In the 'Mad Men' costume department
September 24th, 2010
05:07 PM ET

Secrets from inside the 'Mad Men' wardrobe department

Countless sleek and structured suits for the men...curve-hugging sweaters and cardis for the office secretaries... glam gowns and furs for the women to wear at swanky dinner parties.... You can only imagine what's inside the "Mad Men" on-set wardrobe closet!

Well, imagine no longer! "Mad Men" costume designer Janie Bryant opened the doors of this 50s/60s era fantasyland for me, along with CNN producers and fellow "Mad Men" fanatics Megan, Doug, and Chris, to explore.

Janie, sweet Southern gal originally from Tennessee, has a team of just nine people to help her build and add to the closet each and every season. Along with the principal cast, she is responsible for the dressing up to hundreds of people in each episode!

Here are our favorite finds from our tour inside the "Mad Men" wardrobe:

– We immediately spotted Don Draper's sad looking plaid robe. Janie told us it was the perfect robe to wear when you're depressed!

– Curves are definitely encouraged. Joan's clothing looked really small... all the better to accentuate her assets!

– Vintage clothing is sized differently from our modern day clothing. It runs about 4-6 sizes smaller than contemporary styles. I spotted Size 6 in Betty Draper's section, which translates to actress January Jones being a teeny tiny 0 or 2.

– Actor John Slattery, aka Roger Sterling, told us recently Janie makes him wear his pants so tight he can hardly breathe or sit down. Janie laughed about that and stressed the importance of a nice fit. She added, "I think people have really grown tired of being so casual and I think that they've really responded to the beautiful aspects of the late 1950s and 60s."

– Janie builds an inspiration wall of looks at the beginning of each season. Each outfit worn in an episode is meticulously cataloged down to the exact belt and pantyhose color just in case a reshoot is needed. The actor has to look EXACTLY the same the second time around!

– Janie was gracious enough to dress me head to toe in two "Mad Men" looks... a green floral dress, complete with pointy bra, pantyhose, garter and petticoat underneath... or my "foundations" as Janie liked to say. The other was a strapless yellow cocktail dress with pearls on the wrist and around the neck.

– Since I didn't want to take either dress off (really, they were tough to part with), I asked Janie what happens to the clothes after they've been worn on the series (hint hint). If rented, they're returned. If bought or designed by Janie, they stay in the closet, are donated to organizations to display (like Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in LA), the studio may keep, OR, and here's the exciting part... Janie said you never know, in the future, we may see pieces pop up online for purchase!

Click here to see my very own "Mad Men" makeover!

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Holly Golightly

    Wow, Will, I'm not sure how to take your comment! I totally disagree that women are uptight about everything. Try being s e xually harassed and see how you like it! 🙂 I do like some things about the era, but that's not one of them!

    September 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Will

    It's not a time we'd like to forget, actually we'd like to return to it. A time when one man could earn enough wages to support a family comfortably, women were not so uptight about everything, and people enjoyed themselves and their jobs. Looks pretty good to me.

    September 27, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cunservatave

    CNN covering all the b.s.

    September 27, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cindy

    I started watching this show when I was working in Australia. I'd seen the previews throughout the summer of it's premier and though I was going to AUSTRALIA for an extended paid 'vacation,' I was a little upset that I'd miss it.
    To my surprise Australia actually aired the show the same day as it was shown here.
    I've loved it ever since. Not only the wardrobes, but seeing the way women were treated (pre-lib), to the smoke-filled after-hours office scenes.
    Very historically acurate for a time we'd all like to forget, but something we should not, lest we repeat it.

    September 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Don

    if you wanted news, I don't know why you went to cnn

    September 26, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. na

    Her use of exclamation marks through out this article is juvenile...!

    September 26, 2010 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. MadMen Is Overrated

    LOST should have won the EMMY!

    September 25, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Daniel Troppy

    That would be my dream job..... This is the most STYLISH show on the air...

    September 25, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gene

    It is in the entertainment section, you dolt! You must a grumpy old man....

    September 24, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. justin

    So this is front page news huh. You better be a 19 year old intern

    September 24, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • cheefsfury


      September 25, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |

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