2007 brought the release of AMC's 1960s based drama series, Mad Men. It followed the daily life of advertising mogul, Don Draper and his merry men (and women). It captured the life of a wealthy man working in New York City by day and travelling home to his wife and two children, most nights. It showed the devotion a wife had to her husband and the lack of devotion from a lot of the men to their wives. The show became one of the most loved—and followed—series in a long time. What was it that captured the interest of viewers? The surface story-line, to be completely honest, wasn't the most enthralling, but it was what remained underneath that was the crucial element.
But another large part of the allure was the setting. 1960s America, NYC to be exact, was a place of both social and cultural change. Dresses were becoming shorter, men were were wearing suits, children were playing in the streets. The social outlook on sexual behaviour had certainly changed; it was now a commonly accepted understanding that men would cheat on their wives with younger women and the wife would stay at home and not do the same. But the show explores the deep psychological effect that it has on these women and reveals what happens when this acceptance actually takes control. But the aspect which captured this world were the suits and dresses. The style of women's dress that Betty Draper wore on a daily basis has become an entire section of the rack—swing dance dresses. A man in a suit was a regular thing and if one was worn, not an eyelid was batted. At the time it was unusual for a man who worked anywhere to not wear one. Even the creative department in Advertising wore a sports jacket with business-casual clothing underneath.
"You Look Like A Pimp"
Fast forward to 2011 and USA's Suits airs with great success. If you are at all familiar with the series, the title of the show is a pun—lawyers are often referred to as 'suits', while there are regular jokes made about various suits and ties throughout the first series.
I began watching Suits in about 2012 after everyone wouldn't stop talking about it. Everyone being all my fellow school mates. We were all too young to be exposed to the explicit content at the time when Mad Men began, so we watched Suits—in a matter of days—and pined for the second series to be released. And due to Australian licensing laws, it took forever. It wasn't until after finishing Year 12 and the third season of Suits that I bought the first 5 seasons of Mad Men. The reason I bought all 5 was for two reasons; 1. There were collectible editions of each season available and 2. The hype surrounding the final season forced me to read about how good the series was. I put my trust in it. And it didn't disappoint.
There's Just Something About These Two.
After getting through all 6 and a half seasons rather rapidly with my fiancee', we [eagerly] await the release of the second half of season 7 on Netflix or DVD. But from the 3rd season on, it clicked of how similar Mad Men and Suits are. Now there's the obvious comparison; business men in suits and women in fashionable dresses. But it's not just this. If you look at the main characters throughout the series, there are many connected dots.
Don / Harvey is an arrogant man who is brilliant at his job and is revered and feared as such.
Peggy / Mike are the characters that the viewer follows. They are the ones that the viewer will root for while drama follows them around. From romance troubles to boss troubles. They have it all.
Joan / Donna are the two secretaries that are attractive and know everything about their boss!
They both reveal a special connection to their bosses with Donna actually loving Harvey. Joan also becomes a powerful woman in the company.
Pete / Louis are the characters that you love and hate at the same time. They are both out to get their bosses/partners at times.
Roger / Jessica - They have both said the line: 'You wouldn't be where you are today without me'. Admittedly, Jessica does more work than Roger, but their friendships with the suave character can sometimes cause drama within their company and when it comes to it, they will put the company first ahead of all things.
Let's make it clear; I am not ripping these two apart. I love both series. I also warn you not to say while watching either one, "Gee. This is so much like (Suits/Mad Men)" as you won't be allowed to watch anymore.
Mad Men and Suits
I can say with certainty that watching Suits influenced my opinion on what clothes I will wear to work for the rest of my life. But Mad Men drilled it into me. After seeing 5 seasons, I decided I would wear a suit regularly. There is just something professional about it. This opinion wasn't held by just myself and my male mates. It was also held by many ladies I know who watched the show. I will say that they were more drawn to the Mad Men style, with my fiancee' dressing up regularly to go to work in Betty-like dresses. Boy, we got some funny looks and many-a-time we were asked, "Where are you going?" and "What's the occasion?"
That's the thing. There is no occasion. These shows influenced mine and my fiancee's dressing style, however it wasn't just us. Stores have now set up permanent sections with themes of Mad Men, where you can purchase dresses and suits styled to those of the era.
As a result of the Mad Men series, there has been a return to retro fashion and styling. Suits has just furthered what Mad Men begun. The want of living the high-life in NYC while dressing up in expensive clothes.