Forget Cheryl and Posh, Mad Men’s Joanie Holloway, played by the pneumatic Christina Hendricks, is having a bit of a fashion moment right now. And I, being a curvaceous food lover, could not be more pleased. Loved by men and women in equal measure for her Monroe-esque sex appeal, Holloway’s sophisticated style has not gone unnoticed by the world’s fashion elite. From the mid calf skirts sported by the Vuitton models, to the spectacular Prada skin tight dress, vintage fashion a la Joanie has become the coolest and most flattering look for winter.
Furthermore, her cheeky flirtations with the Sterling Cooper boys have left many men and women wistful for the time before political correctness, when a little innuendo and harmless banter between the sexes made the day go by just that bit quicker and women were secretly chuffed by builder’s wolf whistles on dreary Monday mornings.
Buoyed by the thought of corsets and conical bras, I decided to give the look a go and headed to the high street to perfect her look, because quite frankly it’s far more fun to do it on a budget and fashionable, of course.
If you think Joanie’s body is impossible to achieve (which at a healthy size 14, according to the coalition government, is the ideal antidote to the recent size zero obsession) then think again. With the help of some pretty spectacular, Bridget Jones come Madonna undergarments, you’ll be well on your way to achieving that 1960s hourglass ideal.
As long as you have a good fitting bra, all you really need are some medium control pants, which can be found in every recessionista’s paradise: Primarni (or Primark to those not in with the lingo).
Once your waist has reappeared from the depths of 1999 when a muffin top was just an afternoon treat, and you have a lovely streamlined silhouette, all you need now is a replica of one of Joanie’s simple shift dresses, to replicate her sexy wiggle. Throughout seasons one to four, Joanie has sported a variety of shifts, but most memorably the plain red sheath, fixed permanently on the memory of any avid Mad Men watcher. Not many will forget the scene when her rotund backside was shown off to perfection to the gawping advertising executives and the audience alike, as she knowingly bent over while the other girls tried on lipsticks subserviently in the background. For me, it was the obvious choice.
High street shops are awash with carbon copies however, I found to my surprise, that even Marks and Sparks have got on the bandwagon, with a series of sexy shift dresses to suit even the most frugal recessionista’s budget. You can get my great copy of Joanie’s red number for just £39.50 online at www.marksandspencers.com, along with a variety of others, perfect for the office or daytime sophisticated chic. Ironically, the last time I was bought anything apart from the odd gourmet microwave meal in M & S was a training bra for my double ‘A’ cups, aged 12. How things have changed.
On the subject of our weapons of mass distraction, Joanie’s outfits are a breath of fresh air from the less is more approach favoured by the Katie Prices of the world. You’ll never see a hint of cleavage from Miss Holloway, while tottering in skyscraper heels is also a distinct no go area to achieve the grace and poise necessary to pull off her self confidence; appearing like a tottering Barbara Windsor isn’t quite what we are looking for girls.
Kitten heels are the only way to complete this look, so leave the platforms to GaGa. Once again, Primark always have a great cheap collection, while bargain deals can be found on EBay, where incidentally sales of Mad Men inspired vintage pieces have rocketed in the last few months.
Joanie’s signature piece, however, is the phallic gold pen necklace she wears and plays with as a constant reminder of her hypnotic effect on men and women (her female flatmate admits her undying love for Joanie in series one). I suggest you don’t replicate her exact necklace, but find your own signature piece of jewellery, like Carrie’s name chain in Sex and the City, as self-assurance and individuality are paramount to completing the Joanie look. I decided on a quirky egg timer necklace, with its subliminal suggestion of ‘you snooze you lose boy’, from trendy American store, Urban Outfitters, which have a great range online at www.UrbanOutfitters.co.uk.
For hair and make-up advice, just type in her name into YouTube and an array of Joanie fans will pop up to help you achieve her vintage style up do and 60s style flawless make up. I made a trip to the Christian Dior make-up counter in Selfridges, Oxford Street, to purchase the ultimate matte red lipstick, with blue pigments to make my teeth a Simon Cowell hue. Joanie’s matching red hair is most definitely having a Rita Hayworth-resurgence, with the X Factor styling team also riding the crimson tidal wave, with Cheryl Cole at its helm.
So, dressed to kill, Holloway style, I took to the city with a willing friend to help me observe the ‘Joanie effect’. For research purposes only of course, I decided to buy one of those ‘clicker’ counters, made famous by that incredibly realistic Ben Affleck Lynx advert, where the skinny geek armed with the deodorant, beats him hands down in a numbers game of who got checked out the most.
I’m not sure if it was the skintight dress and the obligatory wiggle or the bright red lips, but my friend was clicking faster than a bouncer at Tiger Tiger nightclub on a Saturday night. Or had my control pants just fallen down?
We decided to hit a couple of bars and check out the true pulling potential of the Joanie ensemble. With cigarette in hand (I’ve never smoked in my life, but thought the look incomplete without one), I leant against the wall of the outdoor smoking area and awaited my Don Draper. A few lingering looks later and still not a single approach. Perhaps the look was a little intimidating? Why don’t you try the ‘bend and snap’ routine, my friend suddenly blurted out over her Flirtini. The ‘bend and snap’ being the trick of dropping something and then picking it up in front of a group of males – basically showing off your behind and then snapping back up (a technique commonly used in the animal kingdom). Unsurprisingly, after picking up my friend’s lighter in a classic ‘bend and snap’ routine and revealing my Holloway clad backside to the entire ‘smirting’ community, we were inundated with drinks offers and cheesy one liners; my research was complete.