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Everyone’s going mad: ‘Mad Men’ style in time for the season premiere

Cancel your weekend plans. The long anticipated season five premiere of AMC’s “Mad Men” is Sunday, Mar. 25 and, judging by previous years, retro style will be back in the spotlight again. Get ahead of the trend by sporting some 1960s flair immediately.

In case you haven’t jumped on the Don Draper bandwagon, or perhaps aren’t mentally prepared for the look, seasons 1-4 of the advertising-based drama are available instantly on Netflix. With enough caffeine there might be time to catch up before the newest episode airs Sunday at 9/8c.

AMC's "Mad Men" (Image courtesy of AMCTV.com).

Whether you’re celebrating the newest episode in themed garb or hoping to add a little “Mad”-ness to your everyday look, you’ll be happy to find that many fashion creators have been using this television success as a muse. Take Banana Republic, for example. This store recently launched its second “Mad Men” collaboration and, according to its website, worked “in collaboration with ‘Mad Men’ costume designer Janie Bryant… [using] the silhouettes of 1960s style, reinterpreted for today…”

The collection is both for men and women and features primarily dress or semi-dress clothing; not too much of a shock, it being Banana Republic and all. The price range is also typical for the store, with articles of clothing ranging from roughly $50 to $150.

The Mad Men Collection at Banana Republic (Image courtesy of BananaRepublic.com).

The look isn’t perfectly midcentury, but it definitely gives that “Mad Men” feeling. For the gents this means snug polos and check-printed button ups, plus a few knit options (some of which are already on sale online).The collection even includes a simple, properly fitted, white button up, sans the Draper-esque lipstick mark on the collar.

Ladies shopping the look can find a wider selection featuring both party and office attire, including a pink, taffeta-looking dress and tie-neck blouses. Perhaps the best collection piece, the “Mad Men Collection Lace Shell” ($49.50) gives a youthful, doily-like vibe without the eerie, ‘found it in the attic’ quality.

The Mad Men Collection at Banana Republic (Image courtesy of BananaRepublic.com).

Unfortunately, I cannot say with a clean conscious that the entire collection is practical or a swell idea. A few of these silhouettes are so 1960s-based they aren’t necessarily flattering. Disagree if you like, and more courage to you—just be aware that not all shapes are for everyone, myself included.  Enter the interesting “Mad Men Collection Cigarette Pant in Majesty” (read: bubble gum pink). If you can rock it, pat yourself on the back. If not, stick with me and try a full skirt instead.

For more affordable retro alternatives take a brisk walk down Forest Park Parkway and dig through racks and bins at one of the many secondhand stores. To be true to the decade men should look for thin ties, crisp tailoring and clean lines; although none of these things may seem possible with wrinkled, previously-loved clothing, remember a good wash and iron can bring the life back into many pieces. Females should search for Peter Pan collars, Joan-style sheaths and structured handbags.

Not in the mood for a Goodwill run? They can be exhausting, I understand. Try Etsy.com instead, which provides over 4,000 vintage or handmade options after a search of “Mad Men” including the obviously relevant , like character buttons; similar to, such as vintage clothing; and downright confusing, including several mad scientist-like goggles (an entertaining search glitch, I assume). The experience is as mentally overwhelming as any second hand store without the physical effort.

The “Sugar Cone Swing Dress” ($150.00) from Etsy shop Soda Pop Dress Shoppe is a vintage look-alike that is custom made to your shape and available in your choice of fabric; you can always say you found it deeply hidden in a teeny retro shop, I’ll believe you (Image courtesy of Etsy.com/shop/SodaPopDressShoppe).

An added bonus? The real clothing gems are there, all neatly presented with a price tag to prove it. If you’re not too lucky at scoring the discount deals or weaving through stacks at Salvation Army this might be a good alternative.

The “Crystal Framed Pearl Stud Earrings” (right, $8.00) are an inexpensive way to thrown some Betty-like retro flair into your everyday look (Images courtesy of Claires.com).

In case you’re not convinced to add full 1960s swagger to your style, you can always opt for a smaller accessory. Look no further than Claire’s, the adolescent shopping mall staple. I know, you’re grown and possibly haven’t stepped inside since your last high school semiformal. Fear not! Little has changed. Claire’s still provides a painfully wide selection of jewelry at a delightfully inexpensive price point. Whether you’re hoping to channel the youthful style of a Don Draper mistress, the sassy sophistication of secretary extraordinaire Joan, or the expensive glamour of crazed housewife Betty, Claire’s offers a jeweled solution that’s cheap enough to donate if the style doesn’t stick.

Whether you testing the waters of 1960s flair or diving right in, “Mad Men” weekend is sure to be a great showcase. Who knows what drama, both fashion related and otherwise, will unfold this Sunday. Remember to hold on to your martini glasses—or iconic pen necklaces, if you’re a die hard fan— because ladies and gentlemen, the season of style is just premiering.

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