The characters on Mad Men sure know how to dress—or at least costume designer Janie Bryant does. Thanks to her work, AMC’s hit is just as known for its fashion sense as it is for its plotlines. But even though this season is set in the late 1960s, there are lots of tips that can still help how we all dress now.
1. Let your T-shirt make a statement.
Probably the most talked-about item of clothing from Season 6 has been Megan’s “Sharon Tate” T-shirt. It has earned lots of internet chatter, leading people to believe Megan might be headed for an unhappy ending. Her wardrobe choice shows a T-shirt can be more than just a top, especially in highly political times like the late ‘60s.
2. There’s nothing like a perfectly tailored suit.
Mad Men should be required viewing for men these days simply because of the way the men wear their suits. Would Don ever be caught in an ill-fitting suit? Definitely not. Tailoring makes a suit look more sophisticated and therefore makes the man wearing it look like a stud.
3. Protect your skin from UV rays with a hat.
When Don and Megan go to Hawaii in the season premiere, Megan wears a floppy hat, which completes her beach look, but it also protects her skin from the sun. It’s a much more stylish choice than an old baseball cap if you’re a woman looking for a way to shade your face.
4. Don’t dress like a slob at the beach.
In addition to her hat, Megan’s whole beach look in the premiere is adorable. Joan’s nautical ensemble in Episode 9 as she gets ready for the beach is another solid choice. A cover-up is an easy way to look polished even if it’s just for the walk from the car to the sand.
5. Color-on-color works.
Can you wear one color together? Of course you can. Joan Harris does it perfectly with her purple-on-purple ensemble in the premiere.
6. A blue suit is a must-have.
Blue is a popular wardrobe choice on Mad Men, but one stand-out was Tim Jablonski’s suit in Episode 3. A tailored blue suit is a wardrobe staple.
7. Color and patterns are fun to experiment with, even if you’re a guy.
The men have been wearing many more colorful and patterned jackets in Season 6, such as Ted’s green jacket in Episode 8. It’s a riskier choice (Matt Lauer recently got a lot of attention for his plaid jacket on the Today Show) but it’s a nice change from gray, black and other neutrals.
8. Buy a piece in cobalt blue.
Joan wears a lot of blues and greens, but that cobalt blue suit she wore in Episode 7 was stunning. Cobalt blue has been a hot color over the last few years, and it remains a favorite for fashionistas like Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.
9. Sunglasses make everyone look cooler.
Sunglasses add an air of cool to Don, Roger and Harry when they go to Los Angeles. Ted’s aviators were perfect for when he was flying with Don.
10. A shift dress is one of the easiest outfits.
Roger’s daughter, Margaret, isn’t in every episode, but when she turns up, she always looks chic and classic. Case in point: her bright shift dress in Episode 9. She’s wearing simple accessories with it, which works because the dress is an outfit on its own.
11. Show off your waist whenever you can.
The glamorous characters on Mad Men are almost always showing off their curves. A waist belt can go a long way.
12. Headscarves are fashionable and practical.
Joan’s headscarf in Episode 9 is cute, but also practical for frizzy hair or a day you don’t feel like doing your hair.
13. A scarf makes everything look a little more chic.
Joan and Peggy have been wearing a lot of neck scarves, too, in Season 6, including bright, printed scarves that brighten up a solid-colored dress.
14. Flaunt your assets in a classy way.
From the beginning of Season 6 up to the most recent episode, Betty has lost a lot of weight—and with that, a lot of layers. In Episode 9, Betty shows off her slim body, but she keeps it classy and preppy.
15. Invest in a good coat.
The best part of Mad Men is that every piece looks perfectly put-together, including the coats. Good style means you think of everything, from your hat to your shoes; in the colder months, a great coat is crucial.
16. It’s okay to have a signature style.
Though it’s not the same dress, the outfit Megan wears to dinner in Episode 4 resembles her look at the Clio Awards in Episode 5. There is a lot of gold and hot pink in each dress, and it looks like she’s wearing the same earrings. She knows what looks good on her.
17. Stay stylish while you sleep.
The characters on Mad Men don’t go to sleep in just anything. Even Sally’s pajamas in Episode 8 are cute.
18. Everyone needs a good power suit.
Peggy definitely lives by the “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” motto, as she’s often in a suit that leans more professional than trendy. Joan’s bright-colored suits show that women can look feminine while staying appropriate.
19. Fashion recycles itself…
A lot of what is worn on Mad Men could still work today, such as the knee-high gladiator sandals we spotted in Episode 10. They resembled other knee-high sandals turning up recently, such as Kourtney Kardashian’s flats and Rihanna’s strappy boots.
20. …but not everything from the 1960s needs to come back in style.
What was Danny Siegel wearing in Episode 10? Let’s hope that look never comes back.