After seven seasons, the cultural phenomenon that is Mad Men has finally come to an end. Set primarily in the ‘60s, the show was a weekly reminder of the Golden Era of dressing. Each character assimilated iconic period pieces into wardrobes that broadcasted their personalities as much as their ranks within the advertising firm.
Since season one, we’ve been taken with Don Draper’s impeccably tailored suits and low-key accessories. No matter how many duplicities and adulterous entanglements Draper got himself into, he always looked like a class act. Don Draper’s style – and that of Mad Men itself – has had a massive influence on runways and on men looking for style inspiration.
So to commemorate the end of this stylish TV series, we’ve chosen our favorite Don Draper looks from each season and broken them down for you.
The ad exec’s formula for great style? Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant summed it up for Men’s Fitness: Don’t be a slob, get a tailor, embrace color and skinny ties, and pay attention to the details – hats, pocket squares, watches, and ties allow men to show individuality. Tie it all together with some swagger.
There are certainly characters who are far more adventurous dressers than Draper, but what he does so well is he wears what looks good on him – a cue we can all take.
Season 1, Episode 2 – Ladies Room
An iconic scene from Mad Men. There are so many suits on the show it’s easy to get lost in the sea of them, but if you pay attention to the fabrics, colors, and patterns of Don Draper’s suits, you’ll see he’s quietly manifesting his artistic side. Rather than being nearly all blue or gray like Pete Campbell’s in the beginning of the series, Draper’s suits always have an interesting texture (such as tweed), color, or pattern (here, he’s in pinstripes).
Draper is a businessman but he’s also a creative, a balance reflected in his outfits.
Season 2, Episode 7 – The Gold Violin
Draper’s skinny tie and skinny lapels are carryovers from the ‘50s, a decade which had an immense influence on early ‘60s dressing. Again, Draper takes the suit away from stark black and white with a blazer made of multicolor thread and a subtly striped brown tie.
Season 3, Episode 5 – The Fog
Mad Men is set in an era when men wore hats. On the special occasion of welcoming his third child home, Draper is dressed to the nines in a suit and felt fedora with a tapered crown.
Season 4, Episode 3 – The Good News
It’s the end of 1964, and Don Draper is getting ready for a holiday trip to Acapulco. In the midst of shuffling from work to Los Angeles to visit Anna – the wife of the man whose identity he stole – he goes into vacation dressing mode, topping his suit with a thick gray coat and even toting around a straw briefcase.
Season 5, Episode 8 – Lady Lazarus
Draper livens up an otherwise run-of-the-mill dark gray suit with a striped oxblood tie and his signature neat white pocket square.
Season 6, Episode 9 – The Better Half
It’s midsummer and scorching hot. Draper stays ever the professional with a tailored suit, albeit with a summery taupe blazer and neutral brown tie with contrasting azure blue stripes. It’s got a slightly groovier factor that we see increasingly on all characters as the show approaches 1970.
Draper’s ties get wider and more colorful during Mad Men’s last season. Colors like brown and blue – staples of the ‘70s – surface often. Lapels and pants follow the widening trend, and the mod influence is obvious.
Did we leave out any Don Draper outfits? Let us know what your favorite Draper outfit is in the comments!