Mad Men Fashion Recap: Forbidden Love and Fatigues

This week's episode of Mad Men took the idea of failed romances to the next level. Pete and Peggy awkwardly remembered their season one tryst, while
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This week's episode of Mad Men took the idea of failed romances to the next level. Pete and Peggy awkwardly remembered their season one tryst, while
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This week's episode of Mad Men took the idea of failed romances to the next level. Pete and Peggy awkwardly remembered their season one tryst, while Peggy still held out hopes for Ted. Don rekindled his relationship with Sylvia only to have it awkwardly interrupted by Sally, who was trying to put the brakes on an embarrassing letter being delivered to her crush. In the most shocking turn of events, Bob Benson puts the moves on Pete after Pete suspects Manolo's been putting the moves on his mother.

These characters have a lot of issues to work out, but despite their dramas, they all manage to look still great. Click through to get our take on the fashions from episode eleven, and let us know what you think in the comments.

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Don

Throughout this episode of Mad Men, Don's suits don't follow a specific palette, changing between slate to light gray to navy. In recent times, he's been much more consistent in his suit choices, usually opting for black and white combos, but this week, his inability to problem solve is showing through his clothes. He finds out about the success with Sunkist in a dark gray suit with a black and white striped tie, a sort of standard Don Draper outfit.

The following day, however, Don's outfit reflects his flummoxed state as he tries to figure out how to help Sylvia get her son, Mitchell, out of the draft after being classified as 1-A. Don wears a light grey, textured suit with a crimson and gray-blue striped tie to approach Pete about his friend in the Department of Defense (and stumble through the Chevy meeting). His outfit is made up of weak colors and doesn't do much to show him as a power figure. During the Chevy meeting, Ted is wearing a brown suit with a similar texture and a tie with the same width stripes as Don's, but all in more forceful shades like brown and gold. Don's definitely losing this round.

After a scolding from Ted the next morning, Don is able to find a solution for Mitchell–-Ted's flight instructor is in the Air National Guard, and could potentially get Mitchell out of the draft. Don wears a navy suit with a navy and olive green striped tie, and it's in this ensemble that he returns home to "celebrate" with Sylvia. Their relationship took a weird turn on the phone and somehow they seem to have reconciled... albeit briefly, as they're caught mid-coitus by Sally. Don then gets trashed in this suit and returns home looking a mess. It's interesting that navy and olive green are military colors, seeing as it's in this outfit that Don sources an alternate solution to serving in the armed forces--but also gets caught doing something he shouldn't.

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Sally

Sally Draper continues down her path to therapy this episode, first by being berated by Betty, then betrayed by her friend, and finally by catching Don having sex with Sylvia--who just happens to be the mother of the boy she has a crush on.

Throughout the episode, Sally has a pretty consistent wardrobe of printed minidresses with collar details and high socks. In the Francis manse upstate, she wears a green diagonally striped dress–a pattern that looks like it was lifted directly off one of Don's ties–to declare to Betty that Don is the more supportive parent. Upon arriving in Manhattan, she wears a mod, hexagon-printed dress with an embroidered collar, and later changes into the pink nightie she wore when "Grandma Ida" broke in.

That's a bit of foreshadowing, maybe, to her "breaking in" to the Rosen's apartment. Nothing good comes from breaking and entering into apartments in that building. During that scene, Sally wears a blue and red plaid dress with a bow collar. This is supposed to be her fancy outfit to wear to model U.N., which might explain the red, white, and blue palette, but instead the colors take on an antagonistic meaning with red and blue at opposite ends of the color spectrum warring together across Sally's dress.

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Sylvia

Thankfully Sylvia returns this episode, first in a funerary black outfit as she escorts Mitchell out of the building. She's absolutely distraught about Mitchell's 1-A classification, and naturally can only cope in all black and huge sunglasses.

But when Don calls her to offer a solution, she is wearing a blouse in an orange, yellow, and green print that is very similar to the pattern on the dress she wore to break up with Don in the hotel room. She later gets it on with Don in this outfit, but is interrupted by the sight of Sally, and furiously punches her mattress after Don leaves. The jury is out on the Don-Sylvia affair, but their reconciliation is not going well.

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Megan

Megan spends this episode in a lot of red tones, a dark, dramatic change from her usually peppy colors. When Mitchell visits her looking for an escape to Canada, she's wearing a black tank and red trousers. These colors together paired with the very slim silhouette sort of make Megan look like an evil Bond girl. It's not a very friendly or helpful look, despite Megan's intentions.

En route to work, Megan repeats the ivory suit she wore shopping with her mother earlier this season. During that episode, Megan signs autographs for two girls in the elevator, which really boosts her confidence--and yet in this episode, she's going to be late for work because the two girls she is babysitting aren't behaving. She's gone from celebrity to step-mother in this outfit, and she doesn't seem pleased about that transition, especially when Sally's friend continually calls her "Mrs. Draper."

Later that night Megan is in a red knit tee and flared jeans to eat dinner with the girls and Don. During this episode both Megan and Mitchell have worn lots of reds and denim, perhaps signifying that they are both trying to escape some fate. Despite the crazy fallout between Sally and Don, Megan believes the whole situation is about Sally's crush on Mitchell and fails to read any deeper into the awkward situation. Next week's previews show Megan crying, so maybe she's finally caught on to Don's philandering ways. Then again, Mad Men previews are notoriously manipulative, so...

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Mitchell

Just so we're clear, this is Mark Lindsay, the musician from Paul Revere & the Raiders who Julie says Mitchell resembles.

