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4 Steps to Become More Like Mad Men's Don Draper

Vintage Glass
Mad Men vintage images
Mad Men vintage images

After a 17-month hiatus, Mad Men returns this Sunday with lots of unanswered questions still lingering from the season 4 finale. Fans (like us) are highly anticipating an epic two-hour premiere of the returning hit show. Along with it comes a return to the '60s, outside of the AMC series, too. Retailers like Banana Republic are carrying their own Mad Men retro collections, and Newsweek redesigned the ads in this week's issue to give them a vintage look. Franchises are finding every possible way to get in on the craze. What's old is new again. Creative director Don Draper often asks his employees and his clients to join him on a journey back to quainter times. Through nostalgia, Draper sparks powerful and long felt emotion in his audience, and Shutterstock's rich collection of vintage images would have Draper's mouth watering. But Draper's appeal extends beyond his ability to carry himself in a pitch meeting. Creative types are always searching for the man's secrets to fashion, style, and design. Here are four tips that will have you looking and acting the part:

1. Be the director: Draper is driven by innovation. No attention is paid to past performance; the task at hand is central and vital. At the same time, he has a deep trust in others to follow through on projects. He abides by a management style that allows him to step in when he deems it necessary. He takes his work seriously and expects others to follow suit. His power rests in his ability to motivate others to perform their best work.

2. Be a leading man: Nobody can match his intense confidence. Draper's presence in the room commands attention and respect. Even when Draper acts cruelly, he remains inexplicably likable. "Though he rarely flaunts it, there is a sense of safety about Don. It’s clear that he has a sturdy, protective embrace," said Natasha Vargas-Cooper at The Daily Beast. Just look at how strong, smart women, particularly Peggy, turn to Draper for his wisdom and his approval. Attitude can be a gamechanger both socially and professionally.

3. Be a style icon: The clothes definitely make the man. Draper is always well-dressed in crisp, form-fitting clothes. With the skinny tie resurgence in recent years, old formal styles are back. Mad Men highlights some of the great beige, gray, and blue suits from the past era, and those "sober minimalist" looks can be brought back to life. Where Draper stands out most is with his array of accessories: hats, pocket squares, tie clips, watches, and cuff links. Sweat the small stuff and make a good impression.

4. Be the boss: Set designers for the show spend inordinate amounts of time ensuring that the show's furniture is not only in sync with the '60s, but also that it lines up with the characters. The show is set at "a time when modernism was still fresh, yet more mature than its early years — on the brink of going mainstream," said Stephen Coles on the Mid-Century Modernist blog. The furniture in Don's office is straightforward. His desk, couches, and chairs are kept deliberately to a minimum. Draper feels at home in his office. And so should you.

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