1960’s Mad Men Dresses and Clothing Styles

Mad Men Dress

Ever since AMC’s TV series Mad Men went on the air there has been a lot of demand for vintage and vintage inspired early to mid 1960’s Mad Men dresses. Classy ladies love the sexy pencil dresses worn by Joan while our hearts resonate with Peggy’s innocent personality and cute retro style. Even Betty’s housewife glam is something to “ooo” and “ahh” over.  Thankfully modern designers have rescued us from moth-eaten vintage frocks and brought back the fashions of the 60’s with modern mad men dresses. Let’s take a look at a few of the classic Mad Men clothing styles available today and where to buy them:

P.S. This is for the ladies. Men go here learn how to dress like Don Draper and the rest of the Ad Men crowd.

1960’s Mad Men Sheath Dresses- The Secretary Style

pin up dresses

1960’s Cocktail Dress

While most women didn’t wear their dresses as tight as Joan did, women were into form flattering pencil shapes. The pencil dress and pencil skirt came in various lengths. Your body shape will decide which length is appropriate for you- not your office morals : ) These were not meant to be worn tightly, rather the shape of the dress loosely outlined your natural body shape. Skirts had kick pleats on the back so that you could walk comfortably, not hobble down city streets.

Waist lines were still high up compared to later decades. Having a tight, tucked, thin waist had been in fashion since the 1940’s and it wasn’t going to go away anytime soon. Proper waist cinching undergarments were a must for all clothing of this era.

mad men pink dresses

1960’s Vintage Dress

To add a vintage 60’s inspired sheath dress to your wardrobe simply look for a high round neck bodice and shapely  fittesd skirt. If you see one with a rounded collar or cute side tie- grab it fast. Colors range to suit you best. Plain colors more then patterns were seen on this style of dress. Formal occasions added more shine with jewel tone materials.

These sheath dresses are also called short cocktail dresses. Although the little black dress was develop in the 1920’s it really took off in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Think Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

By season 4 of Mad Men we start moving into the mid 60’s with plenty of vibrant colors. This is the time where we start to see a lot of bright orange, green, yellow and  loud plaids. Yikes! The sheath dress was still popular but a little less form fitting and more straight on the body. Mad men dresses still flattered the body and maintain the personality of the characters. So should yours.

1960’s Mad Men Dresses: Full Circle Dresses

Full Circle Dress

The full circle dress or swing dance dress is what Betty and every 1950’s housewife wore. They remained popular into the early 1960’s although perhaps a little less full then in the early 50’s. The most common style of dress was the shirtwaist. It buttoned down the front like a blouse, fitting snugly over layers of underwear and slips, and then layed out over yards of gathered tulle. House dresses came in many patterns of checks, plaids, and flowers. The later into the 1960’s the brighter the colors became and the less tulle petticoats were worn.

At the office these dresses were worn with only a slip- no huge petticoats. Peggy is the champion of the office style circle dress. A bit dated from the 1950’s, she didn’t quite fit into the modern look. Towards the final third season her style took on more buttons and bold patterns to reflect her evolving fashionable personality.

1960’s Mad Men Clothing: Women’s Pants

Cigarette Pants

Other then a scene with Betty- women’s pants were not worn on Mad Men. It’s a shame because cigarette pants are simply adorable and flattering on more body types than the popular 1950’s Capri pants. Cigarette pants were usually black, flat front, and narrow down to the ankle. They remind me of long Capri’s and are often confused with each other. They are slim but not quite as body hugging as skinny pants are today. They are sometime called ankle pants or crop pants.

1960’s Mad Men Clothing: Shirts, Tops, Blouses and Sweaters

Paisley Lace Top w/Peter Pan Collar
When a women wore pants or a pencil skirt is was always worn with an ultra cute top. These could be button down blouses for a more casual look, or pull over sweater tops that buttoned at the back or shoulder. The plain fronted top with  various styles of collars and ties were quite becoming on women in the 1960’s. A slightly more conservative woman may wear a matching top and cardigan sweater called a twin set. These pretty soft knit sweaters usually button on the top only exposing the short sleeve shirt underneath. These are highly loved and collected today. If you also watch Glee you will see Miss Phillsburry wearing twin sets with pencil skirts.

