Mad Men Countdown: Power Girdles and Joan Holloway-inspired fashion trends

9 Jul

The smoking. The drinking. The power girdles. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the third season of Mad Men to premier on July 25th!

Congrats are in order to the show, which received 17 Emmy nominations yesterday. In the two weeks left before the new season begins, I intend to add a couple of posts focusing on Mad Men fashion trends inspired by the show’s incredible female characters, Betty, Peggy, and Joan, who I’ll start with here.

Janie Bryant is the genius behind Joan Holloway’s killer curves and Mad Men’s costume design in general, and many are hailing her as “the new Patricia Fields” of Sex And The City fame.  I appreciate Bryant’s attention to small details, like Joan’s gold pen necklace, which she wears frequently (btw, this is a not unlike Field’s styling of Carrie Bradshaw’s signature “Carrie” necklace). This consistentcy in wardrobe and accessories is great, because it’s like real life, right? It makes the character real. Nicknamed “Red,” Joan’s appeared several times in the dress below, so much so that it’s become her signature piece:

Joan Holloway in her signature red dress and gold pen necklace

You can actually get a replica of Joan’s signature accessory on Amazon for only $20, sold by 1928 Jewelry Company.

It’s somewhat similiar, but I don’t know–the fact that it’s a replica that’s “vintage inspired,” and not actually a vintage item takes a bit of the fun out of it for me. And so, here is our dilemma: If you’re looking for a Joan Holloway-inspired look, there are two ways to go about accomplishing this. The first is to hunt for actual vintage pieces. Perhaps as you can tell, this is my preferred method. This is because while the second method–searching for modern clothing that’s “vintage inspired”–produces some great finds, the question is, can I afford them.

No matter what method you prefer, here are a few guidelines for your Mad Men Joan-inspired look:

  • For the 1960s sexy secretary pencil skirt, look for knee length or a bit below knee length skirts
  • To make sure you spilleth over, à la Joan, look for silhouettes that emphasize an hourglass shape, hugging your curves and narrowing your waist
  • Along those lines, cloth-covered belts are spot-on 1960s
  • Consider building your look starting with the underwear of the day, which is Bryant’s recommendation. One power girdle that’s on the less-severe side is a Long-line bras by Miss Mary of Sweden

I like to begin my hunt for Joan inspired vintage items online at Etsy where I found this red-hot number for $75:

Vintage 1960's Exquisite 3 Three Piece Suit Wiggle Dress Top and Jacket and Pencil Skirt for $75

Don’t you love the detailing on the shoulders and waist?

If you’re interested in wearing Joan’s actual wardrobe, I stumbled across some killer replicas made by Etsy seller shebycindy, who will take your measurements and produce a customized copy of one of several recognizable dresses worn by Joan. Take this one, which will cost you $98:

Definitely perfect for Halloween, or, let's be honest, I'd wear it any time

If you’re looking for modern pieces that are vintage/Joan-Holloway-inspired, Victoria Beckham makes gorgeous dresses that are very modern yet seem to have Joan’s name written all over them, just like this one:

What Joan Holloway would wear in 2010, designed by Victoria Beckham

If only I could afford Victoria Beckham’s dresses!  A more realistic option, perhaps, is this Lela Rose dress, on sale for 70% off right now on, making it a great deal at $268.50:

Lela Rose's modern day Joan Holloway dress

It features an updated knee length a that’s a little shorter, and the coral color is a bit of a modern update on Joan’s signature red. But, the pintuck sleeves and especially the front darts, which create dramatic knife pleats, is all Joan, all the time. That is tailoring that’s made to show off an hourglass figure. My favorite detail is the exposed zipper in the back–a modern yet retro detail that draws attention to a woman’s assets…definitely something Joan would approve of:

11 Responses to “Mad Men Countdown: Power Girdles and Joan Holloway-inspired fashion trends”

  1. Sean Swag August 9, 2010 at 2:05 am #

    pretty cool

    • goodtaste August 9, 2010 at 6:28 am #

      Thanks for stopping by, Sean!

  2. Marcheline August 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    Hey Retro Heads!

    I have just entered a retro-licious “Mad Men” contest, and I need your votes to win a walk-on role on the show!

    Please go to and vote for me!

    Thanks a bunch,

  3. MadMenGirl August 22, 2010 at 1:44 am #

    Hey there!

    I have entered a contest to win a walk-on role on that retro-licious TV show, “Mad Men”… but I need your vote to win!

    If you don’t mind taking a couple of seconds to vote for me, click the link – it will take you right to my picture.

    Thanks a bunch!


  1. Mad Men Countdown: Betty Draper’s Fashion–Past and Future « good taste - July 17, 2010

    […] Check back for one more Mad Men fashion post–we’ll be taking a look at Peggy’s fashion in the upcoming days before the season premier! If you missed it, check out our post on Power Girdles and Joan-inspired fashion here. […]

  2. Mad Men Inspired Lingerie and Power Panties: Cinchers, Corsets, Girdles, and Gartles « good taste - July 20, 2010

    […] we’re dedicating this post to Mad-Men-inspired Power Panties! Since putting posts up for Joan Holloway and Betty Draper inspired fashions,  we’ve gotten several requests to hunt down more Mad Men […]

  3. Mad Men Countdown: Peggy Olson’s Office Fashions for Today « good taste - July 22, 2010

    […] posts focusing on the fashion styles of our Mad Men leading ladies. Check out previous posts on Joan Holloway and Betty Draper, and read more about Mad Men era lingerie and shapewear–the foundation of […]


    […] Prefer to be more conservative? Find affordable versions of some of Joan’s most talked about outfits. […]

  5. » Multicoloured Jacket My Wardrobe Shame - October 9, 2011

    […] Because it has a fairly shapeless structure I would team it with a nice fitted shift dress a la Joanie from Madmen – see White Bison’s blog post on dressing like Joan. […]

  6. Joan mad Men necklace – Men necklace | Men Jewelry - January 3, 2012

    […] Gold Tone Pen NecklaceBuy Joan Holloway’s, Mad Men, Vintage Gold Pen Necklace – DiggMad Men Countdown: Power Girdles and Joan Holloway-inspired …Channeling Joan from Mad Men | Vampy VarnishChristina Hendricks talks Mad Men season four, Joan […]

  7. Mad About Mad Men Fashion | a touch of lovely - March 26, 2012

    […] photo / House of Harlow 1960 necklace / Estée Lauder lipstick / ModCloth […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: