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The Mad Men Fashion File, Episode 710 – Who Runs the World? Girls (Sometimes).

I keep forgetting guys in the ‘70s had jeans I would still wear now.  Witness Glen’s to-die-for bell bottoms, with bleached-out flowers that Paula probably drew herself on the ride to Castle Francis. Joan’s babysitter had a very similar pair; they could have probably swapped if they wanted.  That kind of gender fluidity is interesting to see in an episode that starts with Joan in a nightgown that might as well be a Grecian goddess disguise, right down to her shockingly intact up-do. (Fun fact: hair spray was the best selling beauty product of the 1960’s.)  But Joan was never one to subvert her anatomy, or the social expectations that come with it. She swans into the LA office in curve-hugging pink, and the midnight blue date dress with a plunging jeweled collar was a Cinderella dress come to life.


Joan’s not exactly rags to riches, and her “magic” is part sex appeal, part brain power. But it was still interesting to watch Joan steer a man into a (dare we say it?) fairytale ending. Something fun, though: Joan’s costumes are still pure femme fatale, but her business trip behavior was all Don Draper. She beds an attractive stranger, gives side-eye to satellite employees, and orders the French toast. Boom. Of course, in the Don Draper version, he never sees his liaison again… but Joan has other goals besides a giant, empty apartment.  (PS, the realtor of said giant empty apartment looked like a junior varsity Betty Draper, right? The charm bracelet was an amazing touch.)


As long as we’re on the Second Sex train, I was distressed by Peggy’s pastel blue-and-pink striped suit. Its nursery colors were a far cry from her brighter, bolder choices, and they seemed to scream “it’s a boy!” and “it’s a girl!” Besides hinting at Don’s unsaid interrogation—Creative direction! Fame! What about motherhood, Peggy?!—they also hinted at the career cage she’s in: be a woman in the office…until you need to be a man. You know the last time we saw that pastel blue color on Peggy? When she wanted to run away to Paris… but left her passport at the office. No fun.


Did seeing Glen all grown up make you feel old?  Then seeing Don flirting with one of Sally’s friends must have made you feel ancient.  Don’s view from the restaurant table was an interesting survey of youth, though: at 16, some girls are still children, and others want to be all grown up. The costumes reflected that, with Carol in a bright floral dress you might see on Meredith, and Sarah in a full-on Megan Draper tunic and eyeliner. As for Sally, her brown ruffled dress was sweet, young, super-cute…and perfectly matching Glen’s brown patterned polyester shirt in the previous scene. Interesting.


If we’re really on Sally, though, her tell-tale costume piece isn’t the dress, it’s the Tiffany locket Don got her ages ago for Christmas. If she really wanted to go far away from her parents and never come back, wouldn’t she have yanked it off already, and traded it for weed?  But Sally’s parents are tied to her, too: In Betty’s little foray into youth quake mode, she’s sporting Sally’s blonde hair flip—the one she donned with her lifeguard uniform last year. At least where costumes are concerned, Sally’s chained to Don, and Betty’s pinned to Sally. Who’s surprised? (Not you, because you’re smart.)


Let’s conclude with Bobby Draper. I love that he wants to watch The Brady Bunch, because let’s face it: the kid is Greg Brady’s pint-sized stunt double. The wide-leg striped pants. The ringer t-shirts. It’s beyond adorable. Hey Gene: Sally and Bobby are both style stars now. Time to step up, little man.

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