Peggy’s Mad Men Style

Peggy of Mad Men
Peggy of Mad Men

I watch very little television, and we nixed our cable service to save money this summer. Before then, I got sucked into the A&E series Mad Men. It’s a rather sad commentary on the conformity of the early 1960s, but I love the character development and the clothes. Recently I checked out the Season Three DVD set from the library. If you regularly watch the current series on TV, take a trip back in time with me (and please don’t tell me what’s happening!). If you’ve never watched Mad Men, stick with me while I describe how modest dressing can still be flattering.  
This post is about how Peggy’s fashion style has evolved. Peggy is the token woman in the advertising department. Dowdy, mousy, dumpy are some unflattering adjectives that might have been lobbied at someone like Peggy during this timeframe, when a woman’s career choices generally ended at wife and mother. In the earlier seasons, Peggy is dowdy, and the lusty secretary Joan lectures Peggy about her inability — and unwillingness — to dress fetchingly as a “girl” should. Joan is not only tall but she has a figure in every direction. If you watch, you know what I mean. She knows her beauty and she flaunts it.
In contrast, Peggy is mousy.  But watching Season Three, I decided the show’s creators must have something big in mind for her. She’s still coming up with awesome advertising ideas that get to the heart of why women — and men — buy America’s consumer products. She’s gotten more trim, but she’s not dressed fetchingly. Her collars are always high, and a sweater or jacket often covers her hips. Instead, she is wearing more texture — a blouse and skirt, or sweater and scarf. And she’s found color. Apparently Peggy looks good in bright colors, including red. Now she might wear a red blouse and scarf with a neutral sweater. It all brings the focus up to Peggy’s face and places the emphasis on her good ideas. It’s not her good looks but those great ad campaigns that make her male co-workers jealous. And someday she will get the recognition she deserves. While her wait is certainly longer than it is for women today, we can still take the lesson that we don’t need to show a lot of skin to be classy.


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