and Philly. I’m weird so I love their no salt chips.

            • Grumpy Girl

              They have them in Virginia, too

            • MasterandServant

              We have them in NY, too! But I love those MD crap chips nom nom nom

            • SEPA_Q

              Utz is widely available in Pennsylvania. Grew up in south central PA, in York County, the epicenter of snack food companies (at least then) and Utz was always around. When I was in elementary school (earth was still cooling) I walked home past a local potato chip factory where we could stop and buy a snack bag (open top) of warm chips, freshly made, for a nickel (coincidentally the same amount as daily “milk money”). The smell was mmmmmmmmm….. and I’m probably still wearing the calories.

            • 3boysful

              Great memory! I feel like they were from PA, because the name is kind of Penna-Dutch.

            • Wendi126

              Very deliciously happily crunchily real. Mmmmmmm

            • editrixie

              Their salt and vinegar chips are the best. My friend from DC has been falling down on the job lately and not bringing me bags when he visits. But you can get them by mail — it’s just hard to order that large and have them around the house.

            • Chris

              They have them in MA.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QFW22QV426LUOEPGASPZJWJMDE MishaFoomin

              Utz is slowly spreading. I only ever saw it when I went to PA, but it seems to have followed me back to eastern NY since my last trip there two years ago. Now many stores sell it in the Albany area, as well as Herr’s. It’s even stocked in the vending machine at my work since the fall.

            • PastryGoddess

              mmmm Herr’s pretzels

            • Jackie4g

              We have Utz brand of potato chips in New Jersey.

            • PastryGoddess

              They are only available in places where they can be trucked within 24 hours. You might see them as far west as Chicago. maybe

            • lchopalong

              Oddly enough, I’ve seen Utz down here in southern Alabama. I couldn’t say which grocery store. It might’ve been Publix, which kinda sorta maybe makes some sense, since Publix is based out of Florida. I’ve also seen them carry Carval ice cream cakes.

            • boweryboy

              Thanks for the info. It sounds like an East Coast thing. Now I’m intrigued. The next time I visit my parents in Charleston I’ll try a Publix and see if they have them.

              Is there an West Coast equivalent? I think Hellmans mayo is the East Coast equivalent of Best Foods mayo, or something like that. We have Tim’s Cascade Chips up here sold only in Washington and Oregon states if I’m not mistaken. Their jalapeno chips are out of this world. Maybe they’re affiliated.

          • Julie Ree

            We used to eat fresh Utz chips from the factory growing up. We finally got them in NC a few years ago. The are the best. Utz and Tastycakes are my childhood comfort foods.

      • Trent

        I bought some Maker’s Mark to make Manhattans (my favorite). To be honest, I’m both insanely thrilled that the new season is finally here and insanely annoyed at AMC for cutting the season in half and making us wait ANOTHER YEAR for the final episodes. I mean, really?

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          I don’t drink, so I always mix a Shirely Temple to enjoy with “Mad Men”

      • CPT_Doom

        I’ve got the bourbon supply laid in.

    • sugarkane105

      SO excited for Sunday! No one else in my social circle is a fan of the show, so I lean on TLo and the bitter kittens as a way to voice my obsession (and to learn a lot too!). The illustrations are fabulous, and I agree with you on almost all of the most memorable outfits – for Megan, I would have picked the Zou Bisou Bisou dress, but that’s just me. Can’t wait for the premiere, and of course, for your recaps!

      • boweryboy

        My most favorite and memorable outfit is Megan’s Courrege’s dress with matching jacket.

        • sugarkane105

          Which one is that? I did a Google search and various outfits turned up. Is it the chevron outfit she wore to Howard Johnson’s? Because I forgot about that one and it’s also really great.

          • KinoEye

            If it is the Chevron, I agree. Would cut a bitch for that trench. Also, who decided chevron was in for spring? It’s all over the place where I live — granted, these people are about 4 years behind on current trends — but it kinda came out of nowhere for me. Megan’s outfit was the most notable chevron I remember seeing in years.

