In a 4.1 Hitfix interview with Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm, Alan Sepinwall asks Hamm to explain why Don Draper has refused to grow even modest-length sideburns despite the fact that by 1969 each and every creative person on the planet earth had begun to let their hair and sideburns grow at least a little bit.
Sepinwall: “Over the years, other [Mad Men] characters’ looks have changed dramatically, [but] Don’s look has remained constant. Has that helped you stay centered in the character, or have you ever wished that you could grow muttonchops or a ‘stache? ”
Hamm: “I think it makes sense. I think Don is invested in staying Don. I think it’s on purpose from a creative standpoint. And I support the choice. That’s how we start the final season, if you look at season 7 as one long season, you see the LA airport, and it’s all bright colors and new things and shiny planes, and new things and hippies and hot women and colors and psychedelics, and through it all moves this gray man that we’ve seen for the last ten years, and he’s exactly the same. And he looks so out of place.”
Wells interjection: No, it’s too pat. I don’t care how invested or fucked up Draper is emotionally or psychologically — he still would’ve grown modest sideburns to fit in and not look like some anxious, screwed-down type. He would want to look mellow and relaxed so as to suggest command and confidence. The 1969 Draper looking like a guy who just came out of creative meeting in 1962 means he would look a little weird. It would result in a little bit of “what’s with the uptight look and the super-short hair, Don?” Draper obviously knows what everyone else is getting into style-wise, and by holding on to his Kennedy administration Cape Canaveral haircut he’s actually taking out advertising that says “there is something anal and butt-plugged about me that I’m unable to face or deal with.”