I’m curious how styles from the late 50’s (especially casual wear) moves and breathes and lives, so I’m re-watching season 2 of Mad Men. It’s “research.” I couldn’t tell you much about the plot of this episode because I was watching the clothes, taking notes and the occasional screen shot.
The work of a detail oriented costumer/wardrober (who does their homework) always leaps off the screen at me. In the case of Mad Men, watching the clothes is a special treat because I like to wear many of these styles.
I LOVED this dress from the first time I saw it. It’s not flashy, it’s not a gorgeous cocktail dress or the wiggly secretary outfits this show is known for. This is a simple shirt-dress for at-home wear. I’m a sucker for plaids. I love the bias placket on Betty’s dress and used that design feature last year on the Mirabilis Top:
It’s a nifty little method of avoiding matching plaids at the CF of a button-down shirt. Even if you cut with 110% accuracy, chances are the placket will slip around either during the sewing or the wearing. A bias placket is attractive and forgoes the entire matching issue, I’m a fan.
In a modern context, this type of dress might be too “dressed up” for coffee at home. What do you think? I know dressing well was pretty standard at the time- but isn’t Betty a little bit of a “doll” of a lady? She always seems slightly more dressed up than her friends, and a little bit conscious of it.
As Betty and her BFF gossiped maliciously about Betty’s old roommate-cum-callgirl, she stood up to fold laundry. (I tried not to listen. Most of the time, the characters on Mad Men do not impress me very much.) Fold laundry. She’s wearing pearls, a fluffer and a girdle, and she’s folding clothes. Yes, it’s all worn with a sensible shirtdress, but still!
I mean, I do understand the fluffy skirt. Sometimes I wake up and it’s a fluffy skirt day, regardless of whether I’m going out or not. When I do wear one around the house, I don’t find it actually gets in the way. You’d think it would, but it doesn’t. Kind of how full skirts are actually pretty comfortable and practical.
Do you ever wear petticoats at home? I like it, but then again I like petticoats in general. It might also be fun for someone who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them outside the house.
This is the pattern I found that came closest to matching to Betty’s dress. It doesn’t have a separate placket; in fact I couldn’t find any full skirted shirt dress patterns with a separate placket- how odd. I would use a firmly woven but soft cotton (for summer) or wool (for winter) to make this dress.
I want to make this a regular feature- picking apart a Mad Men outfit on a Saturday night- until the new season starts in March. Do you have a favorite dress or outfit from the show? Which one?