A Mad Men Christmas (Season 4)

BAMF Style’s 5 Days of Christmas

Holiday parties are a time of drunken revelry, co-workers getting away with odd behavior, bad decisions, and even worse presents. For the cast of Mad Men, there’s even more than that.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men, episode 4.02: “Christmas Comes But Once a Year”.

Vitals

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, divorced Madison Avenue ad man with a shadowy past

New York City, Christmas 1964

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Christmas Comes But Once a Year” (Episode 4.02)
Air Date: August 1, 2010
Director: Michael Uppendahl
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

At the start of the fourth season, in late 1964, Don Draper is at the top of his professional world and the bottom of his personal world. He has just successfully created a buzz as a founding partner of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. However, he is divorced and spends Thanksgiving with a prostitute he pays to slap him. It’s no surprise that he most likely is not looking forward to Christmas…

What’d He Wear?

Don attends his company holiday party in a charcoal gray flannel two-piece suit. He truly stands out in his “Man in the Flannel Suit” guise to distance himself from the younger and more festive co-workers in red. Only he and fellow jaded ad man Roger Sterling wear their dark shades of gray.

His suit jacket is single-breasted with era-slim notch lapels and a two-button front, as usual. There is a welted breast pocket on the left chest and a slanted flapped hip pocket on each side. Don’s jacket also has 3-button cuffs and double vents. The jacket, like his earlier suits, is slim-fitting, but this is unappealing on Draper as he begins to get heftier through excessive drinking and lack of exercise.

Sure, go ahead and take another drink. See if that jacket fits any easier.

Sure, go ahead and take another drink. See if that jacket fits any better.

The suit’s trousers are pleated with belt loops and plain-hemmed bottoms. As usual, there is a sharp center crease and side pockets. The pants are held up with his black leather belt with a square steel closed buckle. Don wears thin charcoal socks that match his trousers for a clean leg line into his black leather oxfords.

Don’s white poplin dress shirt has a moderate spread collar, a breast pocket for his cigarettes, French cuffs, and single-buttoned gauntlets. Don wears large square cuff links that are silver with a black center, separated into two parts by a single white vertical line.

don cuff links as he reaches for aspirin

In case it’s not completely obvious, it’s about 2 AM and Don is reaching for an aspirin.

Don’s tie is narrow with right-down-to-left diagonal stripes that are, like his attire, in varying shades of gray. The right-down-to-left pattern is American, whereas Brits often sport stripes from the left shoulder down to the right hip.

don's tie

Don would’ve still looked exactly the same if the episode had been shot in black and white.

When he leaves the party to go home, Don puts on a black-on-charcoal plaid car coat. The single-breasted coat has notch lapels with swelled edges that roll gently over the top of the three-button front. There are straight jetted pockets on each side (likely with the flaps tucked into each pocket), cuffed set-in sleeves, and a long rear single vent.

Somehow, Don looks no worse for wear the next day.

Somehow, Don looks no worse for wear the next day.

He also puts on a gray short-brimmed fedora with a thin black band. It is the fedora that provides Don’s only red, with a red and brown feather on the left side.

Merry Christmas from the feather in Don Draper's hat.

Merry Christmas from the feather in Don Draper’s hat.

Underneath, Don wears his standard white crew neck undershirt. Don’s only accessory is a silver Rolex Explorer with a metal bracelet, round case, and black face.

don watch

Honestly, though, you haven’t lived until you’ve spent the night collapsed outside your apartment door in a full suit, overcoat, and hat.

Everyone Else

Much can be said about the other characters based on their choice of attire for the holiday party…

Harry & Jennifer Crane

Harry Crane and his wife

The Cranes are, relatively, an average American couple. This season, Harry has become more fashion-forward, ditching his bow ties and short-sleeve shirts for a more modern look. Here, he probably read in some men’s guide somewhere to sneak in a bit of red during the holidays. He does more than just sneak it in and the clashing of his box striped tie and subtle plaid jacket says plenty about Harry.

Joey Baird & Megan Calvet

Joey Baird and Megan Calvet

Joey and Megan are the faces of youth at SCDP. 1964 is probably the last year that young people would look like this, as Joey’s red plaid dinner jacket was more of a 1950s staple. This would be revitalized during the corny 1970s but without the sleek slim lapel look of this type.

Lee Garner, Jr.

Lee Garner, Jr. and Roger Sterling

Lee, the brash and successful businessman, wears a brown suit under a large greatcoat with a massive brown fur collar. His tie is a Windsor knot, a heavy contrast to the smaller four-in-hands of the SCDP team. He is definitely different than them.

The “Old Guard”

Dr. Faye Miller surrounded by the "old guard" of Lane Pryce, her boss, and Bert Cooper

The older gentlemen surrounding the poor Dr. Faye are her boss, Geoffrey Atherton, and the SCDP patriarch Bertram Cooper. Joining the pack is Lane Pryce, the English accountant. Lane wears a standard British businessman’s uniform of 2-piece suit with a waistcoat, choosing a red vest and tie for the holidays. Faye’s dry boss changes up his usual wardrobe just by adding a red argyle sweater vest. Bert Cooper, who probably has no grand affection for holiday parties, wears a red pocketsquare.

