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The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men Hardcover – November 4, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'a peek into the show dressing room...showing every woman how to find her leading lady style' SEW --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Emmy-winning costume designer Janie Bryant creates all of the looks seen on TV's Mad Men. She has worked on numerous films and TV shows. In 2005, she won an Emmy for her period costumes on HBO's Deadwood and she took home the prestigious Outstanding Costume Design award from the Costume Designers Guild in both 2009 and 2010.

Monica Corcoran Harel is a Los Angeles-based style writer who has reported on fashion and the culture of keeping up appearances for InStyle, Variety, Forbes and the Style section of the New York Times. She also consults as a fashion expert for Project Runway.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style (November 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446572713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446572712
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #554,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Mad Men since episode one. I love seeing the world as it was around the time I was born, when my parents were in their thirties. The tone of the show is largely due to Ms. Bryant's talents.

I've always been a fan of classic & vintage inspired clothes and jewelry & when you add in the wonderful acting & writing on the show, what more could you want!

As a curvy girl, Joan is my hero & watching her has given me more confidence when I dress.

Janie's book is full of good info above & beyond the normal fashion books. My favorite piece of advice in the book is to stand up straight, shoulders back & "be an exclamation point, not a comma". That's the best fashion advice of all time- If I find myself slumping, those words straighten me up & I instantly feel better.
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Format: Hardcover
It should be noted that I have little fashion sense, but I absolutely love reading about fashion, especially its evolution as an art and medium of expression. When I received this book, the first thing I did was flip through it to see just what was covered. I was thrilled to see a survey of fashion from eras not restricted to that of Mad Men.

One of my real favorite things that was covered in this book, and really what was at the heart of the book, was the strong inspirational tone of developing one's personal style. It touched on the idea of colors matching with moods, silhouettes for particular body shapes, and activity/career-minded clothing.

For the fashion lover, this book would serve as a reinforcement of the rules they already know, and for me, it was the perfect primer for a lifetime of likely continued mismatched patterns, but also the added reason for me to continue to appreciate those in my social circle who dress to impress around the clock.

Special thanks to Grand Central for the opportunity!
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Format: Hardcover
I love Janie Bryant's work on Mad Men. The way she styles her characters really changed the way I looked at clothes and fashion. I have an hourglass figure which is really not in vogue today, and before Mad Men, I had given very little thought on the ways that I could dress to better flatter my figure.

Being such a huge fan of the show and Janie's work, I'd done my homework and read a ton of interviews with her, as well as listened to all her commentaries on the Mad Men DVDs. I was really excited when I found out about this book, and considered it getting it for myself as a Christmas present. I ended up finding it at my local library though, and was glad I did: while the information offered is very useful, it is extremely short, and I finished it in cover to cover in less than an hour. And I felt like I had heard it all before. She gives general tips such as, know your individual body type, and know your coloring, which is definitely very important advice. But there isn't really that much beyond that. What a girl should do with this information? I wanted examples of styles Janie thinks goes well with each body type and coloring, and I wanted visuals. There are a few fashion sketches, some of which are from Mad Men, but no real meaty material is included. There's about one or two promotional shots of Mad Men characters with captions, but that's it. There is a section on the importance of accessories, but I would have loved to see examples of outfits paired off with these pieces.

I would say the most interesting part in this book was the few pages in which Janie gives her opinion on her favorite fashion icons from the ages: from Rita Hayworth, to Clara Bow, to Brigitte Bardot, but even then it seemed very brief.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love Janie Bryant's work on Mad Men. She consistently uses costume as insight into a character's emotions, and gives hints about their socioeconomic status as well. I only read a little of the way into the book because the Kindle formatting is really bad, but these tips seemed obvious. "Get your clothes tailored." "Dress for your body type." "Wear good foundation garments." I mean...what was I expecting? I guess if you're a rich woman who wears nothing but jeans and t-shirts, you might like this book's hints on how to build your dream closet, but for the rest of us...meh.

The formatting for Kindle is really not good. I might have finished the book if it were better. I don't know what's involved in the process of converting a manuscript for mobi, but the publisher needs to look into doing that.
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Format: Hardcover
Asked for and received this for Christmas as a Mad Men fan and fashion-savvy, if not obsessed, New York media type (living/working in LA). While the book does cover some basics and is an interesting read, I was a little disturbed by the number of times the author insists that due to the ironclad rules of "femininity," a woman simply cannot be well-dressed without high heels, a tightly cinched waist, and hours spent staring into the mirror each morning (in sexy lingerie she bought for herself and wrapped in one of her collection of vintage kimonos) before she leaves for work.

While she occasionally tries to ground her pronouncements in the real world, this is not a book of advice from a professional costumer about how to minimize flaws and enhance assets in order to become a chic veterinarian, or rancher, or any other occupation a professional woman might want to create a properly-proportioned, attractive wardrobe for -- the "advice," such as it is, is strictly for women who want, and are able, to dress in an exaggeratedly girly way, with sky-high heels, rigid girdles, sparkly hair barrettes, silk turbans, marabou boleros, etc., etc. Bryant's insistence that every woman must be ready to face intense scrutiny of her "look" at all times and should never leave the house without being done up to the nines "in character" reveals a queasy undercurrent of narcissism -- not to mention incredibly inflexible gender norms -- that I found a little off-putting, even as someone who cares quite a bit about clothes. In my opinion, the Lucky magazine and Tim Gunn books cover this same terrain with less judgment and better suggestions.
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