Clothes and the Woman

 Posted by on September 2, 2008 at 9:01 pm  Characters
Sep 022008

Peggy’s style drive us crazy.

“Peggy,” we yell at the screen. “Please stop wearing that ponytail, dear. Also, can you get your Mom not to cut your bangs so short? And while you’re at it, please please please ditch the pinafores and the gingham and the home-made clothes.”

There’s something about Peggy’s wardrobe that turns us all into Aunties, the ones who pinch your cheeks and give you twenty dollars while commenting on how you’ll look just gorgeous once you lose your baby fat. (You just turned 29.) You know the kind I mean. Those Aunties are mistresses of the back-handed compliment. Well, okay, I have a couple of Uncles like this as well.

And apparently it’s not just us. From the very first episode, other women on the show freely dispensed unsolicited advice to Pegs. In The New Girl, Bobbie tells her: “No one will tell you this but you can’t be a man. Don’t even try. Be a woman.” Some viewers interpreted this as another spin on what everyone seems to be telling her: Use your feminine wiles. Be sexier. But I think that in Maidenform, Joan finally cut to the chase about what, precisely, irritates us all about Peggy: She demands that people take her seriously and yet she dresses like a little girl. And an antiquated little girl at that.

But still, so what? Who cares? Clothing is just surface and what matters is the character and ability of each individual. But is it really that shallow? I’d argue that there’s a lot of depth to the right fashion.

According to Linen Shed, clothing is a form of communication. It tells people two things: How you want them to perceive you and how you perceive yourself. And in this case, it’s very obvious that Peggy is conflicted. To add to people’s annoyance is the fact that they’re not buying it. They intuit that she’s not that sweet young thing and whether or not they disapprove, there is something, well, almost dishonest about her image of purity. It’s like the 65 year old CEO who dresses like a Hell’s Angel on weekends. You’re no rebel, dude. Be who you really are and don’t try to fool us.

On the other hand, that hapless/hypocritical CEO knows a thing or two about the totemic value of clothing: Put on leather and you actually do feel tough and defiant. Don sumptuous silk and you begin to move differently until, little by little, you FEEL like an aristocrat. It’s true. We like to think we’re very civilized but the businessman and woman in the well-tailored power suit are the modern day equivalent of the tribesmen who donned animal furs in order to tap into the lion’s courage and prowess.

If you’ve ever stepped into a genuinely well-cut suit you know what I mean. Soon as you put one on, you feel like you can take on the world. And like I’ve said in this blog before, the modern office is a battlefield. You better make use of every talisman of power.

One of the more powerful women at my workplace started out as a secretary. She worked her way up that ladder and she deserves everything she’s gotten because she knows the business inside and out. She exudes power and it’s not just her subtle take-charge demeanor or her tone of voice; she communicates this with her suits. Simply put, they’re impeccable. Elegant and feminine, too. She’s more than a little intimidating and yet she is, undeniably, a woman. And, no, you will never catch this lady in any kind of decolletage. She doesn’t have to convince you she’s an attractive woman or that she’s wicked smart. You see, she already knows it. She’s extending you the courtesy, if you will, of being upfront about it.

Peggy, dear, I was just like you. I wore the 21st Century equivalent of the little girl costume: khaki jeans, floppy sweaters, scuffed Skechers, and, yes, even the self-same ponytail. And this is what I have to say: You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be innocent and untouched and expect to come into your own. We all know you’re smart and sophisticated. You’re already tapping into it. So why are you so afraid of letting on you know it?


  55 Responses to “Clothes and the Woman”

  1. I look forward to whatever they decide to do with Peggy's appearance. I just hope Pete leaves her alone because he really ruins her mojo. I hope they put her in that turquoise again. Maybe some velvet green. I would like to see her out dress Joan for a change. And please hair down.

  2. I may be in the minority on this one, but I love her ponytail. There were days when I would have done just about anything to get my hair to look like that. I really like quite a few peices in her wardrobe, like the black and white checkered outfit she wore earlier in the season.

    That being said, I think Joan gave her the first peice of advice she can actually use. Peggy clearly took it to heart, and I think we will start to see a more sophisticated look for Peggy.

