Dress like betty draper

The Secrets Behind All Your Favorite ‘Mad Men’ Looks

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It’s been exactly one decade since Mad Men first dazzled viewers with its glamorous portrayal of the advertising world in 1960s New York City. The show that made Don Draper a household name was a game changer in every sense of the word. Mad Men is widely credited with ushering in a new era for television — it was recently called the “Patient Zero of Peak TV” — and turned AMC, then a little-known basic-cable channel, into the juggernaut that would later bring us Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.

But the Mad Men effect reached beyond the confines of the TV screen. The intimate, moody drama popularized a certain way of life that was sleek and highly stylized. A new generation discovered the pleasures of pearls, well-tailored suits, and three-martini lunches (thankfully with less chain-smoking this time around).

As a period piece, what makes the Mad Men aesthetic so mesmerizing is the show’s dedication to getting every single detail just right. Throughout its seven-season run, Mad Men produced multiple iconic looks that became cultural touchstones in their own right. Below, costume designer Janie Bryant, who’s currently working on a 1950s-inspired collection launching in September, reflects on what made the show — and its style — so incomparable.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper and January Jones as Betty Draper in season 2, episode 1 of Mad Men. Photo: AMC

Does it feel like it’s been 10 years since Mad Men premiered?

It seems like yesterday and then it seems like forever ago. I remember the first season so well, because nobody knew who we were. Nobody. They were like, “Mad what? Are you on A&E? Are you on HBO? What is AMC?” Nobody knew the network. It was our own little secret.

After the first season aired, it was almost like Pandora’s box — the secret was out. And it was this magical experience. I always say that the stars were aligned. We all came together in this special moment. We made this creative thing happen, and we were all so passionate about it because Matt was passionate about it. He’s so passionate about the period and the characters. We all have that experience working with him — he inspired us. It was something we all knew was super special. But it wasn’t until after the first season aired that everyone knew. We weren’t a secret anymore, which was kind of sad too, because the first season felt so small, and then every year it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Our universe changed.

Tell me about some of your favorite looks from the show.

That’s a hard one, isn’t it? For Betty, I could list 10 alone. I love Betty’s yellow gown that she wore after she lost weight. this amazing chiffon gown, and these men are hitting on her. It was like Betty had come out again!

I also love Betty’s Valentine’s Day dress that she wore as she was descending the stairs when she was going to meet Don.

That is probably one of my favorite scenes from the show, but also from television in general.

I know. It was a great dress. It was such a great moment. I love all the romance of it and her descending down the stairs. I think part of Don and Betty’s attraction is that they’re both so beautiful that people are really rooting for them. People still get upset — why can’t Don and Betty be together? That moment is a perfect moment in the show that really describes their relationship. It’s all about the façade: Betty wearing that dress and going down the stairs to meet her husband. The audience is thinking, “Oh, they’re so in love!” But really, they’re not — and Don’s having an affair.

January Jones as Betty Draper and Jon Hamm as Don Draper in season 3, episode 8 of Mad Men. Photo: Carin Baer/AMC

Spoiler alert!

Yeah, watch out! My favorite costume that Don ever wore was in season 2. I designed the pale blue raw-silk sport coat for him. So dreamy. And he wore a different combination — but with that same jacket — when he and Betty went to Italy. I loved that because those were such rare moments when you got to see Don change out of his suit.

Of course, his gray suit that I had, like, 20 different versions done — that is classic Don Draper. I also love the pivotal changes in their characters and how the costume design really helps tell the story, when Megan tells him to go put on his new sport coat that she bought for him. It was that crazy plaid sport coat that I designed for him. He just hated it. Oh my god, Jon hated it. But he was like, “I get it, yeah, I get it. No, it’s really fun.” He was always awesome. He really loved to have those character transformations, too.

I was going through photos and in every single image of Christina , she pulls off everything. She doesn’t look bad in anything.

One of my favorites is the red dress that she wore at the Christmas party, and they were doing the Christmas conga line. I designed that dress for Christina for that scene, and I showed the design to Matt. He was like, “Oh, there are bows on it, I’m gonna write a line in there. Sterling is going to say something about ‘unwrapping the package.’” He changed the dialogue for that dress, which was so flattering and so great that he did that.

I also loved when she brings the baby to work. It was this moment where she was really trying to dress up to come to the office because she wanted it to look like everything was fine. I love the idea that she was so overdressed. It’s kind of ridiculous, but a really great moment.

I love those two dresses. They’re indicative of her character. They’re both super provocative and flirty, but a little old-fashioned, you know?

Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris in season 5, episode 1-2 of Mad Men. Photo: Michael Yarish/AMC

She was a good mix between provocative and old-fashioned.

It was sort of the philosophy that she really learned how to dress herself in the 1950s and never got out of that. Her hair was 1950s, her makeup was 1950s, her shoes were 1950s. She liked the way she looked in high school, and she just stuck with it. Although in the last season of Mad Men she had some groovy outfits too.

A lot of color.

Well, I liked the idea for her to be in strong colors because I always felt like she was such a strong character, even though she didn’t really realize what a feminist she was. Her personality was super strong. And I think that she just did not understand the power of her femininity until the end of the show. That was really her whole story throughout every season. She was super strong, and then she was kind of torn down by these men — her husband, her bosses, her co-workers.

story is so much about how we let other people take our power away. And then, ultimately, she understands that transition when she tells her boyfriend, “I’m working, I’m a professional woman, I’m not going to run off with you, I love my job.” She makes that choice. I love her character. I love all the transitions and strides that she made throughout the seasons.

