And so it begins, the end of Mad Men. I feel the television gods are being mighty cruel to me. First they took away Dexter and Breaking Bad at the same time. Now, they’re taking away my beloved Mad Men – which is arguably the best period drama of all time. Lofty statement? Yes. Completely accurate? Yes!
Aside from the beautiful writing, acting and storytelling of Mad Men – the show has also wormed it’s way into my heart through the beautiful fashion of its beautiful woman. This week, as I prepare for the final season’s premiere, I’ll be showcasing the style of the ladies of Mad Men. Fashion plays a huge role on this show in telling the story of a decade. First up: Betty Draper.
Betty Draper, oh Betty Draper! Like any character of Mad Men, Betty has her flaws. She is the first wife of Don – who usually keeps her at an arms length. Through the course of the show, we see Betty’s character rise and fall, usually with Don or her feelings for Don connected to the center. In many ways, he is the eye of her storm. As such, Betty’s style is also very tied to Don.
As the wife of an ad executive, Betty frequently plays the part of the woman on his arm and she plays it well. Betty finds herself a housewife in 1960s suburbia. She keeps herself pulled-together in the home and for a night out on her husband’s arm, plays with real glamour. Betty’s sanity and anxiety are always living on the edge and we see her go to the brink, without falling over, time and time again.
After her divorce with Don, we see Betty’s style transition as she is then on the arms of politician Henry. In the political realm, we see her style become much more conservative and stuffy. Betty takes a real beating when Don remarries with the young, secretary named Megan. From there, we see Betty spiral with lots of weight gain from her emotional eating over Don’s new wife. Heavy Betty is a lot more frumpy in her attire and far less pulled together. It’s like without her figure, she’s completely off her game.
We do see Betty work through this unkempt stage as she finds herself. Eventually, she gets her figure back and then her style returns to the high state it was in the earlier seasons. Betty’s relationship with fashion is very intricate. Her identity is on display through the clothes she wears.
In many ways that makes sense, as we know Betty as a former model. Don and her met when he basically whisked her away from a modeling job and stuck her in the life of a kept housewife. Then all the madness of Mad Men ensues.
I went a bit ‘screen-cap’ happy when it came to snapping away looks of Betty. So, I’ve put everything together in a slideshow. This is my very first attempt at such a thing, but let’s all together glimpse back at the fashion and style of Mrs. Draper.
Love her or hate her, Betty’s style was especially fun to watch as it reflected her personal struggles. Where they say ‘she wore her heart on her sleeve’, Betty instead wears her heart in her fashion. It’s interesting to think of fashion as the anchor of your emotional life.
Stay tuned for more Mad Men fashion as there’s lots more to come from Peggy, Joan and the gang. Plus, as we say farewell to Mad Men, Dream in Lace will be reviewing the fashion of each episode. I’m saying goodbye to this iconic show in high fashion! Are you with me? 😉