Yesterday morning I woke up and said to myself, “Self, what the Internet needs is yet another fashion article about Mad Men, because there aren’t enough of those already.” We’ve never done a roundup of bags inspired by the Mad Men era, though, and now seems like the perfect time to do it. Not only does the show’s long-awaited (a year-and-a-half in the making!) fifth season premiere on Sunday night with a two-hour, all-drinking, all-smoking extravaganza on AMC, but for the first time, I’ll be recapping a show that doesn’t give me the opportunity to make fun of someone’s terrible weave.

That’s right, Mad Men recaps! Check back here every Monday to discuss the show, make completely wild speculations about what will happen next and pine for Don Draper. In the meantime, let’s get in the 1960s spirit with a few handbags that take notes from the style of the era – classic, diminutive top-handles ruled because ladies were supposed to look always unencumbered. If you have a rye Manhattan while you shop, I won’t tell anyone.

As usual, I like to start with my favorite. With this mint green color and the rigid frame construction, I could easily see Betty Draper (Francis?) carrying the Prada Ostrich Pyramid Tote to a spring garden party with Francine. In fact, January Jones seems to be a big fan of the Prada Frame line herself! Buy through Neiman Marcus for $6690.

If neutrals are your thing, this dove grey Rochas Scalloped Leather Handbag captures both the femininity and structure that typified design in midcentury America. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $1585.

During the Mad Men era, women of a certain social class were expected to not only have a full roster of day bags, but also a plenty of clutch options for evening events. The 20s detailing on the Jason Wu Constance Leather Clutch would have been fashionably vintage in the 60s, and the hard lines of the clutch are indicative of evening bags of that time. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $1475.

Small, ladylike bags tend to be more expensive because they’re made for older customers, but the reasonably sized Marc by Marc Jacobs Bob’s Memphis Satchel has a slightly retro feel at a more reasonable price point. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $530.

Between the Peekaboo and the Fendi Silvana Top Handle, Fendi has made a pattern of referencing midcentury style in its accessories. I think that the Silvana looks best when carried by hand, which is something that women rarely do today but was very common in the 50s and 60s. Buy through Luisa Via Roma for $2300.

When women carried shoulder bags in the 60s, they were usually slim and simple, like the Michael Kors Grumeti Ayers Shoulder Bag. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $1295.

Another perfect example that sleek, ladylike style doesn’t have to cost a fortune – the burnt orange color of the Rachel Zoe Mini Jane Satchel is especially appealing. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $375.

Miu Miu’s Spring 2012 handbags are all about celebrating the small, slim, top-handled handbags that marked midcentury style, so leaving out the Miu Miu Wool Felt Tote would be a serious oversight. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $1350.

Raf Simon’s tenure at Jil Sander has been all about taking traditional shapes and cuts and adding a minimalist technicolor twist, and that’s exactly what the Jil Sander Patent Leather Clutch is – a traditional bag with an edgy feel. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $750.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • AshleyG

    I am loving that Rachel Zoe satchel! I think I really need to go ahead and get a piece of her line!

    • Debbie

      The designs are really nice, but the quality is not.  I bought a Rachel Zoe bag, and the black leather catches every single stain (and no, not liquids or anything.). When I tried to lightly wipe it, black paint from the leather came off. Also, there is what seems to be air space between the the leather and the physical bag. It feels like the leather is loose skin on the bag.  And yes – I take care of my purses like no other. My light green Balenciaga, which should presumably be more stained, still looks wonderful!

      Anyways, I know that Rachel Zoe is lower priced than Balenciaga and most other brands on this blog.  However, her bags’ price points are still high, and they should have the quality to match. 

      • anouk

        thanks for the heads up! :)

    • anouk

      i can’t believe i’m saying this, too! i love the Rachel Zoe satchel!
      BTW, Fendi Silvana is just as cute worn at the crook of my arm. My 12-yr old daughter often tells me, “Mama, you look like a real Mama with that purse!” On hindsight, is there a non-real Mama? LOL

  • gpc

    Amanda, I read a SF Chronicle review of the Mad Men 2 hour season premiere.  While the writer didn’t give anything away, he basically said that it was worth the 17 month wait – it is that good!  Can’t wait and look forward to your recaps.

    • AmandaMull

      I read another review that said basically the same thing – people who have seen it seem to be super excited for the rest of us to see it. I can’t waaaaaaait.

  • Reality Junkie

    The Prada Ostrich tote is to-die-for!
    Amanda, when can we start talking about where we think things will pick up on Sunday?
    Do you believe Don marries Megan? DOes he goe back to Betty? Have we seen the last of Faye? Does Roger leave Jane for Joan? Is Gregg killed in action?

    • AmandaMull

      I’ve seen a couple reviewers who have seen the premiere refer to Megan as Megan Draper, so I think we’re coming back post-wedding, sadly. I was hoping we’d come back pre-wedding and they’d break up before we got to the nuptials. Or maybe that they’d come back the day of the wedding and Don would leave her at the altar, in an act of supreme Don-ness. I think that Don and Betty will probably conduct some sort of affair before the series is over, but I doubt they get back together permanently. I also think that Gregg gets killed off in Vietnam at some point, but who knows whether or not Roger will leave Jane. I hope we haven’t seen the last of Faye, but I also hoped that Rachel Menken would come back at some point and that’s never happened.

      I’m soooooo excited.

  • Marie

    Nice selection.. love the Rachel Zoe! 

  • I love the Rachel Zoe Mini Jane Satchel its a classic design with relatively cheap price

  • 19yearslater

    I can’t deny that the fashion on Mad Men is gorgeous and enviable, even though I’m not a fan of the show. My favorites here are the MBMJ and Miu Miu.

  • All bags are beautiful. I think this is the best place where i can find variety of beautiful bags. really very nice purse shopping blog. Thanks. I am your great fan now. Thanks.

  • Karin bag4bag

    I love the Jason Wu Constance leather clutch.  Minimalist elegance.  

  • bluelly

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