Pencils Skirts & Pearls’ post on Mad Men today reminded me that Banana Republic’s partnering with the show to sell Mad-inspired fashion, starting tomorrow. When I got the flyer with my BR credit card statement, I was really excited. I still am, for the following reasons:
1. I like shopping at BR for work clothing.
2. I find Mad Men a very witty well-written show.
3. I do love the pencil skirt and shift dress glamour of Mad Men clothes, which are inspiring several BR pieces.
4. I have a well-documented cardigan habit, and cardigans are going to be a mainstay of this collection.
So yes, this partnership is a great thing for my wardrobe (assuming I get to buy something before this very-hyped collection sells out) – and a good thing for both the show and BR, considering I want them both to thrive and keep existing.
All this retro-nostalgia always worries me. I love the design of retro clothes and things, but I harbor no illusions about how women were treated in those times. And I mean that on the micro level, i.e. perfection of clothing lines ensured by constraining girdles as well as the macro level, i.e. the fact that women had to fight for careers and respect in the workplace.
Maybe it is because we live in difficult times that people look back to other eras and idealize them. The 50s and 60s can appear especially attractive because there is a sense of order and beauty to that time, Ironically, from everything I have read, this rigidity was a reaction to the uncertainty caused by the Cold War.
Incidentally, I went to the women’s college featured in Mona Lisa Smile. When the movie came out a few years ago, I loved seeing the campus on-screen and the pretty clothes, but I also found it chilling to think only 50 or so years separated me from a time where the choices I have made (living alone, going to law school, independence) would not have been choices I could take for granted.
As much as I love retro-inspired things and can’t wait for Season 3 of Mad Men to start, I have no desire to live in any retro era – it may seem like things were simpler back then, but really, the present and all the choices and education available to women today is much more attractive to me. And I am so glad the BR Mad Men collection does not include girdles and other strictures.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers