fugging it up

The Fug Girls Track the Fashion Evolution of Mad Men Daughter Kiernan Shipka

61104420 Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/2010 Getty Images

When Mad Men finally returned last week, the character we most wanted to check in with was Don Draper’s daughter, Sally, played with remarkable depth by Kiernan Shipka. Sure, Don’s secretary-bride and Betty’s chilly misery were on our minds, too, but Sally is the one bearing the brunt of their emotional punches  — and 12-year-old Shipka, with her doleful eyes, sells Sally’s inner life so well that she easily holds the screen. And as it turns out, she can play with the pros on the red carpet, too. You’re getting served by an elementary-school girl, Hollywood. How does it feel? Like burning?

Why: The HBO gifting suite, just prior to the 2008 Emmys — at which Mad Men won its first Best Drama Series Emmy (making this a generous invite, given that HBO had to be feeling bummed out about having passed on the show). What: It’s so refreshing to see a child actor show up somewhere looking more like a child and less like an actor. In fairness, she looks like a cool kid — those motorcycle boots are particularly fun, and her braided hairdo is adorable — but very much a kid. And thank God.  Photo: Charley Gallay/2008 Getty Images
Why: The SAG Awards, where the cast accepted “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble” What: That award could have referred to their collective good wardrobe as well (what happened to Christina Hendricks between 2009 and today? She’s a bombshell in that gown, whereas nowadays she generally looks like she got dressed while bombed). We especially love seeing Shipka front and center, fully comfortable being 9 years old rather than trying to be 29. It is also worth nothing that Blair Waldorf would wear that today. Photo: Jason Merritt/2009 Getty Images
Why: Mad Men’s season-three premiere What: Can’t blame her for repeating herself a little — after all, basic black is a lady’s best friend, and who didn’t love a headband at that age? At least of all the Gossip Girl characters Kiernan could’ve drawn inspiration from, she chose the one who is stylishly prim. We are not, and may never be, ready for her to have a Serena Van Der Woodsen phase. Photo: David Livingston/2009 Getty Images
Why: An Emmy gifting suite What: Listen, we have no idea why they posed Kiernan in front of a poster advertising healing magnets — particularly when she’s still at the age where she’d probably be plenty happy putting them on the fridge. But that outfit is cute and casual (we’d kind of like it in our size) and we hope as a reward for keeping her so age-appropriate, her parents took home some goodies. And some fancy magnets. Photo: Amanda Edwards/2009 Getty Images
Why: The Screen Actors Guild Awards What: The color is fantastic on Kiernan, but the overall look here — bare shoulders, plus updo, plus weird bow-around-the-neck accessorizing — is inching its way toward Toddlers and Tiaras territory. The good news is, burning off your questionable red-carpet look at the SAGs, where no one is really paying attention, is the mark of a seriously smart stylist.   Photo: Frazer Harrison/2010 Getty Images
Why: The annual fund-raiser for the Elisabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation What: Because it’s a “celebrity picnic” with carnival games, half of said picnicking celebs show up with a bare midriff and a cowboy hat. So we feel confident in saying that Kiernan — aside from looking summery and smart — was also probably the most pulled-together person at this entire gathering. Therefore we hope she took away nothing from this event except a yen for philanthropy.   Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/2010 Getty Images
Why: The premiere of Mad Men’s fourth season. What: Man, we miss fifth grade — a.k.a., the age when you can waltz around looking incredibly cute in clothes that would make adults look like the Fruit of the Loom grape. Enjoy it while it lasts, kids.   Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/2010 Getty Images
Why: The premiere of Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore What: Typing out that movie title hurt us, and maybe Kiernan wasn’t thrilled about it, either, so she decided to go a little wild. (Can you blame her? Her job involves hanging out on an incredibly adult set — in fact, that hairdo looks January Jones–inspired, so maybe we can somehow blame her.) Having said that, maybe Mama Shipka expressed the same concern, because this raggedy strapless look proved more of a bump in the road than a harbinger of things to come.   Photo: Jason Merritt/2010 Getty Images
Why: Another Emmy gifting suite. Judging from what Kiernan is holding, they may have been gifting ice cream. We’re jealous. What: Actually, maybe they’re handing out sorbet, because this seriously charming sundress feels like a palate cleanser. It’s the best parts of Betty Draper, with none of the icy veneer and barely suppressed bitterness — as if they reimagined Mad Men in the vein of Bugsy Malone. Photo: Noel Vasquez/2010 Getty Images
Why: The Emmys, where Mad Men won its third Best Drama award What: Comparing this photo with the one from the SAGs a year earlier makes you wonder if the prop folks have been lacing Mad Men’s on-set martinis with crazy pills. We don’t know what the rest of the women were thinking this year, but one could easily make the argument that Kiernan is the best-dressed Mad Men actress of the evening. Take note, ladies. Especially you, Hendricks. Why are you molting? Photo: Jason Merritt/2010 Getty Images
