A nod to Mad Men’s 1960s mod

Ladies and gents- ti me to get swanky for the STU formal (Cara Smith/AQ)

St. Thomas University’s annual winter formal is giving ‘60s mod style a nod with a Mad Men inspired theme.

My friend needed a dress, and my help. The formal is Dec. 4 and the classy theme was over her head.

“I don’t even know what Mad Men is,” my friend said as we searched through a rack of cocktail dresses at Regent Mall.

“It’s the 1960s,” I tried to explain. “You know, like poufy skirts and high heels.”

Mad Men is a hit cable television show, set in 1960s Manhattan. The show revolves mostly around Don Draper, a maverick advertising exec who is played by Jon Hamm.

Like Sex and the City before it, the show has been recognized for its stylish costume design.

Besides taking home a multitude of awards, the show has had a profound influence on fashion. The 60s style has experienced a comeback and this is partly thanks to Mad Men, and the show’s following.

Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers even released their own Mad Men inspired collections in 2010. This throwback to the 60s happened before in 2005, but this style is much more refined.

Think sharp, sophisticated and tailored suits for the guys. Ladies, we’re talking classy and curve-accentuating dresses, set off with some gloves and pearls.

“The characters on the show are dressed very suave,” said Jonathan Munn, a member of the student’s union who sits on the events committee.

“The men wear fitted suits, and the women are very elegant.”

Munn thinks even though it’s a departure from last year’s black and white theme, students will have no problem finding something to wear. “It’s definitely an easy and generic theme,” he said.

As for what we might actually see on the dance floor, Munn has an idea or two. “Hopefully we’ll see some bowties on the guys. That’s what I’ll be wearing.”

Back at the mall, I waited outside the fitting room as my friend went through dress after dress. Sipping on my red velvet latte, I took a look as she tested out a tight blue number with rhinestones. I shook my head.

“Not feeling it,” I said honestly. Putting it aside, she tried again.

“Try the red one again,” the salesgirl and I both said. Seconds later, she came back out in the bold one strapped dress. It was the perfect mix of modern and retro, with a skirt that would make Mad Men’s Joan Harris, played by Christina Hendricks, envious.

All three of us unanimously agreed and in true TLC fashion, my friend said yes to the dress.

The marriage of today’s fashion with that of a bygone era will likely be a popular look on Tuesday night. “You can always put your own spin on an outfit,” said Munn.

I know that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be sporting a knee length number with a cinched in waist. Unlike my friend in red, I’ll be going strictly monochrome with a black and white look.

It’s a little less Betty Francis and a little more Megan Draper. You could even say my dress is vintage. It was last worn in 2008, an eternity for someone who changes their style every season.

Hopefully when I walk into the Crowne Plaza Tuesday, I’ll be transported to the swinging 60s. This is the night we’ll trade in our winter boots for stilettos and our sneakers for a smart pair of loafers.

As Jonathan Munn said, “You can’t get any more classy.”


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