Mad Men‘s long-awaited season 5 has returned and thrown us straight into post-Memorial Day 1966. Story lines picked up where they left off—Joan Holloway Harris did indeed have a baby, Don Draper did indeed marry his secretary Megan, and Betty Draper Francis is indeed as unhappy and miserable as ever.
Sure, there were babies and weddings, but really, what seems to be the biggest change around the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce office is the style. Women were still wearing circle dresses and pencil skirts, of course, but by the mid-to-late 60s, fashions started to become a little less conservative—hemlines got a little shorter and patterns got a little brighter and bolder. In 1966, women were opting for boxier shapes, monochrome poly-blends, and tweed mini-skirts.
There are very few shows where the style and fashion are just as important as the characters and the plot points. Viewers knew right away, from the first episode of season 1, when Joan Holloway turned to the new girl at the office, a fresh-faced Peggy Olson, and said: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but a girl like you with those darling little ankles—I’d find a way to make ‘em sing. Also, men love scarves.”
And just as in the first few seasons of Mad Men, this season’s powerful leading ladies are all back as style icons. There are very distinct types—The Joan, The Betty, The Megan, and The Peggy. And we can help you dress like your favorite one:
How to dress like Joan—the new mama and the office manager extraordinaire. Joan is sexy and she knows it. Being a new mom doesn’t stop her from continuing to show off her fabulous assets. She dresses to show off her hourglass figure in fitted shift dresses in jewel tones—greens, purples, jades. Joan wants to stand out in the office, and in a crowd.
How to dress like Betty—the stay-at-home mom. (See also: Trudy Campbell.) While Betty can’t control many aspects of her life, there’s one thing that she definitely can—her wardrobe. She can give the illusion of perfection with beautiful scarves, jewels, red lipstick, and kitten heels. In the late ’60s, housewives in the New York suburbs, unlike their Manhattan contemporaries, hadn’t yet given up their day dresses and circle skirts, but rather moderned them up a little with bolder, brighter fabrics and patterns. They also began wearing pants more often that they had just a decade before. Cable-knit twinset sweaters and cigarette pants saw a huge rise in popularity.
How to dress like Megan—the step-mom and all-around excellent everything. (Zu Bisou Bisou, anyone?) Megan Draper is a trendsetter and risk-taker. She wears bold geometric shapes, zigzags and bright colors—reds and melons and corals. She’s a mod kind of girl—complete with adorable bob, fake eyelashes, and copious amounts of eyeliner, and she’s not afraid to bring that style to the office.
How to dress like Peggy—the career girl. Peggy, of course, still wants to be taken seriously, so even though she is an independent city girl , she still dresses slightly more conservatively as a copywriter at SCDP. She wears a lot of bow blouses, vests, ginghams, and pleated skirts. Just as Peggy has matured in personality, so has her wardrobe. Look for houndstooth, tweed, checks and herringbones.
One thing is very clear. After five seasons of AMC’s award-winning Mad Men, Janie Bryant, the show’s genius costume designer, has figured out to a way to make her ladies sing. I almost always consider myself a Betty, and often wear a circle dress, kitten heels, and pearls even when I’m mommying and working from home.
Which leading lady of Mad Men are you—a Joan, a Betty, a Megan, or a Peggy?