Everyone loves "Mad Men." We love it because it's a great show filled with compelling characters, terrific acting and snappy dialogue. We love it because it reassures us that whatever craziness we might wrestle with in our lives, there was someone else wrestling with the same thing 40-plus years ago, which means we can probably survive it, too. We love it because it's a painstakingly truthful reproduction of a specific point in the past, so accurate that it's like time travel.
And. We love it for the clothes.
Oh, the cloooooooooothes!!!
I. Could. Just. Die. Seriously, almost nothing on this beautiful Earth makes me happier than a crinoline.
The second season of the show premiered this past Sunday and it's set in 1962, two years after the first season. This period in fashion is positively brilliant. The enormous skirts and wasp waists begat by the post-war New Look and iconic of the 50's are still with us, along with a narrower, more body-conscious shape perfectly embodied by Jackie Kennedy in her Oleg Cassini shift dresses. There is a neatness, a put-together-ness about these clothes that I think most of us are finding really appealing right now. They look sophisticated and adult, and after the last few years of having babydoll-shaped minidresses and navel-revealing blue jeans meant for pre-adolescents stuffed down our throats, we're really longing for The Grown-Up.
Like this lovely thing. Great body-conscious shape without being skin-tight, flattering wrap bodice with straps wide enough to wear a bra under it -- what else could you want? Wear it with these
for a great pop of color. If that look is too literal for you -- too perfectly 60s and you feel it's a little costume-y -- how about these?
(The more I look at this shoe, the more I like it. That is great-looking! I'm still having my big chunky heel thing, so these are really appealing.)
Much more modern. Definitely not something you would have spotted in the steno pool at Sterling-Cooper.
The sheath dress has never gone out of style, nor will it ever go out of style. This is because it's easy, it's classic, it's dead useful. Get one in a good neutral color in a good neutral fabric (a nice silk twill, for example, or a high-quality gabardine) and you can do a million things with it. Fancy jewelry and sparkly shoes for cocktails. Under a blazer with your best career-gal pumps for work. Boots and a cardigan for meeting a friend for lunch. Depending on the fit, it can be even more versatile by wearing it over a turtleneck or a blouse. Funerals, wedding, graduations, job interviews, tea with Her Majesty -- a sheath is never wrong. Best of all, if it fits properly, it's one of the most flattering things you can have in your closet. A sheath creates a nice long line, skimming over the body -- it gestures toward sexiness, but it doesn't scream about it. There are many, many variations on the theme, depending on how your curves actually work.
Feeling a little less sleek than you'd like? The gentle gathers in the skirt here help to disguise a tummy or hips that you're not feeling perfectly confident about, and the wide belt emphasizes your waist. Also -- what a wonderful color.
A bit pear-shaped? This bold abstract print will help to disguise that, and the wide-set straps draw the eye upward and help to balance the hips.
Classic. Straps nice & wide for a good supportive underpinning, and the belt can be moved up & down to sit at your actual waist, wherever that might be.
Need a little help creating an hourglass shape? Then you need something like this. Extra emphasis on the slimmest part of you comes from the gathered waistband, and the gathers under the bust and at the hip will help create curves where you don't have them. (Or, conversely, ease the dress gently over curves you do have.)
Slightly more modern, but still a great shape. I lovelovelove the graphic element of this dress. Do note, however, that the white trim provides emphasis and where that emphasis falls. If you want to create more of a waist, this is a great dress. If you are trying to disguise hips that you're less than thrilled with, this is not.
Very nearly perfect. Love that cowl collar, it's so ladylike and such a great detail.
With a sheath dress, I like a heel. It doesn't have to be a sky-high heel,
but I think a heel looks best with this shape. Classic pointed-toed pumps are a great match.
I have these shoes in another color and they are beyond. An unbelievably sexy iteration of the pump -- it's amazing how just a few small tweaks, like the depth of the scoop at the side, and the curve of the heel, can take a shoe from basic to Katiebarthedoor. You will not walk in these shoes, you will sashay. Trust me.
I've found lots & lots of other wonderful ways to get that "Mad Men" look, but I'll bring you the rest of them next week. Until then, put on some sexy shoes, go have a martini or a champagne cocktail and flirt with someone you probably shouldn't. It'll do you good.