If I am being honest, Scarf Maven will tell you I resisted watching Sex and the City for years — four or five years, to be exact. It was too trendy for me, and when the ladies on The View talked about it during the morning chatfest, I snickered and felt glad I wasn’t sucked into such a chichi drain. Well, that plus the fact that I didn’t have HBO. So when browsing the Netflix inventory one day, I surprised myself by ordering the first season’s episodes. Wow, had I been wrong about the show! It was so smart and clever, I watched every season as it came out on DVD. I could’ve kicked myself for not discovering it sooner.
With our growing eBay business and our “day job” sales marketing business, my husband and I find it difficult to watch scheduled programs in real time. Both of us are news junkies and must have our daily dose of political argument on cable. We also catch late-night reruns of all flavors of L & O (on all kinds of networks) and to my chagrin, the WWII Channel (aka The History Channel) also gets plenty of airtime in our living room.
So it’s no surprise I am a Johnny-come-lately to the addictive allure of the TV series Mad Men. I knew a little about the show, and also knew I would most likely love it, so this summer I finally bought a “like new” DVD set of the first season from eBay. We have just finished watching the season, and Mike and I both are equally looking forward to watching seasons 2 & 3 (already ordered).
Now, when I see or read about Jon Hamm being nominated for another award, I will know who he is. When Joan Rivers on Fashion Police blasts Christina Hendricks’ ridiculous red carpet ensemble, I will know from where she comes.
Mad Men showcases two topics I love: advertising and fashion. Oh, and yeah, there are great storylines, too as well as social commentary about the roles of women. It starts off in 1960, for goodness sakes, when Mrs. Kennedy ruled fashion and men and women were often referred to as “skirts” and “suits.”
In the first episode we see sexy bombshell Joan Halloway (Hendricks) welcoming a new secretarial school graduate to the office. Joan condescends as though Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) just fell off the turnip truck, after all she hails from – yikes! – Brooklyn and is wearing a buttoned-up sweater, long skirt and a dowdy pony-tail hairdo. Men want to see your legs, Joan says, and continues to offer fashion, hair and makeup advice. The just reward? “You’ll be moving to Manhattan and becoming one of us in no time.” Joan sashays out of the steno pool and as an afterthought, turns back to Peggy and says in her sexiest voice, “Also… men love scarves.”
My husband wouldn’t necessarily know a scarf from a ruffle (unless we were, perhaps, listing a nice Vera oblong on eBay). But I do think there is a special appeal of a woman wearing a scarf. It is called confidence. Insecure women do not much cotton to a scarf – silk or otherwise. Somehow, wearing a scarf makes one stand a little straighter and speak with a bit more authority. Uh… um… not unlike Joan to Peggy.
A quick search on the web brought up hoards of Mad Men photos, including many where the women of the show were wearing scarves: Joan wearing a poured-on hot pink A-line dress with a long floral scarf looped casually around the neck, one end trailing down the back. The structured handbag with a small floral scarf tied around the Lucite handle. A classic sheer chiffon tied tightly around the neck, paired with a sweater set. (Poodle skirts would have died a natural death by 1960, fashionably replaced by a slim-fitting pencil skirt.)
Other accessories prominently featured are pearls (but we know those were popular then, just take a look at Beaver Cleaver’s mother), gold knot earrings and the hallowed circle pin. And heels. Do I have to say it? Must. Wear. Heels.
Primarily due to the interest in Mad Men, early-60s influences abound in today’s fashions. You can dress from thrift-store vintage to runway couture in chic tailored suits, secretary-tie blouses or form-fitting sheath dresses (like those worn by our current First Lady, fashion icon Mrs. Obama). But if you are a woman of a certain age (particularly a woman who remembers 1960!) it may not be the best idea to show up for work in head-to-toe retro clothing. Or maybe you are younger and your figure is more than Joan’s (or less than, actually might describe it more!; please note there are no plus-size women on Mad Men), form-fitting is probably not your friend. But all women, regardless of age or statue can still nod to the period by wearing great accessories, and the scarf is probably the easiest to find and least expensive of all.
Do not be intimidated by tying a scarf. I find long or oblong scarves are easier to wear for the novice because a simple loop is all that is needed to look posh and polished. (See diagram) Secure it with a brooch to create your own personal style. Or, make like Joan and just wrap the scarf around the neck and toss one end around the shoulder and down the back. You’ll be amazed how tall you feel.