Mad Men (check out the official site), the television show about Madison Ave ad executives set in the 1960s, has won multiple awards for its writing, acting and directing, but these are nearly eclipsed by the show’s spot-on retro style clothing and outfits. The ad men of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce work hard and play harder, all the while taking their careers and their working wardrobes very seriously.
John Hamm as Don Daper is an icon of 1960s men’s fashion – impeccably tailored suits, crisp white custom dress shirts with classic straight point collars and double cuffs, fedora hats, the perfect accessories and never a slicked back hair out of place. Don will never subscribe to casual Fridays. He has always been a womanizer, so one of his desk drawers is stocked with laundered white dress shirts for those days when he never makes it home from a night out on the town. Don is a scrapper who literally lied his way into his job, assuming the identity of a dead man, and he’s very careful to maintain the perfect veneer of cool sophistication.
Roger Sterling, another partner in the ad agency, was born into wealth and didn’t have to fight for success the way Don did. He’s all about old school power dressing, including classic pin-striped double breasted suits, vests and custom dress shirts with English spread collars and double cuffs. He wears dark colours to complement his silver hair. Pete Campbell, the up and coming finance guy, is still learning the ropes. He shows his lack of experience in business and fashion in his choice of blue suits and his little-boy side parted hair style. But he’s learning.
Perhaps more than any show in recent years, Man Men succeeds in conveying the symbolism behind men’s formal business wear. Each man’s clothing choices reflect his business style and character. The men’s clothing also serves as textbook examples of correct style choices. Any man who’s interested in looking good in business attire can learn a thing or two from the ad men of Mad Men.