Under the Influence: Mad Men
Why — and how — to dress like Don Draper, 10 years later
This is Under the Influence, a series on the intersection of pop culture and menswear, and how to update some of history’s most enduring looks for the here and now.
Conversations about the legacy of Mad Men, which premiered 10 years ago this week, too often digress into ruminations on the show’s considerable impact on the world of menswear. It was so, so much more. And yet here we are — two years after the AMC drama ended, in 2015 — talking about white men in suits.
Which is fine, in the grand scheme of things. But during the show’s eight-year run, when every man rushed to the barber to get a sharp side-part to “get the look,” let’s be honest: it was insufferable. Which is why I generally tend to side with Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times, who remarked that she hoped the end of the show meant “the end of a period in fashion that has seen designers become trapped in the past to an almost stifling degree.”
She’s talking about the ‘60s, and how, from 2007 to 2015, seeking inspiration from the past became, well, completely uninspired.
Which isn’t to say that Mad Men’s aesthetic isn’t crucial, or Don Draper’s ties are meaningless, or Roger Sterling’s three-piece suits inconsequential. What I am saying is that while it’s easy to find inspiration on Mad Men, it’s even easier to go overboard. Or in the words of style scholar Bruce Boyer: “Don’t imitate the past; just show you value it.”
Here’s how to do just that.
Isaia Blue Checked Wool-Blend Blazer $2,240
Todd Snyder Wool Tab Trouser in Dark Grey $248
Warby Parker Eliot $145
Drakes Handrolled Woven Shantung Silk Tie $160
J.W. Hulme Co. Briefcase $795
Alden Adams Monk Strap Oxford $580
Ledbury Slim Fit Dress Shirt $145
Viski Bronze Rim Tumbler Set $24