A drama about one of New York’s most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm’s most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Don Draper.
|Jon Hamm||Don Draper|
|January Jones||Betty Draper Francis|
|Elisabeth Moss||Peggy Olson|
|John Slattery||Roger Sterling|
|Jessica Paré||Megan Draper|
|Vincent Kartheiser||Pete Campbell|
|Christina Hendricks||Joan Harris|
juillet 19, 2007
Don Draper – the character
The Clothes of Don Draper
Clothing directly allows Don to manipulate his external image. He uses them to shield himself from his environment, while they support his aura of authority. He is absolutely not a clothes horse, rather choosing the same wardrobe staples that work for him: short brimmed hats, narrow lapels, skinny ties and white shirts. Though these fashion choices were the newest styles available after his return from Korea, Don has clearly stopped thinking about latest trends.
The costumes and suits for Mad Men were designed by Janie Bryant, who claims: “These guys were the elite of the elite. They all went to prep school – they’re used to uniforms, jackets and ties, a buttoned-down look.” Also, the set designers were so focused on details that they did not display apples in the show because modern-day versions are too big to be considered and apple from the 1960′s. Based on these statement and insights, I expected a lot of attention to detail sartorially.
Don Draper’s Suits & Shirts
The suits were probably one of the biggest disappointments for in the show, in my opinion. Apparently, some of the garments were authentic sixties, but I think they were rather cheap looking and not actually what the New York ” Elite of the Elite” would have worn. For example, the fabrics are categorically too flimsy and thin. Back then, the 13 oz weight was an absolute standard, even though synthetic fibers were used more heavily even in more upscale suits. The thin fabrics don’t drape well, and so you can often see Don with a gaping collar and ill-fitting sleeves and pants.
According to Bryant, she paid attention to the character showing some cuff, but to me that’s not a noteworthy highlight but an obvious expectation. Also, the buttons on the sleeves often do not feature button holes, not even sham ones. In the 1960′s, there were still custom tailors around and although mass produced suits were the norm, American Alpha males would have rarely worn suits without surgeon cuffs. Overall, the suits did not often look authentic to me (except in terms of the style) and I do own quite a few vintage 1960s garments. Right after the first season of Mad Men, one could purchase Mad Men suits from various retailers and currently, Brooks Brothers seems to have the licensing rights to it. These look very similar to the suits in the show, but of course, they are made of light weight fabrics and not 1960′s cloth. With prompting, Don will wear more interesting such as a plaid sportscoat, but he looks uncomfortable.
The shirts are often modern and were sourced from Brooks Brothers. The collar styles are all fairly classic and Don wears exclusively white shirts, even on the rare occasions he wears a sportscoat!
Donald Draper’s Shoes
Throughout the show, we rarely get to see his black shoes. In the rare occasions, one can see that they are Norwegian Derby shoes without the split toe. This style is a little less formal than a black plain toe oxford, like Roger wears, but they still business appropriate.
Don Draper’s Accessories
Don wears genuine 1960′s accessories. Let’s start with the ties.
Don Draper’s Ties
All of Don’s ties are slim, and sometimes even very skinny. They range from ivy league club stripes to solids to satin with clocks. The colors are usually dark or muted and range from grey to black to blue, but you usually never see Don in a red tie. In regards to texture he prefers to wear plain weave or satin ties and only on rare occasions do you see twill or repp fabrics. Note that Don avoids the modern faux pas of the too-long tie; his ties are the appropriate length for his height that either skim the belt or fall slightly higher. A great source for ties that have the right length is Fort Belvedere, which offers ties in three different lengths.
All the ties seem to be very authentic, but it is not really difficult to source 1960s ties. Usually, the tie knots are simple four-in-hand knots without a dimple. The ties are usually kept in place with genuine tie bars, if worn at all, from the 1960′s.
Don is clearly from the generation that wore belts instead of suspenders. He matches the belt with his black shoes and slim ties. This means the belt is very slim and not more than 1 ” wide. Today this size would be mostly categorized as a women’s belt. The buckles he mostly wears are typical sixties gold plated plaque buckles.
