'Mad Men' influences modern fashion trends

'Mad Men' influences modern fashion trends

September 26th, 2011 by Karen Nazor Hill in Life Entertainment

Courtney Simmons models a dress by Criss Cross with a bracelet and necklaces from Francesca's Collection.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

It's not unusual for celebrities to spark fashion trends, but in the last four years, an Emmy Award-winning TV series has been wielding that power.

"Mad Men," which starts its fifth season next year on AMC, has brought 1950s to mid-1960s fashions to the forefront and caused other designers to turn back the clock to create today's must-have styles.

Last month, Banana Republic launched a Mad Men Collection limited-edition line for men and women. Designers from Banana Republic collaborated with the show's Emmy Award-winning designer, Janie Bryant, a native of Cleveland, Tenn. The line features nearly 65 pieces of 1960s-inspired apparel and accessories.

In a recent interview posted on the Time magazine website, Bryant talked about the nostalgia for retro and vintage fashions.

"I think people love to romanticize the early 1960s," Bryant told Time. "It's the period of our American Camelot and our Kennedys. People think of that period as the most glamorous and elegant in time."

The era's silhouettes are classic, ageless looks, according to Bryant. "Pencil skirts, sweater sets and pearls - they never go out of style," she told Time.

Matthew Wilson, owner of Wilson & Bow Fine Neckwear in East Ridge, said the show is also influencing men's styles.

Wilson said Brooks Brothers has a men's clothing line based on "Mad Men."

"There is just something very appealing about that look - the dark suit with a black tie and slicked-back hair is a bold, no-nonsense fashion statement that worked in the early 1960s and works very well now. If you could only have one clothing item to capture that look, I would choose a solid black tie."

Betsy Parks, assistant manager of Francesca's, a women's fashion boutique in East Brainerd, said she loves the femininity of "Mad Men"-inspired women's fashions.

"The clothing from that era is so different from the styles in recent years," she said. "I love that the styles show a woman's curves and highlight her silhouette. The pencil skirt, the full skirt with the cinched waist, the bows, the sparkle, the lace and the sweetheart necklines are ultra-feminine."

Parks said photographs of her grandmother shows her wearing similar styles.

"I particularly noticed the waist of the pencil skirts she's wearing actually goes up to her true waist and not on the hips like most skirts do today," she said. "That's the exact style that's being portrayed on 'Mad Men.' "

Fashions inspired from the show have been bestsellers at Francesca's, Parks said.

"Gathered skirts made from a light, flowy fabric and cinched at the waist are very popular, especially worn with blouses that are sheer and lacy," she said. "We're also seeing the 'midi' skirt. It's a length that hits right below the knees and was popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s. You wear it with a sweater set or a blouse that you tuck in at the waist."