The Lost Art of 1950s Perfection

by Fluffleberry on March 18, 2011

I have been watching Mad Men like a mad woman! I am a bit of a late starter I know, but what a series? The character development is fantastic! What I find most interesting however, is women in the 1950’s/60’s.

I know that the Mad Men team keep things as real to the time as possible so it has become an interesting peek into the life of my grandparents generation. I am grateful for being a career woman today but the clothes, the bodies the hair! I can’t help but feel a little bit jealous.

The Mad Men cast are not permitted to work out at the gym and the women on the show look soft and feminine. I must say it can be almost unusual at times and I am shocked at my expectation of thin, angular women having watched stars on screen and models in the fashion industry closely since my school days in the 1990’s. I am heartened though, being a rather undefined woman myself, that although I expect something else and am surprised by these bodies, I am not horrified. The women in this series look sexy and inviting and they look like, well…women?

Which brings me to their clothes. Until now I have not been one for the 1950’s as a fashion decade. I love the glamour, the femininity, but have always found cinching myself in at the waist rather uncomfortable. However, the dresses in Mad Men are to die for. Women made such an effort back then. Every day was a reason to look perfect and none pull this off like January Jones, muse to Versace and the actress that plays the principal role of Betty Draper in Mad Men. She is so beautiful and whether Betty Draper is shopping, riding or having supper with her husband she is dressed, groomed, coiffed to perfection.

But she plays a house wife to a successful business man I hear you say? Well, yes Betty is a housewife and it seems that part of one’s duties as a wife in the 1950’s was to look fabulous? But, there are plenty of characters who work full time. Take Joan, played by the pneumatic Christina Hendricks for example? Her look is executed with precision every day and she is well aware of the power of her femininity and how to use it.

I know for a fact that they are very meticulous about keeping to the reality of the decade so how did women do this? Pull off motherhood and look perfect? How does one even go about creating these hair styles at all, let alone do it every morning before work? Not only this but their houses were immaculate and the food home cooked? I can’t help but feel that this is all a lost art?

Oh to look like Betty Draper, she’s practically perfect in every way.

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