Top 5 Mad Men Inspired Handbags

Launching in 2007, the Mad Men series has taken the world by storm and caused an ultimate tornado in the fashion industry as a whole. If you live under a rock, the Mad Men series is a drama on AMC that chronicles one of the most prestigious advertising agencies in New York City back in the 1960’s. Though, the main focus often surrounds one of agencies most talented and mysterious employees, Don Draper, as he flourishes in his creative role, but fights many demons in his personal life. The series is currently airing its last season, which will be split into a period of two years.

Being that the 60’s decade has always been an area of influence for designers all over the world for its very definite style, fashion houses went crazy as soon as the series started and created many collections being inspired by the show. Some brands took things a few steps further and actually collaborated with Mad Men and launched specific collections baring the Mad Men name on their tag such as Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, and H&M.

The shows costume designer Janie Bryant has had quite an experience getting to dress the dashing John Hamm and alluring January Jones and Christina Hendricks. She has had the opportunity to delve into the patterns, shapes, and cuts of all the clothing of the 1960’s in order to put together award winning costumes season after season.

The 1960’s was such a fun and exciting time for fashion because it was evolving at a great pace and also very strongly about self expression. You saw men in wonderfully tailored suits, much like today, but focuses were in the details in their hats and added suspenders. Women on the other hand had a more varied style, some opting to express themselves with free flowing hippie attire, while others focused on the body skimming silhouettes.

5 Gucci, Vintage Web Flora Canvas Boston Bag: $1370

Ever hear the term “flower child?” This term that was developed during the hippie era was used to describe a person who was free flowing, living spiritually, and free loving. During this time, individuals developed lots of spiritual beliefs that were derived from India, lead by gurus, and known as mystical religions. Their emerging inner beliefs were often times displayed through their clothing which was patterned, expressive, flowing, and often times featured floral images.

People known as flower children we often depicted on as Don Draper and Roger Sterling’s lovers that they had on the side and represented an escape from the stressful advertising lifestyle and were nothing like the mother’s of their children. They help the main characters of Mad Men relax and break away from the world for a while.

This Vintage Web Floral Canvas Boston Bag by Gucci is very representative of that time because it captures numerous trends. It embodies the vintage framework and leather straps running down he middles, as well as creamy brown leather trim. The floral printed on the canvas truly represents the flower child aesthetic as it is whimsical and beautiful in design. The beautiful combination of the two styles creates an overall graceful handbag.

4 Nancy Gonzalez, Shiny Crocodile Flap Clutch Bag: $1,400

Over the years of fashion existence, people more often than not used fashion as a way to identify themselves with different groups of people, until the 1960’s came around, that is. During this time, the term “street style” first emerged and people began to develop their own style that was truly a form of self expression and something they could call their own.

Just like the working girls at the advertising agency in Mad Men, they were all at a place where they were developing their own personal style, yet since they were working in an office everyday often times their style fed off of one another. In order to dress to impress, these women often carried teeny tiny clutches with them to work every day, planning on going straight out in the city after a long day at the office. Without modern day technology and the need to be constantly connected, this was a much easier task than it is today.

This Nancy Gonzalez Shiny Crocodile Flap Clutch Bag channels the style of bag that one of these women would be carrying to and from the office during that time with its sleek sexy appeal and fashionable silhouette.

3 Fendi, Mini Be Cross Body Baguette Bag: $1,668

This Fendi bag is a modern day cult classic and its style can easily take you back in time to whenever “the mod” style was considered to be popular and revolved around pastimes of love, poetry, rock and roll, self expression and getting stoned. The movement was derived from London on Carnaby Street where bands such as The Beatles emerged and played a big role on the way that people lived their lives. The overall feeling was a sense of entitlement, that both men and women alike should be able to wear great clothing.

Plaids were super popular for women in many different forms from clothing to accessories, so this handbag which is an ultimate mood booster, fits right in. Fendi certainly channeled their inner rocker whenever putting this design together.

2 Prada, Saffiano Bi-Color Pocket Tote Bag: $2,670

It is said that during this time whenever the fashion industry was rapidly changing, the “trickle down theory” was developed. This stated that the upper-class women, the ones who could afford the most expensive fashion accessories determined the trends, and then they would trickle down to the lower class and they would try to replicate it for a lesser cost. In Mad Men, the wealthy Upper East Side women married to the advertising executives would make very high priced handbag purchases and come into the office to show them off, while the secretaries lusted over what they couldn't afford.

Structured handbags became increasingly popular during this time and designers such as Prada still enjoy drawing inspiration from this frame because their customers are always interested in a vintage inspired handbag. The muted tone in this bag is also a very popular color scheme, featuring the highlights of a hint of a pop of color with the orange burst.

1 Dolce & Gabbana, Crystal Embellished Raffia Shoulder Bag: $2,395

During this period in time, many things impacted fashion, a major one being what was happening in politics. Many people who protested the Vietnam War became known as “the hippies”, as they indulged in very colorful, homemade costumes, long hair, and love beads. This was also a time when denim made an impact, as hippies often adorned bell bottoms and denim skirts, often made themselves. Their style caused ripples in the fashion industry as designers during that time began to create collections called the “hippie gypsy look.”

This Dolce & Gabbana Crystal Embellished Raffia Shoulder bag is reminiscent of that time of self creation. On a much less expensive level, handbags such as these were woven together out of raffia and sometimes embellished to give the bag a more colorful appearance. Though, they may not have had access to the gold hardware that we do today, it’s pretty close in design inspiration.

More in Shoes & Hand Bags