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in season 6, episode 13 of Mad Men. Photo: Jamie Trueblood/AMC

Transformation is such a strong theme in this show — the way the characters transform as individuals as a result of all that’s happening in society in the 1960s, which was such a transformational time in our history. Which character had the most dramatic transformation in terms of personal style and how they carried themselves?

Peggy had a lot of transformations and a lot of changes. She basically went from a college girl to a professional woman with all of the angst, the trials, and the experiences of being in the workforce and working with men. trying to fit in, trying to date, trying to be successful. Every single season there were consistently costume-design changes for her.

She really encapsulated that weird transitional time when you’re out of college — in early adulthood — trying to figure it all out.

Yeah, exactly. Peggy’s pantsuit — it’s my favorite. Well, there are two, and it’s funny, because they’re both checked. In season 1, she wore that drop-waist 1950s dress with the little Peter Pan collar and the little black bow. I love that dress. It was super old-fashioned, long — it was not ’60s at all. I also loved Peggy and her pantsuit, which she wears with the vest, the turtleneck, and the trousers. And for me, that is just full circle of Peggy Olson. You see this whole arc and this entire character change from this little girl to this grown-up, professional woman.

What about Megan?

Megan. Oh my god, Megan. My dream.

She had some of the most glamorous looks on the show.

For sure. Because she was the new, the with-it, the ’60s. She was mod. She was the perfect character to help make that time and style change. I love her “Zou Bisou Bisou” dress. It was the first minidress that Mad Men had ever seen. And their apartment was this white apartment, and black is always one of Megan’s colors because it’s so French and classic. That dress was so impactful. The next day after the premiere, it was on the cover of every single newspaper.

Jessica Paré as Megan Draper in season 5, episode 1-2 of Mad Men. Photo: Ron Jaffe/AMC

It really was.

I was like, “I can’t believe this is happening! Her dress!” It’s the arms, it’s the sunburst pleats in the air. It was all over the place. That’s the crazy thing — Mad Men had such an impact on the world, on culture, on style. It’s kind of amazing that one show can do that. But yeah, I love that dress.

One of my favorites is the pale blue dress with very similar sunburst-pleated sleeves. That was when Megan had moved to California, and she picks Don up from the airport. She’s in the convertible with her sunglasses. It was such an incredible moment. I see that scene, and I just think, “Oh my god, Valley of the Dolls.”

Are there any supporting character looks that stand out in your memory?

One of my favorite moments of all time on the entire show is when Pete and Trudy board the plane. She’s wearing the pink suit with the chinchilla hat and the chinchilla trim. My whole inspiration for that scene was Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. I just love it — she’s in the pink, she’s so happy. She had some amazing costumes, too.

How did a look come to life for you?

The beginning point is always the script. That tells me about the mood, the feel, the images that I have when I read the script. Then I’ll start doing my research and my sketches, or I’ll start pulling images from different resources — movies, catalogs, newspapers, the internet. I’ll start putting a visual collage together for each character. And then I think about the colors that they’re going to wear, what color best helps move this scene along, or what is the mood of the scene — all those factors come into play when I’m thinking about the costume design.

Alison Brie as Trudy Campbell, Aria Lyric Leabu as Tammy Campbell, and Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell in season 7, episode 14 of Mad Men. Photo: Justina Mintz/AMC

Which cast member’s personal style was most different from their character’s?

I would say Jon Hamm. In the beginning, his personal style was way different than his character. The first time I met him, he was wearing a baseball cap, a big T-shirt, sloppy cargo pants, and sneakers. We had a huge transformation — I taught him way too much. After a few seasons, he was like, “Janie, look at my new Tom Ford suit. Janie, do you like my Brioni?” Over time, he really knew and learned how to wear a suit. But in the beginning, no. It was baggy cargo pants, baggy T-shirts, baseball caps — still very cute, but totally different from how we’re used to seeing Don Draper.

Were there any looks you loved but that never made it on air?

Yes, in the episode when Roger invites his ex-lover who owns the dog food company to come by and he talks about how she shouldn’t advertise that they’re using horse meat. She wears this beautiful, almost Chanel bouclé suit. But what I really wanted her to wear was this 1960s suit with this huge fur collar. I am talking about a huge collar with cuffs. I was just dying over this thing. And Matt was like, “Janie, we can’t have her wearing this huge fur collar while she’s talking about dog food!”

What was your best vintage find for the show?

Peggy’s dress — it was the plaid polyester top with the navy skirt. I found that dress at Jet Rag in Los Angeles for $35. I bought it because I loved the plaid. It’s so Peggy. It was huge. It was, like, a size 20. It was a rag. The skirt was shot to hell. The only reason I bought it was because it had the amazing polyester plaid.

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in season 7, episode 12 of Mad Men. Photo: AMC

I took it to my tailor and I said, “I want us to recut this dress and make it a Peggy dress. And what I love about this dress is the polyester plaid. We’re going to rebuild the skirt. I’m going to get buttons for it.” I think I did yellow buttons on the skirt or something like that, and we just remade it into this amazing, iconic piece.

Whose wardrobe do you wish you could raid?

Megan’s. I relate to that character the most, probably. It’s always Megan’s. Or Betty’s. Both of them. The wives are so different. sort of the old versus the new. I love Betty’s design because it’s so beautiful and feminine and romantic. And then I love Megan’s because it’s groovy and new and fashion-forward, and, you know, French. I love both of their closets for different reasons.

What do you remember from filming the finale and putting together those final looks?