  3. very interesting and well written post.

    I am not so sure that she is afraid of letting on that she knows she is smart and sophisticated.

    IMO, from what I have seen, she has slowly been coming into her own. It is her renaissance, coming of age. Before she could even tackle the issue of her outward appearance, she has been have to deal with the larger issue of coming to terms with who she really is now and how to get what she wants, on terms she feels comfortable with. This is still something she is learning.

    I dont think she has been able to exude on the outside how she wants people to perceive her because she has been in the process of figuring out how she perceives herself.

    Tapping into something something is not the same thing as knowing it for a fact and feeling confident about it.

    While she is still on this journey of self-discovery, she is paying attention to what she is being told by others. This last episode showed how she worked a new look. And the episode prior showed how she tweaked her look when she went in to speak with Don. I do believe we will see how she continues to play with her image, and as a result of the reactions of others she will continue to experiment. Also, the reactions will give her more confidence. Speaking from personal experience, when working a new look, positive reactions do help boost confidence.

    in the open thread for Maidenform, i posted about a theme of survivors. Who will and who wont? Certain characters have shown that they have passed their zenith. Peggy strikes me as a survivor, and the main reason being is that she is tapping into who is she, who she wants to be and how to get there on her terms. This will slowly develop into her "look"

  4. Retro, I don't think we've seen Peggy in the black & white yet, I think we've just seen it in quite a few promo pictures.

  5. I thought she was trying to dress more maturely (remember the outfits from Three Sundays?) and then they put her in that blue dress again this week and I thought, Joan is gonna say something about that!

    For better or worse, people do judge you on your clothes.

  6. Peggy, please dress like Coco Chanel!

    Coco is the embodiment of female intelligence/power/wisdom AND she OWNED her own company.

    Yves Saint Laurent's clothes are another choice.

  7. Peggy's a modern woman. She needs some Courreges. Stat.

  8. I am looking forward to the black and white outfit from the promo pictures. There was also a look in this video and it is not far from what she looks like anyway.

  9. I've often had a similar reaction to Peggy's wardrobe. It was kind of understandable when she was Don's secretary (i.e. not earning as high of a salary), but now that she's a copywriter and can afford to live on her own, she can probably afford to buy some nicer clothes.

    Being frugal is a hard mindset to break, though. I spent most of the first two years after college just barely able to pay my bills and buy groceries, so any new clothing was a luxury. I had to wear and repair things as long as they were still fairly presentable. Now, several years later, I have to remind myself that I can, in fact, afford to replace my two-year-old sneakers that have worn off their soles in places, even on the wages of a mere assistant in a non-profit library. I tend to dress a bit more casually than I would in the average office, but Peggy doesn't have to worry about 200-year-old deteriorating leather, ink, and book dust getting on her outfit.

    I think that, having gotten such positive reactions from her client and co-workers, Peggy will finally begin to show her emerging maturity through her appearance. Joan and Bobbie were right about demanding respect, and our Peggy has seen that.

  10. "What Not to Wear" is one of my other favorite shows!

    I really enjoy seeing the way people are transformed, emotionally, as well as physically, by getting new clothes and flattering hair styles and make-up.

  11. I have the impression that her clothing has regressed since her return from the hospital. I think that she dresses that way as yet another denial of the reality that she gave birth to an illegitimate child. A statement of innocence.

  12. Deb & I = serious WNtW fans.

    She'll make it work… she'll bring her lunch to get herself the right wardrobe. It won't be designer; she will still make a lot of it herself.

  13. @soupcon: Good point. It does seem like she's been making a subconscious effort to appear more chaste and innocent, while consciously trying to project an air of business savvy and worldliness. Although at the end of last year Peggy wasn't dressing more professionally, she was dressing to cover her "weight gain". So maybe it's not so much a regression as clinging to the status quo rather than moving on.

    I'm not sure if that made sense. Just thinking out loud here.

  14. Last season I think Peggy thought she was dressing more professionally, but with both goals–covering the weight. There were those awful jacket-type things. She was less girlish and more german scientist.

