One of the most intriguing aspects of fashion is its ability to transport people, whether it is to another era or another mindset. What we put on each morning can define how we feel about ourselves that day and how we want to interact with the world. Fashion allows us to mold ourselves, put on a costume, and live a fantasy. This blog is primarily about using styles and trends of the past to transport ourselves today.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Style Inspiration: MadMen's Betty Draper

The character of Betty Draper, played by January Jones on AMC's MadMen is not only a classic representation of the "1950's housewife", but a style influence on current trends and silhouettes, bringing back the simple, yet detail filled hourglass shape.

MadMen has been showing for four seasons strong. For those of you that may know nothing about it, it takes place in the late 1950's and into the 1960's. The show covers a variety of scenarios reflecting true events. It is centered mainly on an advertising agency and the characters that work there, in addition to their family lives and dynamics and personal struggles within the confines of social norms.

1: Short Blonde Hair, curled slightly
2. Simple makeup, red lips or smoky eyes for evening (choose one)
3. Have a distant coldness in your eyes
4. Choose a "special" dress that accents the hourglass figure (fuller skirt, fitted top-belt it)
5. Smoke a lot
6. Accessorize with matching pieces (common in the 50's)
7. Wear simple jewelry

I love this image because it emulates the MadMen era of post World War 2, iconic for its defined gender roles and manicured styles that reflect a "perfect" life. His hair is slick without a hair out of place while hers is also combed to perfection and collar suggestively upturned.
(Pictured above: John Stamos and model for Marie Claire Sept 2005)
Betty Draper's style is very intentional, which in my opinion lessens her sex appeal. Her style denotes control, restraint, and the desire the please with her matching dress and scarf, her matching jewelry, and very manicured makeup and hair. While her wardrobe is truly amazing and her character is devinely gorgeous, Betty is a sad character, that plays a role for others, rather than lives for herself, much like many women of the 1950's era,
In this image, Betty's dress is a simple hourglass shape that defines classic feminity in its most maternal. The powder blue dress is contrasted with yellow embroidery that makes the dress a special piece. This is what makes vintage clothing appealing to me, the specialness and thoughtful design in each dress. Here, Betty looks almost childlike with her dress buttoned up to her neck and tied with a bow, a look that reflects her rank in the household as "being taken care of" by her husband, Don Draper. 
The textiles used in vintage clothes are also very unique. Betty's dress here has a beautiful array of pastel flowers. Her accessories, gloves, matching purse, and pearl necklace are very deliberate indicate her status as a woman.
Marie Claire Sept 2005
While this photo shoot was taken before MadMen's debut on AMC in Summer  2007, the model's look is similar with Betty Draper's short blonde hair and glamourous dress.
Vogue September 2010
Betty's manicured blonde hair, red lips, fitted sweater top, and full skirt,
not to mention the motherly duty

Vogue September 2010
Betty inspired hair, peter pan collar exudes youth and gives off a childlike, submissive appearance, but it's cute!
Fitted and modest sweater paired with a full skirt and a belt =perfect 1950's shapes
Marie Claire September 2005
The drunk, disheveled husband and the gorgeous woman attempting to soothe
Their appearance represents the dynamic that was permitted in the 50's- Socially acceptable for men to lose control, but not women.
Vogue September 2010
Slightly more modern Betty
Her hair is allowed to be more natural, fitted top, but with bolder jewelry and a fitted skirt
Still very poised and elegant
Grace Kelly, the original Style icon and inspiration for Betty Draper's look
Grace Kelly

Betty Draper Barbie Doll, her practically "perfect" look captured in a doll

Don and Betty Draper Barbie Dolls
Barbie reflects a beauty standard for women of extreme hourglass-ness and "perfect" proportion
Betty Draper also feels that same pressure to not only be desired by men as beautiful, but also to have the beauty approval of her mother.


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