Why: Elle’s Women in Hollywood tribute, and the WGA Awards What: If you’ll forgive the chronology warp here, there is something awesome about Kiernan wearing the same dress in different colors, roughly a year and a half apart. It’s so normal. The girl isn’t letting Mad Men, or Hollywood, or the fact that the Internet desperately wanted her to get an award nomination, and/or a plum role in Hunger Games go to her head. Most of the world is just happy to find something they love that fits, and apparently so is she.
Why: The AFI Awards, which … really, the first quarter of the year needs another awards show? If you say so. What: Yeah, yeah, that red dress is adorable. Blah blah blah great color, yada yada yada. We’re much more interested in talking about her immaculate taste in accessories. After all, a generous serving of Hamm improves any dish.   Photo: Frazer Harrison/2011 Getty Images
Why: Elle Women in Television event What: Kiernan’s definitely absorbing the best of her job’s retro flavor. Somewhere, Zooey Deschanel is reaching for the phone and a pair of unnecessary black tights Photo: Jason Merritt/2011 Getty Images
Why: The Golden Globes What: Dear Hollywood: Kiernan was all of 11 years old, and even she understood the value of wearing a color. How have the rest of you missed that memo? Photo: Frazer Harrison/2011 Getty Images
Why: Various kid-themed movie premieres and a Power of Youth event, which we are praying is unconnected to any kind of cult What: The girl is a whiz with patterns. Okay, the first one may have been one of Betty Draper’s old maternity blouses, but the cool, slouchy boots with all three of them are the perfect go-to shoe. How often does a sixth-grader make you want to go shopping? And yet, here we are. It’s a little embarrassing.
Why: The premiere of Judy Moody and the Not-Bummer Summer What: We can’t vouch for Judy’s vacation, but we’re definitely not bummed by Kiernan’s kicks. As long as you are not wearing those Vibram barefoot shoes under your gown at the Globes (ahem, Shailene Woodley), we love a girl who isn’t afraid of an event-appropriate rubber sole. Photo: Frazer Harrison/2011 Getty Images
Why: An Emmys pre-party. It appears that when you are the only child actor on Mad Men who can actually, you know, act, you get invited everywhere. What: A girl is never too young to find out what a bitch it is to sit around in satin all night long. It always wrinkles, and who has room for a mini-steamer in her clutch? No one. Life lessons, you guys. They’re for more than just relationships. Photo: Valerie Macon/2011 Getty Images
Why: The Creative Arts Emmys What: Are those separates? Even we aren’t always brave enough to try that — much less succeed at it. The volume on the skirt is a fun touch that Kiernan gets away with because when you’re her age, nothing short of wearing unicorns ever looks twee. Photo: Noel Vasquez/2011 Getty Images
Why: The Emmy Awards What: A pair of real high heels makes this look a little more adult — okay, for an 11-year-old at a formal event? You make the call. But the flowered print, and the smart and sweet after-show cardigan, means Kiernan could easily transition from major Hollywood awards show to middle-school dance without raising a brow. (That’s a compliment. This time.) Photo: Frazer Harrison/2011 Getty Images
Photo: Michael Buckner/2011 Getty Images
Why: The Twilight: Breaking Dawn premiere. What: If we had a daughter her age, we might think twice before letting her see a movie where a man who can turn into a wolf falls in love with a half-vampire infant — but we’d have no problem with this look, which is kind of Pretty Littlest Liar. The dark color palette is thematically right for the event, and while the dress is fairly mature on its own, the tights and the boots keep her from looking as though she’s (yikes) trying to sex it up. A smart baby step toward maturity. Photo: Frazer Harrison/2011 Getty Images
Why: The launch of the Banana Republic Mad Men Spring Collection What: Don’t you want to take her out for milkshakes and an in-depth conversation about which is better, The Baby-Sitters’ Club or Sweet Valley High? She’s just so darling, like the Platonic ideal of an adorable little sister in a fluffy fifties rom-com. In fact, if they ever made a live-action Barbie movie, (a) here’s your Skipper, and (b) she should turn down the part because it will turn out to be a terrible project. Photo: Christopher Polk/2012 Getty Images
Why: A Paley festival panel celebrating Mad Men, a week prior to this season’s premiere What: Another event, another adorable patterned frock that we wish we owned. Kiernan is growing up into such a stunner. In about seven years, she will be breaking the hearts of both her classmates and probably whoever the next Bieber is. Or possibly Bieber himself. Photo: Jason Merritt/2012 Getty Images
Why: The season five Mad Men premiere What: Seriously, is Kiernan Shipka going to be the only adult in 2025 without a pile of embarrassing tween-era photos to “accidentally” destroy in a minor kitchen fire? (Or, you know, to swiftly untag on whatever Facebook-like program our alien overlords have installed in our brain chips?) It’s an impressive achievement. We hope her parents are amply congratulating themselves right now. They should consider joining forces with the Fannings to teach a class at the Learning Annex called “The Care and Dressing of Your Child Star.” It would be a public service. Photo: Frazer Harrison/2012 Getty Images
The Fug Girls Track the Fashion Evolution of Mad Men Daughter Kiernan Shipka