Mad Men Collection at Banana Republic

Only three words describe my reaction to it: I am underwhelmed.

I'm having trouble finding what separates all the low rise trousers, cheap fedoras, and belts worn with three piece suits from what's being offered by J. Crew. It doesn't look at all like you'd see in 1964, which is quite sad when you consider that Janie Bryant -- the show's costume designer -- was involved.

See for yourself.

As usual, they put more time and work into the women's stuff than the men's.

EDIT: Okay, maybe I was too harsh. There is something I like -- this tie slide.


  1. Jovan,

    I have to say I agree with your assessment.

    Janie Bryant is a good costume designer. And while she gets well-deserved props for her work on ‘Mad Men’, it looks to me like she’s tweaked things somewhat even there by playing with things like color palette so the clothing will show the way they want it to on the small screen.

    As to the BR offerings, the line seems to be driven by marketing and merchandising people far more than Ms. Bryant. Not really the mid-60’s sort of clothes I remember seeing on my father. And I can remember that when he wore a fedora, it was a proper hat that in no way resembled what’s on the BR website.

    For a mid-sixties vibe, we’d be far better off paying attention to RFK and Sean Connery in your earlier posts.

  2. Yeah, that's what I figured. Janie Bryant had some input into the Mad Men suit at Brooks Brothers, but it also had a lowered rise and didn't quite look right in some respects. Probably not as low as the BR standard though.

    I do notice little things here and there on the show, such as lapel shape and vent length that are slightly modern. For the most part they get it right though. Certainly more so than this collection!

    As I said on Ask Andy in the thread I started about this, they're missing out on the chance to get a new customer base, the kind that wants a high rise and proper felt fedoras (with a grosgrain ribbon!) back. Their loss. But apparently they don't want me. They want the hip kids with more money than style who say, "Oh, this is just like the '60s." Hell, even Thom Browne's version of the '60s is more accurate than this. Anyone who looks between the actual show and these suits will see a number of things wrong, whether they're a clothing enthusiast or not.

    Okay, I'll admit the sweaters look nice too. The ties are probably too thickly lined and long.

  3. I know what you mean by saying BR is missing out on getting a new customer base. But in mass market retail you have to go for making an impact on the largest market segment possible. And that means the ones you call ‘hip kids with more money than style’.

    People like you who have an informed idea of what they want are a distinct minority in the possible universe of customers. The numbers just aren’t big enough to justify the development costs associated with developing a line for those people. And even if they did, price points would likely be high and profit margins might be skinnier than the trousers they’re offering.

    And that kind of thinking is what drives some of us to MTM and/or bespoke.

    On the sweaters - - nice, but I don’t like the color palette they’re offering. In the sixties, even for so-called establishment types, there was far more color and texture available than people think. I seem to remember a thread on Ask Andy that featured a photo of JFK and his two brothers. I don’t remember their clothes as being all that dull.

    Just saying.

  4. You're totally right about colours with establishment types. Even on Mad Men they wear more than just grey and black to work. Don't worry, I'll probably skip the sweaters in this line as well. Tempted by the tie bar, but can probably find an all-silver one for far less thrifting if I have some patience.


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