    I'm not sure there was a clearcut answer for what a professional woman looked like at that time. They were all feeling their way through. Peggy's ethic was leftover from childhood… my clothes are clean and pressed and modest.

  15. German scientist! HA!

  16. Throughout the decades and even to this day, there are Peggys in every office as their are nymphs like Joan. The new philosophy today is that you can look sexy and feminine (but tastefully) in and around the boardrooms and it doesn't detract from your professionalism and, in fact, will help boost your ideas to get to the male executives in charge.

    Joan keeps telling Peggy to dress more sexy and because Peggy is a bit "slow" and backward, she didn't quite get it until now. She came around in the last episode because she realized that she was being cut out of the men's board room and therefore she needed to fit in especially because she was as it appeared in a strip club. Immediately, she was brought into the men's arms welcomed with a vava voom. But the emotionally starved Pete may try to spoil her new found attractiveness and change of dress code because he wants her to remain this childlike homey girl. He's confronted her another time about this sexy style and told her he didn't like it. The reason I believe he's acting like this is because he broke her virginity. Everyone saw how he looked at her in disdain at her change in dress and her manner with the men and she looked shamefully back at him. She should have smiled and give him a snubbed look. Oh, please don't change for this man Peggy, please. If she goes back to being Plain Jane for this guy, I'm going to turn off the tv. It's time she stood her ground against Pete's dominance over her. You look terrific dressed up Peggy and Joan is right — I believe because of it, you will move up that ladder more quickly. In fact, if she keeps going in this sexy direction, she is going to catch the eye of the sexiest man at Sterling and Cooper — Don Draper and he already likes her. I wonder if we might see an affair between these two in coming episodes?

  17. I don't think Peggy and Don will EVER have an affair. It would be a mess for both of them. But I could see Cooper taking a shine to her, and telling Don that he has to promote her, because of the other women in advertising who are rising at their firms.

    Re Peggy's wardrobe, I want to see Peggy dressed like Hope Lange in The Best of Everything. She made the same transition from secretary to junior editor to a more-senior editor by the end of the movie. That means suits and well-cut dresses for work, beautiful cocktail dresses for evening and some nicely chosen casual clothes. Someone please rent that movie!

  18. The best of everything is available on Hulu.

  19. Joan keeps telling Peggy to dress more sexy and because Peggy is a bit “slow” and backward, she didn’t quite get it until now.

    I don't think Peggy is slow. I think she made a strong choice to not play that game. In Ladies Room, she was beginning to play… "They do smell nice". But it also made her unhappy, all the sexual attention. Paul misinterpreted her and kissed her, and she wanted no part of it. So she reeled it in. But she's now seen that it didn't work for her. She wanted to gain respect without 'working it', but she was getting left out of too much, so in she went.

  20. @Brenda – funny you should mention Cooper taking a shine to her. My new guy for Peggy would be a Japanese American guy who does not know whether or not to be flattered or offended by Cooper's Japanese fetishing.

    I agree about Hope Langs clothes in The Best of Everything, ut I kind of hated the movie. Lang's character said something in reviewing a book about how the author did not believe in what they were writing and neither would anybody else. I felt the same about the movie

  21. Take a look at these fashions from 1960-63. This was the kind of business wear that Peggy should aspire. None of these woul work with a ponytail.

    Yves Saint Laurent was very Vogue back ten as well.

  22. just noticed one of the few flaws in this episode. Peggy is putting on pantyhose in 1962. If I recall, they weren't really available until about 1969.

  23. Interestingly enough, my boyfriend has asked why I never wear my hair like Peggy… I wasn't sure how to respond to that one

    I agree with miami – I am not so sure that she's afraid to show how smart and sophistocated she knows she is; she has just always believed that her talent and hard work would more than compensate.

    In spite of so many others suggesting that she change, she didn't until she saw a specific professional application for doing so – to gain access to the after work "meetings"
    It seems to me that she thinks of dressing more adult as resorting to something lower or artificial; I think it her high opinion of her own merit that has kept her in dowdy attire. I would suggest that her pragmatism won out in "Maidenform"

  24. I think it's not surprising that Peggy is reluctant to use her feminine power and is hiding behind a girlish exterior. After all, the last time she embraced her sexuality, it landed her in a mental institution.

