Aug 062010

1964 is a touchstone in American culture. With the advent of The Beatles and trends aiming at the younger generation, I can’t help but wonder what styles or fashion icons our beloved characters will imitate in their personal styles?  Age and background are a huge factor.  By now, Peggy, Jane, and Allison are @24, and Betty and Pete are around 30, Joan is 34. Don must be pushing 40, and Roger @50. I bet Don suddenly feels really old.  Let’s start with the youngsters, shall we?

Peggy is definitely a career girl, and her style has been slowly evolving from prim and meek to bold and strong.  She still likes the blouses with bows and pleated skirts, but at the Christmas party, she was wearing a figure hugging sheath ala Joan.  Yet, Peggy, with her big eyes and bangs, still can evoke the fresh faced appeal of supermodel Jean Shrimpton.  I can easily see Peggy emulating ‘The Shrimp’s’ mod, yet clean, work worthy style.  (BTW, Peggy’s Belle Jolie Ad features a facsimile of a famous photo of Shrimpton)

And speaking of ‘The Shrimp’ Jane’s holiday party dress is not only an emulation of Liz Taylor’s Cleopatra look, but very similar to another dress Jean Shrimpton was photographed in. You know Jane will keep up with all the fashion trends that come along – I can see her in a YSL Mondrian by the end of ’65!  As to make up, I think it very likely that all the younger women on MM will wear the Liz Taylor ‘cats’ eyes – and paler lipsticks.  Except Betty.

And now sweet Allison.  Her hair is towering higher, ala Barbara Streisand and Audrey Hepburn, but her dresses are still moderately conservative, neat, and somewhat bookish.  But methinks that now that Don has all but ignored his liaison with her, she may want to distance herself from him professionally, and personally, and which might mean embracing a younger, hipper look – maybe wearing her hair down like Pattie Boyd, and wearing bolder patterns.

Our Glorious Joan has already dipped into the mod fashion, jazzing up her figure hugging sheath with a long, brightly patterned scarf (men do love scarves, you know). But I don’t think you’ll see Joan totally embrace the mod style. After all, she is over thirty and a professional married woman – but I think that she’d likely follow in the steps of an iconic worldly  goddess; Sophia Loren.   Loren, who turned 30 in 1964, was one of the few actresses who managed to look younger as the ’60’s progressed.   I think Joan would be likely, and wise, to follow Loren’s example of timeless beauty.

Then there’s Betty.  Honey, what happened to you?  Henry Francis, that’s what. Betty is so committed to her new lifestyle that the Felini-esque knockout we saw in Rome is gone forever. Enjoy the rerun’s kids, because the wife of a conservative governor’s aide would never don such an outfit.  She’s strictly Lady Bird Johnson now, especially with the helmet hair!  Maybe by 1970, she’ll realize how old she’s looking, or maybe she’ll just keep her look ‘respectable’ as was expected with married women of a certain class at that time. But I’ll miss the wild Betty that we knew was always there.

And now the mad, mad men.

Don.  Oh Don.  Others have noticed your hat that is never far from your head. Matt Weiner suggested that ‘Men like Don will always wear a hat’  and I suspect Don will continue to, like Frank Sinatra.  Of course, Don isn’t balding, like o’ blue eyes, but I agree that this is part of Don’s work uniform, and the disguise he uses to keep Dick Whitman at bay. Maybe he should complete the look and get some sharkskin.

Pete broke out of his blue sharkskin at the party and sported a totally Mod double breasted burgundy sport coat. (And very dashingly, I may add!) But Pete, the Brylcreem has got to go! You’re the forward looking one, you wore the black turtleneck last year, get with the program, son!  (Here’s my Pete mash-up with Ringo’s hair—amazing how he looks like John Lennon now! )

And Roger, our sexy silver fox? Well, if he has to keep staring at that op art in his white Star Trek office for a couple of years, his hypnotic state could lead him down only one path – Tune In Turn On, Drop Out, Man, and become the Timothy Leary of SCDP!

And when (we expect) Ken Cosgrove comes back?

He’s Ken!



Which means only one thing:

He’s a Ken doll!

I can’t see him morphing into a Beatle bohemian yet, but you never know.

One thing is for sure. As Mad Men and Janie Bryant strive to keep it real, I’m sure that most of our characters will still be seen in some of their outfits from previous seasons, which is as it should be.