In his first scene in the Drapers' apartment, Mitchell wears a patterned purple and red shirt, colors very reminiscent of blood and wartime. He later wears a red shirt with patchwork purple hued pants, continuing the visceral hues.

His "thank you" outfit is a white shirt with jeans and a brown leather belt, completely devoid of warm tones or humanoid colors. Mitchell doesn't seem too thrilled about joining the Air National Guard, but it's better than 'Nam. Fun fact I just gleaned from Matt Zoller Seitz's review on Vulture: Our 43rd President (and Yale student, just like Mitch), George W. Bush, became a member of the Texas Air National Guard in 1968.

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Julie

When Sally's friend Julie was first introduced, I immediately remembered Megan's actress-friend Julia, the feisty ginger who crawled across the conference table in the middle of the Jaguar brainstorm in season five. Julie seems like Julia Junior, a little bit of trouble who is looking to get boys.

Julie wears a series of cool-hued looks, first a yellow and green plaid tank dress, later a blue floral nightgown, and finally a neon green floral dress with a white trompe l'oeil pinafore. She could care less about model U.N., she's really there to make out with boys, and get Sally to do so, too. It looks like sometimes Betty is right about young girls' motivations.

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Arnold

No matter how beat up drunk Don looks, Arnold always looks worse. He arrives at Don's apartment to apologize for Mitchell's asking Megan for a favor in a rumpled black suit, a white shirt with the top button undone, and a maroon striped tie. He's clearly in a bad emotional place and worked up into a frenzy (can you blame him?).

Once Don comes along to save the day, Arnold reappears in a brown suit, another maroon tie, and a gold tie clip. Despite this being his "fancy" outfit, he is still without a pocket square, something that sets him apart from the class-obsessed ad men on Madison Ave.

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Betty

Betty has just one scene this episode, wearing a yellow crochet dress and blue apron while scolding Sally for using the model U.N. as an excuse to go to New York City to make out with boys. She doesn't trust Sally to stay in a hotel with her male classmates under the watch of her teacher who is only 25, and yet she is talked into letting Sally and her friend stay at Don's apartment to be watched by "no one." It seems like Betty has semi-given up on disciplining Sally; she'd much rather loaf around the kitchen of her mansion in a day dress smoking ciggies and avoiding watching Megan's soap opera.

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Ted

Ted's wardrobe is very mustard this episode–the man loves covering himself in bronzy suits. Each of his outfits is very similar to the others, with the blaring exception being his black tie worn the day after the Chevy dinner. It's in this tie that he calls out Don for being inappropriate during dinner, stealing his juice, and not turning to him first for a favor. A black tie is a very Don accessory--perhaps Ted was channeling his inner Draper when he got dressed that morning.

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Peggy

Peggy's green suit is one of her more bold looks this season. She rarely wears such a bright green, but it makes sense for her to want to up her game now that she's flying solo. In this outfit, she is mistaken for Trudy by Pete's mother Dot, and later removes the jacket to get boozy with her buddies Ted and Pete. Her command of the situation over their drunk dinner was a huge step forward for her, she asserts herself in front of Ted and still manages to be compassionate to Pete.

Later, Peggy continues her self-assertion by calling Stan in the middle of the night to kill a rat in her apartment and promising to make it worth his while. It seems like she doesn't mean it, especially because she is wearing the nightgown she wore when she fantasized about kissing Ted. Calling Stan is her backup since Ted is not available. Since no prince comes to her rescue, Peggy resorts to blue and white stripes, a cigarette, and an orange cat to police her apartment for mice.

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Pete

As Pete's hairline recedes, his outfits get more ridiculous. First, Pete wears all green to pay Manolo for his hard work and later booze it up with Ted and Peggy. The next day he's in all blue, wearing a three piece suit with a very wide tie. During his confrontation with Bob, Pete wears a grey three piece suit with blue accents. His suit vest looks like the suit vest of a three-year-old boy, not a 30-something man. It's in this ill-fitting outfit that Pete semi-rebuffs Bob. Similar to how Bob's peachy and pulled together exterior doesn't match his maybe-gay, definitely-conniving interior, Pete's suit reflects this disconnect between who he really is and who he appears to be.

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Dot

Pete's mother has a wardrobe of bejeweled pastel suits, each more twee than the next. Her pink suit is very juvenile, and makes her seem ignorant and naïve while mistaking Peggy for Trudy at SC&P. Once she changes into her ice blue suit, however, she seems more convincing and self-assured, even if her claims are unfounded.

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Manolo

Please let us have more Manolo! Manolo's saintly all-white nurse outfit is rivaled by his debonair suit paired with a pink satin ascot and pocket square. Manolo knows how to pull off a look.

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Bob

Ok, so maybe Bob's secret isn't that he's a spy, but rather that he's in the closet [Noooo!--Nora]. All his favor-doing for Pete parallels Don's favors to Sylvia, except Don gets thanked in the bedroom while Bob walks away with nothing more than a knee rub. Also furthering the comparison is that Don wears a blue and red striped tie this episode, and Bob wears one, too.

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Dawn

Dawn appears more frequently this episode than in the recent past. Maybe her friend's wedding happened and now she can devote more time to work?

Both of her outfits are in cool tones, just like Julie's, with t-shirt sleeves and prominent buttons. We've already seen Dawn in gingham prints and puffy shirts, so neither of these looks is a big surprise for her.

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Nan

Ted's wife Nan has basically fused with her comforter. She wears two patterned outfits and is only pictured sitting or lying down. Next week, she discovers the Snuggie.