Season five of Mad Men premiered last night, and–spoiler alert–it was just as bananas as Megan’s wardrobe.
The subtlety that pervaded earlier seasons in everything from dialogue to dress was gone. The characters and their wardrobes were much more lighthearted, and not afraid to act the fool. (As evidenced by “Zou Bisou Bisou,” but we’ll get to that in a second…) The colors had more pop than ever before. You can tell that Janie Bryant is having fun this season.
Let’s start with the new Mrs. Draper. Megan’s secretary wardrobe was always one of my favorites because of its clean lines and bright colors, but as a wife and copywriter Megan has become a bit over the top in her dressing habits. The dress she wore at Don’s party was really a shirt with wings, and her ruffled, polka-dot blouse was just, well, nuts. Episode one was all about establishing Megan as a fun and upbeat girl, basically the virtual opposite of Betty’s pale colors and super-fitted wardrobe, and Janie Bryant and her team definitely succeeded. (P.S. Betty we missed you!)
Then we have Peggy, who has never been the fashion plate of the bunch, though she looked more conscious of her clothing than ever before. Her black and white bow dress was a little twee, but her yellow floral party dress was just perfect. It’s exactly the thing you wish you could find in a vintage store today, which makes sense, since Peggy is the closest thing to a “modern woman” on Mad Men. We’re glad to see she’s still with Abe, the “journalist,” even if he is a bit of a kook.
Now onto Joan, who was absolutely radiant in motherhood. From her plaid top and oversized glasses, to her pink and black floral dress she wore to reassert her presence at SCDP, Joan was having a moment last night, and from the looks of it, she’s going to have a great plot line this season. Team Joan!
Even though the times are changing in the Mad Men universe, the gents, for the most part, stuck to their routine ensembles. Don Draper’s suits have become a bit brighter, but what else would you expect from a man happily married? I think Roger sleeps in the three piece suit that he will continue to wear until the day he dies, and Ken Cosgrove, Stan the macho art director, and Lane Pryce were all were all in similar ensembles as in season four.
But of course, this wouldn’t be a real Mad Men style recap without the best dressed couple in the show: Pete and Trudy Campbell. Did you see what they wore to Don’s surprise party?! Of course you did. It might be burned into my brain forever. Pete wore a plaid red and white blazer and Trudy wore the most magnificent pink psychedelic-print dress. The late 1960s, you can tell, are going to be a great time for the Campbells. In the office Pete kept to his standard blue suits, though something felt different. Whereas Don and Roger must be dipped in formaldehyde (has Roger Sterling aged at all since season one?), Pete Campbell feels so much older now that he’s moved out of Manhattan and become a dad. That’s not a slight to Vincent Kartheiser, who looks just as young as ever, but a compliment to his acting and Janie Bryant’s costuming. Pete’s suits aren’t crisp anymore; they’re almost too big. And back to his deceitful ways, this season is going to be a good one for Pete, even if it is cringeworthy to watch.