It was so bittersweet — from being ready to move on to do another project to feeling so much nostalgia and appreciation for eight years of working on that show, and it being so epic in so many different ways. We were a family. We knew each other so well. I still see a lot of people from the show, which is amazing. We had a lot of fun together, and we worked hard together.

Betty learned her shocking fate on last night’s ‘Mad Men’

Warning: BIG spoiler ahead

With only two episode left of AMC’s “Mad Men,” many were expecting something substantial to happen on Sunday night’s episode to get us ready for the show’s finale next week, and fans weren’t disappointed.

One of the storylines on the show last night was that Betty Draper has been diagnosed with lung cancer. We hear the news while the doctor talks to Betty’s husband, Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley), that it is terminal and that she has less than a year to live, unless she begins treatment which may extend her life for another year.

Back to school taking psychology classes, Betty was walking up the stairs in one of the buildings on campus, looking a little tired, when she lost her footing and embarrassingly slipped and fell on the stairs. At the doctor’s office, she learned she has a broken rib, but they also found a tumor spreading rapidly.

Michael Yarish/AMC/”Mad Men” Not letting the moment get to her, Betty puts on a brave face as she divulges to Henry that she will not be undergoing the treatment needed to extend her life that the doctor recommends.

Michael Yarish/AMC/”Mad Men” Henry goes to Sally (Kiernan Shipka) at her school to tell her the news — though Betty asked him not to tell the kids — and bring her home in hopes she will convince Betty to reconsider her decision.

Michael Yarish/AMC/”Mad Men” But Betty doesn’t concede. Telling Sally that she saw her mother die in a similar way and won’t allow Sally and the other kids see her go through that. Also stating that, “she is not a quitter.”

She gives Sally an envelope that holds all the necessary arrangements following her death.

AMC/”Mad Men” While Sally reads it we hear its contents told in a voiceover of Betty. The letter entails where she wants to be laid to rest, for Sally to remind the funeral home how she likes to wear her hair, the dress she wants to be buried in.

AMC/”Mad Men” The news about Betty sent shockwaves through the Internet.

Fans of actress January Jones were especially moved Sunday night, and they began sending their condolences to her Instagram account in which Jones posted a picture of Betty in last night’s episode.

Needless to say, some folks who didn’t watch yet were not happy receiving the spoiler.

Betty Francis

Portrayed by

January Jones

First appearance

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Final appearance

Recurring

Details

Gender

Female

DOB

Occupation

Housewife
Retired Model

Residence

Ossining, NY
Rye, NY

Relations

Husband

Henry Francis

Ex-Husband

Don Draper

Parent(s)

Eugene Hofstadt (father)
Ruth Hofstadt (mother)

Child(ren)

Sally Draper
Robert Draper
Eugene Draper

Sibling(s)

William Hofstadt (brother)

Elizabeth “Betty” Hofstadt was born in 1932 and is the ex-wife of Don Draper.

Youth

She was born in Cape May, New Jersey where her family summered and raised in grew up in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Betty mentioned having a German grandmother and that she comes from Nordic people. Her first kiss was with a Jewish boy named David Rosenberg. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1952 with an Anthropology degree, and briefly modeled in Italy before moving to Manhattan. It was during this time that she met Don Draper, when he was a copywriter for a fur company and she was a model posing for a print ad (as told by Joan in “Lady Lazarus”).

Married life

Her confidantes have included her neighbor Francine Hanson, and Glen Bishop, the young son of divorcee Helen Bishop.

Betty and Don lived in Ossining with their 2 children Sally Draper and Robert Draper. In the spring of 1960, Betty started to see a psychiatrist because of repeated spells of numbness in her hands. In combination with psychosocial stressors and the exclusion of a neurological cause, it seems likely that Betty was experiencing Conversion Disorder. It was during these meetings that, after having discovered that the psychiatrist was giving reports of her sessions to Don, she either admitted, or to “test the waters,” threw out the suspicion that she knew of her husband’s infidelities. Sometime by February 1962, the consultations were stopped.

After a dinner party where Betty is embarrassed to be considered a “demographic” by Don Draper and his associates, she confronts her husband about his adultery, specifically with Bobbie Barrett. (“A Night to Remember”) Don, however, denies having an affair. The next day, with a glass of wine in hand, Betty searches through Don’s belongings for any proof of his indiscretions, but does not find it. Betty awakens Don – who is sleeping on the couch – that night and explains that she doesn’t want things to “be like this.” He repeats that he did not do anything and when she asks if he hates her, he insists that he loves her and doesn’t want to “lose this.” When preparing dinner the next day, an Utz commercial featuring Jimmy Barrett airs on the television. After seeing this, she calls Don at work and tells him she doesn’t want him to come home.

Betty does turn to Don when she learns that her father Gene has suffered a stroke. She and Don leave the children with a neighbor and drive to visit her father; Betty is visibly impatient with both her father’s wife Gloria Massey and her brother William. She and Don are careful to present a united front. At the end of a stressful day, Betty makes Don sleep on the floor of the guestroom, but later joins him on the floor where they make love. The next morning, Betty’s father mistakes Betty for her mother Ruth, suggesting that they “go upstairs.” Betty is severely shocked and frightened, but tries to pretend that everything is all right. When she and Don return to New York, Betty asks Don Draper to leave again.

Betty discovers she is pregnant around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although she brings up the subject of abortion with her doctor, and also has sex with a random man at a bar, she asks Don to return home and tells him that she is pregnant.

During the Spring of 1963 Betty and Don attend a garden party hosted by Roger Sterling and his new wife, Jane Siegel, where she meets Henry Francis, who is later revealed to be an advisory to then-New York governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. He is infatuated with her, and though she seems reluctant to return his feelings, their affair intensifies, though Betty eventually ends it, feeling guilty.