    For Peggy, being more outwardly feminine must feel very dangerous given the working climate at SC. Maybe with allies like Bobbie and Joan she can find her way.

  25. Breckgirl, I wondered about that, too. But apparently pantyhose were available in the early 1960s, only very expensive. It's possible SC got some from a client that wanted to market them, and the girls got to take some home.

    Here's some background:

  26. @portiaslegacy: it's interesting you would suggest a Japanese-American boyfriend for Peggy. Having lived in Tokyo, I can report the Japanese are still enamored of everything related to the early 1960s. It was a period when Japan's consumer economy took off. They loved Audrey and Jackie, and if you walk through any Japanese department store now, you see racks dresses and suits that look right out of Mad Men. I can imagine Japan will go crazy over Mad Men when it airs there.

  27. Peggy can start to notice what upper class NYC women are wearing. She can go into the various stores and try on clothes to learn what looks good on her.

    She knows how to sew, so she can copy an expensive outfit. Since she works in NYC she has access to fashionable fabric and here were some stylish (for the 1960's) Vogue Patterns.

    There is a GREAT book about Coco Chanel, Chanel and Her World.

    Imagine if Peggy cut her hair in Chanel bob and put on an outfit like Coco is wearing on the cover of the book. She would look amazing.

  28. I believe Peggy knows who she is and sticks to it. I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't think Peggy was "dressing sexy" at the end of Maidenform. Yes, it was sexy. But what it was, what the point was (to my mind) was an appropriate cocktail dress for an evening in a club.

    It's often been pointed out that there are no "neutral" clothes for women, and there are many more nuances for women than for men. Then and today, a man can wear the same suit to work and then out afterwards. It is harder for a woman, more so then, and they still talk SO MUCH in fashion about how a woman can manage "day to evening."

    Peggy could, yes, have been more covered up, but a cocktail dress is always at least a little sexy. If she hadn't showed up a little va-voom she would have looked out of place and foolish. By using "grown up" clothes that fit in, she created space for the men to welcome her comfortably (except for Pete, of course).

    I think the dress was a career strategy, just as refusing to dress like Joan in s1 had been.

    I think she had the first part of her career strategy down; don't follow in Joan's footsteps, don't husband-hunt, and she hadn't followed the "don't" with a "do." This week, she figured out the "do."

  29. Peggy is definitely smart, but I don't know how sophisticated she is. In fact, she has a bit of tunnel vision – in her view, everything should be cut and dried, with no gray areas. She has lacked any awareness of how people perceive her. She knows she's smart, and she was promoted to copywriter. She has the brains and the title. Thus, in her thinking, why isn't she included in the after-hours meetings where real business takes place? It just doesn't make sense to her. It's interesting she told Freddy "I didn't know you were going to work last night." As if any of the guys who were at the bar together viewed it as actual work!

    That's all changing now, especially after the Gertrude Stein/Irene Dunne comments and Joan's comment to ditch the "little girl" wardrobe.

    One thing I noticed again while re-watching Maidenform: did you notice how in her conversation with Joan, Peggy protested "I'm a good drinker?" That was interesting…and not the first time there's been a highlighted reference to Peggy drinking.

  30. OTOH, every single thing that Betty wears is to die for, imho. Joan looks good, but too trampy. Betty is like a goddess. A 60's housfrau, but still a Goddess. (Hera? Hestia? Certainly not Demeter. Probably more like Freya or some other Norse chick. After all, her people are Nordic.)

  31. When Pete said in season 1 that he didn't like Peggy like that, I'm not sure his objection was "you're too sexy" so much as "you're too bold/forward/strong." Pete seems to have liked her submissive.

    I think, although I can't know for sure yet, that Peggy might have grown a little — he know longer seems pissed that she has his FIL's account and he did not seem upset when she told him she had to work. He made a comment about the libraries being closed on Memorial Day so what did she do instead — but that seemed flirty rather than barbed.

