Outfit Inspiration

Style Lessons from the '60s

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Jan 19 2018

(The Mad Men Collection, by Banana Republic)

I think it’s safe to say that the Sixties are having a moment. While Mad Men – the show that arguably ushered in the decade’s current renaissance – doesn’t return to the airwaves until later this year, its influence is far from out of sight.

Despite contract negotiations delaying the AMC series’ next season, the allure of the era continues to hold our cultural attention. Two shows on the fall TV lineup are set in the ’60s – Pan Am, about (I’m guessing) airplanes and The Playboy Club, about nuclear physicists saving the planet cottontail-wearing cocktail waitresses in Chicago. Meaning the Sixties – and its styles – aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Fashion, particularly, continues to operate under Mad Men fever. In the last year, the show’s costume designer Janie Bryant has collaborated with brands like Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic and even QVC to bring mid-century style to the modern-day masses.

This fall, Banana Republic is releasing another “capsule collection” inspired by the show. Apart from feeling sick to my stomach that I have to be thinking about fall clothes already, it got me considering the decade’s influence – whether renewed, or just continued – on guys’ wardrobes today.

Slimmer is better.

Interestingly, Jon Hamm, the show’s ridiculously dashing lead, isn’t built like a hipster, indie rocker or any other typically skinny guy you’d expect to see reaching for the “slim fit” jeans at American Apparel. But the way he wears his streamlined suits shows the fit isn’t reserved just for skinny guys. That’s because clothes look best when they fit your body.

Even if your build is more Bert Cooper than Pete Campbell, wearing clothes that fit properly afford a more slimming look to the wearer. Take the time, and spare the cost, to have your clothes, especially suiting, tailored to your body. Small changes – an inch off your trouser cuffs, a half-inch at the sleeves – and you’ll look made-to-measure.

Suit up.

Speaking of suits, put one on once in awhile. Men and women back then dressed up way more than we do now, and I for one think it’s a shame we’ve let ourselves go. If Mad Men is to be believed (and I believe everything I see on TV), women did the dishes in full skirts and pearls, and guys had spare tuxes hanging in their closets like they were waiting for a happy hour invite from the Rat Pack.

All I’m saying is, nobody at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce shows up to work in khakis and a light blue button down shirt. Even on Fridays. You may not have to dress up for work, or dinner, or a quick run to the grocery store, but every so often, why not?

Grooming is key.

No character on Mad Men sports five o’clock shadow. Or Justin Bieber hair. Or if they do, it indicates that – in the case of the former – they’re the villain, and in the latter – an irresponsible hippie.

Dress with intention.

It was reported that Hamm recently signed an eight-figure deal to make tailored suits and skinny ties look good for another three seasons. That means three more seasons of impeccable outfits, no matter the occasion. Because even out of the office, Don Draper’s bowling shirts are clean, penny loafers are polished and pants are pressed.

The lesson: dress like Don takes his scotch – neat.