            • sugarkane105

              I first saw the chevron trend right after Megan wore the coat on the show – I’m not sure if she sparked it, or if I only started noticing it then. But you’re right, it’s absolutely everywhere. There’s a chevron tissue box next to me at my desk right now, fer Pete’s sake.

            • MartyBellerMask

              Such a memorable look. One of the best of the series!

          • boweryboy

            It was a black sleeveless mini dress with a band of white at the hem and some sort of geometric cut-out in the bodice that revealed more white.

            I found a photo of it here: http://wornontv.net/mad-men/megan/ It’s in the upper right corner. I’m not sure if Disqus will allow the link to go live but you can copy and paste the url into your browser.

      • KinoEye

        Typed the same thing about Megan above. That dress was spectacular. I can’t wait, either!

      • Ginger

        Honey, it just might be time for a new social circle if you’re the only one in your current circle that enjoys MM.

        *Joking, of course

        • sugarkane105

          Haha good point 😉

    • alyce1213

      You’re just as smart as I thought you were! What, you’d launch a book in August?? Felicitations on the wonderful interviews. We’re not the only ones who recognize and seek your expertise, you’re growing . . .

    • ChaCha_70


    • MartyBellerMask

      Shivering with antici….


      • LittleMascara

        Say it!

        • MartyBellerMask

          Yeah, I blew that, didn’t I? Maybe i should edit my original post and this reply, and do it right. Hmmmmmm…..

          • LittleMascara

            Only if you want to…

    • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

      Oh man, you guys, you have no idea. I don’t have tremendously high expectations for the plot of this final season, but you can count on it that whatever happens, you’ll hear outside your windows this yowl of the collective voices across America: “TELL US WHAT THEIR CLOOOOOOTHES MEEEEEEEEAN”

    • boweryboy

      “Our mamas didn’t raise fools here.”

      Giving you guys a metric fuckton of snaps and props! Your success is well earned. It’s a total Be Me moment.

      Sadly, we won’t have television or cable by Sunday to watch the premiere (our old tv conked out on us and we haven’t gotten around to buying a new one or ordering cable).

      Hopefully, AMC will air the first episode online like they did last year or there are a few savvy neighbors watching it in our apartment community room or the community room tv isn’t being used at the time.

      • decormaven

        Sign up for a Season Pass and download it from ITunes. You won’t be watching in real time, but that’s ok. I watch it the first thing the next morning. It’s a real treat to read the uncles’ recap after it because the episode is still fresh in my mind. I also enjoy having the ability to look at episodes frame by frame to catch set decoration and costuming details. Yes, I’m a total Mad Men addict. Is there a support group? It may well be here.

        • boweryboy

          Good idea. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

        • butterflysunita

          Yes, I buy the iTunes Season Pass too.

        • MartyBellerMask

          I get it from Amazon streaming and do the same thing. And then IMMEDIATELY come here for the recap!

    • Guest

      Yes! So

    • Pennymac

      Is it Sunday yet?

      How about now?


    • Karin Golde

      Yes! I was happy to see the article in my Chron this morning, and was worried for a minute that they wouldn’t mention your analysis. Turns out it was all about you, as it should be. Great work!

    • Lilithcat

      I’m so torn. Mad Men or Bletchley Circle?

      • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

        I thought Bletchley Circle was over.

      • not_Bridget

        Yes, what a dilemma! My local PBS station’s “secondary” channel shows Bletchley again on Monday–not in HD. And it will probably be On Command…

        Tending toward Mad Men in order to join in the conversation here & elsewhere. (With a touch of sadness about the departing TwoP–nutsy but enduring. Or so we thought.)

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      Squealing like a little girl!!! :)

    • KinoEye

      Great reading as usual, Uncles! Totally agree with your favorite picks, except I think the Zou Bisou Bisou dress is my favorite for Megan. Such an unexpected, huge moment that gave us the lay of the land in season 5, and that dress is the icing on the cake. Too fabulous for words.

