COLUMN: ‘Mad Men’ fashion gets too cliche

Patricia Rocha, Copy Editor
March 28, 2012
Filed under Opinions

Being in love is hard. You find absolute perfection, commit yourself completely, and then just when you think you’ll be in love forever, change happens and it breaks your heart.

I am, of course, talking about the fashion of the AMC show “Mad Men.” Since the first time I saw the trailer for season one, I was intrigued. There were full skirts, gingham prints and perfectly-applied red lipstick. The show was leaving a huge impact in the modern fashion industry. EBay searches for vintage ’60s dress skyrocketed. Companies like Banana Republic and Estee Lauder started selling “Mad Men”-inspired products. I was over the moon at how well the modern fashion world was embracing it.

But nothing lasts forever.

With any successful era-specific television show, it’s obvious that as time passes, the show has to evolve to the historical changes that occurred. I appreciate that the wardrobe department of the show is incredibly accurate, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it though.

In fact, I hate it.

Season five of the show recently started and instead of being set in the early ’60s like previous seasons, it’s now set right in the middle of 1966, and that means one thing: Mod styles.

I knew from the moment I saw the newest Mrs. Draper wearing smoky eye shadow, a messy bob hairstyle and a large, ruffled polka dot blouse, I was falling out of love with “Mad Men.”

When the office scenes began, I couldn’t help but cringe. The classic silhouettes and lady-like outfits were gone. They were replaced by ill-fitting outfits in uncomfortably vivid stripes and patterns. No one in that office in season one would have been caught dead in an over-sized tangerine checkered shift dress, but there it was, right on my television screen.

I was baffled by how much it affected the feel of the show. During a party scene, I was expecting to catch a glimpse of a full skirt or two, but my jaw dropped at how many super-mini skirts were twirling around. At one point, I thought to myself, “the only way this can get any more cliché is if they put someone in white go-go boots,” and then over the shoulder of Don Draper himself was an extra wearing white go-go boots.

My heart broke.

The reason the show’s impact on the fashion world was so substantial is because the early ’60s fashion was so classic. Cinched high-waists and perfectly coiffed up-dos are always going to be timelessly flattering, dropped waists and bold, neon chevron stripes definitely aren’t.

The show had Christina Hendricks in a maternity blouse for goodness sakes. I would have given up on the show completely if they hadn’t have shown her later in her usual Joan attire: a rose-colored floral wiggle dress. But one awesome dress doesn’t make up for all of the fashion disappointment that came before it.  The cheesy wardrobe was so distracting, I barely even remember what the episode was about. Literally the only highlight of the episode was the always-dapper suits on the men, and I highly doubt I’ll be watching the rest of the series for perfectly-tailored blazers and pocket squares.

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