Monday, 4 August 2008

Mad (Men) Confession

A few weeks ago I had a discussion with someone (I forget who but they know who they are) about how there is a lack of stylish men on TV. For me stylish men are few and far between on TV shows, there were cast members of Josh Schwartz's creations who dressed well but there is no comparison with their female counterparts. However, it seems I have overlooked one show...I have a confession that might shock you all. I've never actually seen Mad Men. Over the past few months I have noticed countless articles on the series (a continuous lean has a mad men section for goodness sake!) but somehow managed to not read any of them...until now. The pick of the coverage comes from Valet who recently proclaimed "It is for men, what Sex and The City was for women—smartly written dialogue and extreme characters we secretly wish to be, all wrapped up in a super stylized package." The woman behind the slick Eisenhower-era styling is Janie Bryant (award-winning costume designer) who outfits the cast in both custom costumes and tailored vintage finds. For Bryant the days explored by the series "were such elegant times for America, when men came to the office in these gorgeous slim-cut suits. You know, that's a good look for a guy." My favourite quote from Bryant is this: "It was the attention to detail that made the era so iconic in terms of style". This for me is what makes menswear so exciting, why I write about it.
Valet offers the below pieces to help one and all get the look:

1.) Sterling silver tie bar by David Donahue, $40 at Nordstrom. 2.) Lemtosh frames, $169 (without prescription) at Moscot. 3.) Sidecar gunmetal briefcase by Dunhill, $1,240 at Dunhill, 212.753.9292. 4.) Bow tie by Band of Outsiders, $92 at Blue Bee. 5-7.) Ties, (from left) Mike & Chris, $83, Ralph Lauren, $125 and Shipley & Halmos, $92, all available at Blue Bee. 8.) Suit by John Varvatos Star USA, $795 at Nordstrom. Shirt by Theory, $125, at Nordstrom. Tie by Hickey, $115 at 9.) Wool hat by Rod Keenan, $360 at Barneys New York stores. 10.) Cotton handkerchiefs, $25 for a pack of seven, at Brooks Brothers.

I've since read how canny eBay sellers are now marketing their vintage clothes as "Mad Men-style", while on message boards ideas are swapped as to what to serve at a Mad Men has this retro revival passed me by until now. Still, it's not just the thrill of retro, the "Mad Men effect" is apparently increasing the sales of everything...from tortoise shell glasses to fedoras, while the stars of the show skip from the pages of Vanity Fair to GQ to Vogue. The rest of my week will be spent catching up on this show and seeing if it has substance as well as style.

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