    • Ginger

      I’ve already set my DVR. We’ll be driving home from a mountain bike race Sunday evening, so we won’t even be home until close to midnight. Don’t think that I won’t stay up to watch the season premiere.

    • msdamselfly

      Please dont belittle Don Draper’s importance to this show. Without him, (aka Jon Hamm) this show would lose its power and its glory.

      • sugarkane105

        Aw, I don’t think TLo were belittling him as a character. But even Matthew Weiner himself has stated that we began the show on Peggy’s first day at the office for a reason. Excited to see where they both end up.

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

        Please try and accept that others have their own interpretation.

        • msdamselfly

          That’s true. I just feel protective of Jon Hamm after the New York magazine article about Ms Moss entitled ” “Elizabeth Moss Has Been the Star of Mad Men All Along” which also intimates that Peggy’s story has been more important than Don’s. It’s easy to forget how riveting Don’s story was in Seasons 1 & 2. For me it was what compelled me to watch.

          • Fjasmine

            I’ve always thought that Don is boring and a mirror that reflects all of the other characters who are interesting.

            • http://armchairauthor.wordpress.com/ LesYeuxHiboux

              He is so empty, and that emptiness hurts everyone around him. Last season was awful, watching him wallow in his emptiness until he accidentally revealed it at a pitch.

      • SylviaFowler

        Yes. This show is gripping and important because of him, not in spite of him.

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

      As I’ve been rewatching season 6, I’ve been wondering the same thing about Pete and Peggy – if they’re going to get thrown back together in some way. They’re close in a way Pete seems unable to reproduce anywhere else (like when Ted and them were in the bar after a successful pitch and Ted notices their closeness).
      Can’t lie though, I’m still hoping for Stan and Peggy, because he’s grown so much since his first appearance and I think Peggy would benefit from his “mother hen” traits, and he has just enough counterculture flavor to keep her interested.
      So my prediction/hope for the season is a brief dalliance with Peter, probably ending when she learns he was the ringleader of prostituting Joan to Jaguar, and then finding herself with Stan.
      Or finding someone else entirely for herself (not that she needs to or necessarily will, since she’s practically married to her job as is) because while implausible for the time (and the present day) I would really love to see Peggy’s finale involve her getting to have it all.

      • Chris

        I’d like to see her have it all too. I think it was actually more likely then than now for her to find someone as odd as that seems. I don’t know if it’s because marriage was considered “the norm” then but when you look at the real life women of the time that made it big in advertising they all did marry. The one thing Ted, Pete and Stan have in common is they all recognize how talented Peggy is and admire that. I firmly believe that is part of her appeal for them. As opposed to poor Joan who is such a “bombshell” that men who admire her seem never to get past her looks. Peggy has a much quieter type of beauty but she still attracts a fair amount of men in her own way.

    • decormaven

      Oooh, picking my favorite Mad Men looks is liking trying to name one’s favorite child- impossible! I vote for Christina’s red dress (the one with the bow, the one that makes her look like a present),

      • Chris

        It’s so hard to pick. Usually the “obvious” choice and the most memorable is the “fanciest” outfit but when I think of Betty at her most stunning it’s in that gorgeous flowered day dress when she met Henry that first time or her impeccable beige/brown set when she slapped Glenn’s mom in the supermarket. They weren’t gowns or the fanciest dresses but they just showcased her stunning beauty. Ditto with Joan, her first season shift dresses where she just shimmies around the office are stunning on her. I thought Peggy’s “Sweet Charity” dress was just tacky however eye catching. She really only seems to pull off work clothes well. I’d love to see her wear an “off duty” dress that she just stuns in. I agree about the Zou bisou dress, it’s reached iconic status in the series but to me we first got to see the “real” Megan the actress on the trip to California. She went from vixen in the chic black cocktail dress with the cutout, to her “singalong” with the kids sundress all in a day or so. It was like she was playing every part perfectly for Don.

        • decormaven

          Loved Megan’s California outfits as well; the dress she wore when she said “It’s just a milkshake”- that sealed the deal with Don.

        • Granny panties

          I love that day dress of Betty’s as well.

