Posted on October 2nd, 2010
I recently visited one of my favorite department stores, looking for a new dress. I was looking for a simple day dress, something I could wear to work or maybe to a cocktail event. Scouring the shelves and hangers, looking for the perfect dress, I was amazed at the obvious influence that the show Mad Men has had on fashion. Many of the dresses were very different than anything I had seen in recent years.
The fluid, forgiving designs and the light fabrics I got used to have been replaced by highly structured designs that emphasize an hourglass silhouette – a narrow waist and a pronounced bust line.
Mad Men celebrates the fifties and early sixties feminine ideal of an hourglass figure – a large bust, a narrow waist and full thighs. This is the female shape that was considered ideal until Twiggy burst into the scene and changed things forever with her long legs, huge eyes and boyish figure.
Proponents of the Mad Men ideal say that it’s about time women stopped feeling pressured to be stick thin, and that women like Christina Hendricks, who plays the sexy, full-figured Joan Holloway on Mad Men, are healthier than waif-like models. Opponents say that the hourglass ideal is just as unobtainable as the waif ideal, and that maybe we should simply stop looking for the “ideal female body” and just accept women of all shapes and sizes.
Whatever your personal take on the subject, the new dresses you will find in stores right now will definitely be an interesting change from previous seasons. They remind me a lot of the dresses my own mother used to wear back in the early sixties – heavy and structured – although they’re thankfully made with more stretchy, comfortable fabrics.
Here are a few of our favorite Mad-Men-Inspired dresses:
The seamed waist and skinny belt of this dress by Single were taken straight from the fifties!
$129 at Bluefly
A belted waist is HOT right now. This day dress by A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz features a belted waist and puff sleeves.
$108 at Bluefly
Sweet and feminine, the full skirt and pronounced waist of this Marc New York dress were taken straight from the fifties.
$111 at Bluefly