Monday, December 7, 2009

Bonus Commentary: Mad Men, Part 1

[In lieu of a post yesterday.  Please forgive my intransigence.]

"Mad Men" is an excellent television show.  You should watch it for any number of reasons:

1. It's a beautiful period piece with astonishing attention to detail.
2. Don Draper has a lot to teach us.
3. Style.

Roger Sterling, on the left, favors a look that would be out of place almost anywhere in America today: three-piece suits (okay, pushing it, but still within the realm) with a tie bar (okay, you can't pull this off at your office) and a club collar (I hope you're going to Ozio).  But on his slender frame, it works exceptionally well.

Don Draper, on the other hand, favors two-piece suits with three-button jackets.  No problem so far.  But combine (1) the small neck-space created by the three-button jacket, (2) the skinny tie, and (3) his broad chest, and something just looks...disproportionate.  His ties need to be bigger.  His suit jackets need a little bit more room.  Granted, I think this is a deliberate choice on the costume designer's part--a central element of the plot is the fact that Don's background is dramatically different from most of his coworkers, even more so than they suspect. 

Skinny ties are doable and should be done.  But give them a little room to breathe, in a two-button suit, and check the look in the mirror to make sure the proportions work.  This is why, when I go tie-shopping, I always wear the suit, and often the shirt, that I plan to combine.  (Also helps for picking the perfect set of colors.)


  1. I prefer three button jackets as I think they look better on my tall frame. (I am 6'4".)

  2. Some of this is a matter of taste. You might try a 3-roll-2 (where there are three button holes but the lapel is rolled so that the lapel stops at the middle button rather than the top one. Also, depending on which brand you're using, you may be a victim of the high-button-stance-itis that inflicts trendy suitmakers at the moment. Check out Cary Grant in North by Northwest. He was about your height. The middle button is right at or just above his navel, aka the natural waist, as was the style and, gods willing, shall be again. You may have to look at made-to-measure options (I assume you're buying jackets in Long sizing). JAB has been pretty sensible about button stance throughout this trend.


Questions, comments, and style ideas welcome, provided they are expressed respectfully.