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Mad Men Fashion File, Episode 711 — Down with the Ship?

Roger Sterling is dressed like a psychedelic captain. Meredith wears an inane sailor suit. Ken Cosgrove continues to rock his eye patch, pirate-style. And when the partners rally all hands on deck, it becomes painfully clear that Sterling Cooper is now a sinking ship. “This is the beginning of something!” Don calls to his crew, but they’re already looking for life rafts—and sadly, Lifeguard Sally has already left the building.


(“How do you get to paradise?” Don once asked. “Something terrible has to happen.”
“You’ve died,” announces his new overlord in this episode, “and gone to advertising heaven.”)


Not surprisingly, this episode’s costumes are very blue.  Pete Campbell and Peggy both wear pastels (and sit under a sailboat painting!) when discussing the upcoming merger; together they look like those plastic brother-and-sister toys that come in a dollhouse.  Shirley, Dawn, and Caroline all sport the shade in their panic-filled meeting with Joan.  Trudie Campbell’s epic First Lady suit is ivory with navy accents…and a hat! And there’s a cool moment when Don and Ted sit opposite each other in the office; Don in an all-blue suit and Ted wearing brown and orange.   One man is blazing like a dusty sunrise; the other is going down into a dark night.


Roger and Joan—always the office version of Mom and Dad—might be seeing things more clearly, since they’re both wearing funeral black (Joan’s with gorgeous but menacing blood red poppies climbing up her hem).  And though the partners don’t take their evisceration lying down, they do remain seated—a far cry from season 5, when they got a new office space and looked like this.


Are you worried about Peggy’s future?  I’m not, and here’s why: she looks so together.  Her costumes this season have been mostly flawless, with clothes that actually fit her figure, and a nice, constant pop of coral lipstick.  Part of Peggy’s insecurity has always come from her looks, but now her wardrobe exudes confidence and modernity—that brown-and-blue dress she wore to meet the headhunter screamed “I’ve got this!” even if “this” isn’t exactly what she expects.  It’s wild when Suzy, the child actor, pretends to be a businesswoman like Peggy. “Hello, Suzy’s office!” she bellows into Peggy’s phone—proving that even if Peggy isn’t a full-time mother, she’s become an unlikely idol for feisty little girls.


Stan has also become an unlikely idol—to legions of hipster dudes. If I read one more tweet about his denim-on-denim uniform, his turquoise accessory stash, or his endless supply of stamped leather belts, I’ll open an Etsy store called Rizzo’s Emporium and cash in.


Until next time, don’t forget your life jacket.

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