Sixties Style Swoon - une femme d'un certain âge

Sixties Style Swoon

Mad Men is back, on the heels of its 16 Emmy Nominations, including one for Best Drama Series. Season 2 picks up two years later in 1962, and the first episode features actual footage from Jackie Kennedy’s televised Valentine’s Day White House tour (which you can watch in its entirety here.)The show’s 60’s era styles have garnered much attention in the fashion press, mostly for the form-fitting “ladylike” dresses worn by the women in the office.
(“Sixties” style in retrospect is often associated with hippie/bohemian fashions, but we tend to forget that the more buttoned down look as in the picture above was the norm for most people until almost the end of that decade.)

While I love the nostalgia factor of the dresses, I haven’t forgotten the torturous underpinnings required to create those smooth lines. However there were a couple of looks from the Season 2 premiere I would happily emulate. The first was Betty Drapers’ fabulous equestrienne ensemble. Look at her! Not a splash or mud or drop of horse snot anywhere! Look at that scarf! I’ve mentioned before that having grown up with horses, I’m a sucker for any kind of equestrian look. This is so over-the-top classy that I just about fainted. Someone, please-for-the-love-of-God tell me where I can find that cashmere (I’m assuming) jacket! Why can’t I look like that when I hit the trail?The other ensemble that totally wowed me was what Betty’s friend Francine was wearing in this scene: I would kill for that jacket. In fact, I’d wear the whole outfit exactly as shown here, print pants and all. I’m lighting incense to the Clothing Gods in hopes they see fit to put something like this in my path.

More Mad Men Style to follow after next week’s episode!


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  1. July 30, 2008 / 4:13 am

    Love the Mad Men look. I say that it’s time to bring back the clean, classic style of Jackie O and Princess Grace.
    Enough already with the slutty micro mini, midrift bearing, thong showing nonsense that I see every where. And with it the sweatsuits an crocs.
    Let’s have some classic American style.

  2. July 30, 2008 / 11:40 am

    I really need to watch this show.

  3. July 30, 2008 / 11:56 am

    We’re twin-posting again and I love it! Pseu, one of the reason they look so good in these outfits is that they are foundation-garmented within an inch of their lives. Not only are they getting the era-specific undergarment cut (the bullet bras) they also have ‘TV tailoring’ which includes things like weighted hems.

    That pale coat on Betty is the height of 60s elegance- which is really a return to prewar quality- designers were having a ball getting good silk and cashmere again.

  4. Anonymous
    July 30, 2008 / 12:16 pm

    I love this show so much and I too drool over the fashion. I’m amazed at the effort put into dressing in this era. There is an amazing vintage shop in my town and I think I just may have to pay it another visit.

    Stephanie H.

  5. July 30, 2008 / 2:56 pm

    Stephanie H,

    If you don’t find anything that you like in your local vintage shop there are great online stores for vintage clothes.
    You can learn more about shopping for vintage online at Mary Kincaid’s blog, and on my blog

  6. July 30, 2008 / 3:58 pm

    all i know is, as a kid in that era, every time i had to put on a “pretty” or “party” dress, i thought the scratchy slip with the multi layers of what felt like barbed wire, would kill me. while i agree it all looks classy and well put together, i remember my aunt saying no “nice woman” *jiggled*.

    it would be nice if we could have a modified, more comfortable version of these classic clothes.

    as for the show, every time i see it, i ask my aunt — who worked for a big corporation at this time period — how she could *stand* being treated and talked to if it was the way men talked to the women on that show! and she said, “that’s just the way it was… but don’t they *look* nice?”

