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The Mad Men Fashion File: For Whom the Belle Tolls

You know an episode’s turning dark when even toddlers wear black. This time, it’s Tabitha Campbell, the subversive child genius whose “Draw a Man” test was just a head and a mustache.  Pete and Trudy’s daughter sports a teeny black dress with orange flowers. Costume-wise, she connects more with Joan’s “secret garden” vibe than her own mom—Trudie’s breezy shades of yellow, white, pink, and blue should come with their own Disney princess, a point reinforced when she holds up a ripe apple and channels Snow White.


Maybe that’s appropriate, since “Someday My Prince Will Come” is kind of Trudie’s mantra… although, since this is real life, the song goes, “someday my cheating prince will come back, and this time, my debutante maneuvers will keep him in his place.” Fingers crossed.


Sally Draper is a daughter whose clothes riff more closely with her situation. It’s often said that she’s equal parts Betty and Don, and her first costume proves it: the ice blue sweater could be (and maybe was) her mother’s, but the red checked pants match Don’s road trip shirts perfectly. The whole thing is impossibly chic, really. Mental note for Fall shopping…


Sally and Betty’s costumes call back to each other twice more: in the kitchen, when Betty’s checked dress brushes against Sally’s plaid schoolgirl skirt, and in the bedroom, when their white nighties and rumpled blonde hair make a ghostly impression. (There were so many scenes with people on beds this episode, and none of them were sexual. I suppose you could spin this as “they’ve made their bed”—through smoking, through lying, etc.—“and now they’re going to lie in it.” But that might be a little much.) But speaking of resting places, it’s no surprise that Betty wants to be buried in ice blue chiffon that’s a bit like Cinderella’s Disney gown. Betty’s fairy tale ending is way bleaker than Trudie’s—but she’ll leave an exquisite corpse.


You know when someone’s drunk, and people say they’re “plastered”? I never understood that until I watched this episode, and the amazing work of the costume, hair and makeup departments. When Don and the veterans get blitzed, they aren’t just raucously drunk—they’re sticky with sweat, and their hair and clothes appear glued to their skin. It’s the same frenzied look Don has after his police car dream, with the hazy “is this real?” vibe to match. Spooky.


And now I turn it over to you: what are you wearing for the very last episode of Mad Men? And what costumes should the characters revive for their final appearances? If Sally whips out her go-go boots one last time, I might actually cry.

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