It’s a Mad [Mad Mad Mad] World

With nine Emmy awards, an upcoming fourth season and a massive fan base, it’s no doubt that Mad Men has made its mark on popular culture. Part of its popularity comes from the glamorization of the 1960s workplace. Interoffice discussions held over a glass of bourbon, a seemingly high ratio of beautiful, young women to men, three-martini lunches—what more could a man desire?

While adoration for Mad Men hasn’t turned the American working-man into a chain-smoking, womanizing drunkard, it has put a spin on office attire—even if only for the sartorially inclined. It started in the fall of 2007 with pocket squares. Who knew the trouble an 8″x8″ piece of fabric could cause? Next it was skinny ties, then the slim cut suits, tie bars, fedoras and hair held in place by Brylcreem (ask your parents).

Now don’t be confused: The AG is rarely seen without a pocket square (a functional, cotton pocket square) and loves his flat-front trousers as much as the next guy. But how silly… dressing straight from a TV drama could never catch on. Right? Apparently Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic and online clothier Indochino disagreed. Many other companies chose to ride this fashion wave, too, albeit under the guise of a “throwback to classic style” or some other non-copyright infringing slogan.

So, what’s the AG’s take on all this Mad[ness]? #1: Never (ever) admit that your style is based on a television show. Not since Robert Redford’s Jay Gatsby has a fictional character so quickly triggered the thought “badass” like Don Draper has. Nevertheless, you are not Don Draper. #2: After consulting #1, remember that it’s OK to take some cues from the things you see, including on television. Last time the AG checked, you didn’t make your own clothes, so you’re going to buy from someone else’s style ideas anyway, right? #3: Finally, if you must procure your work attire from the scenes of Mad Men, then take note of the most important idea they represent: cleanliness. In case you didn’t already know, the clean-shaven man in a $300 suit always looks better than the shaggy-haired fool in $1,000 suit and wrinkled shirt.

Now go shine your shoes and start living life better.

Austin-only tip: Not interested in a suit off the rack? Visit the Texas Clothier at 29th/San Gabriel and see why the best dressed businessmen and politicos have been going to Dain Higdon for nearly 30 years.

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~ by An Austin Gentleman on January 11, 2010.

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