To celebrate the Mad Men star’s 46th birthday, we look back on Don Draper’s five greatest style signatures.
The immaculate tailoring behind Don Draper’s suits is at the heart of why the character has become such a towering style icon — the wide shoulders, the slightly longer cut in the jacket, the narrow lapels, and the slim, masculine silhouette. He wasn’t immune from the occasional miss — that garish plaid sports coat springs to mind — but overall, Draper’s classic crosshatch charcoal and pale blue two-pieces nailed it.
Crisp white dress shirts, thin striped ties, understated black Oxfords, simple pocket squares . . . it’s the little details that make Mad Men perhaps the most visually appealing program in the history of television. Hamm’s put-together look almost single-handedly sparked a revival of interest in formal menswear when the show premiered in 2007, dragging us out of an era of baggy jeans and into an age where putting effort into dressing smartly is cool again.
Mad Men is set in the days when fedoras belonged to stylish professionals rather than professional Dungeons and Dragons players, and no one pulls off a felt hat better than Draper, whose chiselled square jaw was accentuated by hats with a soft tapered crown. The show not only taught us the look, but also the etiquette of hat-wearing, like the need to take off headwear indoors as well as in the presence of women.
When his head wasn’t covered by a vintage fedora, Draper never had a hair out of place with his sharp, traditional side-part. Again, the well-groomed, pomade-heavy style tidied up the way men styled their hair a decade ago, when shaggy over-the-ears hairdos and spiky fringes were still popular. The fade phenomenon that’s still going strong today was no doubt inspired by Draper’s no-hair-out-place ‘do.
Hamm somehow made life-destroying alcoholism look cool with his ubiquitous glass of Scotch in the office, and sales of Old Fashioneds have skyrocketed over the last decade since they became known as Don Draper’s drink of choice. The cultural saturation of Mad Men can be seen in the sheer number of wood-panelled whisky bars we see in our cities today, catering to our Don Draper-inspired obsession with ‘60s cool.