**Spoiler alert! Do not keep reading if you haven't yet watched your Tivo'd "Mad Men" season finale.**
Sunday's season finale included a lot of bomb dropping moments - and I'm not talking about the threat of a Soviet nuclear strike. The first strike... "Don, I'm pregnant," -Boom! Strike 2: "Peggy, you could go to hell!" - Boom! Strike 3: "I love you and I want to be with you," -Boom! Followed by the Grand Finale: "Pete, I had your baby and I gave it away." - Boom... Boom... Bang... Bang! Way to leave us hanging until season 3.
With so many questions left unanswered, I can't help but think of how "Meditations in an Emergency" mimicked the tone of our current state as a country. Like all the Mad Men characters on Sunday night, we are fearful - fearful of losing our jobs, of another terrorist attack, of an election gone awry, and of a sick economy where the ultimate damages are still unknown. As a globalized society, we've recently rediscovered that when there's a boom, there's always a bust. And there are some things we can learn from Betty, Joan, Trudy, and the rest - pearls and brooches can make any outfit look its best.
It's true. My grandmother always told me that you could make any plain wardrobe look like a million bucks when you dress it up with a pearl necklace or a fine brooch.
This fashion season, brooches are once again making a comeback and Mad Men may be to blame. Take for instance Joan, pictured below, wore a delicate gold leaf brooch with a matching pair of earrings. You don't need an overbearing brooch to make something look elegant. For example, Francine had on a plain brown suit with a short boxy jacket, yet her brooch added a splash of elegance to that rather dreary color.
Brooches may come in and out of style but pearls are timeless. If you haven't already learned from Jacqueline Kennedy, then take a look at Betty Draper - the Queen of these mollusk productions. She wears pearl earrings, pearl bracelets and pearl necklaces from a single strand to three. Pearls symbolize pure elegance, so throw a pearl necklace on anything and you'll exude a Jackie O or a Betty Draper. Pearls can also be worn in pink, yellow, black, short or long. The always perfectly prim Trudy wore golden colored pearls. Even Peggy is moving on up in accessories with a simple single-strand of pearls.
Our potential first ladies, too, seem to be emulating the styles of Betty, Peggy and Joan. Check out the accessories that Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama have flaunted on the campaign trail.
Unless you're funded by the RNC, it's becoming more difficult to purchase a completely new wardrobe during these tough times. Accessories are key this year in dressing up and changing last seasons' attire, and buying a pearl necklace and/or a brooch doesn't need to break the bank either. Pearls and brooches don't need to be expensive to look expensive. You can find some of the best wallet-conscious jewelry items at places like Forever 21 and H&M.
While we impatiently wait for the next season of this beloved show, the fashions and stories of Mad Men will carry us through until the next episode. So before Peggy starts wearing a Mary Quant mini and before Don grows his hair out, check out this week's more affordable Mad Men looks to bring out your inner Betty, Peggy, Joan, and Don.