I love vintage everything. Shabby chic décor, vintage clothes, Victorian collars, polka dots, reclaimed wood furniture, vintage-y posters, old books. I just love it all. Of late I have also developed quite an interested toward history. I now try and sneak in books based back in time (or written during those times) to know more about how the world works. Sadly, this spark to learn was totally missing during my actual learning years. Ha. Anyhow – I mostly spend my free time on Pinterest or Instagram, feasting my eyes on these vintage thingies. And that is precisely how I came upon this gem called Mad Men on Netflix.
What I saw in the preview were some gorgeous looking men and women. Draped in some absolutely lust worthy ensembles and impeccably stylish hairdos. Very sixties and poufy. I was intrigued. I had just finished watching Money Heist and was looking for something less adventurous and easy on the mind. Mad Men just seemed perfect for this.
The build-up of the show was good. It held my attention but not in a way when you are left with no other option than to click on next episode. I was enjoying it leisurely and it provided a much need relief to the eyes. Beautiful visual and interesting storylines. Although the amount of sexual harassment at workplace unnerved me, but I had to keep reminding myself that in the 60s women had very little to do except for providing a glamour quotient and of course being the secretary. Being a secretary, learning shorthand and making a mean coffee were desired skills. Women holding important positions panicked men (waise isn’t that the truth even now?). There is a very important scene where the protagonist Mr Draper is seen leaving a meeting when a woman client is unsatisfied with his ideas. But not before declaring “I am not going to let a woman talk to me like that”.
But uprising of women from short skirts and high heels to pant suits is ideally what Mad Men is all about. Well, at least for me. I loved the character arc of Peggy Olsen. Mostly we are shown how women must be bitchy in order to attain top positions at work. Brash, rude and what not – to be taken seriously. But with Peggy, it was different and more realistic. She is considerate, focused, hardworking and yet humane. Not afraid to stand up for herself but mostly lets her work speak for itself. I absolutely adore the scenes between Peggy and Don Draper.
When I had read Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls, which was also set in the similar timeline and place (NYC). I was so not convinced about how women could just go about partying every night with different set of men, be drunk wake up with a different set of people and smoke like chimneys. But all my doubts of authenticity were drowned by Mad Men. It was as if the book has come into picture in a world of beautiful young women, married men having flings with the drop of a hat. Sugar daddy’s sponsoring your Louis Vuitton. Women smoking during pregnancy and after – breast feeding be damned. Also, oh I am not sure about now but back then alcohol in advertising office seemed to be a mandate. Gulping a drink or two before, after and during a meeting was not really frowned upon.
Another fascinating thing about Mad Men was that is covers all important events of American and world history that happened in the sixties. Marilyn Monroe’s Death. The assassination of Kennedy Brothers. Civil rights protests. Landing on the Moon. Mohammad Ali’s winning fight. The Vietnam wars. Some serial killing, which I forget. And many other titbits here and there. I find it really enthralling to experience these events up close and personal via these mediums.
Taking of favourites, here are some of my favourite characters from the show.
Peggy Olsen – She is my absolute favourite. I love her. Everything including that weird fringe hairstyle they gave her in the first few seasons. The growth her character had in a sector entirely dominated by men was remarkable and most importantly – believable
Joan Holloway – Oh Jonnie. While she may come across as a bit mean and vindictive. She is as strong a character as Peggy. Her journey from being a secretary to a partner and married to single mom is quite fascinating.
Don Draper – He just fits into the description of the term “love to hate”. His character almost sells the cheating part while married to Betty. Because let’s face it, Betty is something else. But when he repeats the same things with Megan was when his downfall started. Also, he was a pretty lousy Dad to his children, especially Sally. But Don being Don is charismatic and can literally pull off anything including stealing identities.
Trudy Campbell – Though not a central character per se but I really admired her for throwing out that scum of a husband. In an era where wives turned a close eye to their husband’s extracurricular activities, she really had some spine. And a very fashionable closet.
And on that fashionable note. My most favourite part. Narrowing down the top five best fashionable moments on the show. Trust me, selecting just these five outfits was more difficult that conceptualizing and writing down this post. So, after much deliberation, here goes.
1. Ms Trudy. In her signature elegant chic avatar. Don’t miss that brooch and earrings. Also I love all her hats.
2. Joan had a lot of bodycon dresses in her wardrobe. Though her red one seems to be the most popular, I like this olive green one.
3. Betty Draper the style chameleon. There was hardly any frame in the entire series where she looked anything less than gorgeous. Including the clothes she slept in. She was mostly seen in empire style dresses accentuating her tiny waist. But I like her in this black one she wore in Italy. That hairdo is everything!
4. Megan has some really epic fashion moments. This blue one was my favorite. very LA and very 60s
5. This was one of those statements via the clothes. Peggy in a pantsuit. Enough said. Lastly, do give this stylish series a watch, I am sure you will be hooked.
Stay Stylish People Don’t let the lock-down stop you from playing dress up and accessorizing.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.