In Spring of 1963, she gives birth to Eugene Scott Draper, whom she names after her father.

In November, Don is cornered by Betty, who has managed to unearth evidence of Don’s past life via pictures and documents from a locked drawer in his desk. He tells her about his life as Dick Whitman, how he came to exchange dog tags with Lieutenant Don Draper, and Adam’s suicide. While apparently somewhat sympathetic to his feelings of guilt about the latter, Betty is highly conflicted about the fact that Don has hidden this aspect of his life from her for the duration of their relationship and marriage.

After President Kennedy’s death and Margaret Sterling’s wedding, Betty meets with Henry Francis, who confesses to her that he wishes to eventually marry her. They passionately kiss, and after the encounter, Betty returns home to tell Don she no longer loves him, leaving him stunned and distraught. This culminates in her seeing a divorce lawyer. Roger Sterling, whose daughter is friends with Francis’ daughter, unintentionally reveals to Don that Betty is having an affair. An incensed Don confronts Betty. After calling her a whore, he assures her that she “won’t get a nickel” in the ensuing divorce and that he intends to seek sole custody of the children.

The next morning, he and Betty tell the children of the new arrangement, and both see the level of damage the end of their marriage will deal to the kids. After moving into Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s new office, Don calls Betty and tells her that he will not fight her, and wishes her the best. She then travels to Reno with baby Gene and Henry.

A New Husband

Almost a year after Betty and Don Draper’s divorce, both she and Henry Francis were still living in Don’s home, a house he was still paying for. Don requests that if they do not move out soon, he will need to start collecting rent. After Don leaves, Henry tells Betty that he agrees with Don and that it is time for Betty to start looking for a house, and is promptly rebuffed by Betty. (“Public Relations”)

Henry’s mother Pauline Francis does not approve of Betty, who makes a bad impression at Thanksgiving dinner when she tries to force Sally Draper to eat the food that was being served.

Glen Bishop tells Sally that Betty and Don will never get back together, but that Betty and Henry will decide to move soon. While the family is out of the house, Glen and a friend trash the house. Henry searches the house, to find the rest of the house trashed. (“Christmas Comes But Once a Year”)

After Sally cuts her hair while under the supposed care of Don, Betty slaps her upon her return. Henry tries to tell Betty that young girls do these sorts of things, taking memories from his own time raising his now grown daughter, to which Betty calls him soft. After Sally is caught masturbating at a friends house, Henry suggests professional help. Betty admits to a shocked and speechless Henry that at one point she saw a psychiatrist. (“The Chrysanthemum and the Sword”)

Sally ran away, and is brought to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce by a kind woman. Don called Betty to tell her what happened, though Betty was unwilling to come pick up Sally at that time. She told Don that she would pick her up the following day. When it came time for her to return home with her mother, Sally made a scene, but eventually left the office quietly with her mother. (“The Beautiful Girls”)

Don was able to acquire Beatles tickets from Harry Crane. Sally received a phone call from Don, letting her know that they would be going to the concert, much to her delight. By this point Betty appears moderately cordial with Don. (“Hands and Knees”)

Ralph Stuben, a a New York political operative for Congressman John Lindsay, joined Betty and Henry for dinner at a restaurant the same night that Don was having dinner with Bethany Van Nuys. Ralph Stuben and Betty joined Henry in walking over to extend courteous hellos to Don, and then went on their way to their own table. Once they walk away Don mentions to Bethany that Ralph is about to have a horrible dinner. Betty was aggravated at the mere sight of Don and spent most of the dinner glaring at Don, embarrassing Henry. He believed that Betty had too much anger in her towards Don. On his way to work, he rammed his car into boxes that Don was storing in the garage. He then called Don and told him to pick up the boxes the day before Gene’s birthday. He picked up the boxes, which were on the curb, and saw Henry mowing the lawn. Henry was slightly shocked when he saw Don show up for Gene’s party, though Betty comforted him, telling him that she had “everything”. (“The Suitcase”)

Betty called Don after a visit by agents investigating Don’s background, telling him that she did not reveal the truth of his identity. He was quite apologetic about putting her in that situation, unaware that they would visit. Later that night, Betty told Henry that she didn’t want any secrets between them. (“Hands and Knees”)

Betty talked to Sally Draper’s psychiatrist, and though she believed that Sally was doing better, she wanted Betty to talk to another professional. When Betty objected, the psychiatrist said she could continue to meet with her. In her free time Sally talked to Glen Bishop. One day Betty saw both of them walking together into the wooded area they hung out in, and confronted her. Later, Betty told Henry that it was time to move. Upon hearing this, Sally ran upstairs and cried in her bed, however Henry was happy to finally hear that Betty was ready to move out of the house. (“Blowing Smoke”)

A New Betty

On July 4, 1966, we find Betty still married to her new husband, and strutting a new, and much-larger look. After half a year of uncharacteristic weight gain, Betty finds her self-confidence and her sex life with Henry deteriorating. Henry’s mother, who realizes Betty’s weight gain, suggests getting a prescription for diet pills. When she goes to the doctor, he finds a lump in her throat that could possibly be cancerous. Betty starts to worry about what might happen if she is sick, and the life she will leave behind. A biopsy shows that the lump in benign, but she is more upset over her appearance. In “Dark Shadows”, Betty is now attending weight watchers meetings in hopes of losing the weight. After finding a love letter written by Don to Megan on the back of Bobby’s drawing, she tells Sally that her father was married to someone else before her since she is doing a family tree project for school. Realizing that her mother said this to make her upset, she tells Betty that Don told her about his ex-wife, and even showed her pictures.

