’60s style takes over runway

Everyone was waiting for it, counting down the days until April 7 arrived. Holding their breaths, biting their nails, hearts pounding in anticipation.

The Mad Men season six premiere.

It seemed like you couldn’t sign on to a news feed or walk into a coffee shop without hearing someone moaning and crying over how badly they wanted the new season to arrive. Granted, no other show has really permeated pop culture in such an original way, yet I’ve never really seen the allure of the show aside from one thing: its fashion.

So slow-burning dramas about life as ad men in the ’50s and ’60s aren’t really my thing. But I can definitely appreciate a great cinched waist and a beautifully tailored tux. The fashion of the show is so celebrated that its designer routinely has had a Mad Men-themed collection in Banana Republic for the past two spring seasons as well as a fall season.

Open up any fashion magazine this week and you’ll see what’s “hot for spring.” It’s all about mod, black and white, ’60s-influenced frocks and pants. For men, it’s all about the tailored suit, even in the summer. Large glasses, pocket squares and skinny ties are in. Short-shorts, crop tops and baggy pants are out the window.

And while Fashion Week is a great time for designers to show what’s new for next season, the truth is that everything that’s “new” is actually probably several decades old. Trends certainly repeat themselves — which is why I was thankful that the clog fad quickly died out.

Each decade has its own style and its own defining characteristics. The style dynamic ’50s and ’60s, however, have remained timeless throughout the decades. The truth is, you can never go wrong with a classic style and cut. Flared out jeans from the ’70s? I guess they can look good if you pair them well with some cute wedges and a tucked in shirt. Tight black shirt with a hoop-like skirt? You’ll always knock it out of the park — guaranteed.

So hop on the bandwagon. Embrace the aesthetic because honestly, it’ll never go out of style. Mark my words: One hundred years from now, people will still be wearing red lipstick.

Need a little guidance? Look to the characters from Mad Men for a little help.

Ginger Bombshell / Glamour Girl / wallflower

Christina Hendricks plays Joan, a sexy and smart employee at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Her signature is her walk — with a slight wiggle of her derriere she can command the attention of a room.

Hendricks claims that her walk is because of the specially made undergarments the actors use on the show. With girdles, one can cinch in the waist and create a shape that anyone would lust after. On top, go for jewel-drenched satin dresses that show off everything that your mama gave you.

Betty (January Jones) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) are polar opposites. One basically spends her days in beautiful ballgowns while the other rocks an unfortunate set of bangs. No matter which character you identify with, there’s a way to make it work.

If you want to glam it up like Betty, it’s all about shape and material: cinched-in waists with cascading trains, perfectly done makeup and impeccable hair. And Betty isn’t afraid of some bling — look for sequined accents and large necklaces.

If Peggy is more your girl, then go with the super current Peter Pan collar trend that’s been hitting up the runways recently. But beware: Though it’s polished and in-season, if you’re too busty it can create an unflattering shape for your body.

Mr. Draper Himself

Men, it’s all about the fit. No matter how expensive your clothes are, if they are too baggy or too loose, it doesn’t matter. All boys should have a pair of perfectly fitting jeans and slacks — that way you will never be in doubt.

Jon Hamm’s Don Draper might always be in a suit, but you can apply his polished style to your everyday life. Stop with the messy look or what you think are funny graphic T-shirts. Invest in a wardrobe that offers a wide color palette and can be matched with anything.

In terms of a suit, you don’t have to head to Alfred Dunhill to feel like Mr. Draper. The fashion district has plenty of cheap tailoring shops, which sell quality suits for a fraction of the cost. Plus, with a little haggling, you can get yourself a nice discount.

Skinny and bow ties are in, so have a few to cycle throughout the week. And now that you’re starting to apply for internships and jobs, learning to look your best is key.

For Mad Men devotees (or those who just want to look like one) who are having trouble finding some retro items, just look to Banana Republic’s Mad Men collection. The importance of this trend is finding small retro pieces to pair with more modern-day ones. Pair a crisp dress shirt with a skinny tie and a solid hoodie. Rock a classic suit with some Chucks. Make it your own.

Fedoras and cigarettes sold separately.

Sheridan Watson is a junior majoring in Critical Studies. Her column “A Stitch In Time” runs Tuesdays.


3 replies
  1. Gemy Vinson
    Gemy Vinson says:

    It’s not just the 60’s dress but we’re seeing it in the hairstyles and the make up as well. My friend watches Mad Men, mostly because of the dialogue, but the style of the show has definitely influenced style once again.

    • Tom
      Tom says:

      The irony is that Ms. Watson majors in critical studies.

      “All boys should have a pair of perfectly fitting jeans and slacks — that way you will never be in doubt.”

      Is this really what they teach in the critical studies department?

Comments are closed.