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Mad Men Fashion

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It's no secret that Mad Men fans go absolutely mad for the early-'60s fashions. Janie Bryant, the show's Emmy-winning costume designer, walked TVGuide.com through some of her favorite selections from Betty's fabulous dresses, Don's sharp suits and Joan's impeccable accessories.
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In this scene, Betty first meets Henry, so Bryant wanted to make Betty the belle of the ball. "I wanted this costume to be romantic and have her be the most beautiful in the room and stand out with the white lace," says Bryant, who designed most of Betty's maternity clothes. "I found this vintage lace and a light pink silk lining. Lace was very, very popular during this time." Don is in a three-button suit that Bryant also designed to give him a "heroic" look for when he comes to find Betty later in the episode and they kiss.
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Initially, Bryant found Trudy's vintage, printed chiffon dress with a cummerbund waist without knowing which character would wear it. "I didn't know who I was going to use it for, but I loved it and knew it will be used on Mad Men and worn by somebody important," says Bryant. "The whole costume is very reminiscent of the '20s, which is great because Trudy and Pete have that whole dance sequence where they're doing the Charleston."
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Jane's hand-painted dress is paired with a hat that Bryant slightly altered. "I added the coral silk chiffon and the roses." Roger is in what Bryant describes as "his sporty, weekend wear," consisting of fine wool trousers and a plaid jacket. "It's a different look for him, since we usually see him so formal and traditional in his three-piece suit."
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Bryant loved the idea of the black with the red roses for the "haunting" scene in which Joan plays a hostess. While it's no secret that Christina Hendricks has a naturally stunning hourglass figure, Bryant says her long lined-bra and girdle underneath really nip at the waist to emphasize the shape. "All the girls have proper foundations under their garments," says Bryant. "It's so important for the proper fit of the clothing and allows the actresses to have the experience of what it was like during that period — just in the way you hold yourself and the way you walk."
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As one of Bryant's favorite costumes for Season 3, she feels this dress symbolizes Peggy's character perfectly. "I think her character is very multilayered, so I love designing outfits for her that have a lot of textures, details and layers because her character is so complex. " While Betty is a real go-getter at work, Bryant says she still has a Catholic school girl façade. The vintage purse was also selected for Peggy for a specific reason. "It has all different cities listed on the bag, and it's so great because I can see her as wanting to go to all those cities — and she's going to get there someday."
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"I love this vintage mohair sweater for Paul because I always call him 'my bear,'" says Bryant. Keeping that in mind, the designer always keeps Paul in warm earth tones including browns, greens and golds. "I love Paul and his cardigans. It is a true signature piece for him."
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Bryant selected a very dramatic broach and charm bracelet to complement Joan's rust, raw-silk wrap dress. "For each character, I have a jewelry stash, and then as the season goes along I'll buy more pieces for each of them. I also have a stock jewelry section." Bryant also explains why we see Joan in scarves as opposed to hats: She sees the character as more of that "movie-star scarf girl."
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"This is a very important dress because I have a tradition with Peggy that whatever dress she wore a lot in the prior season, I like her to start her off wearing it in the new season," Bryant says of Peggy's plaid, ruffled dress. "I think it's nice to have the continuity, and I also think it's a reality that Peggy doesn't have a lot of money or a huge amount of clothes, so she's very modest."
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It's all about the hourglass silhouettes and jewel tones for Joan. "For me her costume always has to have that commanding force," says Bryant. And let's not forget Joan's staple gold pen-on-a-chain as a secretarial accessory. "The first necklace we got was a vintage, but then we got multiple ones on the Internet. And the pens actually work, so they're practical!"
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In this scene, Betty is about to learn that Don is having an affair with Bobbie Barrett, so Bryant opted for a stronger shade of blue for this dress as opposed to her usual lighter shades. "It was all about finding those color choices when telling the story of Betty's evolution," Bryant says. The costume team had to create three of these gowns to serve as "stunt dresses" for when Betty vomits in the car. Bryant also found the scene to be the perfect opportunity to abide by the "seasonal rules" and put Don in a formal, white dinner jacket.
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Pete is wearing what Bryant calls a "Campbell blue" suit because of his closet full of blue-toned garments. "Blue was the new color of the period, so it really signified the younger generation of the time," Bryant says. "I like the idea of this character being youthful and fresh. Matt [Weiner] actually talked to me a lot about Pete being in blue, so I continued with that theme."
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This photo was taken between filming — so Christina Hendricks is wearing her earrings on her collar. "All the girls do that because their clip-ons really pinch the earlobes," Bryant says. "So if you walk around set between shots, you see all the girls clip their earrings to their garments."
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Betty's butterfly blouse carries a lot of meaning. "I love having pieces for Betty with birds or butterflies. For one, Don calls her Birdie. And I just love that symbolism of things that fly away because her character is always flying away in her mind. It's all a part of the fantasy about who Don is, what her life is and the façade she presents to the world," Bryant says.
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Though Betty is just grocery-shopping in this scene, it was very common for women of the time to primp for this kind of chore, according to Bryant. "I love the custom of dressing for every aspect of your life," says Bryant.
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As a department store heiress, Rachel Mencken is always in the latest styles, including this boiled-wool, fuchsia suit. "It's very sculptural and modern," Bryant notes. "Don is in his ultimate gray suit. I always think of his suits as his armor with all the different grays. It's almost like his protection."