    Pete's reaction to her sitting on the guy's lap seemed almost sad, like maybe he got that she was not comfortable, but just trying to gain entry into they inner circle.

    Peggy looked better, but ultimately I think the scene was not happy or triumphant, but quite melancholy.

  32. I don't think Joan looks trampy. She certainly dresses to show off her figure, but has standards. There is also the real point that with that body shape a potato sack could look suggestive. You could put any one of those outfits on another body type, even make them as form fitting, and get a whole different look.

    Jessica Rabbit: You don't know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do.

    Eddie Valiant: You don't know how hard it is being a man looking at a woman looking the way you do.

    Jessica Rabbit: I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.

    Joan understands her "audience." By her own admission, she never has to wonder what men think about her, but the anatomy is what it is.

    I wonder if we'll get more of her story. For some reason, she makes me think of the country song Fancy. It's about a young girl whose mother basically tells her that her looks and body are what will rescue her from poverty. It wouldn't surprise me if it turns out she's running from her past just as hard as Don/Dick — that maybe she had a moment where she decided to make a better life for herself, and knew at the time that the best thing going for her was her looks.

  33. DB: Sif

    Ms. D: Flirty and barbed.

  34. I love What Not To Wear. Can you tell?

    33 responses. Wow. Everybody makes so many great points.

  35. Jane the new secretary, with the top buttons of her blouse undone, swinging her crossed leg in full view of the men, is trampy. I don't see Joan as trampy. Joan is almost always covered up at the office. She just fills whatever she's wearing like nobody's business. It's been mentioned before on this blog, but I think the only time she showed cleavage at work was the time Roger had his heart attack, and she had to come into the office at nighttime at Cooper's behest.

    By the way, I just loved Peggy's hair in her "makeover" scene!

  36. I’m surprised no one mentioned that Peggy was trying to break out of her junior miss style — but then a little thing called a pregnancy got in the way.

    She started dressing like her mother — boxy suits with heavy fabric, protective clothes, not revealing ones.

    And, after she took Don’s advice about pretending that nothing happened, she went back to her first-week wardrobe — then wondered why the guys routed their ideas around her, because *she had not changed her attitude about her place on the team*.

    Someone who works the office the way she has to, to get power no one wants to give her, would have cultivated at least one secretary by now, so she’d get a copy of memos on projects she’s working on. It’s not as if another carbon has to be typed, anymore, just one more Xerox made.

    She should have her own favorite secretary from the pool, plus a girl who’s friendly enough with the guys, but sees her own main chance, if she takes a risk and helps Peggy. Of course the memo-sharing bits should be absolutely confidential, as much as Joan and the office allows, but dammit Peggy should be playing the game better, after 14 months plus of working in this new position. She can lose it as easily as she got it, and her wardrobe is symptomatic of the initiative she needs to keep showing, to keep ahead of the pack.

    Her not whoring around should be a feature, not a bug, but she has to stay in touch with the boys just to keep in the eyes of clients.

  37. I love Joan but I still think she dresses trampy and here's why: everything she wears is so form fitting that no hetero man in her vicinity is going to think of anything but sex. Sure, her neckline doesn't plunge but she's forever waving her ass in everyone's face. This is all calculated to be as trampy as possible within the rules of office decorum. Doesn't matter if only the first centimeter of her titties show.

    btw, I think she's fabulous.

    If Peggy keeps on listening to these women telling her to sex it up (within the rules) at the office she'll live to regret it. Hell, she already has.

  38. I think there's an enormous difference between dressing sexy and dressing slutty.

    And I also think if you have a figure like Joan's and you DON'T go the form-fitting route, you risk looking fat. If the waist isn't VERY nipped, the distinction between bust and belly isn't there.

    She could probably get away with a Betty-style hoop skirt as long as the waist and bust were form-fitting, but none of the secretaries seem to wear that; I think it wasn't considered office wear.

  39. I'm with Donny on Joan; maybe slutty or trampy isn't right, but she is dressing for attention, while following code so she can act like she isn't. She is teh fabulous, but let's not kid ourselves.

