Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mad Men Via Etsy - Joan Harris

As for most of the characters, Season 4 was a challenging season for Joan.  We see Joan in a transitional phase of her life.  No longer the young ingenue, Joan has settled in to a less than perfect married life.  Her husband, now enlisted in the army, is shipped off from basic training straight to Vietnam.  She has found herself unexpectedly alone, childless, and forced to continue working.  She tries to recapture the exciting days of her youth through a brief affair with Roger which leads to an unplanned and ill-timed pregnancy.  Although not in her plans, this pregnancy may be the best thing to happen to her - as long as she can convince everyone it is from a legitimate source.  Coupled with the failings of SCPD, her bogus advancement which requires more responsibility and no extra pay, and feeling isolated at work from the other women by her perceived authority (which has little true meaning), Joan is cast a drift into a world of lonely uncertainty.

As with all good art direction, her wardrobe reflects her mood and where she finds herself in her life.  The shape of Joan's figure forces her to wear structured clothing.  She could not pull off the more relaxed lines that are slowly becoming popular during this time period.  She sticks to her familiar wiggle dresses, which truly show off all her assets.  Her figure-fitting clothing acts as a generational dividing line.  Joan's identity was previously wrapped into being a "bombshell" - a sex kitten if you will.  This is in stark contrast to the a-line dresses we see on the younger, more modern Peggy.  Peggy's dress reflects a move closer towards an androgynous aesthetic in an attempt to blur the lines with her male colleagues.  Joan's entire sense of style is wrapped into the idea that she must be an object of desire for men - a notion that is becoming increasingly outdated as we move towards the late 1960's and the women's movement.  It's also a notion that would seem desperate at the time considering her age and marital status.

We see more separates introduced into her wardrobe this season - less of the clingy sweaters from the 50's and more structured rayon blouses with high necklines and small details.   She keeps on with her iconic pen necklace and rotates a variety or brooches near her bust and shoulder.  As with all characters, the staples of her wardrobe get recycled through the episodes with the exception of purses and smaller accessories which would be more affordable for her to update frequently.

Her color pallet for the most part remains in bold jewel tones and feminine hues, but we see black introduced into her wardrobe in a more prominent way - perhaps a harbinger for things to come. We see the introduction of some of the more busy 1960's floral motifs - bold patterns with an oil pastel quality which at times can look chaotic and messy.  They are used with restraint, presenting themselves at moments in the storyline where her life reflects this type of chaos and uncertainty.  

Let's take a look.

Office Dresses

Floral Wiggle Dress

Red Abstract Wiggle Dress

Black Wiggle Dress

Office Separates 

Brown Herringbone Pencil Skirt

Rayon Blouse

Fur Collar Coat


Circular Pin

Vinyl Structured Purse
Pen Pendant 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and perceptive commentary on Joan's wardrobe this season! Thank you for including my dress and blouse.


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