One of the things that first drew viewers to Mad Men – before Don Draper's existential angst, Roger Sterling's dubious wit or Joan Holloway's "hillsides" (copyright: Roger Sterling) – was the clothes. The hit US drama, now approaching its fifth series, remains a long-overdue reminder that our grandparents once dressed pretty darn sharp, too. So there's a crushing inevitability to the news that its costume designer, Janie Bryant, has teamed up with Banana Republic to produce an "official Mad Men clothing range".
The garments on offer include raincoats, slim-fitting suits, dinner jackets, knitted waistcoats, pocket squares, ties and fedoras. None of them will set you back more than £200. But before you get to thinking that this sounds kind of cool, I want you to imagine actually having to explain to somebody that the suit you're wearing is from the official Mad Men clothing range. "Hey, you're pretty snazzy tonight. That suit makes you look like Don Draper. Where did you get it?" "Why, thank you! And it's funny you should say that, because..." See? Not cool. (Unless you're at a Mad Men-themed fancy dress party. But who has those any more?)
When faced with a dilemma, modern men often ask themselves: "What would Don Draper do?" He would not allow TV show-branded tailoring anywhere near his wardrobe. Surely, people with enough taste to enjoy Mad Men will not need to buy anything from the show's "official clothing range"? And people who haven't seen it, or don't like it, won't fork out more for a cheap suit just because it has the words "Mad Men" stitched on to the label. Which means there's no market for any of this stuff. Apart from fancy dress parties, obviously.
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