What would you like to see?


  40 Responses to “What fashion trends will our Mad Men and Women Emulate?”

  1. Wow Therese. Thanks for the tip of the hat 🙂 and what a lot of thought and effort went into your post. Tom and Lorenzo have nothing on you!

    One slight quibble, isn't Betty over 30 now? I seem to remember her telling Glen in Season 1 (1960) that she was 28, so if that's true, shouldn't she be around 32? At least that would make the outfits we've seen her in a little more age appropriate, but if she's in fact only 28 then her current wardrobe is making me really, really sad.

  2. Well, Sally is about 10, and Betty went to college. I assume she graduated, and worked as a model. Minimum 33. Don was 33 in season 2, or so he told California girl.

  3. Great catch on the Jean Shrimpton!

  4. Yes, Betty is at least 32 in 1964. Possibly older. Although she told Glen she was 28, it's possible she may not have been truthful. Someone on one of the forums noticed a reason why – I forget the particulars, but I think it had to do with her modeling career after college and the timing of when she had Sally. The details suggested that she may have been older than that and possibly she just said she was 28 after Glen mentioned Helen being older (32?).

    " I can easily see Peggy emulating ‘The Shrimp’s’ mod, yet clean, work worthy style. (BTW, Peggy’s Belle Jolie Ad features a facsimile of a famous photo of Shrimpton…"

    Wow, she was gorgeous! I never knew that was her in the Belle Jolie ad, but I've heard of Jean Shrimpton (and that they used to call her "The Shrimp."). Lovely feaures. Peggy would be wise to try to emulate that look — who wouldn't want that? 🙂

    I hate Betty's helmet hair. It's amazing how different Betty/January can look with different hairstyles. I noticed it in S2/S3 too. When her hair is tightly styled, she looks 30s (not that that's old….) but when her hair is more loose and modern, she looks around 26 or so.

    Therese – beyond what you posted (great photos!) I am not very knowledgeable about '64-65 styles. I've heard of the "mod" look though (and I've seen some pictures) and it probably won't be Joan's signature style, especially with her figure type. But as someone pointed out on one of the forums, the mod look was more women dressing for women (fashion-forward), and it seems Joan likes to dress for the men. That is to say — I think she knows what outfits suit her best, and she'll probably continue to wear them, even if they're not the current trend.

  5. Speaking as a guy, I love the style era our mad men (and women) are entering. I want Don's skinny tie collection, and I love the mod prints. But maybe that's because I'm a bit of a mod wannabe myself (proof:

  6. I think Allison will stay conservative. She took her promotion to Don's secretary seriously, and even now, I think she will rely on "good girl" to get her through this.

  7. Great post Therese! Please write more.

  8. Didn't someone say that the birth certificate for Baby Gene said Betty was born in 1932? If so, that means she told Glen the truth, I would think.

    And did anyone else besides me think Dr. Faye Miller's hairstyle was a little too ahead of its time? A little too relaxed?

  9. Betty's suits make her look old to us, but they were perfectly in keeping with what she sees as her place in society and her husband's stature. Pull some pictures of Joan Kennedy and the Kennedy women (NOT Jackie) and you'll see. Everyone at a certain economic level dressed like that, regardless of whether they were 32 or 60.

    Also, a thing to remember about 60s fahion is that it took much longer for trends to spread than it does now. What was in fashion magazines took a good year or so to influence the rest of the country.

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  11. Great post Therese! I was born in 1964, so I don't have any memories of the early 1960s, and I didn't know who Jean Shrimpton was before your post. Thanks for the comparison, and the insights! I really enjoyed reading them!

  12. Meowser, Dr Faye's hairstyle reminds me a bit of Barbra Streisand's from the same period. In fact, she looks vaguely like Barbra, now that I think about it.

  13. @Meowser – I was irked by Dr. Miller's appearance. I think the only thing that was period correct was her dress. Her hair and makeup were a bit too modern for me. Even her face and body were too modern…if that makes sense. She seemed out of place. Like a time traveler trying to fit in. I've seen similar situations with a character's hair style breaking me of out the 1960's for a moment. The girl that applied to be Peggy's roommate, for instance. Her hair just wasn't quite right.

    I think the issue may lie in using modern hair styling products and equipment that make the hair too smooth.

