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How to Dress Like Draper Dan


Mad Men is one of the most popular shows on television right now. It has picked up a bunch of Emmys and it seems like every week more and more people are saying “No, I can’t that night. I have to go home and watch Mad Men!” There are a lot of things to like about this show: the plot, the actors and, of course, the fashion.

Since Mad Men has become so popular there has been a real jump in men who are trying to dress (though hopefully not always act) like the men on the show.  There is definitely something appealing about the sleek suit and clean cut look. Don’t believe us? Just ask the ladies.

The good news is that it isn’t hard, or expensive, to look like the men on the show. Here is how you do it.

The most important thing that you can do if you want to dress like the men in the show is something that should be pretty obvious: buy a suit that actually fits you. If you can’t find one that fits you exactly, buy one that is as close as possible and then have it tailored. Most suits these days, even those you find in discount department stores, are built with future tailoring in mind.  And always pair the suit with a white or solidly near white colored shirt. No patterns here—that’s too “blue collar” for a Mad Man.

Go for suits with slimmer lapels. If the lapels are too wide you’ll look like you’re dressing up for a 1970s prom. Thinner lapels help the suit maintain a sleek look.

Mad-Men style

The goal is to create a not-so subtle “v” shape—with broader shoulders and thin waists. Find a suit that favors the shoulders and then tapers inward at the waist. Mad Men don’t wear boxy suits. Looking rectangular simply isn’t as sexy as looking like a triangle.

Look for some subtle patterns and textures. Solid or uniform colors look fine, but a pin stripe or woven pattern helps the suit stand out. Remember to keep this subtle. You don’t want to look like you’re wearing a zebra or a checkerboard.

Accessories are important. If you watch the show, you’ll see that Don Draper never wears a suit without a pocket square of white linen. You can, obviously, choose another color but avoid bright or bold colors. The darker and pastel shades work best.  The tie also needs to be solidly colored though the fabric can be textured. No design patterns allowed!

Cufflinks watches, etc—these all need to be subtle and elegant. Silver or gold, leather bands with simple facings—you get the idea.

The overall theme of Mad Men fashion is subtlety. This is how men’s fashion was in the 1960s, particularly for those in positions of power. The look is not nearly as hard to recreate today, especially if you use these tips to help guide your fashion choices.

By Liz Becker


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