1960’s Mad Men Clothing: Women’s Shoes

1960’s Shoes

Kitten heels or classic pumps were all that women wore in the office and believe it or not at home too! Kitten heels are small, narrow heels on short, almost flat like pumps. Decoration was minimal in favor of shoes that matched your dress perfectly. Toes were pointed instead of round and never had ankle or foot straps. A slingback was still OK for summer. Sandals were present but not popular. Shop for 1950’s / 1960’s womens shoes.

1960’s Mad Men Accessories

Purses

Lucite Clutch

Purses always matched a Mad Men outfit.  It was a signature of a well polished lady. The signature style for day wear was a flat, square or slightly rectangle shape, leather purse with a single arm strap in either leather or gold chain. For evenings or special occasions plastic Lucite clutch purses were a short lived but very big fad in the early 60’s. These cute rounded bags opened with a clasp or had a short gold chain. Fabric or leather clutches were also common and also always matched the dress.

Jewelry

Gold Brooch

If you have a mother or grandmother who was a young women in the 1950s and 1960’s then you probably have noticed that they still wear a strand of pearls with their dresses. Pearl necklaces were the item to have and wear. The fad was started by Jackie Kennedy and remained very popular throughout the 50’s and 60’s. I’m sure other gold jewelery was worn but the pearls were a stamp of fashion and sophistication.

The other popular jewelry element was the brooch or pin. Usually gold or accented in pearls every dress, sweater or jacket wore one on the upper right side. Flowers and leaves, sometime animals, were shaped into fancy gold pins. Colorful gems acted as the flower center with sprays of gold petals surrounding it. Evening wear was extra sparkly with rhinestones or fancy small diamonds throughout the design. Buy some reproduction 1950’s jewelry here.

Hat

This was the last decade where a woman wasn’t a woman if she didn’t wear a hat. In the show we didn’t see women wearing hats much since they took them off in the office. To and from work was a different story. Women’s hats came in a variety of shapes and styles. Felt was the main material, shaped into cloche like hats with wide brims, or sculpted into angular shapes and balanced at an angle. One unique shaped hat style had a crescent shape to it that pinched the head on either side of the head leaving the back of the head uncovered. These were ideal for hairstyles, like Joan’s french twists because it didn’t mess up the hair when taken off.

Start Shopping!

Here are some nice 1960’s Mad Men dresses and accessories to help you start your Mad Men clothing wardrobe:

 

Jewel Never Believe This Dress
 

Jewel Never Believe This Dress

$40.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Guest of Honor Dress in Vines from ModCloth
 

Guest of Honor Dress in Vines from ModCloth

$94.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Ready, Set, Go-to Dress
 

Ready, Set, Go-to Dress

$49.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Vicki Wayne?; Colorblock Dress
 

Vicki Wayne?; Colorblock Dress

$23.97

Buy at: Old Pueblo Traders

Free People Womens Swinging 60's Dress
 

Free People Womens Swinging 60's Dress

$118.00

Buy at: Free People

Retro Printing Lace Splicing Sleeves Dress
 

Retro Printing Lace Splicing Sleeves Dress

$34.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Starlight Metallic 60's Dress Pink
 

Starlight Metallic 60's Dress Pink

£49.99

Buy at: Fever London

60s Style Cotton Aprons
 

60s Style Cotton Aprons

$19.99

Buy at: RetroPlanet

Retro Off-The-Shoulder Lace Dress
 

Retro Off-The-Shoulder Lace Dress

$25.53

Buy at: ChicNova

Serene Sketch Artist Dress
 

Serene Sketch Artist Dress

$74.99

Buy at: ModCloth

An Afternoon With You Dress from ModCloth
 

An Afternoon With You Dress from ModCloth

$49.99

Buy at: ModCloth

eShakti Women's Shawl collar mod shift dress
 

eShakti Women's Shawl collar mod shift dress

$64.95

Buy at: eShakti

Retro Floral Print Dress with Fitted High Waist
 

Retro Floral Print Dress with Fitted High Waist

$69.00

Buy at: ChicNova

Croon as Possible Dress
 

Croon as Possible Dress

$54.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Show Me the Honey Dress from ModCloth
 

