The Leading Lady’s Checklist

 As Mad Men’s Costume Designer, Janie Bryant earned countless awards (including an Emmy) and made Betty Draper and Joan Holloway into modern style icons. We asked her to share some style tricks every woman should have up her sleeve.

1Take a cue from the men
It’s the unexpected that captivates the eye, like a woman in a three-piece suit with a hint of décolletage or a slim-cut white tuxedo. “I love how Marlene Dietrich made a tuxedo so sexy and provocative,” says Bryant, a fan of cross-dressing icons like Katharine Hepburn and Bianca Jagger.

 

2Find the proper foundations
Everything begins with the right bra and body shaper. “Your undergarments can make or break a great outfit,” says Bryant, who outfitted the Mad Men female cast with girdles and long-line bras to ensure seamless silhouettes.

 

3Embrace color
Craving a spotlight? A bright yellow or vivid blue always upstages a neutral tone and saturated rich colors telegraph confidence. “I love to wear red because it’s such a powerful shade and it changes my mood,” says Bryant.

4Favor an era
There’s a reason bombshells differ decade to decade, from Jean Harlow to Brigitte Bardot. Find the time in history that best reflects your personal style. “You can shop vintage or be inspired by the cuts and styles of that period,” says Bryant.

 

“I love to wear red because it’s such a POWERFUL SHADE and it changes my mood.”

 

5Invest in trim
Bryant sums up her stance on finishing touches like this: “In my opinion, more is more and accessories can overhaul any outfit.” She likes accents with oomph, like chunky bib necklaces, a statement handbag and snakeskin pumps.