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Mad Men costumes - discuss

post #1 of 175
Thread Starter 
I know Mad Men style has been discussed at length in other threads, but I find myself wanting to do it in a more focused way, especially on Monday mornings. For example, I noticed in the past two weeks that Roger Sterling has abandoned three piece suits for double breasted. Was this a style trend at the time (1961-2), or is he looking for a more modern look now that he has decided to leave his wife and take up with the hot secretary?

I am very interested in any knowledgeable people's take on the historical accuracy of the clothes. For example, I would expect to see the men begin to abandon their hats soon.

Please discuss.
post #2 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by porcelain monkey View Post
I know Mad Men style has been discussed at length in other threads, but I find myself wanting to do it in a more focused way, especially on Monday mornings. For example, I noticed in the past two weeks that Roger Sterling has abandoned three piece suits for double breasted. Was this a style trend at the time (1961-2), or is he looking for a more modern look now that he has decided to leave his wife and take up with the hot secretary?

I am very interested in any knowledgeable people's take on the historical accuracy of the clothes. For example, I would expect to see the men begin to abandon their hats soon.

Please discuss.

Actually, a double-breasted would have been quite out of style by the early 1960s. The heyday of the double breasted was from the 1930s to the early-50s. It only lasted as long as it did, more than likely, because of the war. In 1942, the War Production Board made some very draconian decrees about clothing and fashion, all in an effort to conserve fabric for the war effort. While switching from the double-breasted to the single breasted would have made sense as a single-breasted requires less fabric, the board wisely considered that doing so would cause many men to abandon their old double-breasted suits for single-breasted. As a result, it essentially put a halt to changes in men's fashion for the duration of the war.
post #3 of 175
I am sure that the sport coat Don wore last night when he arrived at his FIL's was a true vintage piece, but I really thought the lapel was WEIRD (weekend wear that it was). It was the first garment I have seen on him that seemed like something completely out of character for his character...like something Pete might wear, maybe.
post #4 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDaniels View Post
I am sure that the sport coat Don wore last night when he arrived at his FIL's was a true vintage piece, but I really thought the lapel was WEIRD (weekend wear that it was). It was the first garment I have seen on him that seemed like something completely out of character for his character...like something Pete might wear, maybe.


Yeah I agree. I really liked it but the single button cuff and the narrow lapel did seem odd for him. But I did like the look overall.
post #5 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDaniels View Post
I am sure that the sport coat Don wore last night when he arrived at his FIL's was a true vintage piece, but I really thought the lapel was WEIRD (weekend wear that it was). It was the first garment I have seen on him that seemed like something completely out of character for his character...like something Pete might wear, maybe.

+1. The color and fabric didnt seem like anything else he has ever worn. In general he is super sharp.
post #6 of 175
It almost seemed like a dinner jacket. Maybe that's all he had with him on such short notice at the Roosevelt?
post #7 of 175
It was the notch that really threw me off...almost as disturbing as Betty's dad copping a feel!
post #8 of 175
Thread Starter 
I noticed that jacket, too. Funny notch on the lapel almost made it look like a shawl collar. I took it to be less rather than more formal, but I don't really know.
post #9 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage Gent View Post
Actually, a double-breasted would have been quite out of style by the early 1960s. The heyday of the double breasted was from the 1930s to the early-50s. It only lasted as long as it did, more than likely, because of the war. In 1942, the War Production Board made some very draconian decrees about clothing and fashion, all in an effort to conserve fabric for the war effort. While switching from the double-breasted to the single breasted would have made sense as a single-breasted requires less fabric, the board wisely considered that doing so would cause many men to abandon their old double-breasted suits for single-breasted. As a result, it essentially put a halt to changes in men's fashion for the duration of the war.

Actually, as I recall reading, the war restrictions helped increase the popularity of DB. The reason was that the WPB forbade vests, and back then SB suits were "supposed" to be three piece. So one way to keep the gut properly covered was with DB suits.

I posted this in another thread, but I think the Sterling character is meant to be a throwback of sorts, a guy with a lot of suits from another era and one who has a set sense of style and just continues to wear what he has always worn no matter what is in fashion at any given moment.
post #10 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Actually, as I recall reading, the war restrictions helped increase the popularity of DB. The reason was that the WPB forbade vests, and back then SB suits were "supposed" to be three piece. So one way to keep the gut properly covered was with DB suits.

True, but one of the keys was to avoid drastic changes in styling, limiting demand for new clothes. I've owned a couple of suits produced in the wake of the WPB, and both were double breasted. Neither had flaps, and the pants were both pleatless and cuffless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
I posted this in another thread, but I think the Sterling character is meant to be a throwback of sorts, a guy with a lot of suits from another era and one who has a set sense of style and just continues to wear what he has always worn no matter what is in fashion at any given moment.

Yeah, that sounds about right to me.
post #11 of 175
I also noticed Don's sportscoat.
There are lots of style differences between season one and season two...it seems to me the producers are emphasing the passage of time rather heavily, perhaps by moving fashions forward faster than the calendar might justify. (An example is the fellow with the African-American girlfriend--he went from looking fairly straight-laced in season one to looking like a proto-hippie in season two). Unfortunately, given history, the wardrobes on Mad Men will get worse, not better, in coming seasons, as the show enters the mid and perhaps late sixties.
post #12 of 175
There are some interviews with Janie Bryant, the costume designer, out there on the internet that are pretty interesting. She comes across as a lovely woman.
post #13 of 175
The collars on the shirts are all wrong. it looks as if they just went into brooks brothers and bought whatever was on the shelf. the pinned collar on sterling also seems off.
I realize that the costume budget on this show is not huge. they basically rent from the big costume wearhouses. then they shop lots of other things like the shirts. At least they could make shirts for the principle actors.

i am working on Life on Mars. this is a 70's show. the costumes in this show have been toned down a bit, but still they will hurt your eyes.

Carl
post #14 of 175
Carl, as noted, I think Sterling's clothes are supposed to look "off" or at least out of step with the times.
post #15 of 175
I'm still catching up with Season One, so I'm trying to skim without spoiling. But, one of my favorite scenes was when Draper gets in on the day of the Lucky Strike presentation and takes out a fresh shirt from his desk drawer full of fresh white shirts. Said so much.
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