Show Me the Honey Dress from ModCloth

$39.99

Buy at: ModCloth

1960s Peace & Love Dress Adult Costume
 

1960s Peace & Love Dress Adult Costume

$34.99

Buy at: SpiritHalloween.com

AtoZ Mod Key Hole Dress
 

AtoZ Mod Key Hole Dress

$37.99

Buy at: Overstock.com

AtoZ Women's Mod Cowl Tunic Dress
 

AtoZ Women's Mod Cowl Tunic Dress

$83.99

Buy at: Overstock.com

Making Moves Dress
 

Making Moves Dress

$159.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Hadari Women's Black and White Colorblocked Mod Dress
 

Hadari Women's Black and White Colorblocked Mod Dress

$36.99

Buy at: Overstock.com

Laundry by Shelli Segal Asymmetric-Peplum Jersey Dress, Mod Green - (LARGE)
 

Laundry by Shelli Segal Asymmetric-Peplum Jersey Dress, Mod Green - (LARGE)

$47.25

Buy at: Neiman Marcus Last Call (Neiman Marcus)

The Mod Life Dress
 

The Mod Life Dress

$36.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Free People Womens Miss Mod Mini Dress
 

Free People Womens Miss Mod Mini Dress

$49.95

Buy at: Free People

Retro Sleeveless Chiffon Tank Dress in Color Block
 

Retro Sleeveless Chiffon Tank Dress in Color Block

$31.00

Buy at: ChicNova

White Girl Cut Out Shift Chiffon Mini Dress
 

White Girl Cut Out Shift Chiffon Mini Dress

$15.00

Buy at: SheInside

Dance Floor Date Dress in Dots
 

Dance Floor Date Dress in Dots

$59.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Exquisitely Effervescent Dress
 

Exquisitely Effervescent Dress

$46.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Bear of Your Very Own Dress
 

Bear of Your Very Own Dress

$89.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Lunching in London Dress
 

Lunching in London Dress

$129.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Sheen and Be Seen Dress
 

Sheen and Be Seen Dress

$189.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Lakeside Libations Dress in Green
 

Lakeside Libations Dress in Green

$89.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Patch-er in the Rye Dress
 

Patch-er in the Rye Dress

$47.99

Buy at: ModCloth

Merry-Go-Houndstooth Dress
 

Merry-Go-Houndstooth Dress

$109.99

Buy at: ModCloth

All is Full of Lovely Dress
 

All is Full of Lovely Dress

$54.99

Buy at: ModCloth

eShakti Women's Mod style crepe knit dress
 

eShakti Women's Mod style crepe knit dress

$51.95

Buy at: eShakti

eShakti Women's Mod style floral shift dress
 

eShakti Women's Mod style floral shift dress

$89.95

Buy at: eShakti

eShakti Women's Mod colorblock cotton satin dress
 

eShakti Women's Mod colorblock cotton satin dress

$79.95

Buy at: eShakti

eShakti Women's Colorblock cotton knit shift dress
 

eShakti Women's Colorblock cotton knit shift dress

$49.95

Buy at: eShakti

Grace Elements Women's Black/ White Colorblocked Shift Dress
 

Grace Elements Women's Black/ White Colorblocked Shift Dress

$43.99

Buy at: Overstock.com

Karen Millen 60'S colourblock dress Size 12
 

Karen Millen 60'S colourblock dress Size 12

$250.00

Buy at: Karen Millen US

Karen Millen 60'S inspired shift dress Black Size 4
 

Karen Millen 60'S inspired shift dress Black Size 4

$250.00

Buy at: Karen Millen US

Warehouse 60'S Bead Neck Body-Conscious Dress - Black
 

Warehouse 60'S Bead Neck Body-Conscious Dress - Black

$90.96

Buy at: ASOS.com USA

Oasis 60's Textured Shift Dress
 

Oasis 60's Textured Shift Dress

$54.96

Buy at: ASOS.com USA

Love Moschino 60's Shift Dress in Leopard - Ecru/ black
 

Love Moschino 60's Shift Dress in Leopard - Ecru/ black

$223.61

Buy at: ASOS.com USA

Mae 1960s Shift Dress Black
 

Mae 1960s Shift Dress Black

£31.98

Buy at: Fever London

1960s Style Mod Super Spy Black Dress
 

1960s Style Mod Super Spy Black Dress

$68.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Red Cut Out Fitted Cocktail Dress
 

