Maddening Style 2

It’s no secret that I am one of the many people who love Mad Men. From the reveal at the end of the pilot that Don was married all the way through his inexplicably proposing to the insufferably toothy Megan, I’ve watched every episode with rapt devotion. Even when I was left yelling “What?? No. What??” repeatedly at the television (see: above proposal), I still cared about every character to an almost unhealthy degree.

Which isn’t to say I don’t have issues with some aspects of the show. Given that (presumably) you’re reading this blog for jokes about clothes and not for lengthy dissertations on storytelling, I’m not going to go down that path. I just felt I had to share that side of things, because otherwise my friend Sarah would read this and roll her eyes, thinking of all the hours she’s spent listening to my complaining about the show’s use of time jumps.

One thing about the show I’ve never criticized (good transition, right?) was Janie Bryant’s brilliant costume design. It is not hyperbolic to say that Janie Bryant’s costuming on Mad Men is inspired. If you want to devote an afternoon or sleepless night to fully understanding the nuances of the costumes, read Tom and Lorenzo’s posts about the show’s fashion – particularly their character posts. You’ll never watch the show the same way again – whenever you see Joan wearing purple, you will brace yourself.

Which leads me to my point  … okay, no it doesn’t, but I can’t always have brilliant transitions. I was originally going to write a whole post about Banana Republic’s fall Mad Men line, but it just seemed like so much work, and I am le tired. So I put it off and put it off and now it’s almost totally sold out, which means I can’t actually write a post about it.

Here is the general gist, though: Janie Bryant, I love you, but your personal collections have left me totally whelmed – which, until this point, I thought you could only be in Europe. Nothing about your QVC line or your BR line have jumped out at me in that “Gotta have it” kind of way. In fact, the only thing that’s jumped out at me is that you have an affinity for leopard print matched only by a mafia wife.

I don’t know much about period fashion, but when Tom and Lorenzo say that animal print was way more daring in 1960, I believe them. Leopard print feels, if anything, like late 1960s to me (and Wikipedia backs me up on this one).

Beyond that, though, leopard print is so commonplace now. None of these items look like they’re specific to the Mad Men collection – they could just as easily have been from last year’s fall collection. A mod print or some colorblocking would have felt way more unique (and the colorblocking would have been very on-trend). I realize that you’re working with a Gap subsidiary, Janie Bryant, but you went leopard-crazy with your QVC collection too, so I know it’s not just because Banana Republic bought too much leopard fabric and insisted you use it for all the accessories.

From left to right: Joan, Peggy, Betty … I think?

I worry that I’m being too hard on you – that maybe I have unreasonable expectations. But, at the heart of the matter, all I wanted was a fusion of 1960s silhouettes with a modern aesthetic. I wanted a fall line that didn’t look like every other fall line Banana Republic has had since the beginning of time. Essentially, what I was hoping for was a line a little more … well, like something Trina Turk might have designed.




The silhouettes are similar to the Banana Republic dresses, but the Trina Turk dresses are so much more modern and well-cut. It’s not even that the dresses are revolutionary, they just look like what your Banana Republic line should have been.

These are the designs you should be selling, Janie Bryant, not the leopard print accessories and poorly structured dresses and skirts. You’re better than the designs you’ve been selling. Unless you’re not really a designer at all, and you just have an eye for styling, in which case, please stop with the misleading “Mad Men inspired”  clothing lines. I’m tired of getting my hopes up, only to have them dashed like Sally’s self-esteem after a weekend with Betty.

Banana Republic Mad Men Collection – Prices vary
Trina Turk Jamison Belted Dress – $368
Trina Turk Lowell Dress – $385
Trina Turk Seabird Dress – $228
Trina Turk Mirren Belted Dress – $278
Trina Turk Mariposa Dress – $258
Trina Turk Spirit Dress – $376

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