Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mad About "Men"



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!!!


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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.




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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?icon Wear it with these
Women's shoes: Lauren by Ralph Lauren Amaya - Royal patent


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?


Women's shoes: Calvin Klein Bonnie - Black, cream and birch

(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.


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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.


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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.



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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.



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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.)


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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.


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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,

Women's shoes: Nine West Nuncio 13 - Red

but I think a heel looks best with this shape. Classic pointed-toed pumps are a great match.


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Meow.


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Gold brocade -- so beautiful.
Women's shoes: Nine West Barbe - ocean patent

Fantastic deep blue patent.





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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.


Photo: amctv.com

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10 comments:

Deb-ct said...

::::::sigh:::::::

Duchesse said...

Delicious post! In 1968, at college, I was asked to a function and told to wear "sheath and heels."

We hippie chicks fell over laughing. Come ON!

If I wasn't wearing jeans, I wore a micro-mini in a psychedelic print or a floor length garnet velvet dress with a huge ankh appliqued on the front. "Beads and feathers from Salvation Army counters" indeed.

Just six years past '62, no young hip urban woman would be seen dead in a sheath, unless her mother bought it AND-as mine once did- escorted her to be sure it was worn to a wedding.

We wore boots, sandals or platforms, never pumps. Too bourgeois, too boring, too... old.

I'm glad sheaths are back!

r sorrell said...

Jon Hamm is my boyfriend. Don't tell my husband.

I love the shoes January Jones is wearing.

I was looking at vintage shift dresses online over the weekend, and I found a PERFECT new one at a boutique in South Austin. I will probably go back and buy it, if it's still there. So, it's a very cool coincidence that you've written about this.

Anonymous said...

****Standing Ovation*****

Stephanie H.

Plumcake said...

I love a crinoline too...except I was in mine for 13 hours last Sunday. That's Too Much Crinoline.

Would you like to know the only thing better than that picture of your Pedro's? THIS picture of your Pedro's.

http://i34.tinypic.com/124ecsx.jpg

Plumcake said...

I love a crinoline too...except I was in mine for 13 hours last Sunday. That's Too Much Crinoline.

Would you like to know the only thing better than that picture of your Pedro's? THIS picture of your Pedro's.

http://i34.tinypic.com/124ecsx.jpg

Princess Poochie said...

The 60's time period is great for shoes. Look up Joseph La Rose if you want to see some perfect 60's heels. I've bought 4 or 5 pairs of vintage unworn deadstock and, egads, they are lovely.

And I love your Pedros. I have a pair of Manolos in that color. Isn't the rosey golden blush the best? The shot is iconic!

I just saw these beauties and thought they would be a great option too - http://www.simplysoles.com/product/601

Such a rich wine color perfect for pairing with a black wiggle dress for cocktails... and more....

Luv
Poochie

Soigne said...

I love sheath dresses, particularly silks, wool crepe and fine cottons. They are hard to find, however, where I'm at size-wise -- I am at the high end of misses and low end of plus. If I find something that fits the criteria, I grab it.
The crinoline style dresses you show are wonderful for me. I also have a small/short waist.

RehabLady said...

I found your blog via head nurse.

Love the stuff! If my feet weren't so odd-sized, I'd have more shoes, but alas, I buy the interesting ones I can find that don't look like waterskis.

Yes, I, too am so happy about the sheath dress. I went out and bought three of them this summer. They're just not your momma's sheath dress this year.

I'll be so upset when fall comes to these parts and I can't wear them anymore.

Frank said...

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.