From Drab to Draper: How to Style Your Desk Like a 1960s Ad Man

The modern desktop has a lot going for it: It’s ergonomic, efficient, and equipped with the sleekest technology. But gone is a certain charm—that of the manual typewriter, rotary phone, and leather-bound portfolios that once adorned the desks of Madison Avenue ad agencies. Here's how you can use a few choice items to give your desk a Mad Men-inspired makeover. And don't forget to tune in as the Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning drama Mad Men, produced by Lionsgate, kicks off its final seven episodes on AMC beginning Sunday, April 5 at 10|9c.

Fountain Pen

A fountain pen has a enough weight that makes signing on the dotted line feel that much more significant. We tapped a staffer’s collection for the striking Montblanc Meisterstück pictured above—an iconic implement designed in 1924.

Pocket Notebook

Keeping a small notebook at the ready won’t just help you remember that million-dollar idea; it may even inspire it. Beyond its cognitive and creative benefits, writing by hand also conveys confidence—you’d never see Don hiding behind a laptop at the big pitch meeting.

Letter Opener

This sleek piece of hardware remains the only way to open a letter with grace—and keeping one at your desk suggests you still receive important correspondence the old-fashioned way.


You never know what will inspire your next big idea. Surround yourself with a few good books to keep your space cultured and creative. We picked a collection of prose poetry and a guide to pipe smoking from Nate’s personal stash.

Pomade Paste

You can still rock a smooth, Draper-style side part without keeping your hair on lockdown all day. Paste will provide plenty of hold, the right amount of shine (read: hardly any), and the ability to restyle it between big presentation and dinner date.

Change of Clothes

If you’re prone to burning the midnight oil—or the occasional all-nighter at the pub around the corner—it doesn’t hurt to have a crisp shirt and fresh tie at your desk. In other words: Nine-o’clock client meetings wait for no one.

Mouth Spray

Nothing will botch a first impression quicker than coffee breath. Keep a mouth spray handy for a breath-freshening boost that’s bound to help you close the deal.

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