When Mad Men started airing in 2007, most of the men wore skinny jeans, scooped-neck vintage band T-shirts and winklepickers. And everyone thought that they look so cool and different in their vintage wardrobe. Than the guys from Madison Avenue waltzed in with their grey, brown and blue suits, billowy white shirts, perfectly neat pocket squares and side-parted hair and something has changed forever. When someone says “60s”, no one will ever again think of bell bottom jeans, but an ideally tailored suit. And when someone says “an ideally tailored suit” no one will remember the stylish 007 agent, but the creative director of Sterling Cooper, Don Draper. How else did this TV show change the way we think of men’s fashion?
Though the whole series spanned a decade and the styles of the characters have changed, one thing has remained the same – power suits. Men all around the world have started to wear suits again, and not just for formal occasions but for a regular day at work, too. In fact, between 1998 and 2014, the number of sold suits in US alone, has doubled. We are sure that we can thank Mad Men for at least half of that number. No one even refers the American suit as such, but as a Don Draper suit. You can simply order a tailored suit from online tailors such as iTailor, by giving them that description. Still, Don Draper is not the only man that has played with fashion enthusiasts’ and professionals’ imagination, though he is the show’s most lovable character (despite all his sins).
Don Draper – Classic
For Don Draper it is all about the classic and wearing something he feels comfortable with. Over the series he is the only one who has not embraced the style changes that came with the 70s. A man simply loves his suit. Everything around Don Draper can fall apart, but he will gracefully sport his American cut suit, somewhat thicker at the shoulders and chest and tapered around the waste. He has chosen never to go fully-casual (except near the end of the season seven), so the sports jacket and straight trousers are his choice of everyday outfit.
Roger Sterling – The Player
If there is anyone in the office that could match Don Draper’s seductiveness, stylishness and masculine charm, that is Roger Sterling. Even on LSD, this man looks impeccable in his black sports jacket, grey trousers, white shirt and bright red tie. Roger has known to be experimenting with styles just like with women, so we had the chance to see him in a classic three-piece suit and in checked sports jacket and chinos. He brings some fun into the jet-set style and many men today can learn some valuable fashion lessons from him.
Pete Campbell – Playing it Safe
We cannot deny that throughout the TV show, Pete’s style has evolved, but he has never stopped playing it safe. From the private-school youth in the first season to his Don Draper imitations in the following seasons, Pete Campbell has been trying to compensate his youth, baby-face and inexperience by emulating an old-soul look. Still, later in the show, he has dominated the dandy style without looking immature. He has succeeded that with brown color, bold patterns and slimmer two-button suits.
Michael Ginsberg and Stan Rizzo – Creative Rebels
The unapologetically unsuited Stan Rizzo was a true mark of the beginning of the 70s and a more informal work outfit. One could expect that in the creative department. The lumberjack beard, cravat and the Easy Rider jacket made him stand out in the Sterling Cooper office. Rizzo’s coworker from the creative, Michael Ginsberg has a thing or two to say about fashion, too. Ginsberg is compensating his neurotic personality with extrovert style, and he is a good example for implementing patterns, colors, textures and even toggles into today’s fashion.
It is no wonder that Mad Men is marked as “the most fashion-influential TV show since Sex and the City”. The drama about curvy women and slick ad men is a true aesthetic gold mine that is yet to be explored.