Mad Men and the BusiChic that was Fletcher Jones

Greetings BusiChic, are there any fellow Mad Men fans out there among you? I am a fan of the series and have been working my way through Seasons One to Four in anticipation of Season Five which just hit Australian Pay TV this week. As I don’t have Pay TV myself, I still have some more time to enjoy the business chic workwear sported by execs and working girls at advertising agency, Sterling Cooper, in the 1950s.

Looking for 1950s-styled workwear?

Bless Peggy (pictured below: centre-right) but her A-line skirts and frumpy knits aren’t exactly, BusiChic! I like to take style notes from flame-haired Joan (pictured below: left) who opts for pencil-shaped skirts and snugly-fitted tops and cropped jackets to accentuate her silhouette. Oh and wear heels that are high enough to further help balance out proportions but not too high that you can’t be on your feet all day. Sensible but stylish.

Gents, sharp tailoring is the key. Get your suit tailor-made (have you heard of vinspi??), shave cleanly and while you should keep your hair well-groomed; there is a fine line between Draper-dapper (pictured below: the really handsome bloke) and slimey-Cooper (pictured below: far right).

1950s business chic from TV series, "Mad Men"

Closer to home, did you know that Australian fashion label Fletcher Jones started its own women’s line in the mid-1950s with “styles that will be as relevant in fifty years as they are now.” I confess that while I never went into a Fletcher Jones store myself, I always kept an eye out for the label when shopping in second-hand stores. Actually rather than looking out for the label, I could almost always recognise a vintage Fletcher Jones skirt first by touch. Truly, the materials they used were such good quality that well – your hands practically sang upon contact with the fine fabric! However don’t just take my word for it, Fletcher Jones was once so popular that they even dressed the 1956 Melbourne Olympics team! Sadly, I note that the brand went into administration late last year.

Blouse by Bento & vintage Fletcher Jones skirt.

It’s sad because having now read this Wikipedia entry on Sir (David) Fletcher Jones, well I would’ve liked to have paid tribute to such an impressive Australian by shopping in his store… In a time where friends of mine are throwing in corporate jobs to start up high-quality and ethical businesses, it turns out that Fletcher Jones did all of that after returning from serving in World War I with shell shock – and did quite well with it for sometime too, I must add! I’m curious now to learn more about what went wrong for the store and found that this The Age article was another great read on the man and brand.

Incorporating vintage Fletcher Jones into my workwear...

I picked up my skirt from Julie’s Vintage Clothing Boutique in Bendigo. The store is directly opposite the Bendigo Art Gallery that is hosting the immensely popular Grace Kelly exhibition until 17th June of thisyear. Julie stocks some impressive vintage pieces – I also picked up a 1950s beaded party frock! However the important thing for BusiChics hoping to expand their vintage workwear is that she stocks quality Fletcher Jones pieces which she finds that they are very popular with her customers like me!

If you do manage to get your hands on a 1950s pencil-skirt, may I suggest wearing it with a v-neck top like my Bento blouse or an open white work shirt. I made the mistake recently of wearing it with a high neck top and the result was positively frumpy as the skirt itself is longer in length and in a thick wool. That said, it’s that same thickness that is responsible for the snug and comfortable fit 😉

I’ve styled my Fletcher Jones wool skirt with a Bento blouse, Edenborough Evans earrings and vintage Bally pumps. I’m debating whether I should have added in a skinny belt and styled my hair up – what do you think?

What do you think about 1950s-styled work attire, Fletcher Jones and what I’m wearing to work in this post?

References: Mad Men image


  1. I love the way you carry these vintage clothes and you looks so gorgeous.

  2. Stephanie Anderson says

    I think that what you paired with the vintage skirt was glorious. Your hair styled up would have accentuated the V-line in the blouse which also would have been a nice look.

  3. Love your vintage skirt! I like your tip about how to pair it with a v neck top too, thank you! I have a few pencil skirts that are longer on me, I’ll keep your tip in mind!

  4. Pretty good combination. I actually love the blouse. Very vintage.

  5. Rewind Vintage says

    Nice picture i like this picture.

  6. The Fletcher Jones story is fascinating, Business Chic!

    There was a documentary made a few years back that showcased him and his very loyal staff –

    Coming from Geelong, his store was very important for the city and for the many men and women who wanted good quality and impressively styled fashions, without having to travel to Melbourne to get them. I spent many days in Fletcher Jones on Moorabool Street in Geelong with my mother wjere she bought beautifully tailored skirts and pants.

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