I am a big Mad Men devotee. I love everything about it-the plots, the characters and especially the wardrobing.
I especially love the fact that all actors and actresses wear complete vintage outfits- shoes, jewellery and even undergarments. Not only does this ensure a period correct look, it helps the actors emerse themselves in their roles. All the actresses wear 1960’s style bras, girdles, slips and nightwear, so that they walk, sit and undress like a 1960’s woman.
I decided to do a series of posts on the Mad Men Lingerie which will be a weekly feature over the coming month to celebrate and explore their underpinnings. Each post will feature a different character in their chosen styles and give examples original pieces for sale on etsy for your perusal.
Of course the first character had to be Betty Draper as we see her in a state of undress far more than any other character (I find that interesting considering Joanie is supposed to be the raunchy one). I’m going to do Betty’s bras, corslettes and girdles this post and cover her nightwear and petticoats in the next installment.
Betty’s lingerie mirrors that of her wardrobe- classic, prim styles in predominantly white and pastel colours. She is the quintessential suburban housewife, wearing long line bras for day-to-day wear which attach to her streamline girdle.
These bras are practical lingerie staples that smooth the figure and avoided any bulge between where a normal bra would finish and where the girdle begins. They have wide straps, hook and eye closure to the rear, high back and underwires for support. These bras give a slight bullet/triangular shape to the bust.
This style of bra is clearly visible through the back of this dress in the infamous ‘washing machine’ scene.
Girdles were quite common for everyday use in the 1960’s. Not only do they hold up your stockings, they smooth and slim the tummy, hips, thighs and bottom area.
The one below features a satin panel to the rear and delicate blue and white floral fabric to the front.
This one wouldn’t have been an everyday girdle. It probably would have been kept for dinner and a night out on the town and would have been worn under something like this taffetta floral gown.
Betty would have had plainer girdle for everyday wear, like this pale pink mesh one with rose detail.
On the whole girdles aren’t as pretty as the garter belts which Betty probably would have worn in her youth and early marriage. The 1950’s abounded with soft pastel lacy garter belts, notice they are short and that the stocking clips are mounted onto a ‘trolley’ mechanism (it could be moved up and down to adjust). Although we never saw Betty in any garter belts I have included a few for you to peek at because they are just so pretty and I couldn’t resist;
Evening dresses in the 1950-60’s were often strapless and had long cut backs and sides.
Betty would have worn a corslette with a plunge front and low back underneath dresses like these.
The white corslette/bustier below is an unpadded version of the one Betty is wearing.
The one below features an over-wire cup. Over wire bras have received a small resurgence in popularity in recent times as part of the new Dita Von Tesse’s lingerie collection (as much as I like the look of these bras I didn’t find the cut that great).
Some bustiers and corslettes had really low backs like this one.
Betty probably would have had a white strapless bra for summer day dresses that had wide necklines or halternecks…she wouldn’t have wanted to let her bra straps pop out.
Despite all these soft colours and safe styles, Betty does have an inner bad girl who seems to come out as her marriage to Don becomes increasingly rocky.
She sports this black lacy number when she and Don go out on the town. It’s still quite demure and in keeping with her style… maybe she should have ditched the pastel shoes though.
The ones below are a shorter version of the one Betty wears in the hotel scene but still seem to be Betty appropriate…black, but still soft and feminine.
The first has black lace over a soft pink lining;
The second features a black sheer fabric that is scattered with floral bouquets;
Betty ups the sexy ante even further when they escape Rome as Conrad Hilton’s guest. Betty treats herself to a bad girl make-over at the beauty salon. She comes to meet Don for a drink sportingw heavy black eyeliner, a bee hive hair-do and is wearing a black watusi dress.
She then strips down to a skimpy black strap-less bra and brief panties and no stockings or pantyhose! Very raunchy for our Betty;
This 1960’s strapless cotton bra replicates the shape Betty is wearing;
Semi long-line bras were also available at the time, providing slightly more support. This one has semi bullet shaping to the cups.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of my Mad Men Lingerie, next week will be Betty’s slips, petticoats and nightwear.
Princess Pin Curls