This season on Mad Men, we’ve seen groovier patterns, stranger facial hair, and a brighter color palette. This is no longer the Sterling Cooper of Season 1 with its darkened halls and muted suits. Costume designer Janie Bryant’s suit, dress, and even bikini choices have launched the audience into one of America’s most tumultuous years–1968–setting bolder and brighter designs against a backdrop of revolutions, riots and assassinations.
The women of Mad Men, in particular, have had a revolutionary year. In 1968, the women’s liberation movement reached a fever pitch with protests at the Miss America pageant and bra burnings. At Sterling Cooper & Partners, Joan and peggy are finally starting to grow into their positions of power, and their costumes are telling the story.
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Joan, who in previous seasons wore hyper-feminine outfits, has taken to dressing in suits now that she is a partner. The costumes still carry the Joan trademarks–bright purple fabrics and curve-hugging shape–but reflect her increased importance at the office. Peggy, too, has begun to find a compromise between the masculine and feminine. Peggy was very much a woman fighting for a place in a man’s world at the beginning of the series and thus dressed in more masculine clothing. Now, as she has settled into her established spot as one of the best copywriters in town, her clothing has grown more flirty, feminine, and fashionable.