Bright coral 2-piece Jantzen bathing suit

Friends of vintage, friends of Mad Men, we have here a tie-in to a major plot point on a recent season of Mad Men.  Fine, it’s not super-recent, but this blogger doesn’t have cable and has to be patient.

In the pilot for the fourth season of Mad Men, there is a contentious meeting between the main characters and some stuffy executives from Jantzen, who are wary of too-risque ads for their company’s two-piece swimsuit.  Something like this piece, but with a little less material!

While in the show, the tension between the bold ad men and the conservative Jantzen representatives served as an important way to remind the viewers that the sixties were well underway, the episode launched a firestorm of blog posts after its airing.  In reality, apparently Jantzen had no qualms about using “a wink” in their ads.  You just have to suspend your disbelief to watch any show that revisits the past.

Luckily, you don’t have to suspend your disbelief when admiring this suit we have in our collection of women’s swimwear!  It’s so very sixties.  It’s a two-piece, but it still covers quite a bit compared to the suits Jantzen would produce just a few years later.  This suit is neither itsy nor bitsy by today’s standards.  However, it is a vibrant shade of coral (a bit brighter and more orange than on my monitor – it’s day-glo coral), which is surprisingly flattering on several skin tones.  You can find sizing information and views at this link.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Mad Men Moment, but it’s even more relevant when you realize that Jantzen is an established company right here in Portland, Oregon!  So from the perspective of Monster Vintage, this is local history, pop culture, and really nice vintage swimwear!

Madly Stylish Men

The men of Mad Men. The tall, dark, handsome and dangerously slick men of Mad Men. How I haven’t serenaded this subject yet is beyond me. I’m blaming weak office coffee and gray skies. My first disclaimer is that I have only of recent become chained to the laptop, watching one precious episode at a time. Currently at the beginning of season 3, I am way behind. But that’s okay. More to look forward to before I’ve fully caught up to where the rest of the world is. My second disclaimer is feeling overwhelmed in thinking about composing a blog entry to cover these men. So I’ll just jump in.

The show’s portrayal of professional men working in an advertising company in the early 60’s (the show starts in 1959) is genius. It’s been written, blogged, tweeted and talked about ad nauseam by now. But that’s okay too. It’s well deserving of all chit chat. Head costume mistress Janie Bryant does the most cohesive job finding and putting together picture perfect power suits for the Manhattan boys. Maybe that’s it; they work in the heart of New York City, where all stylish gems are born and prosper. And I have to assume all the dark liquor sipping and cigarette sucking add to the allure altogether.

The two main office objects are Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and silver fox Roger Sterling (John Slattery). There are others, not to be ignored, but for the purpose of this blog, Draper and Sterling are the fashion focus. Both men are slyly intelligent, hard-working and ride slippery slopes when it comes to the ladies. Exquisitely tailored suits are their daily wares and according to Bryant, the decision to dress them in a sleek and masculine color palette of grays is conscious. Sterling has more trinkets to his look; watch fobs and handkerchiefs. This is to help convey his senior to Draper as well as his ability to dress with expensive flair, due to his deeper pockets. Both don conservative ties, but Sterling wears the true 3-piece suit, which includes the matching vest.

Tailored mens clothing is, in itself, an art that is coveted by those who care. Made-to-measure houses are hard to find and I distinctly remember that while living in New York for a brief time, alteration shops were much more prevalent than here on the West coast. There is something deliciously sexy about a man who takes the care to have his jackets and slacks fit perfectly. There are many lessons from the 1960’s which we have learned to steer away from but maybe playing dress up is one worth passing on to the aught generations.

Below, snap shots of Hamm and Slattery, followed by our offerings. I feel inclined to do a follow-up post regarding top designers who have fallen under the Mad Men spell and created modern interpretations for their 2010/2011 lines…