Peggy Olson & her boyfriend Mark

Peggy Olson and her awkward boyfriend Mark

Peggy has certainly grown up since her Catholic schoolgirl-inspired days, but her choice in men still shows immaturity. The combination of his hair, plaid shirt, and ill-fitting jacket makes Mark look like a little kid who is trying to look like his dad.

Pete & Trudy Campbell

Pete and Trudy Campbell

Pete, the spoiled New York brat, probably has a blazer for every holiday and it is no doubt that he was more than happy to get a chance to sport his maroon double-breasted blazer and tab collar shirt to the Christmas party. His wife looks like the happy homemaker as always.

Roger & Jane Sterling

Roger and Jane Sterling

While the youthful Jane is channeling Liz Taylor in Cleopatra, Roger – although a joyous man who loves a good celebration – looks no different than usual with a sharp dark three-piece suit and a silver paisley tie. It’s a good look and another example of men not needing red for a Christmas party.

Go Big or Go Home

Most people’s Christmas celebrations these days involve a nice lunch at a local restaurant or, for some larger firms, a catered event towards the end of the workday.

Mad Men celebrates the golden age of office Christmas parties that involved several cases of top shelf booze, loud and obnoxious holiday music, and plenty of unwise hookups and next-day pregnancy tests. The full bar includes Jameson, Canadian Club, Smirnoff, and a wide variety of other liquors to keep the party going. The music is jazzy, Herb Alpert-style renditions of old Christmas standards like “Good King Wenceslas”.

Don quietly observes most of the party with a whiskey in hand, leaving early after unsuccessfully flirting with smart career lady Dr. Faye Miller. Upon reaching home, he realizes – eheu! – he has forgotten his keys at the office. A well-timed call to his loyal secretary sends her running over with the keys. Incorrigible cad he is, Don seduces the young woman right on his couch.

Not that I’m endorsing much of this behavior, but uh…

No matter what happens, your Christmas party was a success if it ends like this.

No matter what happens, your Christmas party was a success if it ends like this.

Besides the corny and ultra-’60s music heard at the party, this episode also features Teresa Brewer’s version of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. Correct for the era, but Don would certainly prefer a more classic album such as Sinatra’s 1957 release A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, with melancholy standards such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”, and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”.

There is even a Season 5 episode entitled “The Christmas Waltz” featuring Doris Day’s rendition of the song and Draper attempting a Sinatra impression.

Can't sleep? Don Draper recommends 375 ML of Kentucky bourbon and boning your secretary. Good night and Merry Christmas.

Can’t sleep? Don Draper recommends 375 ML of Kentucky bourbon and boning your secretary. Good night and Merry Christmas.

What to Imbibe

Besides breezing through a pack of Luckies like the world is ending, Don powers through more than a few glasses of Canadian Club whiskey at the party. When he gets home, he has a bit of a wait for his secretary to arrive with his keys so he takes solace in a flask bottle of Wild Turkey. By the time his liver is planning a fierce rebellion around 2:00 AM, Don combats it all with the surefire combination of water and aspirin.

How to Get the Look

I’m proud to say that, yet again, we have another Christmas entry that doesn’t feature a novelty necktie. In fact, Don is so proud of this look that he would go on to wear the same suit, shirt, and shoes with a slightly different striped tie the following Christmas.

  • Charcoal flannel suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 2-button jacket with slim notch lapels, welted breast pocket, slanted flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and double rear vents
    • Flat front straight-leg trousers with belt loops, open side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White poplin dress shirt with slim semi-spread collar, front placket, breast pocket, and double/French cuffs
  • Slim gray tie with varying R-down-to-L diagonal stripes
  • Thin black leather belt with rounded square steel buckle
  • Black leather oxfords/balmorals
  • Thin charcoal socks
  • White cotton crew-neck short-sleeve undershirt
  • Black-on-charcoal glen plaid flannel single-breasted 3-button car coat with notch lapels, straight jetted hip pockets, cuffed set-in-sleeves, and long single vent
  • Gray felt short-brimmed fedora with a thin black band and a red and brown feather
  • Rolex Explorer stainless wristwatch with a black dial on stainless link bracelet

Okay, so none of these feature any color whatsoever. If you’re more in tune with the Christmas spirit, there’s nothing against introducing some subtle color into your attire, such as a red tie or a tie with red stripes. Just don’t overdo it…

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the fourth season on DVD.

4 comments

  1. Pingback: A Mad Men Christmas (Season 4) | Best Leather Garments,leather garments for ladies,leather garments products
  2. Pingback: Don Draper Test Drives a Jaguar at Christmas | BAMF Style
  3. Pingback: Don Draper’s Black Tie in 1960 | BAMF Style
  4. Pingback: Don Draper Test Drives a Jaguar at Christmas | BAMF Style

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