To channel Joan’s look in real life, your best bet is obviously vintage. Pieces were cut much smaller in the waist back then – perfect for hourglass women like Ms Hendricks. The US is the best place to go if you have a bigger waist measurement. There’s much more floating around in larger sizes than you’ll find in Europe. Try eBay, of course (don’t underestimate those ‘bulk’ vintage lots, loads crop up on Australian eBay for some reason) and make sure you know your bust, waist and hip measurements. There’s nothing worse than buying something you love only to find it doesn’t fit (you can take stuff in, but you can’t let it out).
If you’d rather not hunt down second hand pieces, there are some great brands making modern reproduction pieces too. Try Bettie Page clothing, a Vegas-based boutique and online store full of wiggle dresses and retro pieces. They go up to a sze 3X, which has a waist somewhere between 34 and 38 inches.
Stop Staring is also a popular brand, worn by Paris Hilton, on Gossip Girl and modelled by Ashley Greene from Twilight. The figure-hugging Mae dress is very Joan, and again sizes go up to a 3X.
Don’t underestimate the power of decent underwear, too. In the 50s and 60s women sculpted and shaped their silhouettes with girdles, we can do the same with a a lot less pain with modern shapewear (though most of it is nowhere near as pretty as the stuff the cast of Mad Men get to wear). See the Big Girls Browse lingerie section for some ideas on what’s out there.
For more tips on buying retro reproduction, check out . As this look is so flattering on the fuller figure, a lot of the brands featured make their dresses in larger sizes.
[images courtesy of AMC]