        • Fjasmine

          I also loved Betty’s dress when she met Henry at the bakery, with the white gloves and sunglasses. I love how Betty is so conscious of her beauty and how best to express it.

        • Fjasmine

          I loved Megans paisley dress when her parents were visiting, she looks amazing in bright colors and dramatic patterns.

      • http://armchairauthor.wordpress.com/ LesYeuxHiboux

        Oh, Trudy! I’d pick her ensemble for the Derby Party, hat included of course.

        • decormaven

          That Derby dress was perfect for Trudy; thinking about the Charleston she danced with Pete- sublime!

          • Chris

            I love that one and her coral Christmas party dress. For a while she was the trendiest wife before Jane and Megan. She always had more classic taste while Jane and Megan both really dress for attention.

            • decormaven

              Agreed! Since she was at the S7 premiere, I’m hoping she gets some quality screen time- and some great costumes.

            • Fjasmine

              I’m so with you there! Trudy got dowdy in the suburbs but she is a strong character and I think she will pull it together.

          • Fjasmine

            I think the Pete and Trudy Charleston is one of the most loved scenes ever. They are such wonderful actors, when we met Pete and Trudy they were already struggling with being newleyweds but that scene showed how much fun they must have had while dating and why they got married in the first place.

    • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ Alicia

      You guys are brilliant! I admire that kind of strategic thinking.

      I couldn’t care less about Mad Men, except as a springboard for your posts.

      • Miss Ruth

        ^This. Exactly.

    • Chris

      Did anyone else notice in the “behind the scenes” photos TV Guide has that Elizabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks took of this coming season that Peggy is wearing an old outfit and hairdo in one of them? I’m guessing there will be a “flashback scene” coming up because this is the outfit she hasn’t worn as a whole since “Signal 30.” It’s the coin dot blouse and skirt with the pleats. She’s wearing it when Pete and Lane are fighting. I’m wondering what they could possibly be flashing back to as it it’s pretty much inconceivable she would pull an outfit that out of date out of her closet to wear in 1969.

      • Denise Alden

        Color me intrigued. And so so so excited for Sunday!

    • http://armchairauthor.wordpress.com/ LesYeuxHiboux

      Those illustrations are divine! The attention is well-deserved.

      I want to play this game! I think Betty’s polka-dot party dress with the blue organza apron was my favorite of her looks (other than Rome, of course.) The brown spots in with the bright blue and yellow spoke volumes about things going rotten in the Draper marriage. Peggy’s monochrome plaid sheath, from when she was finally moving away from “dressing like a little girl” is a favorite, and the one I think of as her “Marine Corps dress blues” dress with the red inverted pleats and brass buttons from when she fired Joey. Joan’s cobalt blue number from the last episode of the first season, high necked and long sleeved but it fit her like a coat of paint and had that long trailing scarf. I like her purple lady-suit from recent seasons, withe the double row of buttons on the vest and the ruffled neckline and cuffs on the blouse.

      • Chris

        Betty’s “sad clown” dress always makes me sad now when I see it. I love Peggy that navy dress you mentioned. It kind of became her work style. She’s still wearing more mod versions of it.

        • http://armchairauthor.wordpress.com/ LesYeuxHiboux

          Exactly! That military-inspired dress was so Peggy, disciplined and transitioning from parochial school to HBIC.

      • Fjasmine

        the polka dot dress was beautiful, and watching her wear it for a day and crush it was so poignant.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOctocornNetwork International Model

      Fact: I read the recaps and Mad Style posts for two seasons before I started officially watching starting with season 4.

      • BarniClaw

        Me, too! Although I went back and started at the very beginning (then reread the MadStyle posts). Would have never ever watched if it wasn’t for TLo…

        • Loramir

          Me too! I watched one episode ages ago and didn’t like any of the characters so I gave up. I started reading Mad Style posts just from curiosity sometime in season 5, and they made it sound so fascinating that I gave it another shot. I started watching again a few weeks ago and now I’m up to the point in season 2 where the Mad Style posts start, so I’m excited that I’ll be able to read TLo’s posts as I watch. I foresee doing some binge-watching to try and catch up to season 7 before it’s over.

