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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Press: Bows in Sunday Sac Bee by Leigh Grogan

The Madmen photoshoot and article came out in the Sunday Style section of The Sacramento Bee. Leigh Grogan wrote a great piece and included us! It is in its entirety below.

We're just mad about the early-1960s look

Published: Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 5I

Vintage clothing has never been so stylishly adaptable to modern wardrobes.

Because they're well cared for and passed down through generations, these clothing treasures – a sweater set, a string of pearls, a faux fur – have always been there, to be unearthed at boutiques and consignment and antiques shops. Even online.

But now, the hit TV drama "Mad Men" has done for retro styles – the pumps, the fedoras – what the 1980 film "Urban Cowboy" did for Justins and Stetsons. It's made those styles easier to slip into for both work attire and weekend wear.

The Emmy-winning AMC show, set in the 1960s, prompted several readers, including Margaret from Roseville, to ask where they can find similar styles locally. So "Shopping for Answers" went shopping!

First, we needed a proper definition of the '60s look. For that, we turned to Melody Fortier, author of the recently released "The Little Guide to Vintage Shopping" (Quirk Books, $18.95, 192 pages). Fortier collects and sells vintage clothing online and at her boutique in Gardner, Mass.

"Clothing from this era is exacting in cut," she says. "It was designed to really fit the body, which the modern woman might find uncomfortable because there's little or no stretch in the fabric.

"Yet it's a very polished, feminine look."

In this look, accessories match. Skirts are either snug and straight or full and, if you're a purist, pantyhose didn't exist, so stockings and a garter belt are must-haves.

Actress Amber Kloss, 32, who grew up in Sacramento and attended Galt High School, portrays one of the nine secretaries at the fictional ad agency on "Mad Men." She confirms that the show adheres to a strict '60s dress code.

"Even the crazy bras we wear are from that decade," she says from Los Angeles. "Everything has to be tucked in. The shoes are cute but not very comfortable. Even our nails are checked (rounded, not square) because they only allow five shades of polish."

At Bows & Arrows in midtown Sacramento, co-owner Olivia Coelho says it's possible to mix vintage with modern styles and still achieve the "Mad Men" look.

We scored a vintage victory at her store: a blue silk dress with cap sleeves, a pleated plaid skirt, a sparkly brooch, oversized sunglasses, boots and a fitted sweater – all for under $100.

Coelho can spot the perfect 1960s look because it's all about total sex appeal.

"We love that the pencil skirts and angora sweaters from that era work with what women already have in their closets," she says. "A fitted, collared shirt can be tucked into a pair of pleated trousers. The look is never too revealing or too short."

Coelho says the quality of true 1960s vintage clothing is often impeccable because the women who owned the pieces treated them with care.

"And they're well made," she adds.

Coelho's vintage clothing comes at a budget price. The average piece costs about $12.

Other capital-area stores that offer 1960s looks include Renaissance Fine Consignment and Moth Hole, both on Fair Oaks Boulevard.

At Renaissance, we found a pillbox hat (very Jackie Kennedy), a brown velvet cloche hat and two shift dresses – one with beading on the sleeves and collar, and a Chloe version with a black bow.

With a "new" vintage wardrobe (sans garter belt), it's easy to mix and match with a little black dress and black pumps.

Now, if only we could get Jon Hamm (Don Draper on "Mad Men") to whip up a martini – shaken, not stirred.

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