Several weeks ago, my friend Kelly sent me a link to an online auction of costumes and props from Mad Men. There were literally hundreds of items ranging from tchotchkes from various sets on the show to actual clothes that the actors wore. I didn’t really need reprints of period magazines or wall hangings from Sally Draper’s bedroom, but a great piece of clothing or an accessory would be fabulous. (Though an SCDP coffee mug would have been sensational.)
I wouldn’t be interested in just anything from the show just for the sake of having something from the show. It had to be something good, something that fit, something I could actually wear and something I could afford.
The clothing items were listed by character name. Of all the principal actors on Mad Men, I’m probably closest in size to Harry Hamlin, who played Jim Cutler. He’s 5’11, I’m 5’10” and we have a reasonably similar build. I always liked his simple, classic and handsome office style. (His fantastic eyeglasses were up for auction, but the bid was already very high.)
After clicking through pages and pages of items, I was about to jump ship until I saw the very smart navy raincoat worn by Jim Cutler in a scene at the Chevy showroom in season six. I actually remembered really liking the coat when the episode aired.
It was described as small/medium with a 42.5 inch length, which sounded perfect for me. With three bidding days left in the auction, the starting bid on the coat was $50. I happened to be in the market for a good trench coat, so I bid $75. The next day, I got a notification email telling me I had been outbid at $100. With only one day left, I bid $125 and crossed my fingers. There were no further bids. I won the coat.
Two weeks later, it arrived, along with a certificate of authenticity.
The coat is beautiful. It’s technically not a trench coat but more like a mackintosh or a “mac” in a heavy navy gabardine. It’s very well-made and in excellent shape. And, most importantly, it fits.
Since there’s no label inside, I can’t say who the maker is. Maybe Brooks Brothers. Or maybe Mad Men‘s genius costume designer Janie Bryant found it in a vintage shop. Who knows and who cares? It’s a fabulous coat.
The only drag is that the coat originally had a zip-in lining, which is now gone. Not a real tragedy. If I ever really want a lining, I can have one made.
For $125, I got a great piece of television history that I can actually wear. Pretty good story.