1960s Style Red Cut Out Fitted Cocktail Dress

$33.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black Sakura Print Monique Swing Dress
 

1960s Style Black Sakura Print Monique Swing Dress

$71.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Cream Cut Out Fitted Cocktail Dress
 

1960s Style Cream Cut Out Fitted Cocktail Dress

$33.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Red Crop Top & Pencil Skirt Set
 

1960s Style Red Crop Top & Pencil Skirt Set

$66.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black Fitted Long Sleeve Mod Dress
 

1960s Style Black Fitted Long Sleeve Mod Dress

$56.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Barbecue Print Eeva Swing Dress
 

1960s Style Barbecue Print Eeva Swing Dress

$100.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black Floral Eeva Swing Dress
 

1960s Style Black Floral Eeva Swing Dress

$144.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Floral Pleated Short Sleeve Flare Dress
 

1960s Style Floral Pleated Short Sleeve Flare Dress

$37.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Burgundy Floral Lace Merlot Wiggle Dress
 

1960s Style Burgundy Floral Lace Merlot Wiggle Dress

$142.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black Crop Top & Pencil Skirt Set
 

1960s Style Black Crop Top & Pencil Skirt Set

$68.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Navy Short Sleeve Stretch Mod Wiggle Dress
 

1960s Style Navy Short Sleeve Stretch Mod Wiggle Dress

$48.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black & White Plaid Stretch Wiggle Skirt
 

1960s Style Black & White Plaid Stretch Wiggle Skirt

$48.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black & White Plaid Crop Shell Top
 

1960s Style Black & White Plaid Crop Shell Top

$36.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black & White Trim Joanie Wiggle Dress
 

1960s Style Black & White Trim Joanie Wiggle Dress

$96.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black Cut Out Fitted Cocktail Dress
 

1960s Style Black Cut Out Fitted Cocktail Dress

$33.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black Crop Top & Pencil Skirt Set
 

1960s Style Black Crop Top & Pencil Skirt Set

$68.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black Short Sleeve Stretch Mod Wiggle Dress
 

1960s Style Black Short Sleeve Stretch Mod Wiggle Dress

$48.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Ruby Red Short Sleeve Stretch Mod Wiggle Dress
 

1960s Style Ruby Red Short Sleeve Stretch Mod Wiggle Dress

$48.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black Haute Matilda Dress
 

1960s Style Black Haute Matilda Dress

$60.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

1960s Style Black Crop Top & Pencil Skirt Set
 

1960s Style Black Crop Top & Pencil Skirt Set

$68.00

Buy at: UniqueVintage

This entry was posted in 1960s Fashion History on by .

About Debbie Sessions

Debbie Sessions is passionate about wearing history through fashion. She and her husband, Oscar, have turned their hobby into a career by teaching others how to re-create vintage style with affordable new vintage inspired clothing and accessories. We connect shoppers to the best vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories and teach fashion history as it was worn by everyday people. Need more help? Contact us anytime.

2 thoughts on “1960’s Mad Men Dresses and Clothing Styles

  1. Samantha Gray

    I grew up in he 1950’s and was in my late teens and twenties in the 1960’s. Incredible time to be alive with sooo much history in the making! Pearls were The Thing, as you correctly point out. But somethign you missed mentioning were circle pins. In the early to mid 60’s they were HUGE. The pins were circles, some had chasing engraved, some had tiny enamel flowers, etc – usually only one sitting on the circle itself. I still have mine: slender gold circle with a cloisonne. peridot green butterfly. Classic items never go out of fashion! ;0}

    Reply
    1. Debbie Sessions Post author

      Excellent addition. Thank you! Jewelry is not my area of expertise so I am always glad to hear about what I missed, especially from a direct source (the best kind of history!)

      Reply

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