I've been watching my DVDs of The Dick Van Dyke Show
recently to make fashion comparisons with Mad Men
, since both shows feature a thirtysomething man with a "glamorous" Manhattan job (television writing vs. advertising) married to attractive women who left "showbiz" jobs (dancer vs. model) to marry and settle down in the suburbs. Just the episodes for 1961 and 1962 so I'm not too fashion forward. The women's suits were mostly straight skirted with a short jacket, and Laura always wore one when visiting Rob's office in the city. During the day, Laura was most often in a top and capri slacks, or a blouse and skirt, but not a dress with a petticoat like Betty wore last week. Maybe Millie the next door neighbor would be seen in that, but she was never as stylish as Laura.
The silhouette of the party clothes is a bit more varied, but Laura had quite a few cocktail dresses with straight skirts. Sally Rogers was in her 30s and was more likely to wear a full-skirted party dress than Laura, but even she had a number of straight-skirted dressy outfits. I'm sure there was an episode or two where Rob thought Laura's dress was too tight (usually when some guest star had a crush on her and Rob was jealous), but it was nothing approaching Joan's usual office wear. The steno pool must be accustomed to her work wardrobe, because I think that for the time, her look would have been considered highly inappropriate for an office. I don't think a lower-ranking woman could get away with it.
I read/heard somewhere (DVD commentary? Weiner interview?) that Peggy made her own clothing last season. Money isn't necessarily an excuse for her not to have a more professional wardrobe, since I'm sure McCalls and Butterick were making suit patterns back then. If her first season wardrobe is anything to go by she was probably only an average sewer so perhaps she didn't want to try something more elaborate. The mustard top is not something she would have worn last year, so I do think she cares about fashion on some level.
Edited by Mamalita, Aug 3, 2008 @ 7:33 PM.