Mad Men Countdown: Peggy Olson’s Office Fashions for Today

22 Jul

We’re getting closer and closer to the start of Mad Men season 4! To count down to the premier, goodtaste has been featuring 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 all the looks on this show.

Today, we’re looking at Peggy Olson’s office style. Discussing how she approaches Peggy’s wardrobe, Janie Bryant, Mad Men Costume Goddess, has said:

“She is definitely like that schoolgirl in the office. I do a lot of pleated skirts for her. It’s a little bit prim, a little bit proper, but there’s always a lot of prep going. I also love to design things for her that are very textured. Usually, I’ll do a blouse and a skirt. With her skirt, I like to have the pleats and the fullness around the waist. You know what, sometimes she’ll wear a sheet. I do so many different silhouettes for her. But whatever the silhouette is, it definitely always has the schoolgirl theme to it. In a way she’s buttoned up — not as a nut — but like she has a Catholic upbringing. I definitely think there’s a conservative nature to her.”

If you love Peggy’s “schoolgirl” style, like I do, here are some vintage and modern dresses to check out. Let’s start with one of my favorite “Early Peggy” outfits–this blue and black checked dress from season 1:


I especially love the tuxedo button placket up the front. Get a similar preppy feel with this darling belted ’60s plaid dress, $54 from flourclothing on Etsy.com:

As Peggy’s style evolves, we see her move into more streamlined silhouettes, though she stays prim, proper, and preppy:
This best parts of this dress are the collar and the buttons–two things that Peggy always does well. The side buttons in particular are fantastic–they really draw your eye down the body. This Asymetrical Shirred dress by Laundry, $169 on Zappos.com, is a modern update of this piece:

Great button detailing.

This dress does a fantastic collar, too, just à la 2010–the alluring asymmetrical neckline is sure to grab attention, as will the shorter hemline! Laundry updates the button detailing down the left side by positioning the buttons to work together with the ruching of the dress. Like Peggy’s buttons, the line draws the eye down.  However, the updated ruching detail creates a very flattering look that is more forgiving than Peggy’s dress–so, you won’t necessarily have to use any shapewear.

A sarong-style dress is another flattering ’60s look that allows for the pleats and bit of fullness that Bryant likes to see Peggy wear.  I love this one–particularly the graphic print and the flattering sarong-style tailoring that simultaneously narrows the waist while also gathering together a bit of fabric that creates some forgiving volume in the hips. You can get this  early ’60s day dress for $105 at Vintageous.com:

If you’re looking for a 2010 dress with similar sarong tailoring, but showcasing purple–The Color for 2010–check out this Diane von Furstenberg “Bec” dress, $345 on Shopbop.com:

Diane von Furstenberg updates the sarong style 60s look with purple--so hot for 2010.

So what will we see on Peggy this upcoming season? The show is entering the year 1964 and fashion-wise the mod-movement is gaining steam. I’m hoping that we’ll see Peggy embrace some mid-60s trends, like color blocking. This Courrèges dress is a great vintage example, $200 from pinkpoppyvintage on Etsy.com:

Courrèges is a French couture brand from the '60s. It's namesake designer, Andres Courrèges, is credited with inventing the biggest trend of the decade: the mini-skirt (though British designer Mary Quant coined the term).

A little history about color blocking: this trend was started in 1965 by a genius designer we know and love, Yves Saint Laurent. In the autumn of 1965  (so, a year ahead of this season of Mad Men) Yves debuted the “Mondarian” day dress, inspired by the flat planes of the 1960s canvases achieved by contemporary artists in the lineage of Mondrian. Here’s that famous dress (and you can read more about it here):

The dress that defines the trend.

Color blocking, like many Mad-Men era trends, is coming back into style. (Makes sense, because it’s so universally flattering!) If you’re looking for a 2010 version of this look, check out this short sleeve black and gray dress, $29.99 (currently 25% off of original price of $41)  at wholesale site Lightinthebox.com:

'60s sensibility with a bit of 2010 sexiness

I love the scoop neckline combined with the sweetheart-corset color blocking–it makes the dress sassy–while the pleating and knee-length hem keep it prim, proper, and appropriate for the office.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post about Peggy’s schoolgirl style–thanks for stopping by!

If you’re looking for more Mad Men fashion, we recommend this video link that let’s you can go behind the scenes to the Mad Men costume shop: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1119352258?bctid=29428617001

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2 Responses to “Mad Men Countdown: Peggy Olson’s Office Fashions for Today”

  1. Martha August 31, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Hi,

    I just wanted to thank you so much for including my color blocked dress on your blog. I greatly appreciate it! I work in the fashion, textile and interior design industry with designers in concept/inspiration for product development. You can see more about my clientele and what I do on my Linkedin profile( Martha Wells Harrison) or Google Martha Harrison Print Studio. What I love so much about the fashion industry is the connection we all make. Funny, I don’t think the average consumer has any idea of the amount of thought process and work that goes into the garment they wear no matter what tier of the industry it’s from ( mass merchant i.e. Target, mall chain i.e JCrew, or designer i.e. Michael Kors).

    Thanks again!

    Best
    Martha
    Pinkpoppyvintage

    • goodtaste September 1, 2010 at 9:18 am #

      Hi Martha,
      Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m so pleased to include your Courrèges dress–what a fabulous find! I’m looking forward to googling you and learning more about your work. It’s true, it takes real thoughtfulness to make beautiful garments. We have to celebrate that!

      Thanks again!

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