The Don Draper Watch
During the first few seasons of Mad Men, it was never really clear what watch Don Draper was wearing. However as the seasons have progressed, it appears that Don’s watches change with his pay raises.
Omega Suveran or Elgin Galaxie; and Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox
In season 3, we only get a glimpse of his watch but it was still not clear exactly which model Don wore. It looks similar to an Omega Suveran or a Elgin Galaxie. However, the first previous watch was made exclusively for the Swedish Market, and the latter does not have a 3 on the dial – but Don’s wristwatch clearly did. He definitely wore a Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox at least once.
Later, it became obvious that he was also wearing a Rolex Explorer I. For a TV show so highly praised for its historical accuracy to the period, it was surprising to me to see Don Draper wear a 36mm Oyster Perpetual without a date. Unlike the Cadillac he bought, the Rolex Explorer is simply not something an American would have known about in 1964. At the time, Rolex was pretty much unknown in the US and steel-bracelet watches were not in fashion for men of Don’s position.
Moreover, when he lights a cigarette, pours a drink, or browses through his portfolio, it is clear that Don’s watch is a sapphire crystal (probably Ref. 114270 or something similar out of the 1990′s). However, Rolex did not introduce the sapphire until the 1970′s with their Beta Quartz and Presidential Day-Date models.
Omega Seamaster De Ville
Another watch that was clearly visible on Don’s wrist was the Omega Seamaster De Ville with a date indicator and a black dial. With its 34mm diameter and an automatic caliber 562 or 563, it was considered as one of the better automatic caliber watches that Omega manufactured during the sixties.
Personally, one of my favorite watches that made several appearances on the show was the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. For those of you who are not familiar with this classic watch, the Reverso was originally introduced in 1931 as a Polo Watch. British Officers who played polo in India kept complaining about broken glasses on their wrist watches.
Therefore, the watch importer César de Trey informed the manufacturer Jacques-David LeCoultre of the difficulty. In collaboration with his Partner Jaeger and the engineer René-Alfred Chauvot, the Reverso was developed. The rectangular design allowed the wearer to flip the dial so it was protected during the game. The patent was filed on March 4th, 1931, and shortly thereafter, the watch was manufactured. Despite its sporty character, it soon became popular with all kinds men around the world.
Interestingly, after Don Draper is promoted in season 2 of Mad Men, he upgrades from a silver to a gold Reverso. In February 2012, Jaeger LeCoultre released a limited edition Mad Men Reverso that can be seen here.
Don Draper’ Sunglasses
In the show, Don Draper wears the Aviator model from Randolph Engineering Sunglasses. We tested the RE Sportsman sunglasses in the past, we can safely say that the workmanship is excellent, in addition to the spot-on accuracy of the style. The squarer shape of the lens clearly complements Jon Hamm’s angular features.
Cufflinks of Don
Don wears his white, double cuffed shirts with genuine 1960′s cufflinks. Generally, the cuff jewelry back then was larger than it is today and the styling is typical for the era. Don wears flat, rectangular, matte silver cuff links or rounded triangulars in gold. Also, he wears stones in black or even blue with his sportscoat in Rome.
Part of the Mad Men Look is, of course, the pocket square, though Don does not always wear one. If so, it is a white linen of cotton square that has always worn in the standard TV fold.
As a passionate smoker, Don Draper trusts his Zippo lighter.
The accessories that were chosen for Don match his character and are mostly plain and simple.
How to Create The 1960′s Don Draper Mad Men Look
Mad Men Suit Authenticity: Things done well
- I. Narrow Lapels
- II. Some shoulder padding
- III. Tapered jacket waist
- IV. Business colors – grey, blue, charcoal
- V. Narrowly cut trousers that taper to the ankle without a break
- VI. Use of authentic tie bars and cufflinks
- VII.Aviator Sunglasses
Clothes of Roger Sterling in Mad Men
Almost all of the suits Roger wears in Mad Men are 3-piece suits with pleated, cuffless trousers. The double breasted suit aside, the classic three-piece suit is as dressed up as one can get before encroaching on evening wear, and it’s well suited to his egotistical personality. Given his age, Roger is more set in his ways, and is unlikely to appreciate the style direction the 60’s has taken. The fabrics he chooses are all rooted in business attire, and range from light gray worsteds, navy serge and charcoal shadow stripes to fine pin striped suitings. Outside of the office, he usually wears a hat paired with a topcoat and classic black oxford shoes. Throughout the show, his shirts are almost exclusively plain white –an affinity shared by most of the male characters.
