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Am I the only one . . .

Oldsarge

One Too Many
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who finds the current fascination with the styles of Mad Men disturbing? The 60's were my formative years from middle elementary school through the university. Especially when I was in middle school (jr. high) and high school, the Madison Avenue Ad Man was the target of choice for much of the lampooning in Mad magazine. I look at the uniformly blah grey suits with narrow lapels and skinny dark ties and I hear Alfred E. Newman laughing himself sick in the background. This is so much what the later Counter Culture was countering, for heaven's sake, why would anyone give up the chance at style and color just to look like some three-martini-lunch egomaniac? Brrr . . .
 

Marc Chevalier

Gone Home
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Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California
who finds the current fascination with the styles of Mad Men disturbing? The 60's were my formative years from middle elementary school through the university. Especially when I was in middle school (jr. high) and high school, the Madison Avenue Ad Man was the target of choice for much of the lampooning in Mad magazine. I look at the uniformly blah grey suits with narrow lapels and skinny dark ties and I hear Alfred E. Newman laughing himself sick in the background. This is so much what the later Counter Culture was countering, for heaven's sake, why would anyone give up the chance at style and color just to look like some three-martini-lunch egomaniac? Brrr . . .


Here's a possible reason: at least for men, the Mad Men style is a lot easier to adopt than the '30s-'50s look, or even '70s fashions. Those earlier and later looks are colorful, and require the wearer to know how to put color combinations together.

Mad Men requires none of that: the hair is really short; the glasses are black-rimmed; the suit is grey or black; the dress shirt is white; the tie is navy blue, grey, or black; the shoes are black. Easy. End of story.
 
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Chasseur

Call Me a Cab
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2,494
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Hawaii
I don't find it disturbing, I actually like many of the aspects of the style. There is something about the mid-Century modern streamlined look that looks sharp. I have several suits from the late 1950s/early 1960s and I do the look fairly often (partially this is also due to the fact that I can find a 1950s or 60s suit in 44 much, much easier in my price range than a 1930s-40s suit...).

However, the show generally does not capture what I like about the look as well as Cary Grant from North by Northwest, Sean Connery in the first couple of Bond films, Louis Jourdan, Marcello Mastroianni, Tony Leung in In the Mood for Love, etc. I am more a fan of the Continental suit, than the Kennedy era everything super narrow 1960s suit. About the only one in the show that has a style that really calls to me is Roger Sterling: the alternation between 3 piece suits and the double breasted is essentially the look that I try to go for, some of his details like the collar bar, etc.

In terms of why its popular my uneducated opinion is that its blend of what has been currently fashionable in men's clothing for the past several years (a skinny suit, with narrow lapels, low rise flat front trousers, etc.) with the contrast of "well groomed, stylish people" which frankly is a little exotic/different from the normal fashionably unkempt appearance that is the norm today. So its attractive because it combines a large part of what people like anyways, with a nostalgic "other" that is quite different from what people do today. The juxtaposition of these is intriguing to people, just as this is played out in the script and situations constantly in the show: "Wow these people look stylish and had class back then, but wow they had some really bad habits and behavior! Haven't we come a long way from that..." etc. They are both drawn to and repelled by the characters and the time period.

In some ways it similar to how movies about the 20s or 30s that were made in the 1970s and 80s blended the fashions of the day with the period of movie to produce a look that was attractive at the time, but now looks strange to us (the infamous Redford Gatsby for example…).
 
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Oldsarge

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Here's a possible reason: at least for men, the Mad Men style is a lot easier to adopt than the '30s-'50s look, or even '70s fashions. Those earlier and later looks are colorful, and require the wearer to know how to put color combinations together.

Mad Men requires none of that: the hair is really short; the glasses are black-rimmed; the suit is grey or black; the dress shirt is white; the tie is navy blue, grey, or black; the shoes are black. Easy. End of story.

There is that. Personally, having spent quite a while attempting to come to grips with color theory I would find it an insult to be restricted to such a monotonous palette. But that's just me . . .
 

carldelo

One Too Many
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1,568
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Astoria, NYC
There's a current car ad showing Putty (or whatever his name is) wearing a two-button narrow lapel suit over a skinny tie and narrow-collar shirt that looks just god-awful to me. He's a big guy, and looks like a gorilla with a head as big as an airship floating over those clothes (how's that for a mixed metaphor?). The skinny-suit look isn't for everybody - he would look much better in a thirties- or forties-style suit, designed for a man of manly proportions.
 

LoveMyHats2

I’ll Lock Up.
Messages
5,196
Location
Michigan
I myself have no problem with the style of the time period of Mad Men, I just get sick of seeing anyone using that "term" along with anything they may be selling, as if it is going to make the item have more value. Half the time, the period of when the item was made has ZERO to do with the 1950's or even 1960's for that matter. It is a term over used and I don't care for it at all.
 

resortes805

Call Me a Cab
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2,019
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SoCal
What I appreciate about the writers of Mad Men is that they critique that era as much as they celebrate (if not moreso).
 

Oldsarge

One Too Many
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1,440
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On the banks of the Wilamette
I remember some few years ago a Nero Wolfe Mysteries series starring William Conrad. It was a good series and faithful to the stories but what I remember most was Lee Horsley's Archie Goodwin. I'd see him go steppin' down the streets of New York and think, "There was a time when men knew how to dress!"

Stout-MINJ-1.jpg
 

Effingham

A-List Customer
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Location
Indiana
I remember some few years ago a Nero Wolfe Mysteries series starring William Conrad. It was a good series and faithful to the stories but what I remember most was Lee Horsley's Archie Goodwin. I'd see him go steppin' down the streets of New York and think, "There was a time when men knew how to dress!"

Stout-MINJ-1.jpg

Oh, man, that series was NOTHING.

You want to see GOOD Nero Wolfe, look for the series with Chaykin and Hutton. That was SPECTACUL.... hey, I know what I'm gonna watch tonight. :)
 

Nobert

Practically Family
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829
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In the Maine Woods
I've never seen Mad Men, but my guess is that is simply predates "The 60s" in terms of how much that cultural phenomenon changed things. I was born in '72 and, for me, anything predating the Baby Boom era was a sort of mysterious echo of the past. For you, that's part of your living memory, but for me it's very foreign. It was almost without question the biggest paradigm shift in western culture since the 20s.

Most people don't know the 30s from the 50s from the Kennedy/Cold War period. For some, it may serve as a first glimpse into getting interested in what went on in the past. Everyone has to get that springboard somehow. For the rest, it's just another T.V. fad. There have been worse ones, it'll pass over.

I'm just getting to the age where I'm getting some of the same thing, accompanying friends who are ten years my junior to "80s Night." To me that period only brings up memories of the nadir of Junior High, but for them it's probably nostalgia of their early years.

I myself and not much into the "Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" look, although I could pull it off, not being of manly proportions. It's just not my thing.

P.S. Oh, and add my vote for the Hutton/Chaykin Nero Wolfe. Never read the books, but my Mom leant me some of the series on D.V.D. Great show.
 

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