[Here’s another reprint of a lost article. It garnered lively discussion last spring.]
When Peggy Olson wants to dress up, she wraps herself up in a bow. Well, not “dress up” exactly. I think it’s specifically when she wants to please a man, or be sexy or beautiful. She doesn’t wear bows to church or for “Ma.” She likes a pussy bow at the collar for work, and she learned in Season 1 that “men like scarves.” The dressy bow, though, is particular.
In Mad Men Episode 5.07: At the Codfish Ball, Peggy thinks Abe is going to propose, and, at Joan’s prompting, goes shopping.
It’s almost a joke: Here I am in my pretty pink package. Open me! Peggy behaves, before Abe drops his “living together” bombshell, in broad strokes of girlishness. And there’s that bow, right smack in the middle of her: Open me! Open me!A year and a half later, Episode 6.05: The Flood. Peggy is at an award dinner. She’s with Abe, but well into the flirtatious crush portion of her relationship with Ted–at one point she’s literally between them. In addition, she’s up for an award. Once again, she’s wrapped up with a bow at the middle. You could get metaphorical and say she’s divided—between Ted and Abe, and between the top pink half and the bottom green half. But the girly pink is there, as is the bow. Open me!
Finally, there’s Mad Men Episode 6.13: In Care Of. The scenario here is that Ted has declared his love for Peggy, but then insisted they can’t act on it. His wife and kids have just visited the office, making Peggy uncomfortable and jealous. Now she’s going to get ready to go out on a date straight from work, and make sure Ted sees exactly how delicious she looks.