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The Mad Men Fashion File: We’ll Meet Again

So everyone wants to talk about Clementine’s red hair ribbons.


Yes, they looked an awful lot like the ones in the Coke commercial. (I’m going to go ahead and say it—Don’s Coke commercial.) But they also harkened back, weirdly, to Megan’s milkmaid look in the ad she booked through Don. Right?


That kind of eerie déjà vu happened a lot in this episode. The woman who saved Don from his panic attack was a ghost of Anna Draper, with a floaty white top and maxi skirt that had her hovering, angel-style, off the ground. The pink cardigan Sally sports while doing dishes echoes the robe her mother wore returning from the hospital after Gene’s birth; the yellow plastic gloves Sally wears call back to Betty’s many white satin ones. And Don finally appears in khakis and a white t-shirt at the retreat—a bookend of Dick Whitman’s white tank and army pants, the costume he wore when Don Draper 2.0 was born.


I checked pretty obsessively through Don’s flashback scenes, so sure his “On the Road” outfits would tie back to Young Dick’s farm days. But I was wrong. On his lopsided American odyssey, Don isn’t even dressed like a real drifter, a.k.a his old self. Instead, he’s wearing what outlaws and rebels wear in the movies: Levis, a jacket lined with bright buffalo-check plaid, and speed racing goggles. He looks like a hero from one of Bobby’s TV shows—so maybe it’s no coincidence that as he gets older and wiser, Bobby is starting to dress exactly like “Off Duty Don.” Sally gets in on the action, too—her poncho is lined with the same red plaid as her dad.


As for “Off Duty Joan,” I have to admit, the scalloped sun hat and bustier were so perfectly pinup. It was hysterical how easily she zoomed between that look and the red, high-neck, high-hair costume she wears to meet Ken Cosgrove for a business dinner. Even more exciting: Joan wears pants for the first time! Granted, they’re part of a black-and-pink floral jumpsuit, but obviously, she’s going to do a new silhouette on her terms. You go, Joan.


Meanwhile, Trudie’s living out another female fantasy—Jackie O, the Junior Varsity Version—as she hops onto Pete’s plane in a furry pillbox hat and a princess-cut coat. Look closely, and you’ll see Tammy clutching her Barbie…a nice touch for the daughter of minor American royalty. (I can’t help thinking that Tammy will be a teenager in the ‘80s… which means she’ll be a prime candidate for the Preppy Handbook school of jeans, pearls, and popped collars.)


On to Stan and Peggy: I was too distracted by the whole “I’m in love with you” thing to really focus on clothes. But I did like that Peggy was sporting red, white, and blue—another callout to the many American Dreams that she chases. Will she get her name on the door of an agency by 1980? Will she have a very fine house with Stan and two cats in the yard? Will she, really, “have it all”? I really hope so. I also hope she gets Stan to shave…


Finally, I want to thank you all for being such devoted watchers, engaged readers, and incredible co-conspirators in the Mad Men Fashion File. Your insights and questions have been thoughtful and brilliant, and you’ve helped prove that fashion isn’t frivolous—it’s a tool for storytelling, memory, and emotional access. As the ad says, you are The Real Thing.


With gratitude, and Sharon Tate t-shirts… –Faran

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