When season six opens up, Betty is still overweight and generally unhappy. She connects with Sally’s older friend Sandy. Who is staying at the house during the holidays. Sandy confides in her that she did not get accepted into Juilliard, but has told everyone she did because she wants to go to New York and live in the village. Betty shares some of her own experiences from when she was a struggling model, and advises her to wait until she graduates high school. After coming home from the grocery store, she disovers that Sandy has already left to go to school. She spends an entire day in the village area looking for her, and discovers that Sandy is now going to California, and that she even sold her violin for money. She tries to take the violin from the guy who bought it, who taunts her for being a bored housewife and a “bottled blond”. A few days later, Betty shocks her family by dying her hair dark brown. Her children hate her new look, but Henry says she looks like Elizabeth Taylor.

Family

Betty’s mother died early in 1960. (“Ladies Room”) Her father, Gene, had a girlfriend named Gloria, whom Betty didn’t like and whom her father marries; Gloria left Gene when he began showing signs of mental deterioration, in 1963. He moved in with the Drapers shortly before he died. Her father lived in a Philadelphia suburb (Bryn Mawr) and had a summer home in Cape May, New Jersey.

She has a brother, William, who is married and has daughters whom Don and Betty consider “rowdy.” William knew that Betty was their father’s favorite and may have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to Don.

Clothing/Fashion Style

Betty Francis personifies the phrase “drop dead gorgeous;” she looks glamorous in everything from jockey attire to a pink negligee. Betty’s beautiful floral print dresses and matching head bands, sophisticated hair styles, high waisted pants, fur coats, smart stilettos and crimson lips inspire even the wrinkliest couch potato with awe! This season Betty has been moving away from her signature floral print dresses toward slim, more conservative suits. Perhaps Betty is adapting to her new life as the wife of politician Henry Francis, or perhaps this new look represents a lady who is finally starting to find her independence. Regardless, we can’t wait to see what new style surprises Betty’s got up her sleeve this season. Betty has surprised everyone with sudden and unexplained changes. Her weight gain and dyed-black hair was her oddest of style choices. She was going for the Elizabeth Taylor-look and ended up resembling Henry’s mother.

Gallery

“Shoot”, Coca-ColaBetty in her blue cashmere coat Liz Taylor or Henry’s Mother? “Ladies Room” “Ladies Room” “Ladies Room” “Ladies Room” “Ladies Room” “5G” “5G” “5G” “Babylon” “Babylon” “Babylon” “The Wheel” “The Wheel” “The Wheel” “The Wheel” “The Wheel” “The Wheel” “The Wheel” “The Wheel”
Add a photo to this gallery

Mad Men Characters
Draper’s Past • Don Draper • Abigail Whitman • Archibald Whitman • Adam Whitman • Mack Johnson • Lieutenant Don Draper • Anna Draper • Patty • Stephanie Horton •
Draper and Hofstadt Family • Betty Hofstadt • Sally Draper • Robert Draper • Eugene Draper • Gloria Massey • Eugene Hofstadt •
New York Suburb • Carla • Glen Bishop • Helen Bishop • Francine Hanson • Arnold Wayne • Suzanne Farrell • Edna Keener •
Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency • Roger Sterling • Bertram Cooper • Joan Holloway • Harry Crane • Freddy Rumsen • Salvatore Romano • Ken Cosgrove • Paul Kinsey • Herman Phillips • Burt Peterson • Greta Guttman • Hollis • Jimmy Barrett • Warren McKenna • Dale • Bobbie Barrett • Roger Sterling, Sr. •
Secretary • Peggy Olson • Jane Siegel • Allison • Hildy • Lois Sadler • Marge •
Client • Rachel Menken • Lee Garner, Jr. • Elliot Lawrence • Conrad Hilton • Annabelle Mathis • Crab Colson •
Campbell Family • Pete Campbell • Trudy Vogel • Bud Campbell • Tom Vogel • Jeannie Vogel • Judy Campbell • Andrew Campbell •
Olson Relation • Anita Olson Respola • Katherine Olson • John Gill • Gerry Respola • Mark Kearney • Joyce Ramsay • Abe Drexler •
London • Lane Pryce • Alec Martin • Saint John Powell • Guy MacKendrick • Harold Ford • John Hooker • Rebecca Pryce • Robert Pryce •
Francis Family • Henry Francis • Eleanor Francis • Pauline Francis •
New York City • Beth Dawes • Howard Dawes • Midge Daniels • Jennifer Crane • Jim Hobart • Margaret Sterling • Mona Sterling • Kitty Romano • Walter Emerson • Bethany Van Nuys • Cynthia Cosgrove • Gail Holloway • Greg Harris • Ruth Harris • Kevin Harris • Morris Ginsberg •
Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce • Faye Miller • Stan Rizzo • Michael Ginsberg • Joey Baird • Danny Siegel • Margie Koch • Bill Mitford •
Secretary • Ida Blankenship • Dawn Chambers • Scarlett • Caroline • Sandy Schmidt •
Client • Herb Rennet • Bob Finley • Thomas Fillmore • Akira Takahashi • Hachi Saito •
Calvet Family • Megan Calvet • Emile Calvet • Marie Calvet •
New York • Sylvia Rosen • Julia • Phoebe •
Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough • Jim Cutler • Frank Gleason • Ted Chaough • Smitty Smith • Kurt Smith • Nan Chaough •
Affair • Candace • Janine • Toni Charles • Joy •
Character • Lyle Evans • Davey Kellogg • Jim Hobart • Perry Demuth • Jack Hammond • Ralph Stuben •

Mad Men recap: The Milk and Honey Route

Michael Yarish/AMC

If you’re like me, you read Mad Men recaps because you want to dissect the symbolism. You want to look at the woman lying by the pool at Don’s motel, see that she’s reading The Woman of Rome, and think, Huh. Wasn’t Rome where Don and Betty took their last big vacation together? You want to look at that fundraiser for a man whose house burned down, and think about the house that burned down in Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?,” a song that has come to symbolize Don’s disillusionment.

