Vintage clothing shops have that ‘Mad Men’ look

With the second half of the final season of “Mad Men” in mind, The Daily Gazette asked the operators
From left, Jeff Freebern, Valerie Lord and Genna Henderson look at old copies of Mad magazine during a "Mad Men" modeling session outdoors on Phila Street in Saratoga Springs. (Photo by Andrea Costanzo)
PHOTOGRAPHER:
From left, Jeff Freebern, Valerie Lord and Genna Henderson look at old copies of Mad magazine during a "Mad Men" modeling session outdoors on Phila Street in Saratoga Springs. (Photo by Andrea Costanzo)

Categories: Life & Arts

When the “Mad Men” returns to AMC at 10 p.m. tomorrow, Don and Peggy will be puffing cigarettes and swilling cocktails in 1969, a time known for its groovy clothing.

With the second half of the final season of “Mad Men” in mind, The Daily Gazette asked the operators of two local consignment shops to look through their racks of vintage clothes for outfits that Betty or Joan might wear and then find volunteers to put on the clothes and model them.

The late 1960s “was really, really bold prints and colors,” says Valerie Lord of Malta, a “Mad Men” fan and one of three volunteer models at Reruns Consignment Shop in Saratoga Springs.

Last Sunday, Lord donned a form-fitting polyester dress splashed with big orange, purple and green flowers and wore a stretchy lime-green headband in her hair.

A week earlier at La Moda Lisa on Route 50 in Glenville, shop owner Lisa Durand and employee Mary Pace had some fun with the “Mad Men” fashion challenge.

Durand dressed up in a long, V-neck polyester dress flecked with shiny gold threads.

“I love ’60s fashions,” says Durand, who describes herself as “a child of the 1970s.”

Pace put on three “Mad Men” outfits: a zip-front aqua dress; an orange-and-green jumper with a matching top in psychedelic colors; and a knit lavender pantsuit.

“Everything was knit. It was very typical of that era,” says Pace.

Women in their 20s are their best customers when it comes to clothing from the 1960s, says Durand.

“They are brave enough to wear these styles. They love the big prints, the polyester, the huge sleeves,” she says. “A lot of what we get in sells out.”

La Moda Lisa also sells original fashion sketches from the 1960s, and about dozen of the framed, rice paper drawings from a local collector, hang on a wall.

In Saratoga Springs, Reruns owner Stuart Armstrong says the majority of his vintage clothing shoppers are Skidmore College students.

“They like the ’60s and ’70s mostly,” says Armstrong.

“It’s a friendly era. The clothes are cheerful.”

Joining Lord in the Reruns dress-up were Genna Henderson and Jeff Freebern, both of Saratoga Springs.

Henderson wore an elegant sleeveless cocktail dress with big gold ball-shaped earrings and frosted pink lipstick.

In the back of the shop, from racks packed with vintage clothing, Freebern selected a pale green shirt, royal blue tie, green-and-white checked polyester trousers and a mustard-colored sport coat.

Lord, who is 59 and graduated from Ballston Spa High School in 1973, remembers the groovy styles of the late 1960s.

But when Lord watches “Mad Men,” nostalgia is only part of her interest.

“The clothes reflect the growth of the characters. Look at Peggy,” she says.

When the series begins, the year is 1960, and Peggy is a secretary in dowdy duds. By the late 1960s, Peggy works her way up to head copywriter at the ad agency and her outfits become sophisticated.

“I really love Peggy. I love seeing her turn from a little mouse to a fully fledged person,” Lord says.

When it comes to cutting-edge fashion, the character Megan is the trend-setter, she says.

“It’s Don’s wife who brings us into the 1970s.”

While Henderson and Freebern do not watch “Mad Men,” it’s not unusual for them to model vintage clothes from the shop.

For more than a year, Armstrong has invited a small group of friends to get together, dress up and socialize at the shop or, when the weather is warmer, put on vintage clothing and jewelry and then sit together outdoors on Phila Street, near the entrance to the shop.

“They wear whatever they feel like putting on, we call it the Reruns Patio Society,” says Armstrong.

Reach Gazette reporter Karen Bjornland at 395-3197 or [email protected]

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