  14. Thanks for the wonderful comments! I amended Betty's age here, I admit, I hadn't officially looked it up! And SF, Tom and Lorenzo rule my world! They are the fashion masters!

    And speaking of hair, Joey's hair was completely wrong in the first episode,but it was tamed by last week!

  15. Therese, Thanks for taking me back down memory lane. Was on my way to dreamland, so I forgot to tell you how much I loved seeing those old Jean Shrimpton photos. She was Twiggy's predecessor and she rocked my world, even though as a gawky midwest tween my chances of emulating her were practically nil. And BTW, although this would come a few years later than the Belle Jolie campaign, "The Shrimp" was featured prominently in a tv ad campaign for Yardley of London, who were trying to go mod with a lipgloss called "Slicker." I begged my conservative mom to let me start wearing it–think I still had to wait until I was the advanced old age of 15.

    I agree with Meowser and April that there's something "off" about Dr. Miller's appearance. She's smart and competent, all good things, but like Suzanne, she's already starting to irritate me, and I can't help but wonder if it has to do with her wardrobe and hairstyle, which read as too modern to me.

    And yes, it's perfectly appropriate for Betty to be dressing the way she is, and it would be even if she were a little younger, given that she's now a political wife; they always dress more conservatively than the general public. Betty might not really know who she is, but she's always good at dressing the part! I'm just sad to see her in political wife mufti because we know how clothes-conscious she is and how wild her Italian outfit was (and don't forget she was an Italian designer's muse during her modeling days which produced some really forward-looking outfits she keeps in her closet but never wears). Now it seems that like those clothes, she's put that whole life in cleaner's plastic.

  16. Great article! So interesting, I'd never heard of "the Shrimp" before but she is awesome. I SERIOUSLY doubt Roger will go Timothy Leary, highly, highly, highly unlikely. Bert Cooper would go Timothy Leary before Roger would, which would also be highly improbably. Roger is way too uptight IMHO.

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  18. Gypsy Howell, I found this when looking for a circa-1964 photo of Streisand. It does seem like her hair was bobbed, and that was an emerging trend then, but it looks to me like there was a little more teasing and spraying going on in her hair than in Dr. Miller's. Dr. Miller's hair just looked a little too low-maintenance for that period, at least to me.

  19. Wonderful post.

    As to the longer time frame that fashion trends occupied, I want to mention that dresses and suits were better-made in those days (my vintage-collecting sisters are agreeing with me, yes?!) and when one bought an outfit, one made more an investment in it, one that was expected to hold up for years (and did). The notion of trendy "throwaway fashion"–cheap, mass-produced clothes that fall apart after three wash cycles–didn't really exist yet. It's why you see Betty still wearing full-skirted 50's dresses at times–they were still considered fashionable well into the 1960's.

  20. I admit, I mostly chose Roger to be Tim Leary as a gag, and because they both have white hair!I loved Rogers comment about his hair blending into the background and concern that he'd not be seen. But that op-art poster in Rogers office would be right at home at a Leary party! Yoda Bert could go Leary, but I think he just wants his kabuki office back.

    You're welcome SF! Love your comment about the lip gloss. I don't remember the Shrimp myself, but I do remember Twiggy! Let's hope Jane won't try to lose any more weight.

    Yeah, there's something about Dr. Miller that's a little off to me too. I don't want her and Don to be lovers — that would be too easy. I think she may have been a one time guest.

  21. Fab post! Loved the trip down memory lane, especially the pix of the great Jean Shrimpton. Oh, and from another vintage-loving gal, ditto litbrit's comments.

  22. Does anyone want to help me steal the Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian shift that's on display in the Met's Costume Institute… so Jane doesn't get it ?

  23. LOL, Sarah. That Mondrian dress reminds me a bit of one of the dresses that Jane wore in Season 2.

    Picking up on what Deborah (#7) said about Allison staying conservative: I've always loved a lot of Allison's outfits (and Hildy too, although I'm not sure if we will see Hildy again but I hope so). They both have tended to dress very professionally and I really like some of those blouses. I have a couple of blouses (one of them is vintage) that remind me of Hildy and also of Season 2 Peggy. I think women like Allison and Hildy might dress a little more "mod" when stepping out of the office — maybe they'd bring a shorter skirt for going out on drink dates with some young men.