  7. July 30, 2008 / 4:16 pm

    Time to thank you again, Pseu, for introducing me to this show — I gobbled up the Season 1 DVDs in no time at all and am keen for Season 2.
    The cumulative effect of these comments is to echo what you set up in your post — looking good vs. being content/happy/satisfied in one’s clothes. Betty Draper never does — you, on the other hand, look wonderful on your horse. So yes, I too drool over the clothes (isn’t the secret as much the quality of the textiles as it is the cut? that green jacket wouldn’t work without good quality mohair if my eyes aren’t deceiving me), but I really don’t long for the return of that look which is not at all a forgiving one. Elements, yes, but nostalgia for that era terrifies me!

  8. Arabella
    July 30, 2008 / 4:47 pm

    In the early 80s I was wearing a vintage version of the green jacket, found at a church sale for pennies; I used to have to brush it like a cat!
    I think the show’s designers (across the board) should be heaped with awards. The writing/character development is, for me, poor though – I sometimes watch it with the sound off.

  9. July 30, 2008 / 5:39 pm

    Thanks you, Arabella, for expressing my own reaction to this show. I find it heavyhanded, smirking, and utterly contrived.

    In addition, there are glaring anachronisms. No one in 1960 would have said “No way!” as Don Draper does. And there’s a scene in a Season 1 episode where Pete asks his parents for down-payment money: his father is seated in his lavish city-home living room wearing Bermuda shorts and Topsiders. No man of his generation and class would have dreamed of wearing such a casual outfit anywhere but “the country.” Men of his status wore coats and dress trousers–and usually ties–even at home.

  10. July 30, 2008 / 5:40 pm

    Miss J hasn’t caught this show but the fashion sure inspires her to Netflix it.

  11. July 30, 2008 / 5:48 pm

    belle – yes, more classic American style, please! And I’m going to check out that other vintage blog you’ve mentioned (yours, of course, is fabulous!)

    wendyb – you might want to see if you can catch up with the first season on DVD or your cable On Demand service. It really sets up a lot of what is referenced in the first episode of this season.

    duchesse – true, I have no love for the required undergarments or scratchy petticoats from that era, but that coat looks comfortable AND elegant!

    stephanie H. – unfortunately around here, “vintage” has come to mean 80’s – 90’s mostly. It’s really tough to find honest-to-gawd 50’s or 60’s vintage.

    tessa – heh, I always end up craving a martini by the end of each episode.

    bonnie ann – I’m with you on the more comfortable version of those styles! And that *was* how women were treated, even up into the 80’s.

    mater – glad you’re enjoying! That picture of me on the horse is from this last weekend, my first time up since my hip replacement, and it was such a joy to ride without pain! I think Betty’s character has a huge investment in looking the “right” way; as an executive wife you were expected to adhere to an image (which reminds me a lot of my mom when I was a kid).

    arabella – I actually find the stories and characters quite compelling, but I can see how it might seem to move at a snail’s pace. I think the interesting part of the characters is how much they *don’t* say (but that you can read in their faces) as people weren’t as open in those milieux about expressing feelings. But yes, the visual impact is amazing.

  12. July 30, 2008 / 5:56 pm

    The online magazine Valet has a feature with the costume designer for the show.

  13. ~Tessa
    July 30, 2008 / 3:09 pm

    I love to drink cocktails while I watch Mad Men. I recorded last weeks and I’m waiting for the right moment to crack that new bottle of vodka! I love the housewifey day dresses and Joan’s sexy secretary look. But my favorite: men in SUITS!

  14. Arabella
    July 31, 2008 / 12:46 am

    After paying attention to the comments (!) can I just say – you had a hip replacement? And you ride a horse? Blimey deja,I raise my glass.
    My experience of horses has been restricted to seeing them traded when I was a child, usually at a cross-roads; betting on them as an adult, thanks to a grandad who was a one for the gee-gees and a tic-tac man. But I’ve never sat on one.

    I don’t mind the pace of Mad Men, rather, I think the plot line of Draper’s double life is too weighty for the structure of the teleplay as written.
    That ‘less is more’ strategy you mention is finely played by Elisabth Moss, don’t you think?

    Git along little dogies….

