It’s a mad, mad world: 60s inspired looks from TV

Jo: This post started a while ago, in a tiny corner of my mind, long before FPQT, with the demise of my much beloved Pushing Daisies, and a small crush on Charlotte Charles, “Chuck”, played by Anna Friel. I loved the show. Loved the clever writing. Loved the stunning art direction. Loved the, well, general whackiness of it all … it was all, very, very, good. Better yet was Chuck’s wardrobe. Like an extension of the set, every outfit worn by Chuck was carefully – and very well – played.  The completely saturated colours of Anna Friel’s wardrobe – and the set – were almost charcters in and of themselves.


Fast forward to last night, the Emmys (hooray for red carpets! But I am much too distracted to tell you about that…). See, as much as I love red carpets, all I could think about as adorable little Kristin Chenoweth won for best supporting actress in a comedy was … Chuck’s wardrobe!! (oh, well deserved Emmy win, BTW)

Appropriately, in one of those mysterious “awarded earlier” segments, Robert Blackman’s genius gets a nod with the Emmy for Best Costumes! Hoorah!

Shows such as Sex and the City have certainly shined the spotlight on the role of clothes in a show or movie, but long before Pat Crazypants was trotting Carrie out with pantless belts (that’s for you L-A), I’ve long been a fan of good costume design. It’s normally not as “in your face” as Pat Fields plays the girls in SATC – in fact you shouldn’t really notice it at all. It is part of the show. And, scene…

STOP. I’m rambling. I love movies almost as much as I love clothes.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Why Robert Blackman is a genius:



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Oh. My. Freakin’. Gawd!!!

It should be known that I share Ally’s love of ballet-inspired clothes. I think my dance love-in explains my obsession with a-line skirts and wraparound sweaters. And Chuck’s wardrobe.

Carrying on … The ’60s look of the show reminds me of Mad Men. I have encountered SEVERAL Mad Men references over the last couple of days, two from our beloved L-A! And Chenoweth herself in her acceptance speech! (Disclaimer: I have not actually watched the show – is it worth it? ) All I know is that the Internet is all abuzz with its impact on fashion. And our opinion of  “curvy” girls (thank you Christina Hendricks). And it would appear that runways are all a-flutter with the vintage ’50s and ’60s aesthetic and killer tailoring I so love and adore. Bring it, I say. Begone empire waist dresses that make everyone ask me if I’m “expecting”! So long flowing hippy gear that is barely flattering on Sienna Miller. Welcome back curvy, fierce bombshell, welcome back…

“In just a season, the AMC show about a ’60s advertising agency has revived everything from pencil skirts to matte red lipstick, and everyone … is scrambling to keep up.”

Lovely dress:


Pencil skirt, I love you.


This girl looks upset, but her dress is pretty.


You resist this print

mad men

Even the dudes are smokin’


But can someone please tell my why everyone’s always smoking?? I realize it’s all part of the cultural expression of the era, but there’s no reason to bring smoking back people.


Oprah’s on board, too, with Monday’s episode devoted entirely to the ’60s. I think in honour of Mad Men, but I can’t be sure. I didn’t watch. (gasp)

Among Oprah’s Favourite Things from the ’60s? Mascara (yes!!!) and … Barbie ??


Mind you, it’s Jackie Kennedy Barbie and not the Malibu variety, but still. My favourite things from the ’60s? My parents’ wedding (for obvious reasons), Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, JFK, and about a million other things.

But as long as we’re allowed to be suferficial, I will leave you with this:  all of this ’60s stuff reminds me of retro Sears catalogue!

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That is just awesome: “It’s fun to look alike”!!

I shall leave you with one of my favourite images of all time, John Rawlings captures model Suzy Parker in this photograph for the October 1953 VOGUE. Givenchy skirt. Le sigh…


L-A: As Jo was writing this, I was catching up on the new season of Mad Men and yelling things like, “Enough with Sally Draper! More Pete and Peggy! Can we deal with that storyline already?” or laughing at lines like, “But that’s life. One minute you’re on top of the world, the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawnmower”. The show is kind of genius. And while I won’t come to too much of a defense for the smoking, it works within the excess that is Mad Men. They smoke at times and places that we would never smoke anymore – like in a hospital. Or drinking and having a smoke while pregnant. We also see characters getting up in the morning coughing and horking because of their smoking. It’s not glamourous. It’s excessive. And we’re supposed to see that.

