Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell, ambitious advertising accounts manager
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
Welcome to BAMF Style, Pete Campbell! Long-ignored as I had reserved Mad Men‘s sartorial spotlight on his colleagues Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery), Sterling Cooper’s ambitious accounts man finally gets his time to shine on this #MadMenMonday less than a week before Christmas. Rather than his bright blue suits from early seasons or the uniquely cut waistcoats from his three-piece suits in later seasons, Pete’s inaugural BAMF Style post explores how he dresses for the inaugural SCDP holiday party.
The fledgling agency had been planning on a humbler holiday gathering, but after a self-invitation from their spoiled client Lee Garner Jr. (Darren Pettie), Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce pulls out all the stops to impress Lee Jr., who represents Lucky Strike cigarettes, responsible for 73% of the company’s total billings. Some of his colleagues like the recently divorced Don and Army wife Joan (Christina Hendricks) go stag, but Pete wisely invites his “hostess with the mostest” wife Trudy (Alison Brie), whose default mode has her already-considerable charm turned up to eleven.
Pete’s unabating ambition doesn’t cease even in the face of potential humiliation as Lee Jr. tries to goad Roger into wearing a Santa Claus costume. “I’ll do it, I’d love to be Santa!” Pete volunteers, his voice almost cracking in its sycophancy. “Oh come on, it’d take three of you to fill that suit,” Lee Jr. sneers in response, turning his predatory eye back to Roger, “besides, everybody knows Santa’s got white hair.”
What’d He Wear?
As one of the younger executives at SCDP, Pete Campbell’s fashion sense tends to more frequently echo contemporary trends, and the hip blazer for the newly formed company’s first Christmas party is no exception. “Straight out of Carnaby Street,” as Meredith Blake described in her Los Angeles Times review when the episode first aired in 2010, Pete incorporates seasonal color with a double-breasted blazer made of burgundy woolen flannel.
Though double-breasted tailoring can suggest an old-fashioned connotation, Pete’s blazer has been updated for the ’60s with narrower details like the lapels, wrap, and cut. Finished with sporty “swelled” edges, these slim lapels are uniquely notched in a manner that more closely resembles the Parisian or “cran necker” style rather than traditional peak lapels.
The six etched copper-toned shank buttons are arranged in two closely spaced parallel columns of three, with all three buttons to fasten (6×3-style). This neo-Edwardian style offers a variety of how the jacket can be “correctly” buttoned, with Pete opting to fasten the top two of three. Pete’s blazer has padded shoulders, long double vents, a welted breast pocket and straight flapped hip pockets, and the added neo-Edwardian detail of narrow turnback or “gauntlet” cuffs at the end of each sleeve.
Pete wears a plain white cotton poplin shirt with a front placket and a narrow spread collar, dressed here with a gold collar pin. This fussy detail was popular through the ’60s and kept its wearer disciplined as a pinned collar looked very neat with a tie knotted in place but instantly looks sloppily incomplete should the tie become loosened or the top of the shirt undone. Pete’s shirt has double (French) cuffs, which he fastens with gold-framed rectangular cuffs with shining gold centers.
Pete’s skinny tie also serves to represent some seasonal color with a darker burgundy ground than his jacket, tied in a half-Windsor knot that’s pushed forward by his collar pin. The tie has been trussed to present a single scarlet-red “uphill”-directional bar stripe just above the blazer’s buttoning point; printed just above the stripe is a small gold regal motif similar to the French fleur de lis.
Pete wears plain charcoal-gray trousers, styled with either a flat front or darted front. The brief glimpse we see of Pete with his jacket unbuttoned doesn’t bely any hint of a belt buckle, so the trousers have likely been tailored to fit sans belt or braces, though they may also be rigged with button- or buckle-tab adjusters on the sides of the waistband. The trousers taper down to the plain-hemmed bottoms that break just at the top of his shoes.
I love Pete’s choice of monk shoes for the party, an interesting bridge between the formality of lace-ups and less formal loafers that nicely suits yet another instance of “work disguised as a party” so frequent in the world of Mad Men.
Characterized by either a single- or double-strap that buckles closed over the instep, this monk shoe came by its moniker honestly, as Alan Flusser writes in Dressing the Man that this footwear had been “worn for centuries in European monasteries,” specifically “among friars in the Italian Alps in the fifteenth century” who had so impressed a visiting brother from England that he widely introduced the shoe back home. Though the shoes were certainly worn—albeit more frequently among the more fashion-forward set—through the sixties, they curiously don’t even warrant a mention in Sir Hardy Amies’ ABCs of Men’s Fashion, published in 1964, the same year that “Christmas Comes But Once a Year” is set.
Pete’s black calf leather plain-toe monk shoes are of the single-strap variety, with a brass-finished buckle closing a broad strap over each shoe’s instep. His socks are also black.
How to Get the Look
If looking fashionably festive is your holiday party priority, let Pete Campbell be your surprising yuletide guide with a burgundy blazer and black monk shoes that subtly liven up his otherwise standard ’60s office-wear of a pinned collar, skinny dark tie, and charcoal trousers. My only feedback..? I’d have added a pocket square.
- Burgundy woolen flannel 6×3-button double-breasted blazer with narrow Parisian lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, narrow turnback/gauntlet cuffs, and long double vents
- White cotton poplin shirt with pinned spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
- Gold collar pin
- Gold rectangular cuff links
- Dark burgundy skinny tie with single gold regal motif and scarlet-red “uphill” bar stripe
- Charcoal flat front trousers with beltless waistband and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black calf leather plain-toe single-strap monk shoes
- Black cotton lisle socks
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the series.
Who’d want to miss Christmas in New York?