Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mad Men Via Etsy - Dr. Faye Miller

This season, we were introduced to Dr. Faye Miller. Dr. Miller was a consultant for a consumer-research firm, hired by Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to provide insight into their clients' customers.

I loved the Faye character, but I had some issues with her as well. Thus far, on Mad Men, we have only come in contact with women who chose one of two paths - marry someone rich or solidly middle class, so you could raise children or work on your interior design skills (Betty, Trudy, Jane), or work at a menial secretarial job with the hopes of one day moving up to your next professional advancement (Peggy and Joan). We really have not seen any other alternatives for women.

Enter Dr. Faye Miller. She was relatively close to the age of the other female characters, yet she is a doctor with a PhD. She was first to admit that she put her career ahead of family, but she was an anomaly, and the show did nothing to explore her story in any great detail. I was bothered by the cavalier way that such an interesting and potentially deep character was overlaid into the story with no explanation.

Faye was mainly used as a vehicle for the other characters. She was a love interest for Don, which challenged him to expand his notions of intimacy, trust, and gender roles. She was his female match - smart, tough, sexy, and mysterious. He had to set aside his typical tricks to bed her, and engage with her intellectually. The only other time we saw this was perhaps with his artistic, beatnik paramour, Midge, during the first season.

She also forced the show to explore issues around maternal relationships in a different way. Don tried to use Faye as a surrogate mother for Sally when he found himself in need of a babysitter. Faye relented to his request and we saw an uncomfortable, yet tender, attempt by this tough career woman to fit into that maternal role, even if it was only temporary. We see Faye struggle to articulate her choice not to have a family in order to have a career, and the classic push-pull of competing priorities is brought to the fore. It also forces Don to admit to himself that he is just better off married - to anyone really - just to bring order to his life (a fait we see fulfilled by another at the end of the season).

Faye was also a vehicle for the show explore the relationships between professional women at the time. Peggy was impressed by her. Faye was a women with power, who was taken seriously by her male colleagues, and who was respected for her expertise. We saw Peggy reach out to her and ask that they continue their relationship socially when Faye's services were no longer needed at SCDP. Faye didn't see the point and declined Peggy's offer of friendship. This was an important scene to show the audience that in 1965, before the women's movement, women did not instinctually ban together to further a cause - instead they viewed each other as competition for the few opportunities where their work and their minds would be taken seriously by their male counterparts. Mentoring was not a value.

Faye's character needed to demonstrate poise, power, intellectual prowess, and professionalism. At her career level, she would have been able to afford high quality garments, and her relative youth lent her towards more modern cuts and prints. Let's take a look at examples of her style.

Graphic Office Dress

Graphic Silk Blouse
Graphic Purse

For work in the office, Faye was typically dressed in strong graphic prints.  Usually, she wore black and white, but sometimes, her graphic prints were in bold colors like red or yellow.

Yellow Work Suit
Graphic Print Scarf

Faye also wore coordinated suits to the office, and wonderful graphic print scarfs.

Chiffon Date Night Dress
For date nights with Don, we saw Faye dressed in softer dresses - chiffon numbers with watercolor prints in blues and greens.

Office Party Dress
Faye often wore black evening wear for corporate or office parties.  Her cocktail dresses usually had details like sheer chiffon sleeves, or bejeweled necklines.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mad Men Via Etsy - Betty (Draper) Francis

This season, we saw a very tumultuous Betty.  She was trying to settle into her new life with all of its unique imperfections.  Her new husband, Henry, is about 10 years older than her and has a very conservative job in the Governor's office where he must keep up conventional appearances.  Gone are the days of glamour and glitz that Don’s advertising job offered to Betty, and so is the excitement, unpredictability, and drama that his infidelity brought to the marriage as well.
We see Betty revert to childlike and childish behavior as she is confronted by Sally’s rebellious behavior and her new-found friendship with neighborhood boy Glen.  Glen represents not only a catalyst for Sally’s budding sexuality, but also as a reminder to Betty of her own vulnerability.  She sees herself as an aging housewife with few if any prospects beyond her husband, her three children, and the things they own.
We see her color pallet turn to cold and icy blues, as well as conservative neutrals.  There are almost no opportunities for her to dress up, so most of her clothes are utilitarian this season. 
In scenes where her behavior mimics that of a child, we see her in dirndl style dresses with old fashion full skirts that hearkens back to her 1950’s wardrobe. 

Dirndl Day Dress

In situations where she needs to appear to be in control (visiting Don’s office, in Sally’s psychiatrist office), we see conservative tailored suits. 
Conservative Tailored Suit
Around the house and running errands, she gravitates towards cropped, high-waist wool pants, sleeveless blouses, and casual car coats and capes.  We also saw Betty’s cat eye sunglasses, structured purses ,and silk scarves play a role in her everyday wear.
Wool Cape

Cropped Wool Pants

Casual Plaid Day Dress

Cat Eye Sunglasses
Structured Purse

Equestrian Themed Scarf
Like all characters in the show, we see selected pieces from her old wardrobe recycle through each season.  I really appreciate this small detail as it lends authenticity to the characters.  Although society was moving towards a more disposable attitude towards their possessions, at this time, people still worked hard to preserve their clothes – they darned sweaters, replaced buttons, and made garments last years rather than mere seasons.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mad Men Via Etsy - Peggy Olson

Now that the fourth season of Mad Men is over, I am going through a little bit of withdraw.  Therefore, I am going to continue my obsession by styling each female character from items found on Etsy.

Spoiler alert - I will make references to the 4th season, so if you haven't watched, don't read my commentary.

