Modern Style Tips for Your Inner Mad Man
In 2007, when most men’s attire consisted of the oversize, indifferent, yeah-I-slept-in-this-so-what approach to clothing, Mad Men came as a breath of fresh air. Main character, Don Draper’s grey suits, heavily pomaded, side-parted hair, billowy white shirts and perfectly neat pocket square juxtaposed the current disheveled appearance and gave rebirth to a time of clean, polished sophistication. If you looked closer, you’d see more than just a sharp-dressed man of the 60s – you’d see a completely contemporary man, evident in the trimness of his suit and elegance of the details.
Like the best in modern design, Draper’s suit is simple and streamlined, and perfectly crafted. He infused the humble two-piece with a sense of cool modernity, so much so that the number of men in the office who began wearing one to work rose exponentially.
Rather than the uniform of ‘The Man’, a well-tailored suit became the perfect sheep’s clothing for wannabe wolves, carrying them all the way through the day with panache. This switch couldn’t have come sooner. Draper’s influence allowed men to grow up, gracefully.
Draper’s TV reign may have come to a close, but the resonance of its sartorial impact? That’s not going away anytime soon. Here’s how to make that Mad Men–inspired look work for you.
The Essential, Can’t-Go-Wrong, Grey, Two-Button Suit
This is basically the man’s version of the little black dress. It works for day, night, and any other occasion a suit would be appropriate. Make sure you’re getting a shade of grey right down the middle – not too light and summery, and definitely not a somber charcoal. Keep it Mad Men-inspired by pairing it with a white shirt and a black, or diagonal striped, narrow tie.
The New Slim, Trim Double-Breasted
If you want a double-breasted suit to look modern – and not like something from a gangster flick – create a slim profile, not a boxy one. Keep it short and trim and keep the jacket buttoned (it doesn’t hang well when undone). Try incorporating color to keep this classic silhouette looking fresh.
Keep Your Cool
Khaki is probably the best known of the summer suits, but don’t limit yourself. Designers are doing a range of cotton options, including navy, black, white, and even plaid. Pair it with a white button down and modern cap-toes, or, take a cue from the show, and dress it down with a polo shirt, loafers, and summer fedora.
Slim Is In
The guys on Mad Men are famous for their skinny ties. Since the overall silhouette is slim we need to balance the narrower lapels with a narrower tie. Try to keep the tie around 2.5 inches wide.
Dare To Be Square
There are a number of ways to choose what color pocket square to wear, but since we’re wearing a dark or gray suit with a white shirt, opt for a white pocket square. Keep it modern using a straight fold – nothing fancy, but it adds a bit of contrast. The tie bar also helps break up the silhouette of a dark solid tie.
Brad Schultz is a fashion designer and sewing teacher in Gainesville, FL specializing in special occasion apparel. His work is a fusion of clever design and beautiful, couture-quality execution. Each dress is a thoughtful collaboration between the designer and the client celebrating her unique beauty, style, and personality.
Phototography: Candice Hildebrandt of C.Hill Photography
Model: Kara Winslow