Each week, Tom and Lorenzo analyze the costumes on Mad Men with inimitable wit and charm—showing how the work of the show’s costume designer Janie Bryant reveals character, supplements the plot, and just plain looks great. This article is a short excerpt from this week’s Mad Style post. For much, much more on the style of “Commissions and Fees”—from Joan’s luxe partner wardrobe to Megan’s new audition dress—visit tomandlorenzo.com.
It’s amazing how unglamorous Betty’s become. Granted, it’s a little tough to look glamorous in ski-wear, but the Betty of Ossining, N.Y., would have managed it. We imagine that’s due to a lot of factors: weight gain, possible depression, and living in a mausoleum of a house, which doesn’t require her to look ad-perfect the way her lifestyle with Don did.
Blue is a fairly common Betty color. In fact, it’s as much “her” color as yellow is Peggy’s and purple is Joan’s. At one time, it signaled her lousy marriage, but now we tend to think of it more in “Madonna and child” terms. There’s a maternal element at work here.
Like so. Very Madonna and Child. Very much a focal point in the scenes, providing an expanse of unbroken blue against a cacophony of patterns and colors.
But Sally didn’t want to be part of this tableau; not at first.
She wanted to spend time with her best pal Megan. See the greens in their outfits having a conversation with each other? See how the autumnal colors of Sally’s outfit make it seem like she fits right in here?
But look what happens when she makes her first attempt at impressing a boy. She mimics her mother and her stepmother. From the neck up, that’s pure Betty Francis, but those boots are pure Megan Draper all the way. It’s cute because the boots really don’t go with the outfit at all. She was just dying for a chance to wear them after Don told her she wasn’t allowed to when Megan first bought them for her. It’s notable that the argument with her mother that sent her running to Megan had to do with her older stepsister’s hand-me-down boots and how she didn’t want to wear them. Sally had one pair of boots in mind for this weekend and they sure as hell weren’t hand-me-downs.