Well, it's that time of summer again. Last night was the season 4 premiere of AMC's acclaimed drama Mad Men. Were you watching? While I'm not an avid fan of too many television dramas these days, Mad Men has always had a soft spot in my heart. From the story line and the sets to the characters and the costumes, Mad Men is one show that's got it all.
In case you've been living under a rock for the past three years, here's a little history: The show is set in 1960s New York City, and circles around the men and women of Madison Ave. (the pioneers of the advertising age). Who are they? Don Draper and his — estranged — wife Betty; Peggy Olsen; Pete Campbell; Roger Sterling Jr.; and Joan Harris. The show follows their lives closely, both in and out of the office, and at the end of season 3 we were left wondering what would become of Don and Betty's relationship and whether or not the new Sterling Cooper will survive.
Costume designer Janie Bryant, who does an outstanding and fabulous job designing the costumes and styling the characters of Mad Men, says that Betty's wardrobe for season 4 will still contain a classic element inspired largely in part by Jackie Onassis; Joan Harris's wardrobe will continue to be bred by said character's confidence; and Peggy Olsen's wardrobe will evolve throughout the season according to her accomplishments as a copywriter in Don's office.
The female characters of Mad Men are almost always immaculately groomed and perfectly posied in pieces like knee-length sheath dresses, pleated bow chiffon blouses, and figure-flattering pencil skirts. Feeling inspired? I've rounded up several sixites-inspired pieces with the same feel as your favourite Mad Men characters. Check them out below for details on how to emulate the characters of the AMC show!
- Sleeveless gathered sheath dress: Classic chic at its best, this sleeveless Banana Republic sheath dress is designed with the feminine form in mind. Strategically-placed asymmetrical pleats and darts add some serious shape to an otherwise basic dress. The knee length is office-friendly and well-suited for several occasions. Composed of cool cotton and nylon, this is a dress you'll keep in your wardrobe for seasons to come. Look your business best and get it in grey. Sleeveless gathered sheath dress, $130, Banana Republic
- Cotton cady Aveline dress: There's nothing that compares to a cotton dress, tailored to a tee. You'll have no trouble channeling the confidence of Joan Harris while wearing this number. The clean lines of this dress are complemented by a deep v-neck and back, flattering front pleats, and a cut-to-the-knee pencil skirt. The simple silhouette is machine washable and available in 10 colours. Cotton cady Aveline dress, $225, J.Crew
- Silk taffeta Blakely dress: Like the characters on Mad Men show us, taffeta is one texture that can be worn both day and night. Seen here shaped into something sophisticated, I love how the ruffled collar and crossover bodice add depth to the dress. This dress is unfailingly feminine and completely chic. You'll have no trouble looking the part of a lady — think Betty Draper out running errands or rendezvous-ing with new husband Henry Francis. Silk taffeta Blakely dress, was $250 now select colours $179.99, J.Crew
- Check out Net-A-Porter for some fabulous sixties-styled fashion inspiration. I'm loving how the stylists have combined new pieces with staple standards, and I'm sure you'll agree.
They certainly don't share much in common as far as looks go, but Ashley Greene and January Jones are two budding stars who have been making every best-dressed list as of late. Most recently they set our sartorial hearts aflame with red hot lipstick and two fabulous frocks by Valentino. Jones wore white and Greene wore red; both actresses looked phenomenal. I think what I appreciate most about these two different — but seriously striking — dresses is the fact that the simple, clean cut shapes are highlighted by an asymmetric hem.
While the look isn't for all, asymmetrical hemlines are easy to style and add instant depth and drama to dresses and skirts. Take this petal wool-crepe skirt by Preen. The tulip-shaped overlay adds depth to an asymmetric hem, and the back of the skirt has the added interest of a flap pocket. Perfect for your work wardrobe when you pair it with an equally structured jacket and soft shirt, this Preen skirt could easily transition to night by removing the jacket and adding some strappy sandals or platform pumps.
Petal wool-crepe skirt, $1100, Net-A-Porter
As a reality show starlet and now a budding designer, free-spirited sweetheart Whitney Port has become a recognized force in the fashion world (or at least as a new designer with merit). She's consistently making bold choices that land her at the top of several best dressed lists in our favourite glossies. And it's not hard to see why: Whitney Port is an original.
Check Whitney Port on the red carpet at The Hills finale party. While her former co-stars opted for strapless numbers, Port opted for a multicoloured, tribal-inspired dress and equally as colourful shoes.
While the Matthew Williamson dress that Whitney wore isn't available in stores at this time, you can still get the same pattern in a different silhouette. Port's Jimmy Choo caged platform pumps are available in various colours at Bergdorf Goodman.
Happy Canada Day!
While most of my Canadian counterparts are getting their party on today at one of Toronto's Summerlicious celebrations or on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, I'm --
Working on my tan and getting my beach on in sunny So-Cal. (True story).
That being said, I'm also celebrating my country's 143rd birthday by checking out a few of my favourite Canadian designers.
Let's a take a peak at what talent Canada has spawned, shall we? In no particular order:
- Pink Tartan: Co-founded and led by Kimberley Newport-Mimran, Pink Tartan is probably one of the most classic labels in Canada. Beautifully-made, partical clothes, cut mostly conservative - I love this line. Check out some spectacular styles at Neiman Marcus. I'm especially loving that tweed skirt.
- Ports 1961: One look at the Spring/Summer 2010 collection and it's easy to see why celebutantes like Olivia Palermo are such huge fans of the brand. Created with the hemisphere-hopper in mind, Ports 1961 features classic cuts in loose fabrics, like the Ports 1961 Furoshiki dress in cherry (on sale now).
- Pippa Small: Canadian-born and British-raised, jewelry designer Pippa Small's hand-crafted designs feature delicate chains and carved out stones. Exhibit A: These 18-karat gold pink tourmaline studs, sold-out at Net-A-Porter (but certainly check out the rest of the collection).
Though many of her looks are 80s-inspired, Whitney Port always does an excellent job pulling off her city chic style. Her personalized style is definitely fashion-forward, - as evidenced in her own WhitneyEVE designs, - and Whitney Port wears clothes that are accessible. READ: You can buy several of the styles Whit wears in stores or online.
Like Yoana Baraschi's x-ray rock galaxy dress. Worn by Whitney in last week's episode of The City, that bright and funky neon yellow with sequin overlay design is really upbeat sheath for this summer.
The sleeves open wide, but wear like cap-sleeves, the boat neck is universally flattering, and the fit and length are equally appropriate for office-hours and after. With that smattering of sequins on the sleeves and down the front of the dress, accessories can be kept to a minimum.
While I love Whitney's acid yellow choice, this daring dress by Yoana Baraschi is also available in black and navy blue. The sequins especially pop on the darker coloured dresses, but somehow I like them best balanced with the yellow hue.
Yoana Baraschi x-ray rock galaxy dress, $345, Yoana Baraschi