Mad Men has one of the most vibrant, sophisticated outfits on any show. Both Women and Men flaunt their own personal styles from the late 50’s to the 70’s, and we are taken through this spellbinding journey of fashion along with the show. With the success of AMC’s “Mad Men,” tight-fitted gray suits and crisp spread collars are suddenly getting a second look. Because the show takes a more detailed look at his “off-hours,” he’s also the best example of casual, non-business wear for men in the show, sporting outfits like plaid flannels and navy polo shirts as well as his classic suits.
In the office, Don Draper is the go-to creative man. He’s the one the rest of the firm can count on for inspiration and last-minute results. He’s also in a position of responsibility and authority , and his clothing reflects the balance between the creative artist and the career man — his look is varied and visually “busy” for a suit-and-tie man, but it’s impeccably fit.
You will notice that he almost never wears a solid-colored jacket or trousers. You’ll always see the minute pattern work that’s very understated yet shows off his Creative side. In the business world of the 1960s, any overt pattern outside of the classic pinstripe would usually be considered too casual for work.
Like any well-dressed man, Don Draper is almost never seen in a suit coat without a pocket square to decorate it. He keeps it very simple yet with his traditional touch which is almost seemingly unconscious. Most of Don Draper’s ties are a single color with a textured fabric, or else feature diagonal stripes in colors that compliment his suit — he rarely wears anything with an overstated bold pattern, or in very bright colors.
The rest of the Sterling Cooper staff favors more boldly-patterned ties, this helps Draper come across as the least image-conscious and most naturally-dressed man in group shots. Nonetheless Don Draper is a sharp and well dressed man. The most important thing to notice about Draper’s suits is that they are almost all single-vented. This means that there’s a single slit up the bottom of the back, centered in the middle of his back.
This is part of the ‘classic American look’ that was evolving at the time Mad Men is set, and sets Draper’s suits apart from what were considered “English” and “European” or “Italian” styles in the 1960s, but these days the single vent is generally recognized as the least-flattering option for men’s jackets. Because the vent only allows the cloth of the suit to spread outward, the sides of the suit bunch up any time Don puts his hands in his pockets. However that being said for the period and time they were presenting in the show it was necessary and it did after all take his character to another level.
Mad Men is set in the 60’s “the days when men wore hats, especially to work and other formal occasions” and what we see of Draper’s outerwear is very period. He wears several different fedoras, all of them made from good felt and shaped to a similar peak on top. Don Draper is much less experimental about his clothing which isn’t particularly a bad thing, because he is consistent and confident in his look (which is most important).
His accents — cufflinks, hats, etc. — are impeccable. And since he’s an attractive man, he sticks to the most important rule in menswear: the clothes are there to draw attention to the face, his body and personality not to themselves.