From Banana Republic clothing lines to Estée Lauder make-up collections, it seems like everyone has hopped aboard the Mad Men fashion train. And we can see why! Since the start of Season 5 just a few weeks ago, we’ve been swooning over the impeccably dressed women on the show. Flowy fabrics? Check. Vibrant prints and florals galore? Check. Body-hugging dresses? Love those, too.
But, can modern girls really pull off these 1950s and 60s looks? Absolutely! Whether your fashion personality resembles Betty, Joan, or Peggy, here’s what you need to know to channel Mad Men styles—just in time for spring!
1. Embrace Feminine Fabrics
Florals, polka dots, and silks, oh my! Feminine patterns and fabrics—a touch of lace, a sweet bow on a blouse, or a flowy dress—keep your wardrobe classic and effortlessly pretty. The trick to not looking too girlish or 1950s housewife is to keep the shape of each piece modern (try a structured blazer or pencil skirt) or to add an alluring touch: Channel Joan’s va-va-voom appeal with ladylike fabrics tucked into body-hugging shapes.
2. Experiment with Color
The ladies of Mad Men aren’t afraid of color (just look at those fabulous mint-colored pants!), and you shouldn’t be, either! The most vibrantly colorful of the bunch is Joan, who offsets her fiery red hair with rich jewel tones like ruby, sapphire, and emerald. Betty loves sorbets and pastels—light blues, girly pinks, raspberries, and limes—mixed with classic white accessories. And Peggy mixes subtle pops of color with her neutral-hued staples. Experiment with all shades of the color wheel to see what you love—and don’t shy away from standing out this spring!
navy skirt | striped dress
3. Play with Silhouettes
The Mad Men women aren’t afraid to show off their curves—and they look amazing doing it! The secret is sticking with classic silhouettes that suit your body type: If you have a fuller or hourglass figure like Joan’s, vamp it up with body-hugging silhouettes, pencil shapes, and draping fabrics. Petite ladies with smaller busts like Peggy can go for A-line skirts, flowy accordion fabrics, and pleats. And to help define straighter figures like Betty, choose peplum shapes, fuller skirts, and cinched waists.
4. Never Forget the Accessories
What makes the Mad Men ladies always look styled to a capital T is those signature outfit additions. Betty never leaves the house without wearing a gorgeous pair of pearls, a chic scarf tied around her neck, a belt, or a pair of dainty gloves (or all of the above!). Peggy adores headbands, bows, and hats, and Joan loves long necklaces, brooches, and structured bags. Even a pair of cat eye sunnies makes a serious difference. So make like these ladies, and always make time for accessories.
Get the look! pearl bracelet | studs
headband | brooches
5. Soft and Radiant is Chic
Hey, no Mad Men article would be complete without bit of beauty advice! Complete your retro look with soft waves and radiant lips—they look classic and chic in one full swoop. Try matte reds, pinks, and corals on your lips for an instant color boost and sex appeal à la decades past. Then, work your hair into soft waves like Betty, a loosely pinned up-do and side swept bangs like Joan, or lots of body like Peggy.