Joan Holloway Mad Men Handbags

On Sunday, the seventh and final season of Mad Men debuts, which spells the beginning of the end for two of television’s most exciting female characters: Joan Holloway and Peggy Olson. Today, we’ll pay a small tribute to the force of nature that is Joanie by breaking down her accessories style in the second installment of our Character Study series. (Scandal superfan? Check out our first edition, starring Olivia Pope.)

Translating Joan’s style into today’s fashion presents a unique challenge because Mad Men is so inextricably tied to a very particular era and, by extension, that era’s very particular aesthetic. Handbags in the early 60s weren’t the functional carryalls that we know today; instead, shapes tended toward the compact and structured, with an emphasis on top handles and, later, small shoulder bags.

Within those parameters, Joan’s style tends toward the attention-getting. On the show, the character has spoken about being a woman who was raised to be admired, and she adorns herself accordingly. Her style is bright, detailed and exquisitely tailored, with occasional notes of kitsch that characterize the time period’s ultra-feminine look. With her promotion to partner at the end of the fifth season, Joan could certainly afford any of the retro-modern bags we’ve chosen below.

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