But I digress (I do that a lot). I’ve decided to inspiration from Chuck and Joan and go internet window shopping. Because I too love how those girls look on screen (really genius costume design for both shows. I bet Emmy voters had to cage fight that one out).  They actually have a lot in common, sartorially speaking. Both are 60s inspired and glamourous.  Both match their handbags to their shoes in a way you only wish you could. The difference between them is that Joan is all curves and the sexy secretary, while Chuck is flirty and pretty and maybe a bit like Betty Draper (the blonde from Mad Men), but in technicolor and on psychedelic drugs.

So, without further ado, I’m going to take a stab at What Would Chuck and Joan Wear. I tried to keep it Canadian again, finding a lot of great stuff through Mudshark Streetwear, but I did have to venture into the land of American retailers and fancy pants Net-a-Porter (best for window shopping because you’re never really tempted to drop thousands on a dress, as opposed to other online retailers where I can almost justify whipping out my credit card).

Let’s start with the Chuck inspired outfits. This is going to be an entire post about a Chuck and not once am I going to use a picture of Ed Westwick. Fancy that! Anyway,  Chuck is so over the top in her retro-inspired and in the use of colour that this was a bit of a challenge. Here’s some dresses by Canadian Designer Kwasi Apparel:

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The skirts aren’t quite as full as Chuck would wear them, but I think they’ve got some Chuck-ness to them.

One of the things I liked about her look was the matchyness of it all.  I can’t even imagine the coat closet you’d have to have a coat and hat for every outfit. But Chuck did. For example:

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I love that the hat/sunglasses combo is Chuck’s way of going incognito. Because in the real world, I think everyone would do a double take to see the woman in the fab kelly green dress with matching hat. But here’s a possible real world Chuck outfit:

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The whole outfit is J.Crew and maybe a bit over the top for the average person (and the colours probably only work on my computer. I’m sure in real life the shades wouldn’t go together at all), but you get the point. Hat, shoes, and coat all match and then throw in either a dress that matches or has a great pattern in a contrasting colour. Alternatively, she might go for this hat or shoe in that outfit (depending on the dress):

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The cloche style hat isn’t really Chuck’s scene – not very 1960s – but it is the kind of quirky I think works in a Chuck inspired outfit. I love the trompe l’oeil buckle on it.

Chuck also did the undercover look well, seeing as she worked with a Private Investigator and was supposed to be in hiding because she had died, so I thought I’d check out some trench coats:

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Both trenches are by Canadian designers: Anastasia Lomonova (not available in Halifax, but is available online) and Allison Wonderland (Biscuit carries her line).

Okay, now on to Joan, played by the curvy Christina Hendricks. Forget Justin, I think Joan is bringing sexy back. At least she is for women, particularly women with curves. The challenge with Joan inspired outfits is finding them in colours. Although where Chuck’s colours pop off the screen, Joan is more about the richer, jewel tones:


But it would seem that everyone designing a dress that Joan would wear is designing in greys and blacks. Practical, but no where near as fun. But I think I’ve found some contenders:

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Both of those are Canadian designers: Annie 50 and Allison Wonderland. They’re not quite Joan, but could work as Joan-esque dresses that involve some colour.  It seems that to get Joan’s look with colour, you’ve got to go separates. Wear the pencil skirt in grey or black and then pair it with a killer jewel toned blouse or sweater.  Like this potential outfit from Banana Republic (which, despite it’s Mad Men promotion this summer, was a disappointment when looking for Joan inspired threads):

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Except, minus the beret. The beret is more Chuck than Joan.

Something I love about Joan is that she is crazy sexy, but without really showing off the goods. You know Joan’s got a great rack, but you rarely see cleavage. It’s all about a hint of what might be under the dress.  And so, some dresses I think be Joan approved:

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Clockwise roundup of fab dresses: superspy dress in Chocolate (available at Pretty Things),  Kitchen Orange Bingo dress (it’s from Montreal; couldn’t find out if Kitchen Orange is carried in Halifax. It is online), and two dresses by Eve Gravel (also from Montreal. Also not available in Halifax).  [For the Canadian designers that aren’t in Halifax, or for those of you not in Halifax, you can shop online at Mudshark. It’s where I was able to find a lot of these dresses].

And for Joan’s shoes and coats? I think she’d dig this coat from Milly (found on Net-a-Porter):


I think she’d do a peep toe heel in a colour to match her dress or skirt. And don’t forget that Joan knows how to accessorize. Like her signature pen necklace (which I have yet to find a substitute for. I’ll let you know when I do). But she also does a brooch quite well. Something big and chunky like this:


The pin is Banana Republic, but you can find fun pins by hitting up vintage shops (online or in real life) or just poking around costume jewelry sections of just about any retailer. Or maybe by visiting the jewelry boxes of your mom or grandmother.

Et voila! That’s your Joan and Chuck inspired window shopping. I really want to go get dressed up now.

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