I thought it would be fun to document a few of my favorite outfits from Mad Men as I re-watch the series. Last week, Betty fluffed and gossiped in a sensible shirt dress. By the way, did you see Mena’s Mad Men fashion forecast post? It’s interesting, but I wonder if I’ll keep watching the show as the fashions drift towards the 70’s.
For now we’re firmly in August 1962. In episode 9 of season 2 we see the secretaries in the office gathered around weeping for Marilyn Monroe, clutching newspapers with headlines that read “Murder or Suicide?” I find this detail rather touching- these girls felt like they knew Marilyn and mourned for her as they would a friend. It has rather the flavor of human decency.
I can’t help but notice a marked contrast between Jane and the rest of the secretaries. For one, she’s not wearing a fussy blouse and jumper like the others. She’s wearing a simple dress with kimono sleeves and I believe the patches are actually pockets (check the arrow). She takes a little extra care with her hair, too, adding a little spit curl to her updo. It’s obvious she’s not a “lifer,” she’s passing through on her way to bigger things- like marrying the boss.
The patches make a bold but pleasing visual on the plain and simple cream dress. I’d cut the pockets in squares the size of my hand with the fingers spread- perhaps 7″ square. From there, it’s a simple matter of turning under the raw edges and applying them as pockets or appliques. The bright patches of color are what “make” this dress, neat edges and precise pressing is a must while applying these pockets.
…Which does not wrap around her whole dress. The back has a tiny midriff band, perhaps to help create a flattering shape? I like seeing this dress on a person, with the obvious marks where she’s been sitting. It gives me a much more realistic expectation for how a dress like this should look.
I think any simple wiggle dress pattern could be used to make this dress. I’d look for one with kimono sleeves and a round neckline like the dark pink version of 4022. For Jane’s look, I’d try a crepe. Alternatively, for a “smarter” updated version of Jane’s dress, why not use a nice cotton sateen with a hint of lycra to cut the crinkling? I would also use an invisible side zipper- but maybe that’s just me?
What do you think?