After decades of casual Fridays, fashion is turning back toward a more formal, put-together style. For inspiration, look no further than your television. “Mad Men” is back with another season and another year of 60s styles for fashion fans to salivate over.
“I definitely think that what we watch on television and what we watch on film definitely influences many people in terms of taste and trend,” says b Michael, a couture designer who recently launched a ready-to-wear line at select Macy’s stores. “I do find the clothing on ‘Mad Men’ to be in great taste, so it’s wonderful if it’s influencing trends for sure. It’s very sophisticated and has a certain kind of chic that I enjoy.”
Jené Luciani, a beauty blogger and author of “The Bra Book: The Fashion Formula to Finding the Perfect Bra” (BenBella, 2009), points out that another reason the fashion of the show is so coveted is because it is so accessible.
“I think the ‘Mad Men’ style continues to be popular, despite that the show has now been on the air for a few years, because the styles are so wearable for women,” Luciani says. “Full skirts and dresses tend to be figure-flattering.”
The feminine styles on the show are both iconic classics and a current trend, making now a great time to purchase timeless dresses that could last a lifetime. David Zyla (http://www.davidzyla.com), head costume designer for “All My Children,” points out that the trend is so strong that there are styles available at all price points.
Choosing a dress to evoke the style of the show has a lot to do with fit and shape.
“When you look at the clothes, there’s structure to them,” says Zyla, “They follow the body beautifully. The necklines are modest. They follow the woman’s curves without being overly sexy. There’s a sultriness to the shapes and the silhouettes.”
Women looking to add a little “Mad” flair to their everyday wardrobe should consider their lifestyles, Michael says. Making sure the clothing you select fits in with what you do professionally and socially, and that it fits your body type, will keep you looking classic for years to come.
“It’s really about having style, versus being in fashion, which means being in a trend,” michael says. “When you can wear something ongoing or pull it out five years from now or 10 years from now and still be excited about it, that’s a classic.”
For a truly timeless style, Michael advises against patterned dresses.
“I believe in texture, and I love structure,” he says. “It’s what makes a dress timeless. A pattern often belongs to a moment, unless it’s a pattern like an animal print. I am careful with patterns because I find them to be very of the moment.” Zyla says one dress every woman can buy is a classic shift dress.
“You want it to follow the feminine curves of the body,” he says, noting that modern women have the advantage of wearing Spanx rather than the much-less-comfortable contraptions women of the era wore for a similar shapely look.
Buying a new dress rather than finding a vintage piece can also ensure a little more comfort for the season. Dresses with a lot of structure can still be made in more breathable, cotton fabrics with a more lightweight feel for spring.
“I think that you can wear something like that for spring always by changing your accessories,” Michael says. “If you have a chic black dress, wear pastel accessories.”
Accessorizing also helps many of these styles do the double duty of going from work to evening easily. Michael designs most of his sleeveless dresses with matching jackets that can easily be removed for evening.“I also think the hair and the makeup also really help with the entire look,” Zyla says. “I would say if you want to evoke that in a modern way, a cleaner type of hairstyle with a definite part would be a great way to embrace that.”