    One more correction with regard to the ages: I just remembered that in Season 2, Jane told Joan she was 20. So by now she would be 22. It's hard to believe that Jane is two years younger than Peggy (especially because Peyton List "reads" older to me – I always think of her as late twenties), but apparently she is.

  24. Good call on the Jean Shrimpton inspiration for Jane…I bet Janie had that exact photo, the dress is way too familiar. Anyway she looks by far the best out of all the women on MM this season as far as 60's glamour.

    I'm still holding out hope for Betty since I think this marriage will hit a snag and she will want to look less stuffy once again.

  25. Loved the Shrimp comparison, good catch Therese, and I enjoyed reading your article!

    OK, depending on just how swiftly Matt Weiner's timeline moves this season…..Janie Bryant has a big challenge: how to subtly show each character's development/move the story line along, via fashion. She's been doing this since season 1, and with vigah! But this mid-decade mark I would think would be toughest, because (some) fashion got pretty zany and way-out. How to dress the characters in a way that doesn't look completely cartoonish? Especially if this season extends to the latter part of the decade, we're talking fringe, minis, maxis, bell-bottoms, fros, etc. Can you just see Dapper Don in a nehru jacket guys?

    Never a dull moment, and I wait with baited breath!

    As an aside, I wonder if someone here can please tell mel- how can I zoom in on the MM episode stills so I can really examine the sets? Just like TLo's fashion photos really zoom in so we can all see the intricate detail of the actresses' jewelry, etc.

    Chris, I enjoyed your engagement photos, they're lovely :O)

    How can I do this?

  26. Meowser, take a look at this image of Barbra on her second album, from 1963.

  27. #26 Gypsy: That image of "La Streisand" is gaw-geous, of course.

    What's interesting is that I watched 1975's "Shampoo" over the weekend which takes a look at late 60's Hollywood and Julie Christie, Lee Grant and Goldie Hawn had their hair styled in that 'do by Warren Beatty playing a promiscuous hairstylist (based on hairdresser Jon Peters' who dated Streisand).

    Art imitating Life imitating Art!

  28. I have tuned into this blog, though I have seen the show but once! Therese, your writing and research, and all your readers's comments, show a literacy and insight into cultural history and phenomena that make other more "serious" blogs read like cereal boxes! Keep writing and commenting, and I guess I better rent MM on Netflix, huh?

  29. Why thank you #28! (blush) You definitely should rent all 3 seasons on Netflix and be sure to watch them in order! (I'm just getting my 90 year old Mom to watch it, she thinks Don is dreamy! Be prepared for lots of eye candy with your drama! Mad Men is a great onion; lots and lots of layers to peel away! Dig in!

  30. I am probably the only one here who thinks that Jean Shrimpton and her ilk ruined everything! Bye bye curves…. What is Joanie going to do when Twiggy shows up? Loved those circle skirts. (Although I have to say I love this fashion for Peggy.)

    At the moment I'm in a blue funk like Don, so maybe he and I just can't handle the change!

  31. Gypsy Howell, I think the '63 and '64 Barbra hairdos are similar. In both cases, it's a chin-length bob, similar to what Faye Miller has. But Barbra's has the look of being straightened and sprayed into style, it's not nearly as loose. Dr. Miller's look, with a lot less styling and a piece casually pulled back from the crown, strikes me as being more of a '70s look.

    Next time I re-watch the ep I'll study the Dr. Miller look in more detail, but the whole scene between her and Don in his office struck me as a conversation Don Draper would be having with a woman in 1974, not 1964. (Don, of course, will look and sound pretty much the same in 1974, but grayer and more haggard.)

  32. I just re-watched. Dr. Miller has two different hairstyles: The one in the first scene where she's doing the focus group surveys, which is pretty much identical to Joan's bouffant, and the one in the party scene where she approaches Don. That's the one I'm specifically talking about, and it was a little more stylized than I had remembered, but I still think that pulled-back-and-clipped-with-the back-down hairstyle is a lot more Sarah Palin than Helen Gurley Brown.

    But I could be persuaded otherwise.

  33. LOVE this blog; LOVE this thread! Thank you!

    Oh, the Yardley reference made me laugh. I had a friend who wore a frosted one that was really almost white. Really awful.

