Mad Men Costume Designer Janie Bryant Reveals How To Use Carolee Jewelry to Get the Look

25 Oct

Text, Vivian Kelly

Are you a “Betty-Jackie” or a “Joan-Marilyn”? Mad Men Costume Designer, Janie Bryant shares a few key accessory styling tips to enhance your look.

Janie Bryant, recently had a public appearance, hosted by Carolee jewelry,  at Bloomingdale’s Century City in Los Angeles.  Style expert Janie met with customers and provided jewelry and fashion advice on “How to become your own leading lady!”

Not being on the West Coast at the time, I couldn’t go, but I got to correspond with her via email and I’m going to pick up a copy of her new book, which she recently released.  THE FASHION FILE Advice, Tips and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of MADMEN, provides tips based on Janie’s “Mad Men” style trends. In it, she teaches her readers how to create different moods and reveal a bit about their personality through accessories… “It’s the surest cure-all for wardrobe ennui.”

I’ve been a fan of Mad Men, since last summer, when checked into a motel at Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, just to score some much needed down time. A mild case of insomnia turned out to be a big plus when I stumbled onto the show, which I’d been intending to watch for months. I never left the room until check-out at 11a.m. the next day as I lay on the bed gobbling up episode after episode of Mad Men and a pot of hotel room coffee. After 4 episodes, I came to a few conclusions:

-“Joan” looks hottest in her most covered up dresses- no hiding those amazing curves

– “Betty” is my favorite in character and looks fresh and tailored and classically beautiful.

I started studying Betty’s look on hulu [no AMC at home], and fell back in love with camel cashmere and pearls.

My Mad Men “moment” came when Joan’s secretary pool were talking about whether they were “ a Jackie” or “ a Marilyn”. Although that was over 40 years ago, these 2 categories are still alive and very relevant today. In case you missed the episode, Betty is a Jackie, and Joan is a Marilyn.

I’ve always been “a Jackie”, even when I bleached my hair Marilyn white years ago, wanting to see if I could bust out of my “type”.

Not possible – it takes more than a hair color change.

The sort of jewelry, fragrance, and dress all contribute to your J or M category. I started studying the characters’ outfits and decided that they were too retro for my every day look, but maybe copying details such as hairstyle and jewelry would give me the effect I was after. When Gina DiDomenico’s of Paul Wilmot Communications emailed me about Janie explaining how to get the character’s style with a few accessories, it was the answer to this fashion prayer.

Follow this LINK to watch a video of Janie Bryant offering her unique fashion and styling tips

Thanks to Gina, I got my most pressing questions for Janie about “Mad Men Style” answered.

Below, the Q&A 1.     Which character did you first want to work on? Why?

JANIE BRYANT: From the moment I read the script, I loved all of the characters. They each have their own story and costume nuances—I’m lucky to be able to design for them all!

2.  **We’re fascinated with the past now, particularly the Sixties: Mad Men, The Real Stewardesses of Pan Am.  What do you think it is about this period that fascinates us so much?

J.B. People feel nostalgia for a time when they could dress for occasions.  They want to feel the everyday glamour that is so characteristic of the 1960s and incorporate this into their everyday lives.

3.     How can we incorporate aspects of “Mad Men” dressing into our wardrobes?  For women?

J.B. A classic shirtwaist dress or sheath dress are great silhouettes to incorporate into your wardrobe.  Match your shoes to your handbag and don’t forget to layer those pearls, ladies!  You could even add white leather wrist gloves for a fun little touch—any length will do!

4. P/s suggest a Carolee piece for the principle characters: Joan, and Betty, in particular. 

J.B. It is simply the best for Betty, so strands of ladylike pearls would be my choice for her.  For a little drama in Joan’s life, a broach makes such a statement!

Endnote: Today, I went to Lord & Taylor and purchased my first “Betty-Jackie” Carolee piece; a 16″ pearl necklace, which I’ll be wearing daily.As for my Joan-Mrailyn friends, this Art Deco crystal broach would be stunning on you!

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