Mad Men and Pendleton: We Hate to Say Good-Bye

The Show of Shows

It’s time to say good-bye to a fascinating show. We have been watching the evolution of style on Mad Men for seven seasons. With the year off for the writers’ strike and the split final season, that is close to ten years of sociopolitical history under the guise of entertainment. We are sad to see it go. We’ve seen Pendleton on Mad Men’s men in robes, sportcoats and Topsters. But plaid was never the thing for Don Draper, though he sampled plaid in many forms as the years went on.

Don Draper and one of his many conquests; in this case the incredible Abigail Spencer.
Don again, being plaid and dashing.

Don dabbled in plaid, but never seemed comfortable in it. In so many ways, Don was a libertine, but his taste in clothing remained as conservative as Pete’s politics.

Don, everyone else wears plaid. Can't you?


Betty Draper

The early seasons captured an iconically Pendleton look. At times, each main character seemed to be stepping right out of a Ted Rand illustration. Betty’s suburban chic was unmatched.

Betty Draper in shirtwaist dresses and a Pendleton ad with a shirtwasit dress

Megan Draper

We were really only part of Megan’s look in her earlier years.

Megan Draper and a Pendleton ad
Megan Draper in a plaid coat and a Pendleton ad

As she evolved into an actress, her dramatic eye makeup, extravagant hair and miniskirts were so much edgier than anything Pendleton was up to in the late sixties.


Peggy Olson

Pendleton had a breakout role when Peggy disguised her pregnancy under the waistband of an ever-higher Pendleton reversible skirt–or Turnabout as it was called back then. It has been nearly impossible to find a good still featuring this skirt, so this one will have to do.

Peggy Olson and Joan, peggy wearing a Pendleton reversible skirt to hide her pregnancy

‘We enjoyed watching the style evolution of Peggy Olson. She began as proper and plaid, and retained her taste for buttons, bows, high necklines and cropped jackets.


Peggy Olson in a plad skirt and red top, with a Pendleton ad
Peggy Olson, solid color sweater and wool skirt, Pendleton ad of same
Peggy Olson in a houndstooth polyester jumper over a red sweater--1970s power clothes

Yes, Peggy started in plaids, and she ended in plaids. Her later outfits were almost always polyester doubleknit. That happened quite a bit in the seventies. We can forgive Peggy her transition from wool, because this is the finest visual of the last season, right here:

Peggy with a box in her arms, a cigarette in her mouth, wearing a red plaid dress and sunglasses.
Looking Ahead

So now it’s over. But a glimpse of the future is found in Sally Draper’s wardrobe. She wore plaid from her earliest years on the show.


She tried the go-go boots and the ponchos, but always returned to the plaid-centric style that was so popular in the late sixties and early 70s.

sally-draper in tartan

We had a line called “Young Pendleton” just for the Sally Drapers of the age. Two of the ads below feature a young Cheryl Tiegs. She’s walking a lamb in her Pendleton jacket, as one did.

Young Pendleton Ads featuring Cheryl Tiegs

Love it or hate it, the finale has happened. We will miss the style, the intrigue, the disregard and comeuppance of this particular cast of characters.

Thanks for the memories, Mad Men.

Photos courtesy AMC

Vintage ads from the Pendleton archives

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