    I don't know what Peggy's going to live to regret, but it will be something. There's a lot of cheering for Peggy, and discussion (on here) that she's going to shoot for the top, but not without more falls. This is Weiner, remember. He keeps saying it; his overarching theme is that everything has consequences.

  40. I agree with Deborah's comment – just from personal experience. there are those us that walk the thin line of voluptous or in the wrong outfit, frumpalicious.

    BTW, i saw christina hendricks last night on jimmy kimmel. not sure it was the dress she was wearing but i wonder if her hips are padded on the show – or the cut of vintage dresses makes her appear more curvy. She is tall, and very voluptous and sexy.

    joan has the age complex thing going on. she still wants to appear fresh and sexy and not dated.

  41. I don't think Peggy needs to dress more slutty. Just more appropriate. More grown up. More modern. She could rock some serious Courreges if she had the money. But even if she doesn't make enough to sport designer fashions yet, she can still dress better than she does. And that pony tail. Ugh. If that's her comfort level, fine, but she can wear it lower on her head — like closer to the nape of the neck, which is a little more sophisticated. And throw in some variety every once in a while, like wrapping it into a nice chignon.

  42. Hull, I agree Peggs can jazz up the ponytail if she (the writers) insists it part of her. From my understanding, Audrey Hepburn rocked a rather stylish ponytail. Of course, Hepburn's incomparable but y'all catch my drift!

  43. Roberta: high five again!

    I was just posting the Dick Van Dyke Show as my contest entry, and it made me think of the character Sally Rogers (played by Rose Marie) on that show. She was the quintessential '60's "career girl" type (aka, sexless). Remember those bows in her hair? Pure Peggy.

  44. I happen to love the way Peggy dresses, because it’s her own unique style, and I hope she doesn’t start dressing like Joan.

  45. cgeye….JMO, part of Peggy’s problem is that she’s got that youthful arrogance of being a know-it-all. She didn’t just ignore Joan’s initial advice about clothes but recall Joan advising Peggs to be good to the “girls” in the office and they’ll be good to her.

    As to Peggy’s wardrobe….That gingham dress kills me! (It should be burned with Don’s sweater vests and that ascot thing that was tied around Paul’s neck!) So this fashion transition will be an interesting move to witness. Her becoming more stylish will be welcome!

  46. I think Pegs should wear more suits to the office. If we put her in Anita's teal green suit from 3 Sundays and have her wear her hair like she did at the end of Maidenform – that would be a huge improvement!

  47. Kay,
    I agree. Just because Joan's advice seems to come from a self-centered place doesn't mean it's not correct for that office environment. Heck, Peggy should know by instinct not to diss the women who control the information flow in the office, but I guess she believes in that lone wolf dictum….

    I wonder if she gets along with her office mate? Have we seen him, this season?

  48. Thank you , Marly K. ,or your observations on Peggy’s style.

    For good or bad, the Peggy’s of 2008 have the ability to obtain all the goods for a make-over due to their access of Easy Credit i.e. VISA/MC.

    Peggy did not have that ability to go out and drop a load on clothes because it would have required cash or a store charge card that was held in a “responsible” man’s name.

    Only Dick and the higher-ups would have qualified for a Diner’s Club card or a Master Charge. Even then, they were charge cards, and not credit cards.

    Not only would Peggy have had to buy the dress, but she would have had to buy the hose and the underpinnings. Bra, girdles, slips and or camisoles. Shoes, purse to match, maybe gloves and a hat.

    Frugality and resourcefulness were still ingrained in Peggy’s generation. Many women still practiced dressmaking skills out of necessity.

    Clothing and the accroutements necessary for transformational make-overs were not as accessible for many women in the early 60’s as they are today because of credit cards.

    Peggy is a smart cookie. She had to have had that blue dress sitting in the closet for some time, waiting for the right moment….

  49. The other secretaries were subject to the same economic limitations as Peggy and still managed to dress like grown women. I’m much more interested in why Peggy chose such a specifically juvenile look. She could’ve chosen any number of looks that were still within the boundaries of frugality. After all, even dowdy librarian can be frugal AND at least adult.

