Much like Mad Men itself, Don Draper may have started a trend: After his Blue Period earlier this season, the whole office took to wearing his chosen color. Peggy discarded her silk necktie for an indigo vest, Joan got it wrapped around her curves, Dr. Faye Miller sported it twice, and Pete Campbell took the phrase “blue blood” to a whole new level with his first ensemble: a bold cobalt blazer, accented with a skinny blue-slashed tie. “I know you’re all slaves to Draper,” says Ken Cosgrove at his lunch with Pete, and, at least in the wardrobe sense, that seems to be true.
But how can we focus on the office when Peggy goes to a downtown art party? Now she’s wearing a striped long-sleeve shirt, her hair is mod, and she’s sporting lip gloss. Wait… Has Peggy finally found her style groove? Fingers crossed, because, in the words of Rachel Zoe, she is shutting it down in that outfit. Peggy’s horizontal stripes reference the French trend popular with American girls of the time. The look — specifically the nautical striped tee — is actually coming back in a major way. You can get a striped top like Peggy’s at Lands’ End or Ann Taylor — and if you choose one with a boatneck, instead of Peggy’s turtleneck, you’ll make your neck look longer.
One more thing about the party scene: Did you notice Joyce’s white leather jacket? She’s a foil for California Stephanie’s “carefree girl in white pants,” but, at the same time, she’s just another version of the youthquake, and the turquoise necklace she wore under her blazer in the elevator could just as easily have been worn over one of Stephanie’s Tees.
Peggy’s style mold continues to shatter in her next scene, when she wears something so thoroughly modern it makes me giddy. Sure, it’s bright blue (she does worship Don, after all), but, aside from that, this piece is totally new for us. It’s got a sharp geometric collar and an A-line skirt that hints at Betsey Johnson’s designs for the Manhattan boutique Paraphernalia. And you guessed it: That store opened in 1965. (Fashion goddess Amy Larocca wrote about it for New York Magazine, if you want some extra inspiration.)
Peggy’s outfits in this episode almost make Trudy Campbell look — dare we say it? — conventional. But costume designer Janie Bryant does something neat with Trudy in her first scene. She’s wearing a dress with a very traditional, very feminine silhouette, but it’s covered in a crazy clashing pattern. It’s a neat reference to Trudy’s essence: She’s forward thinking and fun, but, deep down, she’s thrilled to fill the traditional roles of wife and (expecting) mother.
Speaking of traditional roles, there was something amazing about the last scene at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. A glass door separates Peggy and Peter Campbell, whose suit had changed from blue to brown to black throughout the episode. Pete literally joins a pack of suits in the office, while Peggy is on the other side with peers in colorful scarves and oversize corduroy blazers. It’s a beautiful moment, not only because of the characters’ wrought personal history but also because — let’s face it — the gap between the establishment and the counterculture will soon be way bigger than a glass door.
Did you cry at the end of the episode? I did. The sight of the old married couple passing Don’s solitary apartment made me weep. But the man who wanted the pears was wearing an old nubby sweater, loose pants, and shuffling boat shoes, the same thing my grandfather (who also lived in New York City) wore. Maybe even in the fashion world, some things never change.