Well, normally I’d write that kind of recap. But not tonight. Because, people, Betty Draper is going to die. And I spent the end of this week’s episode crying over a character I never thought I’d care about again.

Betty’s cancer diagnosis almost felt like a personal attack. I’ll admit that I was angry at first. Mad Men has been especially cruel to its female characters lately: Rachel died, Joan lost her job and a lot of money, Peggy did a badass walk-of-fame right into an office that will probably end up treating her like a secretary. Some of these developments can be blamed on the fact that the early 1970s wasn’t exactly the most progressive era for women, but it’s hard to blame cancer on the times. And the fact that Betty got a terminal diagnosis on Mothers Day just felt cold-blooded. This is a character who was already doomed to mainline whipped cream, have sex with a washing machine, and face the wrath of fans. Hasn’t she suffered enough indignities?

Watching Betty with Sally toward the end, though, I realized that I was wrong. She’s not the victim here. Maybe Mad Men‘s writers are defending Betty from those who’ve always hated her. They’re finally giving her a moment when she can be strong and selfless and proud. They’re saying, We’re all gonna die, but Betty Draper’s gonna go out like a Rockefeller. When Sally accuses her of refusing treatment because she loves tragedy, Betty calmly tells Sally that she watched her own mother die, and she won’t make Sally go through the same thing. “I fought for plenty in my life,” she says. “That’s how I know it’s over. It’s not a weakness. It’s a gift to me: knowing when to move on.”

That’s a gift that many women on Mad Men share. Joan knew when to take her money and run. Megan knew when to tell Don not to return to California. Peggy knew when to leave her job for another venture, and when to come back. (Hopefully, she understands that it’s time to leave again.) And Trudy… well, poor Trudy never learns. The men of Mad Men are different. They refuse to accept that endings aren’t just beginnings in disguise. Think of Don running from one failed relationship to the next. Think of Duck forever returning to the Sterling Draper crew, refusing to believe that his relationship with them is over. Think of Pete busting into Trudy’s place at 4 a.m., certain that they can forge a brand new life together.

Starting over sometimes lands you right back where you began, and we’ve seen that a lot this season, as characters make the same mistakes again and again. When Pete meets with his brother to discuss his job prospects, he finds that both of them have inherited the same tragic flaws their father did, including cheating on their wives. “Why?” Pete wonders. “Always looking for something better. Always looking for something else.” “Because dad was like that,” explains Bud. And things didn’t end well for their dad. He died in a plane crash. Suddenly, Pete’s future with Learjet doesn’t look so bright.

NEXT: Don’s final confession​

Don is also headed right back where he started, to the life he first discovered as Dick Whitman in “The Hobo Code.” Remember what the hobo told him back then? “For me, every day is brand-new,” he said. “Every day’s a brand-new place, people, what have you. What’s at home? I had a family once, wife, job, a mortgage. I couldn’t sleep at night tied to all those things. And then Death came to find me… So one morning, I freed myself, with the clothes on my back. Goodbye. Now I sleep like a stone.”

That sounds a lot like what’s happened to Don this season. Just as he cuts loose from his job and his family, his car breaks down in Oklahoma. Stuck in a motel with nothing to do, he ends up attending a fundraiser for a local Okie, gets drunk with some war veterans, and ends up admitting that he killed the real Don Draper. It’s the last big confession Don needs before he can be honest about who he really is. So when Andy, a local handyboy, tries to steal the fundraiser money and blame it on Don, Don doesn’t get mad. He just hands over his car keys, knowing that Andy will get more out of the open road than he will.

The title of tonight’s episode, “The Milk and Honey Route,” refers to what hobos called the railroad tracks during the 1930s, when many of them rode out to California for farm work in warmer climates. It’s also the title of a book by Neels Anderson, who went under a pseudonym, just like Don. “What may be a milk and honey route to one hobo may not be so to another,” Anderson wrote under the name Dean Stiff. “A hobo may fare well on a route one time and another time fare ill. Again, it may be milk and honey for a road kid but not for an old timer.” It’s weird to think that Andy’s the road kid in that equation. Don’s the old-timer now.

If the milk and honey route doesn’t offer much for Don anymore, then where is he headed? I think that war veteran at the fundraiser gave us a hint: “You just do what you have to do to come home.” That’s true for so many characters this week, as Pete goes back to Trudy, Sally returns to Betty, and Don has to sit on a bench in the middle of nowhere just to figure out where home really is. Is he headed to California, his spiritual home? Will he continue toward the Grand Canyon, as he suggested to Sally? Or will he return to New York, to be with Betty one last time? With no job and no wife, he’s free to go wherever he chooses. It’s a new beginning. But beginnings look a lot like endings. Only one episode left.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

  • Funny that Don goes from running an advertising campaign for Coca-Cola to fixing a Coke machine.
  • “I think it feels good, and then it doesn’t.” Pete’s line about cheating on your wife sums up the feeling of watching Mad Men pretty well in this dark final season.
  • I would very much like Freudian scholar Betty to analyze that scene where that strange-looking woman jumps out of the cake.
  • The “Don is D.B. Cooper” theory will surely give way to a “Pete is D.B. Cooper” theory, now that he’s involved with Learjet.
  • “Sally. I always worried about you because you marched to the beat of your own drum, but now I know that’s good. Because your life will be an adventure.” After many seasons when Betty Draper was busy slapping Sally and letting the kids play with dry cleaning bags, Mad Men finally lets her be a good mom.
  • The books Don gets from Andy include Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain, and James Michener’s Hawaii. Please feel free to psychoanalyze those choices in the comments.

