I think it’s fair to say that, in the last 5 years, no pop culture product has had a greater an impact on the way real guys dress than AMC’s runaway hit Mad Men. Much has been made of the way costume designer Janie Bryant’s razor sharp tailoring and vintage accessories on the Sterling Cooper posse have inspired a generation desperate to resurface from the dark ages of Business Casual. And now, a capsule collection, designed by Bryant in collaboration for Banana Republic, premiering today on Gilt Man, will, as she says, give every Tom, Dick and Harry, “choice and flexibility in adding a little 1960s panache to their wardrobe.”
How did the collaboration with BR come about?
I met Simon Kneen, the Creative Director for Banana Republic (as well as the amazing group of people behind him), while designing for Mad Men. Banana Republic has always been a leader in creating classic, cool fashions for consumers, so creating a capsule collection of classic 1960s pieces with a modern flair was a natural choice for us.
What do you find are the biggest differences between the vintage pieces you originally bought for the show and the garments we have today?
Men in the 60s wore pieces that had slimmer cuts. The pant legs and lapels were narrower and the ties were skinny. I also notice that men used to wear more accessories than many do today like fedoras, tie bars, and pocket squares.
But there’s been a huge resurgence in the index-card style pocket square since the debut of the show. Don’t you deserve a cut of every white pocket square sold within the last two years?
While that is a great thought, I am just so flattered by the impact the costumes from the show have had on today’s fashions.
What style mistakes do you see guys making today?
I wouldn’t call them mistakes, just a difference in style. Today’s fashions for men are much more casual than in the past. I have to say, I do like a man who dresses up and knows how to dress well for any occasion.
What is the most important lesson we can take away from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce?
Don’t drink too much on the job.
Who out there in the world deserves to be a style icon today?
Several are in my book. Mick Jagger is rock and roll perfection. I applaud him for boldly accentuating his stature.
What does every guy need in his wardrobe right now?
Every man needs a well-tailored suit! You can get great wear and always look ravishing in a suit that was made to fit you.