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Everyday fashion no-no's (and their fixes) from the costume designer of Mad Men

Mad Men FashionI don't generally think of myself of an addict, but the fact is, when it comes to (certain) television shows, I'm a downright junkie. I'm like a character from LOST, pushing the darn button, week after week. I do go through phases -- but once I'm hooked, I've just gotta know: what happened this week?? And I'm not even a snob about it. I'm just as likely to fall for Modern Family (free) as I am for Entourage (cable - ouch!).

One of my longest running crushes: Mad Men ... Madison Ave in its heyday. Beautiful, wicked, tragic people wearing stunning clothes. Iconic 60's fashion in a haze of booze and cigarette smoke. What's not to love about Mad Men fashion? So when Anna at Hachette told me about The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men (Emmy award winner, Janie Bryant), I just had to have it -- so we could share it with you, of course.

Mad Men BookFashionistas will love the forward from January Jones and the stylish illustrations. You'll get a peek backstage, but pick up some pretty practical tips too. Here's a bit about "Comfort versus Chic" -- a topic I can especially relate to (mostly because I'm a transgressor in just about every category!)

Have fun discovering your inner Betty or Joan ...

Comfort versus Chic

Just as the right accessories can enliven any outfit, the right pieces will surely main a stylish silhouette. I refer to those items as "fashion felons" and can guarantee that they never play nice with other separates. Sneakers, for instance, are appropriate only for athletics. And don't think that you can get away with them while running errands. You can find a smart, chic alternative that's equally easy on the feet. Skeptical? Read on.

Fashion felon: A shapeless tee

The white T-shirt, first issued by the navy was originally designed as an undershirt beneath a uniform. But ever since the fifties, it has become an American staple and tripled in size (I'm not talking about the huge, trendy tees with shoulder pads form the eighties either.) If you're swimming in a T-shift, your silhouette suddenly appears as vast as the ocean. Toss this top or relegate it to attire for garden work or attic cleaning.

Stylish substitute:

You don't need to banish tees. Just be sure to find a style that doesn't swallow you whole, and opt for little feminine accents like a puffed sleeve or a low ballet back. Ruching on the sides will slim your outline and three-quarter sleeves are always flattering. Experiment with varied necklines like a V, cowl, or boatneck style. A cotton tunic is just as breathable as a tee. Plus you get a wink at your natural curves and femininity.

Fashion felon: Visible panty lines

These pesky undergarment outlines disrupt the flow of a tailored silhouette. Plus they hardly flatter the backside. Similarly, a protruding panty strap looks more unkempt than alluring.

Stylish substitute:

The thong -- originally worn by men more than 50,000 years ago as a loincloth -- is one handy solution for eradicating panty lines. If you're averse to the style, girdle-inspired shapewear will certainly do the trick.

Fashion felon: Visible protruding midriffs, AKA muffin-tops, and bra back bulges

Again these disruptions to your contours break up that natural long line of the body.

Stylish substitute:

If you're not blessed with a slim torso, replace low-rise jeans with a high-waisted style that doesn't pinch at the midriff. A well-fitted bra should eradicate back bulges ...

Fashion felon: Disheveled sneakers

Perhaps the perceptually chic Parisians abhor jogging because it would force them to wear running shoes? A pair of slipshod sneakers, with scuff marks or grass stains, should be worn only for athletic reasons or to a sporting event. In my opinion, they defy femininity.

Stylish substitute:

Flat-heeled boots, ballet flats, summer sandals, and espadrilles all make perfect alternatives. Or try a pair of slip-on canvas skimmers in a vivid red, green, or floral print, which look cute with jeans, shorts, or even a summer mini dress.

Does this book sound up your alley? Leave a comment below describing your fashion style and we will select one winner to receive their own copy.

Excerpts reprinted with permission from Hachette Book Group.

General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. or Canadian resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question on today’s post. No purchase necessary. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive the title above. Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 8 am PST November 16, 2010 to 10 pm PST November 19, 2010.


  • Johanna Says:

    My fashion style is mommy chic.. Ballet Flats, skinny jeans, and a chic t or sweater is my uniform with an added chic leather jacket and cashmere gloves, in the winter!

    sultansmom at gmail dot com

  • Kristin Says:

    Love Mad Men. The clothing and styles are so nifty. Hate all the smoke, but it was sure true to the time.

  • Kimberly Jean Says:

    I love learning little fashion fixes like this.

  • Kris Says:

    Would love to win this book for my mother-in-law for Christmas. She is a huge fan of the show and the fashions.

  • Meg Says:

    A friend of mine once described me as "French Prep" I guess she meant classic but different

  • Jayme Says:

    Another completely obsessed MM fan here... I only wish my lifestyle (busy designer mom-of-three) would allow me to wear vintage dresses and heels everyday. I can't wait to read this book!

  • Leonie Wunderlich Says:

    I' m a designer and work with patterns and colors all day - so, I basically wear black whenever possible ;)
    At the same time I enjoy to upgrade my black with accessories and nice shoes. That's why black is so genius, it puts any other colors and special materials on a big stage.
    Would love to learn more from the Mad Men book!!

  • Charlotte Brotschi Says:

    Love the MM style, can't wait to get my hands on this book

  • Elen Says:

    This is my fave tv series, though I'm watching it by buying the seasons on DVD. No cable. I know. I'm a dinosaur. And now I'm thinking maybe I'm a fashion felon, too. My style is "writing over the garage" -- yoga pants & hoodies, jeans, tees and hoodies. Anything with a hoodie. Flip-flops, runners, boots, flats. Yep. Definite fashion felon.

  • Lindsey Says:

    My style is a modern twist on vintage. Very little of my wardrobe is vintage these days, but almost everything is obviously inspired by vintage (including a few of my own hand-knit sweaters).

  • Vicki Says:

    I love the Mad men fashions they make women look like women. They look gorgeous with out saying a word . Glad I learned how to sew now I can recreate those fashions .Note to Tim Gunn have the designers do one of those fashions on Project runway I bet they would run out of the stores

  • John Seattle Says:

    Relaxed but dressy. Never under dress for an event.

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