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, 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
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
Underneath, Don wears his standard white crew neck undershirt. Don’s only accessory is a steel Rolex Explorer with a metal bracelet, round case, and black face.
Much can be said about the other characters based on their choice of attire for the holiday party…
Harry & Jennifer Crane
Joey Baird & Megan Calvet
Lee Garner, Jr.
The “Old Guard”
Peggy Olson & her boyfriend Mark
Pete & Trudy Campbell
Roger & Jane Sterling
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…
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.
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.