Dress like Joan from Mad Men

01
of 09

Let's Play Dress-Up with Joan

Joan Holloway Dress
Joan Holloway in a dress made to fit. Carin Baer/AMC

Joan Holloway lends her scintillating Jessica Rabbit dynamic to the world of AMC's Mad Men. But keep in mind, Joan isn't just a pretty face and buxom curves. She's got a mind for business to back it up.

The offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Price would fall apart at the seams if not for Joan's ever-present calculations. She can manage the books and the office politics without so much as batting an eye. Don't forget this element while you're sporting her hair and heels.

Next Step: Once you've got your head on right, let's talk couture dresses...

  1. Joan Costume Points
  2. The Attitude: Think like a Joanie
  3. The 60's Dress: Sew Couture
  4. The Shape: Cinching the Middle
  5. On Top: Wraps and Blazers
  6. The Skirt: High-Waisted, Please
  7. The Sweater: Tight and Tidy
  8. The Shoes: Heels with Pointed Toes
  9. The Makeup: Hot Lips and Lashes
  10. The Hair: Gingers do it Better

02
of 09

Make a 60's Dress

Mad Men Joan Fashion
It's easy to find 60's dress patterns online for a steal. Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Joan’s most prominent feature, besides those curves, are the dresses that accentuate them. Joan wears form-fitting office wear that screams 60’s in a way that Betty Draper’s fluffy skirts could never accomplish. Joan wears a dress that covers everything and lets the imagination run wild. No matter what your body type, you can achieve this level of secretary sex kitten with some retro patterns of real 60’s dresses.

I’ve put together a collection of 60's Dress Patterns that you can purchase online for fairly cheap. Joan’s look is couture, so it’s important to create a piece that is tailor-made to fit your body. If you’ve got the sewing chops, it’s worth it. I feel like a Joan-esque dress is the very reason I learned to sew in the first place. Okay, I guess my wedding dress was kind of important, too.

Next Step: Not the sewing type? Let's put together a a budget Joan dress, instead...

  1. Joan Costume Points
  2. The Attitude: Think like a Joanie
  3. The 60's Dress: Sew Couture
  4. The Shape: Cinching the Middle
  5. On Top: Wraps and Blazers
  6. The Skirt: High-Waisted, Please
  7. The Sweater: Tight and Tidy
  8. The Shoes: Heels with Pointed Toes
  9. The Makeup: Hot Lips and Lashes
  10. The Hair: Gingers do it Better

03
of 09

Cinching the Middle

Joan Mad Men Skirt
A high-waisted skirt creates an hourglass figure. Carin Baer/AMC

If you don’t yet possess the stitching skills (or willpower to take on the project), you can fake this hot 60’s look with a simple frock and belt. Choose a dress that is made of a thicker material and has a little stretch to it. It should fit the curves of your body, and maybe even leave a little cleavage in the sun. If you can't find a dress, a high-waisted skirt and top combo will work, too.

Wear a belt that accentuates your middle. The idea is not to wear it low on the hips, but at your actual waist. This is almost a foreign concept in today’s fashion world… almost all waistlines hit the hips these days. But in Joan’s world, a cinched waist works to make her buxom assets really pop.

Next Step: One way to make a bust look bigger is to add a wrap or blazer...

  1. Joan Costume Points
  2. The Attitude: Think like a Joanie
  3. The 60's Dress: Sew Couture
  4. The Shape: Cinching the Middle
  5. On Top: Wraps and Blazers
  6. The Skirt: High-Waisted, Please
  7. The Sweater: Tight and Tidy
  8. The Shoes: Heels with Pointed Toes
  9. The Makeup: Hot Lips and Lashes
  10. The Hair: Gingers do it Better

04
of 09

Wraps and Blazers

Joan Holloway Mad Men Wrap
Joan Holloway Mad Men Wrap. Carin Baer/AMC

If you don’t have a good belt to show off at the waist, try a cropped wrap that ties in the front. This look can be more casual, depending on the fabric the wrap is made of. An attempt to match the wrap to the shoes is a nice touch.

Don’t own a wrap? You can easily make one from a button-down shirt.

Another alternative is to wear a form-fitting blazer, preferably one that darts in at the waist. Wear a pin at the lapel, this is a staple of sophisticated office wear that has transcended into modern times. I am lucky enough to own my grandmother’s collection of office pins. You can find them easily at local thrift stores, or create your own brooches with a few of our easy tutorials.

Next Step: If you can't find a Joan-like dress, opt instead for a high-waisted skirt...

  1. Joan Costume Points
  2. The Attitude: Think like a Joanie
  3. The 60's Dress: Sew Couture
  4. The Shape: Cinching the Middle
  5. On Top: Wraps and Blazers
  6. The Skirt: High-Waisted, Please
  7. The Sweater: Tight and Tidy
  8. The Shoes: Heels with Pointed Toes
  9. The Makeup: Hot Lips and Lashes
  10. The Hair: Gingers do it Better

05
of 09

High-Waisted Skirts

Joan from Mad Men Skirt
Wear a skirt at the waist to accentuate curves. Carin Baer/AMC

Again, you really need to show off that waistline to fit the Joan template. A high-waisted skirt is a Joan look that can be a lot easier to achieve than a tailor-made dress. Skirts from the 60's that were close to the hips tended to be made of thicker fabrics. See if you can't find a sturdy skirt like this one at your local thrift shop.

