don draper

How to Dress Like Don Draper

draper-tux

Image courtesy AMC

What would Don Draper do? Careful down that road. You might end up wasted, fired or worse.

But what would Don Draper wear? Better question.

The enigmatic and pathological main character of AMC’s Mad Men TV show dresses sharp, with a “classic gentleman” look built on straightforward ties, tan car coats, oxfords or derby shoes–and when stepping out: black tuxedo.

To really get in touch with Draper’s style, remember consistency is key. Pretty much the only change in his wardrobe as Mad Men arced from the 1960s to the 1970s was that he started wearing more stripes.

Clothes and accessories to keep you draped up and dripped out, so to speak:

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When Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner—a bona fide visionary with an armload of Emmys under his belt—has an odd-sounding request, his team at cable-saviors AMC have learned to listen. Such was the case with the extremely specific idea he had for hyping the show’s upcoming sixth season. To quote The New York Times:

“…Inspired by a childhood memory of lush, painterly illustrations on TWA flight menus, [Weiner] decided to turn back the promotional clock. He pored over commercial illustration books from the 1960s and ’70s and sent images to the show’s marketing team, which couldn’t quite recreate the look he was after. ‘Finally,’ [Weiner] said, ‘they just looked up the person who had done all these drawings that I really loved, and they said: Hey, we’ve got the guy who did them. And he’s still working. His name is Brian Sanders.'”

We decided to look up Sanders for ourselves. Amidst a long and illustrious career in England, the work that most caught our eye on the illustrator’s curriculum vitae comes from the 1960s, when Sanders convinced Stanley Kubrick to allow him to document the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sanders observed and sketched on-set twice a week for over a year, later working on larger paintings in his studio. An excerpt of this amazing record appears below. See more of Sanders’s artwork here.

 

Here’s a look at how that little project turned out:

…And in case you need a reminder of why to watch Mad Men (besides the impeccable style inspiration), here’s one of our favorite quotes—Don Draper explaining why he seldom says ‘Thank you’ to his valued employees:

 
 

[Artwork © Brian Sanders. Mad Men poster and clip courtesy of AMC.]

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The season-five finale of Mad Men a few nights ago ended with a brief chain of events that threatened to decimate the central premise of the entire season—namely, a new Don Draper: less work-obsessed, more monogamous, and less haunted (literally) by demons from his past.

Despite the revelatory plot twist, it was hardly shocking to see classic Draper reemerge—and beguile the best-looking ’60s mod-era minx in the bar, and her friend, without even trying.

What was unexpected, though, was this season’s occasional loosening-up of the definitive Mad Men uniform  (trim suit + white shirt + narrow tie). Secondary characters came into their own, style-wise, and even Draper and Roger Sterling relaxed a little. Read on for our top five less-buttoned-up looks of the season.


1. Off-Duty Don. He wore this timeless, casual-yet-polished combo to the office—on a Sunday. Take a cue and make an effort, even when you don’t have to. Shop V-Neck Sweaters.
Shown: Etro | Kenzo | Dockers

 


2. “Dinner-Party” Roger. Couldn’t resist including this scene of Sterling, in the bath with his quasi-estranged second wife, hallucinating that he’s at Yankee Stadium. Directly prior, he was talked into trying LSD by a group of hippie intellectuals—while wearing a perfect navy blazer and power tie (Sterling’s version of ‘casual,’ as opposed to his standard three-piece suit). Shop Navy Blazers.
Shown: Hickey Freeman | Psycho Bunny | Hugo

 


3. Stan Rizzo’s Stripes. Mad Men nails all the differences—in personality and attire—between account men and creative types. Rizzo, an art director, makes casual-staple polo shirts look office-ready on a daily basis, thanks to a trim fit and clean lines. Shop Polo Shirts.
Shown: Rag & Bone | Gant Rugger | Boss Orange

 


4. Harry Crane’s Adventurous Side. We decided to pass up the vibrant, prep-staple plaid dinner jackets donned by Draper, Cosgrove and Campbell early in the season, and instead focus on the subtler, but still statement-making patterns that TV-exec-schmoozing Crane has caught on to. Shop Plaid Sportcoats.
Shown: Hart Schaffner Marx | Psycho Bunny | Hart Schaffner Marx

 


5. Ginsberg’s Creative Streak.
The new guys’ clothes are like his thoughts: scattered, a little messy, but inevitably a glimpse of brilliance shines through. His pattern-mixing here is a travesty, but his printed shirt is as on-point in 2012 as it was in 1967. Shop Novelty-Print Shirts.
Shown: Etro | Eton | Kenzo

 

In Closing: We’re sad to see Mad Men go—but at least the new season of True Blood premiered the same night. Which means less Megan, but more of this guy. Fair enough.

 

 [Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom or products shown. Images courtesy of AMC and Lionsgate. Don, Stan and Harry via GQ.com; Roger and Ginsberg via polentical.com.]

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Mad Men Finale

Mad Men’s fifth season comes to a close this Sunday night at 10/9c. This long-delayed, much-anticipated season has seen Don Draper get a new wife, a (temporary) new work-life balance, and endure 30 whole seconds of a Beatles record before getting up to turn it off and pour another Scotch. Old-school ad man Roger Sterling dropped acid. Pete Campbell finally got punched in the face. And Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce “promoted” its first female partner—while another partner unexpectedly “resigned.”

After all that, there’s no telling what will go down Sunday night. But two things are for sure: Draper’s late-season return to form will continue to put the mere mortals of The Pitch (AMC’s reality-TV version of Mad Men’s ad-agency drama) to shame; and, the clothes will be impeccable, as per usual.

Check back next week for our own full-season style recap. Until then—
Shop: Trim Suits | Narrow Ties | Trim-Fit Dress Shirts | Tie Clips

 

[Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom or products mentioned. Photo courtesy of AMC.]

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