Watching Mad Men is as much about the clothes as it is about the characters. In anticipation of the Season 7 premiere this Sunday, we reflect on all the amazing costuming and fashion moments of the past six seasons.
The show was originally set in New York City in 1960, when women's style was basically a conservative carryover from the '50s. Betty, Peggy and Joan almost exclusively wore buttoned up blouses and cardigans with pencil skirts or full skirts below the knee. Girdles were de rigure and not a waist was left un-synched. As the seasons advanced, the female characters embraced the changing social, political and cultural landscape of the '60s and their wardrobes reflected their roles within it.
Glamorous and polished to a fault, Betty Draper (played by January Jones) showed the most significant change. As a mother, housewife and companion to a Madison Avenue advertising executive, Betty's wardrobe was always perfectly assigned to her attitude and activity—whether it was horse riding, smoking, driving or lunching at the country club. After marrying Henry Francis in later seasons, Betty started to, well, "let it go" but once again returned to her svelt and stylish self by the end of season six. We can't wait to see where her latest style direction takes her.
From secretary to upstart copy writer to copy chief, Peggy Olson (played by Elisabeth Moss) goes through a sartorial evolution and gave a visual illustration to the changing role of women in the professional world. She navigates the male-dominated creative field of advertising with some serious guidance from Joan Holloway and a much-needed makeover. We left her in the telling final shots of season six's finale sitting in Don's empty office wearing pants. Or the pants, as it were.
Megan's arrival in Don's world is no better summed up than her "Zou Bisou" performance at his 40th birthday party. As his second and quite a bit younger wife, Megan Draper (played by Jessica Paré) is Don's window into the hip, swinging and free-spirited attitude of the later '60s. She wears jeans, dramatic eye makeup and never met a mini skirt she didn't like. At first, the older crowd of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce doesn't quite know what to make of Megan's overt sexuality, but she sets a tone that's soon echoed by more of the female characters.
Each female Mad Men character's costumes represents their place in the world as well as their understanding of it. We went back through all six seasons to select our 25 favorite looks from Betty, Megan, Peggy and Joan and equally important fashion moments from Sally Draper, Trudy Campbell and Jane Sterling. Not to mention, a few forgotten-yet-fashionable minor characters who made an impact over their small arcs. We can't wait to see what they wear in the psychedelic year of 1969.
Check out our all-time best Mad Men fashion moments.