Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mad Men Fashion Oops!

Yesterday, Gladys asked a question about a possible wardrobe faux pas in Sunday's episode of Mad Men. In a scene where Peggy is shown hand washing her lingerie, there is a pair of pantyhose on a drying rack. I didn't watch the episode until last night, but I had my camera ready, just in case. And Gladys, you were right!!!

Here is Peggy in her kitchen hand washing her lingerie.

And, in a close-up shot, we very clearly see a pair of pantyhose that would not have existed in 1963. No way, no how. In doing my research for this post, I found that this is not the first time Peggy has been seen with pantyhose. In season 2, we see her actually putting on a pair of pantyhose in one episode. Big mistake, Mad Men costume department! Peggy would have been wearing either a girdle or garter belt with stockings, and that is what should have been shown on the drying rack.

It is commonly aknowledged that pantyhose were invented in 1959 by Allen Gant of Glen Raven Mills. However, while they may have been invented that early, they were still in development and were not in production at this time. I returned again to my stack of fashion magazines to search for ads for pantyhose. All the ads for lingerie show stockings worn with girdles through 1965.

It is not until 1966, when skirt lengths are getting shorter, that we see ads for tights in patterns. They were thick, heavy, and did not stay up well.

Women also resorted to wearing ballet tights by Danskin with their shorter skirts as a way to avoid showing stocking tops and garters.

It is not until 1969, that we see a new product called "bodyhose" by Round-the-Clock. However, even these were not pantyhose. Bodyhose was a body shaper.....

...with replaceable stockings that come up high and have an elastic top. They slipped under the panty edge of the shaper and did not require garters, but they are not pantyhose.

Again in 1969, Hanes has a two page ad with "The Fall of the Garter" as a big headline. They introduced the "Panty Pair", which was a two way stretch panty with separate stockings. You put on the stockings first, then slipped the panty on over them to hold them up. Close, but not pantyhose.
It is not until the early 70's that we see ads for actual pantyhose. As the industry grew, prices dropped and women became less concerned about throwing away the entire garment when you got a run in just one leg.

So there you have it. The pair of pantyhose on Peggy's drying rack is indeed an error. And if the costume department of Mad Men thought we wouldn't notice, they were wrong!

18 comments:

shelby h.k. said...

wow good eye! :)

The Glamorous Housewife said...

It is possible that they chose the pantyhose with the knowledge it wasnt strictly period because pantyhose gives off a 'good girl' or 'repressed' feeling and stockings and a garter have a 'sexy' connotation. It is also possible that the rack and stockings were set up by the props department and they didnt do enough research. And finally, it could have been the director who at the very last minute yelled 'I need more stockings on the rack' and some poor underling had to run to grab some stockings with no time to spare and just grabbed whatever they could get their hands on.

Thanks doll,
The Glamorous Housewife

fuzzylizzie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sal said...

We just re-watched that Season 2 episode the other day, and I wondered!

alexkeller said...

oh my! i don't mind so much about the pantyhose...i'm amazed you have all the old magazines!!!

Petra Bellejambes said...

That moment in the show got my attention too. Wonderfully documented debunking and wardrobe department chastising. Nice piccies too my dear. I am jealous of your archive...

casey said...

I caught that too when we were watching it Sunday! ;) I thought it was too, too funny considering fashion history. lol.

jeanne said...

I recently saw a few Season 1 episodes and noticed a man wearing a turtleneck under a jacket at a party, and thought this wouldn't have been seen until at least the late 60s, certainly not the late 50s, even in the ad biz.

ITALIAN PEASANT said...

hi, love your blog, stop on over & say hi :) gio

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

Seems like an awful lot of people noticed those pantyhose and knew they weren't right! I hope we'll see Peggy with the proper undergarments next time!

Sandra @ Debutanteclothing.com said...

Excellent catch!

NickDanger said...

My theory is that since Peggy has the Playtex account at Sterling Cooper, they have provided her (as one of the very few female Account Executives at that time) with some samples to test.

Gladys said...

Nick Danger is thinking what I thought in the season 2 episode, but then I remembered that I did not own a pair of panty hose until sometime in the 70's and beloved bright yellow fish nets that I wore under my psychodelic shift almost showed the garters and tops. Also and too my mother was a nurse and still wore white support stockings with her uniform until the 70's when she then started wearing her JULIA pants suit Uniform.

Scotchbrandy said...

Actually--and surprisingly--not a goof on the wardrobe department's behalf at all! In Manhattan, pantyhose were introduced in the fall of 1961, and by mid1962, when we first see Peggy donning a pair, several of New York's department stores were carrying them. They seemed not to have any great fashion appeal, though, so Peggy would have been the ideal wearer of the period: efficient, no-nonsense, and not particularly concerned with glamour.

patsman said...

I have not seen Mad Men and cant comment on My wife has reminded me that she started wearing the new fashion called what in the UK we call tights (ie pantyhose) about 1964/65. As a rather full figured girl she always found that she could never get stockings long enough and wide enough to fit her legs with a suspender belt.
we remember a trip to London in 1964 where lots of girls wore miniskirts and it was easy to see the "panty" of the pantyhose (tights) were a darker colour than the legs as they were a heavier denier.

queenbvick said...

Last night in Season three, Peggy refers to snagging her Pantyhose on the subway seats. I did not wear pantyhose until living in England in 1969 where most neighborhood women wore sheer "tights" to keep warm.

Ellie said...

In 1966 my mother bought me sheer pantyhose, I was very disappointed because they were my first sheer stockings, and my friends all had garter belts, There absolutely were sheer panty hose that early, but perhaps not as early as 1963.

Vintage Whistles said...

Ooops! Thats a clanger...

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