    In season 3 Trudy showed up at the office one day, wearing an outhit, including hat, that seemed very "mod." The hat was almost like a riding hat. Not a Jackie O pillbox. I think the dress was plaid. Does anyone remember? It seemed to telegraph the mod era.

    Is it just me, or does Peggy STILL seem dowdy sometimes? Especially in what I call her Sunday clothes. On Thanksgiving at Don's door, wearing that brown coat and hat. So matronly.

    I cringed at Allison's office clothes (the skirt and prim blouses). When I think of how fun dresses would get and how much more comfortable…. My sisters and girlfriends would make our own clothes, thanks to home-ec sewing class we were forced to take. A-lines, baby-doll dresses, empire-waist dresses in all kinds of fun prints and colors. Fishnet stockings and flats–a variation on the Mary Jane. No girdles or pointed bras. Not all that expensive to dress like that. It was FUN and lent itself to all occasions. This was around 64.

  34. Oh, god yeah, I remember all those dresses we made too–I made scads of them! Right around this time or maybe a few years later, the "Simplicity" pattern company came out with patterns even a novice sewer could do In retrospect I wouldn't be caught dead in any of them, and home ec might be sneered at now, but if it hadn't been for those classes, I wouldn't know how to sew at all. And you're so right, we were the first generation to get truly liberated from pointy bras, girdles and garter belts (altho sometimes I wish the latter would make a comeback) 🙂 I think for the first time it's when dressing really did get fun.

  35. Therese, I love this post & all the comments!

    Jean Shrimpton was my ideal in 1964 when I was 15 going on 16. I bought every fashion magazine she was in and spent hours trying to get her "look". I even ironed my hair…on an ironing board!

    New makeup items in 1964 which we couldn't live without today:

    Lip gloss – Revolutionary! "What, lipstick with no color? Why not just slap on Vaseline?"

    Blush-On – First ever powder blush with a brush. Previously you used a creamy little cake of rouge applied with the fingers or a little round pad.

    Summer Blonde – First "do-it-yourself" blonde highlight kit aimed at the teen market.

    Does anyone else remember these?

  36. Hey Therese. Love this article!! I do remember Shrimpton (always thought her name was funny) but hadn't thought about her in 40 years! Great research and analysis on the fashions and characters of this wonderful show. If you get a chance, read last Sunday's NYT article about Mad Men. It's really thought provoking! I've had a cocktail almost every night since reading it! 😉

  37. Will Do! Thanks Nan!

  38. Speculating on the clothes, makeup, and hair to show up on the characters sure is fun. Now they're entering the era when I became conscious of and interested in such things. Yes, I had to buy the Yardley Slicker (and had the white one which horrified my mother) — it was expensive, good quality lipstick and a major purchase for me as a preteen (might even still have it somewhere). My mom wouldn't let me use Summer Blonde but when Sun-In came along a few years later that was reluctantly allowed. Also, like other posters I learned to sew in home ec and made a lot of dresses and the like. Fortunately my mom was a former home ec teacher; what they taught in school was too rudimentary to allow one to successfully make clothes from anything but the most basic Simplicity pattern.

    Chrissy, Jean Shrimpton's younger sister, was really better known to my age group as she was Mick Jagger's girlfriend.

  39. "Is it just me, or does Peggy STILL seem dowdy sometimes? Especially in what I call her Sunday clothes. On Thanksgiving at Don’s door, wearing that brown coat and hat. So matronly."

    The hats and coats don't seem to work so well on her. With the coat, it could be partly because of her size – she seems fairly short, around 5'3" or so? I am also short, although I'm slimmer than Peggy has been on the recent episodes, and I've noticed that too-big/too-long coats can dwarf me. When you're small, you have to look for things with a clean line that will elongate you. Peggy's coat might be too bulky for her, possibly.

    I really like hats personally, but Peggy/EM may not be a hat person – either that or the hats that they are choosing for her are not the most flattering for her.

  40. […] What fashion trends will our Mad Men and Women Emulate? | Basket … Of course, Don isn't balding, like o' blue eyes, but I agree that this is part of Don's work uniform, and the disguise he uses to keep Dick Whitman at bay. Maybe he should complete the look and get some sharkskin. Great post Therese Please write more. # 9 Meowser Says: August 6th, 2010 at 09:28 am. Didn't someone say that the birth certificate for Baby Gene said Betty was born in 1932? If so, that means she told Glen the truth, I would think. […]

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