We all love
watching Don Draper eloquently flaunt his sexual prowess on our television sets while poor Betty Draper slowly comes apart at the seams (and looks fabulous the entire time) and Joanie seductively swinging those dangerous curves in a bright form-fitted number, breaking hearts with that whip of a smile. It’s sooo
good, that sometimes we’re left feeling like we just… can’t… get…. enough. Well, that my friends, is when you throw a Mad Men themed party.
I should forewarn you though: A Mad Men theme party is not for the faint of brain. It can get pricey & time-consuming as fast as you can say, “Peachy keen, whippersnapper” if you’re not sharp in your planning. With a little bit of creativity, resources and patience, I’ll show how to make it a great success and have your friends talking about it for weeks.
The first task is finding the attire. This is the most important part. I used Joanie as my reference point because of my red hair. Joanie loves to wear bright, attention-grabbing colors & I was fortunate enough to find a beautiful red dress (pictured above) at Someone Else’s in Hollywood for $50. That was a little more than I had planned on spending for a dress, but it was worth it because it fit like a glove and flattered my hair. There are a lot of other great vintage shops in L.A. too that have equally great finds: The Way We Wore, Enid & Edgar Vintage, Iguana Clothing, Ozzie Dots & Belle Jar Vintage to name a few. For guys: Think skinny ties, smoking coats, thick rimmed glasses, suits etc. For gals: Think high neck line dresses (preferably at or past the knee), fur shrugs, low heels etc. And don’t forget accessories! Era appropriate jewelry will make or break your get up. I highly recommend wearing a brooch! I’m sure your grandma has one you can borrow.
Next, take staged pictures! We hired a van to go out and about in downtown L.A. and pre-partied at my house (which just so happens to be a 1950’s modern home). To set the tone, a friend brought over some old vintage National Geographics, newspapers, old vinyl (Nat King Cole) and a typewriter his mother had in storage. We took posed pictures to imitate some of the Mad Men cast photos we all love so much. It worked like magic because it got everyone really revved up to go out and rock this theme. Plus, we don’t look half bad! If you’re worried about how to edit your photos to get that vintage feel, fear not, Picnik is on your side! It’s easy, FREE and you don’t have to download anything.
Next, location, location, location. I specifically chose bars that were rocking a different era to keep the mood going. The first bar we went to was The Edison. It’s a 1930’s underground speakeasy bar/club with absinthe fairies to boot. The drinks are incredible, the crowd is beautiful and the bar decor is stunning. The best part was when we walked down the alley to the entrance, the bouncers wanted us to come into their bar because of the way we were dressed. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual L.A. clubbing politics.
The next bar we went to was The Association. They have a 1970’s theme going with dim lights, gold and mirrors. I emailed them a few weeks prior and they set up a little seating area for us free of charge which I ended up being even more thankful for as we watched people pour into the bar. I ordered a dirty Hendricks martini and my friends ordered Manhattan Cocktails to stay in theme, which is just too much whisky for this girl. It was a great bar and once again, we were well received by the bar and it’s patrons!
Lastly, we went to The Varnish, which was sort of like an old-time dark diner, except with no food and absolutely mind-blowing cocktails! The seating is not friendly for large groups but the white russian I ordered was well worth the drama of being separated into two tables across the room from each other. It was the best white russian I’ve ever had; truly divine. The best part? One of the girls who was working at The Varnish that night works on the set of Mad Men. She really went above and beyond to make our experience spectacular and I’m so thankful for that.
And lastly (for a reason), is hair. The truth is, it was the hardest part. If you’re a guy, you can do a comb-over …or if you’re bald, wear a hat. If you’re a gal however, it’s not that easy. There are a plethora of hair tutorials online for these kinds of things but my hair and I just don’t have a good working relationship, so I used a bumpit. It did the trick and that’s all I’ll say about that.
Now get out there and do the twist!