  • By Melissa Maerz

Betty Draper from Mad Men is so much more than a 1950s housewife. She is also a fashion icon that stands out in an incredibly fashionable TV show. Seriously. If there is any TV character who deserves the award for the greatest sense of style, January Jones’s complex character on the AMC series takes the crown without a doubt.

Mad Men is a brilliant TV show with excellent plot lines and unforgettable characters, yet sometimes we are totally distracted by all of the drama that’s going on because we’re too busy focusing on the breathtaking costumes the show boasts. What are Betty Draper’s best outfits on the show? Which were just “meh”? Read on to find out!

10 Best Outfit: Barbie Dreams

Wow. Just… wow. Rarely can an outfit take our breath away, but this beautiful dress has managed to do just that. Betty knows how to turn heads, and her sense of fashion always makes her the most interesting person to look at in any room she enters. Her big puffy gowns that pop with girly colors are bold and gorgeous to us, and when it comes to fashion, she isn’t afraid to take risks.

She looks like a human Barbie Doll and we can’t help but admire how much dedication she puts into her look. Everything about this outfit just screams “elegance” and we just can’t get enough of how beautiful it looks. Someone, please tell us where we can purchase this dress?

9 Worst Outfit: What Was She Thinking?

Yikes. What exactly is going on with this outfit here? It looks like something a kindergarten art teacher would wear as a smock during a finger painting session in order to prevent their clothes underneath from getting ruined.

Even Betty’s face reveals how uncomfortable she is in this outfit, which simply isn’t something she’d usually wear. We’re not blaming her though. We’re all allowed to be fashion victims every once in a while because that’s what makes us human.

8 Best Outfit: 50s Icon

One of the most elegant eras for fashion was hands down the 1950s. Women would often be caught lounging around in their most gorgeous gowns and pearls, emulating Hollywood starlets such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.

Many women would choose to dress to the nines even on the most casual occasions and Betty Draper is proof of this. Even when she’s sitting at home all day while the kids are at school, she will doll herself up and have a smoke, all while looking like a million bucks.

7 Worst Outfit: Who Sleeps In This?

It’s nearly impossible for Don Draper’s lovely wife to make a fashion mistake because she often puts so much attention and consideration into her outfits. We can’t fully judge her here because these are her sleepy time clothes, but the look she is currently serving us here feels just a tad outdated for 2020 standards.

It also seems a bit unpractical to sleep in this, considering all the ruffles and layers which would probably be uncomfortable to relax in. Betty’s face here emulates our confusion when it comes to this outfit choice.

6 Best Outfit: Jumper Goals

Look at how happy and care-free Betty looks in this adorable jumper! Her friend’s face pretty much says it all. While fans absolutely adore Betty when she is dressed to impress in her poofy petticoats and gowns, they also can’t help but love seeing her in something a bit more casual and easy-going like this red and blue piece.

She looks as though she is about to let loose and enjoy life the way she once had before her depression spell in season 1. Her dazzling smile completes the entire look and we are gonna have to rate this particular outfit a solid ten out of ten.

5 Worst Outfit: Something She Threw On

There is nothing wrong with this outfit per se, but compared to all of Betty’s spellbinding looks on the show, this one just doesn’t make the cut as being one of our jaw-dropping favorites. In the words of Coco Chanel, “Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”

We feel as though the pearls along with the scarf and the earrings are a little bit too much here, and it would be a bit better if she perhaps got rid of the scarf all together because it doesn’t really match with the rest of her outfit.

4 Best Outfit: Grace Kelly, Is That You?

Classic and stunning. These are the best words to sum up Betty’s look here, where her feminine nature is fully emphasized by this beautiful dress. Mrs. Draper adores looking girly while at the same time emulating her fashion icon, Grace Kelly.

They both have an extremely similar look and a sense of sadness to them, so it is no wonder Betty is constantly being compared to the old Hollywood starlet. This is one of Betty’s most breath-taking looks on the entire show, and when January Jones is on screen in this dress, we can hardly pay any attention to the plot because we are too busy focusing on how fabulous she looks.

3 Worst Outfit: Could Be Better

Although Betty looks stunning and chic here as always, we do think less is more when it comes to this outfit and that the scarf/belt on the dress is simply unnecessary. Not that we don’t like the dress with the polka dot scarf hanging loose, but we think it can be a bit improved if she just wore a plain white dress which we think would look mesmerizing.

Accompanied by her elegant white gloves, she would be an absolute show-stopper if she simply eliminated the belted scarf.

2 Best Outfit: A Dress That Stops Traffic

Betty Draper is the queen of rocking a lovely floral printed dress, and this look is no exception. She looks absolutely flawless in this outfit which shows off her curves as well as her sheer sense of confidence.

Don should feel especially lucky here to have Betty as his wife and we wish he appreciated her more on the show because we certainly do. Her sense of style, as well as her personality, are completely unique and beautiful, and her complexity as a character just makes her all the more lovable to us.

