x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Mad Men style: a bit too mad?

When getting style inspiration from the web, take one trend at a time. It's about figuring out what complements you best, not imagining how to replicate others.

Last week Mad Men introduced a new character, Michael Ginsberg (played by Ben Feldman), a young-gun creative whom Don Draper (Jon Hamm) hires as a copywriter. Ginsberg is a total oddball, not just in temperament but also in clothing: his tartan blazer wrinkled and ill-fitting, his micro-check patterned shirt dishevelled, his tie too loud. He mixed and matched and missed. Prints, foulards and checks are snazzy, but to pile them all together? In front of Draper?

It's an atrocity we see on the streets today: fashionistas identifying every trend and piling them all on at once, as if to be stylish one has to go over the top - lopsided collars, rolled trousers and pouf-ing pocket squares in one go. You're trendy! We get it! Sartorial flair has gone too self-aware.

If you're being dressed by the internet – copying looks from The Sartorialist and JakandJil – how can you develop individual style? Dressing well is about figuring out what complements you best, not imagining how to replicate what's on others. By all means, push sartorial limits, but manufactured style only gets you mind-bending looks.

So, put your matching polka dot ties and pocket squares down. While there's nothing wrong with getting inspiration from the web, take it a trend at a time. Go and roll your trousers, but maybe leave your sleeves alone. That pattern looks fresh, but take a second look – does it make you look gargantuan?

Ginsberg aside, the gents of Sterling Cooper Draper Price have shown that style from that era is worth repeating. Here are three favourite looks from recent episodes.

Pete Campbell

A multi-hued sports jacket, anchored by a crisp, white shirt and a bright tie still manages to look subtle.

Who's doing it now: Bottega Veneta, Gant, H&M

Stan Rizzo

Knit polos are a seasonal standby for the summer. Rizzo's slick bright blue is all swagger.

Who's doing it now: Jil Sander, Marc Jacobs, Giordano

Harry Crane

Always acing turtlenecks, Crane pairs it with a classic check blazer, proof you can take chances while looking clean-cut.

Who's doing it now: Burberry, Simon Spurr, Massimo Dutti


James Gabrillo is the assistant Arts & Life editor at The National