Next Step:An easy way to top a skirt like this is with a tight sweater...

  1. Joan Costume Points
  2. The Attitude: Think like a Joanie
  3. The 60's Dress: Sew Couture
  4. The Shape: Cinching the Middle
  5. On Top: Wraps and Blazers
  6. The Skirt: High-Waisted, Please
  7. The Sweater: Tight and Tidy
  8. The Shoes: Heels with Pointed Toes
  9. The Makeup: Hot Lips and Lashes
  10. The Hair: Gingers do it Better

06
of 09

Form-Fitting Sweaters

Joan Mad Men Sweater
Joan wears her sweaters tight and tidy. Carin Baer/AMC

Form-fitting sweaters really need to have some stretch to them to accentuate all you’ve got. Joan knows how to play it. She can show off her goodies while keeping everything under wraps.

Try on some sweaters that are a size too small, in a stretchy material. High-collars like the one shown here are reminiscent of the 60’s look. Note the 1/4 length sleeves, which can be easily created from long sleeves. Mark with chalk, cut, then fold in the edge and stitch with a matching thread to hide your handiwork.

Next Step: You can't go out barefoot. Let's take a look at heels with a vintage look...

  1. Joan Costume Points
  2. The Attitude: Think like a Joanie
  3. The 60's Dress: Sew Couture
  4. The Shape: Cinching the Middle
  5. On Top: Wraps and Blazers
  6. The Skirt: High-Waisted, Please
  7. The Sweater: Tight and Tidy
  8. The Shoes: Heels with Pointed Toes
  9. The Makeup: Hot Lips and Lashes
  10. The Hair: Gingers do it Better

07
of 09

Steppin' Out with Joan

Joan Mad Men Heels
Pointed toes and high heels to climb that corporate ladder. Pricegrabber

Heels are a painfully essential element to any woman’s office wardrobe, and Joan’s stems are no exception. High heels with pointed toes were all the rage in the 60’s, and, when we can glance Joan’s feet in the show, she’s often strutting around in this bold look. I’ve had no problem locating these at a local thrift store, but you can also compare prices for pointed toe heels online.

Next Step: What good are a pair of gams without the face to go with 'em? Time to steal Joan's makeup...

  1. Joan Costume Points
  2. The Attitude: Think like a Joanie
  3. The 60's Dress: Sew Couture
  4. The Shape: Cinching the Middle
  5. On Top: Wraps and Blazers
  6. The Skirt: High-Waisted, Please
  7. The Sweater: Tight and Tidy
  8. The Shoes: Heels with Pointed Toes
  9. The Makeup: Hot Lips and Lashes
  10. The Hair: Gingers do it Better

08
of 09

Hot Lips and Lashes

Joan's red-orange lips and luxurious lashes. Carin Baer/AMC

Joan’s tomato red lips accompany her quick tongue, and those long black lashes frame her calculated glances. Her eye shadow is done in natural tones, a good fit for a fair redhead. See our guide to applying and wearing red lipstick to help you out with your own ruby kisser. A video on how to apply mascara without clumps should turn up those lashes, and our makeup artist secrets for making eyes look bigger should complete the look.

Still need help? Hit up our resident Makeup Expert for personal tips to tweak your Joan look.

Next Step: I've saved the best for last. How to do Joan's infamous hair-do...

  1. Joan Costume Points
  2. The Attitude: Think like a Joanie
  3. The 60's Dress: Sew Couture
  4. The Shape: Cinching the Middle
  5. On Top: Wraps and Blazers
  6. The Skirt: High-Waisted, Please
  7. The Sweater: Tight and Tidy
  8. The Shoes: Heels with Pointed Toes
  9. The Makeup: Hot Lips and Lashes
  10. The Hair: Gingers do it Better

09
of 09

Gingers Do it Better

Joan Mad Men Hair
Joan's signature bouffant. Carin Baer/AMC

Blazing red hair is a look that I sport myself, and I have to admit I’ve spent some time in the mirror molding it to imitate Joan’s updo. I’ve discovered that you can use the classic French twist method as Joan-inspired look. This is the quick route. It doesn’t quite hit the mark, because Joan has small curls clustered at the back of her head.

I have long hair, so I went ahead and tried to achieve the curls at the back of the French twist. After twisting the hair at the back of my head, I then used small claw clips to gather the hair at the top of the twist. I spritzed the hair with water and scrunched it until I could form some curls, then pinned the curls over the twist.

Next Step: Hair pinned and teased? Let's see the finished Joan and review any steps you might have missed:

  1. Joan Costume Points
  2. The Attitude: Think like a Joanie
  3. The 60's Dress: Sew Couture
  4. The Shape: Cinching the Middle
  5. On Top: Wraps and Blazers
  6. The Skirt: High-Waisted, Please
  7. The Sweater: Tight and Tidy
  8. The Shoes: Heels with Pointed Toes
  9. The Makeup: Hot Lips and Lashes
  10. The Hair: Gingers do it Better