This Sunday marks the return of Mad Men with the sixth season premiere on AMC. When we last saw Don Draper at the end of the fifth season, he was on a Manhattan bar stool, being propositioned by a couple of young barflies.
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, twice-married Madison Avenue ad man
New York City, Spring 1967
Series: Mad Men
Episode: “The Phantom” (Episode 5.13)
Air Date: June 10, 2012
Director: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
In the final episode of Mad Men‘s fifth season, “The Phantom”, the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce office is trying overcome their grief in the wake of a major death. Don Draper is hit hard, feeling responsible for the second suicide of someone he had rejected. Additionally, our protagonist is dealing with a throbbing toothache and his young wife’s desire to revisit acting. By the end of the episode, his tooth is healed, the company is buying additional office space, and Megan has had a successful audition.
Don, however, is at a crossroads: Does he move forward? If so, how?
What’d He Wear?
Don and the SCDP partners ascend a flight of stairs to look over their new office space, each man in a distinctive and telling suit.
Old codger Bert Cooper is in a brown tweed suit he’s probably had for years; only the small lapel notches give the suit away as the product of the 1960s.
Roger Sterling, who underwent massive transitions during the season appears to have switched roles with swarmy up-and-comer Pete Campbell. While he still wears a traditional three-piece, Roger is now in a bright blue suit – not quite as electric as Pete’s trademark blue suit – indicating an embrace of the times as the late ’60s headed for louder colors and more vibrant styles. With production photos showing Roger growing sideburns for season six, it looks like he really will be grasping to youth and modern culture.
Pete, on the other hand, has indeed ditched his blue for a gray business suit. The suit, paired with a black-and-gray striped tie, looks more like something we would expect Don to see, albeit not as well tailored as a Draper suit. Pete is clearly taking himself more seriously as a conservative businessman.
Finally, there’s Don. While a few details indicate a few fashion-forward elements, such as the bright gold on the tie, he looks essentially the same as he did when we first met him in 1960.
Don’s suit is very dark brown, accentuated by the earth tones in the tie. It is a very sleek and simple look, with very slim notch lapels rolling down to a 2-button closure. The 2-button cuffs are also minimalist, at least moreso than some of the 3 or 4-button cuffs earlier in the decade. The hip pockets are straight and flapped and the breast pocket has Don’s neatly folded white pocketsquare jutting out. The jacket breaks in the rear with a single vent.
Like the rest of Draper’s pants, the flat front suit trousers have a high rise and is suspended with a dark leather belt. The bottoms are plain-hemmed.
Don also wears a shirt not unlike the shirts he has been wearing from the beginning: crisp and white with a moderate spread collar, breast pocket for cigarettes, white buttons down the front placket, and French cuffs for a pair of gold oblong cuff links.
His tie, as I mentioned, features earth tone stripes. The gold stripes are the widest, with black, white, and light brown stripes filling out the rest of the tie in varying widths. The stripes are all the American-style, right down to left.
Don’s shoes are black leather plain-toe oxfords with black laces, worn with black dress socks.
His watch is the same throughout all of the fifth season, an Omega Seamaster Deville – perhaps a callback to his Cadillac Coupe de Ville. The Seamaster Deville was an iconic watch in the 1960s. Don’s particular 34 mm model has a black strap, silver case, and black dial with a date indicator.
Go Big or Go Home
The end of “The Phantom” places Don in a similar situation to when we first met him. He is in a bar, smoking, drinking an Old Fashioned. Will he end up in another woman’s bed this time?
Once the James Bond phenomenon hit the show around 1965 (Season 4 in the show’s chronology), many references were made to it, including a few comparing Draper to Bond himself. The show remains conscious of this, with Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice” accompanying Don as he leaves Megan’s set and enters the bar. Obviously, this was the theme to the Bond film of the same name.
Besides the fact that You Only Live Twice was released in 1967, why this song? Don has lived two lives, first as Dick Whitman and now as Don Draper. He has also had two wives, Betty and Megan. While this would give the song a much different significance than it had to Bond (who was “shot and killed” in the beginning of the film only to re-emerge, having faked the whole thing), it certainly adds to the show’s themes of duality.
Samantha Zalaznick put it brilliantly:
As Don walks off the set, it’s like he’s walking out of the sunny-California-born fairytale that started in last season’s finale, completing this chapter and going back to the old Don Draper we know. “You Only Live Twice” plays in the background, and the Bond theme reminds us who he really is: the dashing secret agent. It’s a Beauty and the Beast-like transformation. Megan loved him for who he really was and turned him into a prince this season but as he walks back in the shadows and she’s left behind, lit up in color, it’s like he’s transforming back into the beast. It’s as though this whole relationship and season could have all been a dream. Don, dark bar, lit cigarette, old-fashioned. “Are you alone?” a girl asks. When he looks up we see a familiar smile and the flash of the old Don we haven’t seen in a while. We’re all alone. That’s the theme. I don’t think he says yes just yet, but that guy’s still in there.
Or does the song signify two separate lives for Don – a previous life of lying and covertness, covering up his past identity and sleeping with mistress after mistress? Will he reject his proposition that he clearly would have accepted during his previous marriage?
Okay, that was wordy. One final note of interest, Don has finally ditched Lucky Strike. Didn’t you wonder why he kept smoking them even after losing the account? We clearly see a pack of Old Golds in front of him at the bar, lit by his loyal brass Zippo.
What to Imbibe
We haven’t seen much of Don’s Old Fashioneds since the end of the third season, making only sporadic appearances until he once again orders the classic cocktail at the bar at the end of “The Phantom”.
- Add 1 tsp sugar to a rocks glass
- Pour a splash of water over the sugar
- Pour 2 dashes of bitters
- Add a cherry and an orange slice to garnish
- Muddle the cherry and orange slice
- Pour in 2 ounces of bourbon whiskey
- Add ice cubes
- Stir and serve
How to Get the Look
Don’s look is very mid-’60s cool.
- Dark brown suit, consisting of:
- Single-breasted suit coat with slim notch lapels, 2-button front, breast pocket, flapped straight hip pockets, single vent, and 2-button cuffs
- Flat front trousers with belt loops and plain-hemmed bottoms
- White poplin dress shirt with moderate spread collar, breast pocket, front packet, and French cuffs
- Narrow gold/black/light brown American-style striped necktie
- Gold oblong cuff links
- Dark leather belt
- Black leather plain-toe oxfords
- Black dress socks
- Omega Seamaster Deville 34 mm wristwatch with silver case, black strap, and black dial with date indicator
- White folded pocketsquare
- White crew neck short-sleeve undershirt
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the fifth season.
Not really a quote, but this look says more than any stupid words ever could.
Don’s watch was confirmed by Joe Miragliotta on Joe’s Daily in a great article that tracks his watches through the seasons.