Mad Men's Costume Designer on Banana Republic, Static Cling and Season Five

Janie Bryant talks about her favorite fashion moments from past seasons

Banana Republic; Inset: WireImage

When asked if she can spill any details on season five of Mad Men (premiering March 25) Janie Bryant says with a smile, “Absolutely not!” The show’s costume designer is required to stay tight-lipped on plot details — but that doesn’t mean she can’t talk fashion.

Round two of the show’s clothing collaboration with Banana Republic hits stores Thursday, March 1, and includes bright, flattering dresses, retro ankle pants, sweet sweaters and shirts and slacks for men, too.

“It’s been really amazing,” she tells PEOPLE of the partnership. “It’s a perfect fit. Those classic, beautiful, ladylike shapes, perfect tailoring … The first collection did amazing, and this second one is going to do amazingly, too.”

What’s also amazing is the fashion on Mad Men, which makes us pine for the pretty dresses and structured styles of the ’60s. And that makes Bryant’s job extra fun. She combs designer racks for the perfect looks for stars like Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks, and also gets to create from time to time. “If I can’t find it, I build it,” she explains.

When asked if she has a favorite character to dress, Bryant demures. “I get that question all the time … but for me, it’s really about what’s going on in the script,” she explains. “So I probably have a favorite character about 30 times throughout the season. It’s always changing depending on what’s happening.”

She does have some favorite dresses, though. “I love what I call ‘the sad clown costume’ that Betty Draper [January Jones] wore in season two,” she shares. “And Joan’s [Hendricks] Christmas dress that I designed for her in season four, the red one with the bows.”

To keep her characters’ clothes in great shape, Bryant says she turns to Downy Wrinkle Releaser, a fabric spray that fights creases and static cling. “I don’t ever iron, who has time for that?” she jokes. “So it really is something I use professionally, and also personally.”

As part of her partnership with Downy, Bryant recently helped the company create a fabric care guide, which teaches fashionistas how to wash and maintain their favorite clothes. “It’s useful for contemporary fabrics, and vintage fabrics as well,” she explains. “It’s really an amazing tool.” Download your guide here, check out Mad Men for Banana Republic Thursday and catch
Mad Men
on AMC March 25. Tell us: Are you a fan of the show’s retro styles?

–Kate Hogan


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