I was not the first person to hop on the Mad Men bandwagon, but I joined the fanclub as soon as the first season DVDs were released. Sadly, it’s been over a month since the season two finale and I’ve been going through Don Draper withdrawals. Thankfully, my dear friends bought me the season one DVDs for my birthday, so I’ve been revisiting the staff at Sterling Cooper and relishing every scene in which a character silently stares & ponders.
In an effort to fend off the depression whilst waiting for the season two DVDs (not to mention the long wait for season three) and to further spread the gospel of Mad Men, I thought I would start a series of Mad Men fashion style how-to’s. I plan on including links and ideas for sewing patterns (new & vintage), clothing and accessories, inspiration images and hopefully (if I can get my act together) a pattern making tutorial or two. So if you have any links, images or suggestions, please email me!
For the first installment, I thought we’d start with the ice queen Betty Draper. Now, if you are a fan of Mad Men, I don’t know how you feel about Betty—but she is probably my least favorite character. I suppose as a viewer I should have more compassion for Mrs. Don Draper, but I can’t seem to muster up a smidgen of sympathy. She does, however, have an amazing fashion sense reminiscent of Hitchock’s ideal leading lady, Grace Kelly, so that is one redeeming quality, I suppose.
This is the first dress we see Betty in (and apologies for the poor screen caps, but I can’t find a decent picture of it anywhere): a fantastic cocktail party dress in a floral print with a periwinkle blue cummerbund sash.
Lucky for you, Butterick has reissued a similar pattern, allowing you to sew your own ideal version of Betty’s dinner-with-the-husband’s-boss-and-wife dress. This pattern is great because it has the option for a full or wiggle skirt (if you are more of a Joan than a Betty), a dramatic cummerbund sash and a capelet to protect your delicate shoulders. I like the full skirt version, perhaps in a polished black cotton, with the sash in either a eggplant organza, rose silk crinkle ciffon or a fun print ala Erin (of A Dress A Day). Granted, those exclamation points are probably too heavy for the sash, so maybe you could use it for the cape. Whoever said capes can’t have a sense of humor?
If you like the basic style of Betty’s dress but are looking for something a little less dramatic, try this fantastic vintage pattern from Advance, currently available from Empress Patterns etsy shop in a 32″bust. I really love the look of the scoop neck and raglan sleeve, it’s very feminine without being too fussy. I love the green version on the envelope and would love to make it up in a fine knit jersey (the pattern envelope suggests about every fabric in the world, including a wool jersey, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work)—maybe organic jersey from here or here or here.
Well, I think that wraps up the first Mad Men Fashion Monday. Next week, we’ll take a look at Peggy and her plaid dresses and knee-length gore skirts. My goal is to find more helpful links and inspiration images and try to reign in the rambling…but, well, just look at the name of my blog.
Suggestions, constructive criticism and links are greatly appreciated, so please comment or drop me a line!