First up, our career girl, Peggy Olson.  Peggy has had a double life this season - we see her rising in her career as she breaks new ground and finds a new personal friendship with Don.  We also see her expanding her horizons - hanging out with the Warhol crowd, dating activist Abe, and paling around with lesbian Joyce.  These different activities have required different clothes - of course!  So, let's get started.

Work Dress - Peggy
Peggy has been wearing a lot of bold vertical stripes this season.  Some would say that she has been choosing from military inspired pieces as a way to "armor" herself against the unpredictable and somewhat hostile work environment she finds herself in. She is has been veering away from her signature Peter Pan collars and choosing more sophisticated styles.  She is still fairly young, so she does not choose styles that are overly conservative for the office, but appropriate nonetheless.

Casual Dress Peggy

Peggy has been hanging with a fun crowd this season.  Her newfound friendship with Joyce has opened her up to a different scene socially which includes artists, activists, and musicians.  They are also single and her own age, which is new for her.  In the past we have seen her hanging around the married men she works with or other men who were moving towards a very domestic life.  Polyester, nylon, and other synthetic materials were new in 1965 and considered very youthful - she would have taken advantage of these new wash-and-wear options, which any frugal working girl would do at that time.

Swing Coat Peggy
We saw a few different coats for Peggy this season.  All of them were swing coats and most likely left over from her 1950's wardrobe as they would accommodate the full skirt of a crinoline.  Coats were a big ticket item in the 60's and most working girls would probably not update them every year.  It makes sense that she would have older ones in circulation.  She usually wore neutral colored coats, like this camel one, and would wear a more youthful style like a toggle, rather than a double breast.

Structured Hats - Peggy

We saw Peggy wear a lot of structured hats this season.  Although the 60's youth culture was bringing new more casual styles to bear, women still wore hats and gloves in 1965 as they did in the 50's.  Peggy's hats always tended to be structured pill box style hats with grosgrain ribbon or bows.  They also tended to be in browns and yellows or other neutrals.

Structured Purse Peggy

Women did not use purses in 1965 as we do today.  Back then, the most they carried around was their compact, lipstick, cigarettes and lighter, small wallet, one or two keys, and their gloves.  Smaller structured purses in new manmade materials were common and worked nicely to keep their smokes from getting crushed.  These days, the only thing missing from our purses is the kitchen sink!

Peggy Office Shoes

It was still required of women to wear heels in the office.  In the 60's, we see shoe styles for the working woman become more practical with an emphasis on enhanced comfort.  We see heels widening and toe boxes becoming more square.  A girl like Peggy would have taken advantage of the youthful turn toward multi colors in shoes in interesting materials like patent leather, but would have to remain conservative enough for the work environment.  Open toes, sandals, or boots would not be appropriate - the closed toe pump was the only shoe for the office.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vintage Scream Queens

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I would post some vintage scream queens....including Vampira vs Elvira - which one do you like better?  I'm leaning towards Vampira...


Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Alexis Carrington's Many White Hats

I think Joan Collins a very beautiful woman.  Frankly, I am a little creeped out that from the neck up she looks just about the same as in 1985, but we won't go there.  My older sister and I used to gather together to watch Dynasty.  I loved it because I was pretty young at the time and spending time with my super cool teenage sister was such a treat.  We loved the clothes and the cat fights - oh so much drama!  Alexis always had the most wild outfits and loved to wear hats.  I am surprised how many of them were white - pretty strange twist for the "bad girl".  Check it out...


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cilla in the 60's

 I have always been fascinated by Priscilla Presley's 60's style.  For me, I think she encapsulates the mood at the time.

Throughout the 1950's. women had been constrained both physically and aesthetically by fashion.  Dior's cinched waist, large skirt silhouette was the standard of the time and did not leave much room for function or personal expression.  The way the underpinnings and clothing literally controlled a woman's physical movement reflected women's place in society - you were meant to play your role, remain weak, and take orders.

The social and political changes in the 60's, and the rise of youth culture, opened the door to creative thinking when it came to appearance.  The removal of the corset and crinoline allowed physical liberation of women's bodies which coordinated with their potential to become more active in society and the social movements of the time.  A true time of liberation.  We see wild prints, crazy hair and makeup, and an overall visual explosion in fashion.

Priscilla and Elvis met in 1959 when she was 14.  They dated for 7 years and wed in '66.  She transformed from a girl to a woman in the spotlight of the media and found her way through many looks.  Beyond her journey into womanhood, the context of the liberation of the 60's played a big role in her overall style - take a look.

Early 60's

Elvis makeover

Early 60s
Mid 60s
Late 60s
Late 60s

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our Vintage Wedding

Now that the wedding is over, I can't say that I miss the planning!  It couldn't have been better - a truly lovely gathering of friends and family, all with a vintage touch.  Our theme focused on our love of international travel and each table represented a favorite place.  I spent hours in thrift stores trying to find vintage travel guides.  My grandmothers were with me every step of the way - one's ring and one's dress.  I expressed my love of all things vintage through our dress and decor.  Our photographer, Jenny GG did an excellent job.  Here are some highlights...

I finally got a drink! 

My beautiful sisters Susan and Molly

Sake ceremony

Vintage dress for dancing from my friend's store - Empire Vintage
Centerpieces and cakes (coconut cream cake and chocolate orange - Madre's Kitchen)

Monday, October 4, 2010

60's Eyeliner

I continue my quest to master the perfect 60's liquid eyeliner job.  How did they do it?  These photos really make it look easy and effortless.  You really can't have the shakes in anyway - i.e.; no coffee before lining thy eyes!


Edi Sedgwick
Marlo Thomas?
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