Anyone who’s watched Matthew Weiner’s multiple award-winning series Mad Men will have spent hours mesmerised by the fashion in the series, which spans the entirety of the sixties, embracing the changing styles of this iconic decade in fashion history. Although both Betty Draper and Peggy Olson follow their own stylistic journeys, it is certainly Megan Calvet (spoiler alert: she will eventually become Megan Draper) who stands out as the female character with the most admirable and enviable wardrobe.

Appearing for the first time as a secretary in the ostentatiously-named advertising firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, her status in both the firm and the series escalates as she moves from the front desk to become Don Draper’s nanny, and, after a sudden proposal that left us all breathless, Don’s second wife. Her outfits as a secretary are formal and polished, as expected, but they are nonetheless unique in their clean lines and fresh colours of salmon, turquoise, and contrasting tones of pink.

But it is during the trip to Disneyland, in which she acts an emergency substitute nanny for Don’s children, that Megan first comes out of her shell. Both Don and the audience see another side of the Canadian beauty, who is not the conventional innocent secretary she appears to be, but rather a stylish, warm and maternal figure.

This growth is reflected in, if not created by, her wardrobe. In this scene, Draper’s bikini, round sunglasses, and hat ensemble by the pool is a bold and progressive style choice that, alongside her night look of a composed black dress (complete with a diamond-shaped and suggestive décolletage) and large gold earrings, impress and seduce her future husband.

“she is not afraid to change with the times and to present herself to the world as a modern woman”

Once Megan becomes Mrs Draper (lucky girl!), her style adapts to her new social status, merging with the decor of her modern New York apartment, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the suitably emblematic skyscrapers. As she works alongside her husband, she distinguishes herself from other women in the firm by leaving behind monotone office jacket and skirt pieces. Her blouses and accessories become bolder, with colours, prints, and ruffles that would not have been worn by the Megan Calvet we once knew.

Her new attitude is reflected in her approach to beauty too, as she frees herself from constraining sleek buns, to pave the way for 60’s bobs and intricately plaited up-dos. Similarly, her makeup loses its neutral and discreet tones to lean towards highly delineated eyes, bright eyeshadows, and intense blush. This shift also allows for some iconic accessories, such as the patterned head scarf of Season Five.

However, the event that marks the greatest change in Megan Draper’s style, turning it towards looks that we’d copy in a second, is her move to California in hopes of becoming a successful actress. Hem lines recede. Her hair gets longer, more modern and natural. In fact, her general attitude embodies that classic 70’s Californian vibe that has never really been out of fashion since.


Mountain View

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Clearly, it would be impossible to classify Megan’s style into one category; it is in (deeply fashionable) flux. Her vibrancy and changeability expressed through her fashion choices is perhaps what makes her such an appealing character: she is not afraid to change with the times and to present herself to the world as a modern woman. Such boldness seems to be the main reason behind the Drapers’ drifting apart and eventual divorce.

Indeed, the scene in which Don and Megan sign their divorce papers in the ninth episode of Season Five is a testament to their wildly different constructions of individual identity. Don wears his classic suit and hat, which barely changes throughout the series, acting as a symbol of his constancy and retrograde appeal. However, Megan’s white jacket, large hoop earrings, and theatrical hair and makeup demonstrate her readiness to burst onscreen, and an unwillingness to be repressed, sidelined, silenced.

This revelation shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, since, even at the beginning of their marriage, in the first episode of Season Five, we witnessed Megan’s explosive sensuality as she performed “Zou bisou bisou” for Don’s birthday in an unforgettable black mini-dress. That, I believe, is the image that sums up this utterly unique and stylish character.