Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious ad man and wannabe family man
Ossining, New York, Spring 1962
Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Three Sundays” (Episode 2.04)
Air Date: August 17, 2008
Director: Tim Hunter
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
The anthological fourth episode of Mad Men‘s second season checks in with our regulars—particularly Don Draper and Peggy Olsen—with explorations of parenting and piety leading up to Easter Sunday 1962.
April 8th is the first in this trio of Sundays, beginning with Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) joining her ultra-Catholic family for church services in Brooklyn. Forty miles north in Ossining, Don (Jon Hamm) and Betty (January Jones) are engaging in their own sort of religious experience when they’re interrupted mid-coitus by their hungry children. No word on whether or not the Draper kids get their desired Raisin Bran, but the parents enjoy liquid breakfasts via bottomless Bloody Marys mixed and served by eight-year-old Sally (Kiernan Shipka) while the younger Bobby (Aaron Hart) mischievously plays DJ when he defies his mother’s orders by interfering with Mr. C crooning from the hi-fi. (Don may not mind the interruption as he scoffs that Perry Como “makes everything sound like Christmas.”)
Despite Don’s recent foray back into the world of infidelity and Betty letting her mind wander to the young man who recommended she read F. Scott Fitzgerald (hence the copy of Babylon Revisited and Other Stories in her hands), she insists Don join her in dancing to “Blue Room”, one of her favorite songs from her high school dances. (This timing checks out as Como recorded this Rodgers and Hart-penned hit twice in 1948, the same year Betty celebrated her sweet sixteen.)
“Betty and Don’s story frays one more strand in their marital bond, but this time the culprit is different parenting values rather than Don’s insensitivity and secrecy,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz in his biblical volume Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion. Seitz describes Bobby as “a one-boy wrecking crew” whose various misbehaviors threaten the “household détente” between Betty’s preference for corporal punishment and Don’s more hands-off approach. That’s not an endorsement of Don the Dad, as his oft-dismissive attitude toward the children he undoubtedly loves will mess them up in other ways, but—when he finds the patience—he chooses to talk and listen, having learned from his own childhood that all being beaten by his father did “was make me fantasize about the day I could murder him.”
What’d He Wear?
From my style writer’s eyes, “Three Sundays” is always a delight to watch as it’s one of the first episodes where we see a few of Don Draper’s off-duty looks when he’s not dressing for work as the quintessential man in the gray flannel suit. We got our first casual looks in “Marriage of Figaro” (Episode 1.03) where Don dressed for manual labor and then hosting a party, but “Three Sundays” meets in the middle as he’s dressed solely for intimate comfort with Betty and the kids, not even bothering to slip into some shoes as he rests his stockinged feet on Betty’s lap.
Don’s dark brown cotton lisle socks are similar to those he typically wears to work, detailed with repeating beige chevrons down the sides that enclose a tonal diagonal striping over the bridge of each foot. The toes are finished with the gold Irish linen thread that Great American Knitting Mills of Berks County, Pennsylvania introduced during the Great Depression to differentiate its durable “Gold Toe” brand.
Don’s brown sports shirt and khaki slacks recall the long-sleeved linen shirt and trousers he wore when building Sally’s dollhouse in “Marriage of Figaro”, though this outfit is a little more presentable with the shirt a softer, heavier-weight cloth, more resistant to wrinkling. Don wears the loop collar open at the neck, the placket detailed with tonal brown braided thread along each edge.
Excepting the top button placed under the right collar leaf, there are five brown plastic two-hole buttons through contrasting blue-threaded buttonholes on the placket. Stitched just below the second button down from the neck is a trio of unique, colorful embroidery: a blue spiny leaf at the top above two overlapping diamonds, the center diamond embroidered in a rust-colored thread while the lower diamond is embroidered in two alternating blue threads. The shirt also has two patch chest pockets, finished across the top with a straight, horizontal welt. Don keeps the ends of the long sleeves unbuttoned and rolled up his forearms.
Like many American servicemen who returned with home with a greater appreciation for their light-wearing khaki chino trousers, Don frequently presses his various pairs of beige-hued cotton chinos into service around the house.
The trousers worn for Don’s lazy Sunday with Betty may be the same ones seen later in the episode when prepping pancakes for the kids. These flat front trousers have slanted side pockets, jetted back pockets, with a button-through closure, and plain hems at the bottom of each straight leg. Don’s untucked shirt covers the trouser waistband, but he may be wearing the same slim dark brown leather belt that would be tonally appropriate with his brown shirt.
The previous episode, “The Benefactor” (Episode 2.03), depicts Don getting his watch back from Betty after she had it engraved… and just after he cheats on her with the domineering Bobbie Barrett (Melinda McGraw) for the first time. He would wear this yellow gold Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique dress watch throughout the second and third seasons, no longer wearing it after divorcing Betty as its sentimental inscription no longer applied.
JLC pioneered the Reverso Classique in 1931, specifically targeting its reversible hard steel case toward polo players who would want to protect their watch faces during play without having to remove the timepieces. According to an AMC interview with Mad Men‘s property master Gay Perello, Jon Hamm was initially reluctant to switch from the watch he wore during the first season:
Showing it to Jon on the first day… he said, “I’m kind of a round watch face guy.” And I said, “Well, we talked about that, but let’s look at this cool little feature that you can play with.” Then he said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, this will work,” and he started to really like it… And then [Matthew Weiner] had wrote in an episode that Betty takes his watch to have it engraved, so it got to have a little more play than we thought it would.
What to Imbibe
Mad Men is famous for its characters’ penchant frequent—and often irresponsible—drinking, among other vices, so there should be little surprise that Don and Betty are lubricating their lazy Sunday with Bloody Mary cocktails… and not much more of a surprise that it’s their precocious eight-year-old daughter Sally who’s ultimately tasked with mixing the concoctions. (After all, it was just two episodes earlier that Sally had proven her mastery of both the Old Fashioned and Tom Collins.)
“Here’s number two, thsir,” Sally serves her father, having mixed the simple drink by pouring a few splashes of Libby’s tomato juice over a highball glass full of Wolfschmidt vodka and ice. Though it’s now a bottom-shelf vodka often packaged in plastic and sold by the handle, Wolfschmidt was a more prestigious marque in the ’50s and ’60s, cited as the preference of MI6 chief “M” in the third James Bond novel, Moonraker, and an in-universe favorite of Mad Men‘s Roger Sterling (John Slattery), who stipulates it for his Gibson martini six episodes later in “Six-Month Leave” (Episode 2.09).
How to Get the Look
Don Draper illustrates how dressing for a lazy day around the house doesn’t have to mean that old sweatshirt and pajama pants, balancing presentable and practical in his uniquely detailed brown sports shirt, untucked over his broken-in khakis and accessorized with that classic JLC Reverso: the perfect attire for a laidback Sunday of vegging, vodka, and very slow dancing.
- Brown sports shirt with embroidered placket (with braided edges), loop collar, two chest pockets, and button cuffs
- White cotton crew-neck short-sleeve undershirt
- Khaki chino cotton flat front trousers with belt loops, slanted side pockets, button-through back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Dark brown slim leather belt with gold-toned square single-prong buckle
- Dark brown cotton lisle “gold-toe” socks with beige mini-chevron side stripes
- White cotton crew-neck short-sleeve undershirt
- Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique wristwatch with a gold case, square white dial, and brown alligator leather strap
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the whole series.
Also, keep an eye on upcoming posts as a special treat will be coming for Mad Men fans soon!
I thought we weren’t doing anything today.