1 Worst Outfit: Simply Meh

This outfit is still arguably cute, but by Betty Draper standards, it is simply “meh.” We’re used to her rocking ten out of ten looks, so this one feels a bit average and forgettable compared to the majority of her wardrobe. It seems like an outfit that she just threw on, and we’re not super crazy about the pattern of green stripes along with the buttons.

Still, even if this is on the “worst outfit” section of the list, you can’t argue the fact that she looks undeniably stunning, and Betty will forever be our fashion icon.

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Costumes are a television show essential. Without them, a show is rendered completely unbelievable, but with them they catapult our imaginations to a particular time and place, leaving behind a legacy in the process.

Whether it’s Villanelle’s pink dress in Killing Eve or Ugly Betty’s poncho, there’s usually always more than meets the eye and a whole world of tiny details that escape unnoticed.

Each week Back Into The Closet will deliver an exclusive look into the wardrobes of some of the world’s leading series to bring you all the costume secrets and niceties we might have missed.

Last time, we caught up with The Mindy Project, costume designer Salvador Pérez, but this time around we’re bringing you all the gems from Mad Men thanks to Janie Bryant.

One episode was completely blue

The colour blue ran completely through season 3 episode 10 (Picture: AMC)

Season three episode 10 is filled to the brim with the colour blue to reflect Brit-born Rebecca Pryce’s (played by Embeth Davidtz) unhappiness about living across the pond.

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‘It’s the episode where Lane’s wife says she’s sad about being in America and she really misses home,’ Janie told us.

‘In that episode there’s all different shades of blue.

‘All the characters wear the colour the blue or some shade of blue just to really tie into that theme of the episode.

‘It really does create a visual mood of sadness.’

Don Draper’s shirts were made especially so cigarettes could fit in the pockets

Don’s shirts were custom made so they could hold his cigarettes (Picture: AMC)

Smoking is obviously a major theme of the show and the costume department made sure Don Draper’s (John Hamm) shirts could accommodate his cigarettes.

‘I designed so many of his suits and we made his shirts for the right fit, for the right collar, for the right colour, for the shirt pocket on the chest, for the cigarettes and what not.’

Each tie was chosen to reflect the character’s mood

Each tie tells a story (Picture: AMC)

No detail was left spared on Mad Men, not even the colour of the ties.

Janie revealed: ‘Every scene I would ask the question, “Does this tie tell the story of what the character is saying? Does it convey anger? Does it covey sadness? Does it convey happiness? Does it convey betrayal?

‘Each detail with each scene we’d ask ourselves whether the costumes tell the story of what the character is going through.’

Joan always wore matching brooches and earrings around holiday season

Joan would always wear a matching earring and brooch set around the festive season (Picture: AMC)

Christina Hendricks’ Joan Holloway had a penchant for wearing a matching earring and broach sets, but only around each festive season.

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‘Every holiday I would always find Christmas, Halloween or Thanksgiving brooch sets for Joan so she would wear themed jewelry with every holiday,’ revealed Janie.

‘All those little details from the period were so fun.’

Joan’s outfits were pretty much all custom made

Joan’s costumes were all custom made (Picture: AMC)

All of Joan’s ensembles were to die for and they were all unique, created by Janie herself.

‘I designed and we built almost every single one of Joan’s costumes,’ Jaine said. ‘About 90 per cent of her costumes were costume made for her.

‘My colour pallet for her was so specific so many of the costumes were built for the show. As costume designer, I loved that whole process.’

Betty’s season 2 gown took the longest to make out of the whole show

Betty’s season two blue gown took the longest (Picture: AMC)

Betty’s gorgeous blue gown in season two episode The Gold Violin was the longest costume to make across seven seasons.

‘I designed that dress for Betty and we had to build three of them because she gets sick in the car and gets sick on her dress,’ Janie recalled.

‘That did take a long time, there was a lot of details and a lot of beading in the gown.

‘There was also this blue silk organza overdress that went with the silk gown underneath. That took a lot of work to make three of those gowns.’

January Jones didn’t mind wearing the fat suit

January Jones wore a fat suit in season five (Picture: AMC)

January Jones wore a fat suit and prosthetic double chin for the entire fifth season as her character Betty put on weight caused by boredom and unhappiness in her second marriage.

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‘She was such a great sport and we laughed every single fitting,’ Janie said. ‘She was always like, “I’m a totally different person.”

‘It was like designing for a totally different person and a totally different character.’

She added: ‘She had to stay in the suit and her costume on top of that for hours. It was definitely more difficult to be in that just being a regular costume but she was a great sport.’

Mad Men won’t be returning – but here’s an epic reboot idea

Mad Men isn’t coming back (Picture: AMC)

For those of us who had held on hope for a Mad Men revival, it’s not looking good.

‘I don’t think the show is coming back, well not that I know of,’ Janie told us.

That being said, Janie has got an idea of where she’d like to take the show if it did return, adding: ‘Maybe if it did come back it would have to be 1975 or something.’

We’re fully behind this.

Costumes were repeated for our enjoyment

The character’s were partial to re-wearing outfits (Picture: AMC)

The characters in Mad Men often wore outfits again and again and there was good reason too.

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‘It’s important to see the characters as real,’ Janie explained.

‘I always liked reliving my favouirte and having the audience being able to enjoy the costumes again of their favourite characters too. Once is not enough!’

She continued: ‘I think that’s important to tell the story that we do wear our clothes again and again and it’s important to keep the characters grounded in reality.

‘It’s also a reflection in that we as people don’t change our style all that often anyway.’

Back Into The Closet is a weekly series that delves into most iconic costumes to ever grace television, from shows past and present. Check back each Thursday for the latest wardrobe secrets.

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