Within the range of clothing items that Roger deems acceptable to his image, he demonstrates much more willingness to play with different style components. For example, you can see him in various shirts collars, with or without a collar bar, various ties and accessories such as flat, golden wrist watches, pinky finger rings and cuff links. His ties, while not overly wide, are never as narrow as Don Draper’s ties and are much more classic at about 7 or 8 cm in width. Also, he wears varying pocket square fabrics and folds – crowned, flat or simply puffed. His favorite accessory is obviously the cigarette, with a close second being the lowball glass.
Despite his attention to detail, he commits the occasional faux pas that seems more attributable to the costume designer than it is to his character’s choice. Sometimes, you can spot him wearing a tacky matching tie and pocket square combination that a man of his confidence would not need to stoop to wearing. Even worse, you can often see him wearing a belt underneath his vest, which causes it to bunch up and reveal the low rise of the pants and a usually-hidden puff of shirt fabric.
He always wears single breasted coats with notched lapels, typically with 3 buttons. His matching waistcoats are likewise single breasted and he always follows the rule of leaving the bottom waistcoat button unbuttoned. But let’s take a detailed look at one of Roger’s outfits:
Here, Roger wears a shadow-striped, charcoal suit with white shirt, beige and black dotted tie, with a matching pocket square and cuff links. Instead of pick stitching and real buttonholes, the coat features a machine sewn edge and 4 cuff buttons. While this was in fact seen in 1960’s upscale suits, as Roger would have worn them, they would have had proper pick stitching and hand sewn buttonholes.
The charcoal shadow stripe socks are combined with black half brogue oxfords that don’t seem to fit him particularly well. Also, if you pay attention to the way his shoes are laced up, you notice that neither of his shoes are laced up in the proper oxford pattern of parallel lines. Amazingly, both shoes have a different pacing pattern! Considering this is a classic outfit, no business man in his right mind would have laced his shoes in two different ways.
This lacing pattern occurs throughout the Mad Men seasons, which makes me believe they only had him wear a single pair of shoes throughout the entire show! Suffice to say, you should always rotate your shoes in order to get more wear out of them and of course, for the sake of elegance, it’s desireable to have a variety of shoe patterns. Having only one pair of go-to shoes – even if they are a versatile classic such as Roger’s black oxfords – still creates an ongoing compromise of style. They will never be a perfect match for all outfits, and it seems unlikely that a man who appreciates his accessories in the way Roger does would only wear one pair of shoes.
Overall, Roger Sterling is an important character in Mad Men. He has some of the best lines lines and his character is well supported by his wardrobe, with the exception of his shoe and belt selection.
Betty Draper Francis’s clothing/Fashion Style
Betty Francis personifies the phrase « drop dead gorgeous; » she looks glamorous in everything from jockey attire to a pink negligee. Betty’s beautiful floral print dresses and matching head bands, sophisticated hair styles, high waisted pants, fur coats, smart stilettos and crimson lips inspire even the wrinkliest couch potato with awe! This season Betty has been moving away from her signature floral print dresses toward slim, more conservative suits. Perhaps Betty is adapting to her new life as the wife of politician Henry Francis, or perhaps this new look represents a lady who is finally starting to find her independence. Regardless, we can’t wait to see what new style surprises Betty’s got up her sleeve this season. Betty has surprised everyone with sudden and unexplained changes. Her weight gain and dyed-black hair was her oddest of style choices. She was going for the Elizabeth Taylor-look and ended up resembling Henry’s mother.