    • ashtangajunkie


    • SuzBald

      I agree so much that it’s Peggy’s story – it’s really Mad Women. Or Mad Men cause women are rising….

    • PastryGoddess

      I’m reading all of the Mad Style posts from last season

      I’m not weird

    • Therese Bohn

      Betty’s vivid floral sheath when she first had coffee with Henry at the Terrytown Diner– Divine. (and white pointy sunglasses too!) :-)
      Megan’s Zou Bisou Bisou dress
      Joan — Everything!
      Peggy — her yellow and black Jean Seberg striped top in ‘The Rejected’
      Jane’s white sleeveless Cleopatra dress at the office Christmas party.

    • katiessh

      tbh i’m more excited for game of thrones. I don’t know guys, last season of mad men kind of dragged. the fashion has become my favourite part of this show, while I care less and less about don and mostly want the last season to focus on joan

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Wearing slacks or a pantsuit would have been unusual for the late 60’s, indeed. During my freshman year in college (1968), the older female students in my dorm told the freshman how lucky we were that our university had dropped the dress code for the dining halls -prior to Fall 1968, female students were supposed to wear dresses or skirts for Sunday dinner in the dining halls.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        I think the only reason Peggy was “allowed” to wear pants in that scene is that it wasn’t offically a work day. There was no chance she would have to meet with clients.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          that sounds right for the times.

      • SierraDelta

        My husband’s college years were ’64-’68. The men’s dorms provided daily maid service (which included making the boys’ beds every day and changing their linens once a week). The women’s dorms — for which the girls’ parents paid THE SAME ROOM AND BOARD — had no maid service. At all. Apparently in those institutionally chauvinistic days women were assumed to have the skills necessary for civilized communal living. And were penalized for it accordingly.

        All of which I have grumped about bitterly for the last 40 years, while continuing to scratch my head at the enforced wearing of skirts and dresses for every single meal in the Dining Hall of my all-women’s university from ’67 to ’71.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          Yes, undoubtedly the women were expected to do their own cleaning, etc. At my college (University of Maryland, College Park), in 1968 they began allowing guys to visit the womens’ dorms on a very limited basis. Doors were supposed to remain open a certain number of inches and so on. By my sophomore year the dress code had basically fallen by the wayside as did a lot of other rules. The things my parents never knew about my college years!

          • SierraDelta

            My kids had coed dorms, which I had no problem with. It was the coed bathrooms that made me glad I’d already gone to college!

            • bitchybitchybitchy

              Coed bathrooms…..need we say more? My dorm went coed at the beginning of my senior year. Among the changes? Cheap Boone’s Farm fruit wine at mixers……once again, need we say more?

            • SierraDelta

              Andre’s Cold Duck. . . *shudders*

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        The only thing I can think of is that she was wearing slacks on a day when she knew she wouldn’t be meeting with clients, and expected the office to be almost empty.

    • jennmarie19

      I CAN NOT WAIT for Sunday — but even more for your recap on Monday and Mad Style on Wed. I really can’t tell you how much you’ve enhanced my enjoyment of the show. Thrilled that you are getting widely recognized for your amazing work. MWAH!

    • Laylalola

      I was so irritated when the CDs came out without any commentary tracks for season 6 after there being sometimes multiple commentary tracks for every other season. It’s not fair but to me it seems like a harbinger of bad things for the final season — as though it either means Matthew Weiner is so vested in the damn Dante’s Inferno thing and is going to carry it through the entire three tiers of the Divine Comedy, or else season 6 so dragged and he wasn’t happy with it that he’s rethought the trajectory and doesn’t want commentary out there about what the thinking really was at the time.

    • sweetlilvoice

      God yes, I literally could wet myself I’m so excited! I’m pissed I have a meeting early tomorrow morning and can’t read the blog first thing. I may have to get up early!

    • Isabel M.

      Will we see more Mad Style for Season 7? Can’t wait to read your great posts!