  15. July 31, 2008 / 1:52 am

    Speaking of Elisabeth Moss–and sorry to beat this, um, dead horse–but…her character is supposed to be from Brooklyn? Puh-leeze. Des Moines is more like it.

    Regional U.S. accents were strong in 1960.

  16. July 31, 2008 / 1:56 am

    Nancyf – yeah, they do miss the mark at times, but to me overall this show really captures how I remember that time.

    miss janey – yes, if you can get if from Netflix it’s definitely worth checking out.

    Thomas – thanks for the heads up. I’ll definitely have a look tonight!

    arabella – yes, and I highly recommend the surgery! Horseback riding was my passion for many, many years. Unfortunately I don’t have the $$ to keep a horse myself, but have been looking into getting my son into one of the many riding programs for special needs kids, and taking some more lessons myself.

    Yes, Elizabeth Moss is quite good!

  17. July 31, 2008 / 2:44 am

    Regional U.S. accents were strong in 1960.

    True, but my personal feeling is that in most cases a skipped accent is far less distracting than someone who does the accent badly.

  18. July 31, 2008 / 6:51 am

    My mother has horror stories of getting together to go out into the world back in the 60’s – riding the NYC subways wearing high heels (no balance) and hanging on for dear life from the straps – with gloves on.

    She did look amazing though….

    That green shawl collared coat looks to be mohair – very itchy – but I have seen some about. Golyester is a good source in LA for that era, or try Polkadots and Moonbeams.

  19. July 31, 2008 / 3:56 pm

    Deja, I didn’t realize that was you on the horse..I thought it was an old picture of the blue blooded equestrian Jackie O.!
    I hope that you get your son into a special needs riding program. I’ve seen them work wonders.
    Oh, and since I also don’t have the $$ to ride, would you consider co-leasing a horse together?

  20. July 31, 2008 / 4:13 pm

    Belle – ohhhh, that’s tempting! I’ve realized lately just how much I miss riding and just being around horses.

  21. July 31, 2008 / 7:11 pm

    “Regional U.S. accents were strong in 1960…”

    as weith regional accents today, a lot of it depended on the person and their own background. my godfather is from brooklyn, and he had the “Greenpernt” accent that you hear in all those WWII movies — goil for girl, earl for oil, and fil-um, for film. his wife, who grew up only a few blocks from him, doesn’t sound like that *at all!* i grew up in the bronx in the 1960s, as did my 4 siblings — we were only 14 months apart each — yet my sister sounds like something from a movie — Ft. Apache, the Bronx, for instance — while I often get questioned on where i come from. granted, i went to college in the midwest, and had theatrical training, yet to my own ear, i sound impossibly and undeniably like a girl from “Da Bronx.” if people are hung up on regional accents in the show — it has failed to grasp your interest. i find the show mildly entertaining, but not Tivo-worthy.

  22. July 31, 2008 / 9:08 pm

    I agree with Bonnie – people tend to sound like their parents mostly, regardless of neighborhood. My mother grew up in the NY metro area, but as her parents were Irish immigrants, her speech/accent was not what one would think of as a typically NY. She was bon in 1940, so she was exactly Peggy’s age. My siblings and I grew up mainly on Long Island, yet people are always surprised that I don’t have that “kawfee” (coffee) Jerry Seinfeld accent.

    I assumed Peggy has worked to tone down any accent to further her career, or her parents came to Brooklyn from elsewhere. Not all NYkrs have strong regional accents, then or now.

    Phrasing ells people more about where you are from – that is very regional.

  23. July 31, 2008 / 9:10 pm

    Oye! Please forgive the above spelling,(or lack thereof) I need to either type more slowly or have more coffee…something..

  24. August 1, 2008 / 5:16 pm

    You are right most people weren’t all boho’d out at the time…I’ve yet to catch this show but your pics are really inspiring me to seek out some vintage mod goodies.

  25. ed
    March 19, 2009 / 11:24 am

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