    “Clothing and the accroutements necessary for transformational make-overs were not as accessible for many women in the early 60’s as they are today because of credit cards.”

    If you know how to sew, you can take the same pieces you already have and retailor them. Those of us who don’t have much money, must make do with resourcefulness. Peggy has already proven that she’s resourceful. So if she hasn’t made the choice to change her girlish looks, I think there’s a deeper reason.

    And in defense of the Peggys of 2008, plenty of them pay their credit card balances in full at the end of the month. I mean, have you SEEN the interest rates on those things? 19% or more! It’s highway robbery.

  50. I agree that Peggy already owned that dress. It’s a cocktail dress. She either made it or owned it, but I don’t think she had the ready cash to buy it that day.

    Of course, if she did, she would have already had a pair of neutral evening pumps and a matching clutch. Beige or black.

    Just about every woman retailored in those days, because changing your hemline was essential. I remember my mother doing it, and I remember Gloria Steinem saying the reason she wore pants was so that she didn’t have to retailor her entire wardrobe every year. Imagine doing that!

  51. I am in total agreement with you, Marly K.

    I apologize for going off the mark. I am the Poster Child for Adult ADD , so I am constantly finding the need to re-direct my focus. Especially when I read something as nicely written, and thought-provoking as your post.

    Peggy was a very resourceful gal. She knew how to pinch a penny until it screamed. How else could she live on her own. (Remember how she held her ground with her roommate on Season 1 regarding the phone bill?)

    You are correct in that there is a deeper meaning to Peggy’s appearance.

    Is it possible that she felt that for a long time that she didn’t need to dress like the other women because her appearance was not related to her abilities? Maybe she felt her wardrobe was not a priority and her efforts were better spent elsewhere . Her efforts were better spent on staying after work creating copy and for that she was recognized.

    Her rightful indignation about not being included with the “good ole boys” was the transitional moment for her in changing for the occasion.

    The opening seen of the episode with Betty, Joan, and Peggy dressing was so telling. Peggy was the only one unincumbered by a girdle or a garter belt. Peggy represents the idea of things to come…

    On a personal note, I am all for being resourceful. I am appalled by people living beyond their means “trying to look the part”. I agree that in 2008, that there are many financially responsible Peggys who make the best with what they have. Style has nothing to do with money.

    Mad Men is fascinating on so many levels—-I enjoy the aspect of their war room efforts and battle plans in creating desire for goods that their clients produce. Peggy has no need for all the goods, but she certainly knows how to tap into that desire!

  52. REading all the comments about Peggy can be summed up that she is:
    1) Resourceful
    2) Financially strapped
    3) Conservative
    4) Headstrong
    5) REsponsible
    6) youthful
    7) arrogant
    8) cute
    9) frugal
    10) modern
    11) chaste
    12) innocent

    She's all of the above. For the record, I said she was backward but perhaps that wasn't the proper adjective. Certainly, she seems emotionally starved, is childlike and has issues of low esteem plus she isn't keeping up with the ever-changing times. She also appears to show her unhappiness a lot. Although motivated at times, she appears to react to events and people. Events are occurring around her and she always seems to be in a daze, people might say these kind of people are ditsy.

  53. No apologies needed, Indiegirl. Puuuuhlease. Sometimes disagreements lead to fruitful discussions and startling insights. At least I think so. I rather have a little friction and a lot of talk.

    "Events are occurring around her and she always seems to be in a daze, people might say these kind of people are ditsy."

    Proof that you can be both very smart and ditsy.

    Thank you all for your comments. It's been a fun discussion and it's inspired me my next post.

  54. madgirl, I wouldn't call her ditzy. There is that fog quality, but she takes it all in; is keenly observant (though not always savvy about how to apply what she sees and put it to good use.).

    Peggy has a strength and a confidence that knocks me out. Early, early on, she stands up to Joan… "That's my job?" which was quite awhile before "You think you're being helpful" (I paraphrase).

    Also, you forgot sexy, and sensual. She's in tune, sometimes.

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