Grab These: Don Draper’s Aviator Sunglasses

Ivy-Style’s Battle of the Wits giveaway returns with something guaranteed to boost your cool.

Randolph Engineering, sunglasses supplier to the US military, has generously donated two pairs of its limited-edition “Ad Man” aviators, the favored shades of Don Draper on AMC’s “Mad Men” and a $170 value.

Says the company:

Randolph Engineering has supplied sunglasses to the US Military and Air Forces world-wide since 1982. Famed for their extreme durability and classic American style, these sunglasses are meticulously handcrafted using only the finest materials.

The prize will go to the two most inspired and original responses to the following question:

If you could be Don Draper for a day, what would you do?

For example, you could start by drinking and smoking in your office all day, see Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris at a Yankees night game, and top it off by catching a Bill Evans set at the Village Vanguard.

Leave a comment to submit your entry in 50 words or less. And let’s go easy on the secretaries, OK gentlemen?

The usual rules apply: Open to US residents only, one entry per household, and all that honor code stuff.

The contest closes on Wednesday at 6 PM Eastern Standard Time, when Don leaves the office, puts on his shades, and heads for the Metro North.

* * *

Update: Randolph Engineering has chosen the following two winners. First up is Don Draper, who the company said should work in their marketing department:

9 AM Meeting with Randolph Engineering. Stand at head of conference table, perfectly arrogant in my purpose. Unveil artwork depicting a lone pair of RE Aviators on a blank white canvas. Three words pierce the bottom of the page: Substance is style.

Next up is Jason, who submitted the following:

Morning: Wispy smoke rises. Read copy, crumple it. Think.
Lunch: Three drinks with Roger. Talk about nothing, an idea strikes.
Afternoon: Luckies and bourbon, rocks. Idea crystallizes. Client sold. Exit meeting early.
Dinner to celebrate, then to Hilton’s penthouse.
Balcony. Sunset. Scotch, neat.
Remove Aviators as she enters the suite.

65 Comments on "Grab These: Don Draper’s Aviator Sunglasses"

  1. Dominate at work.
    Impeccably tailored suit.
    Two fingers of scotch.

  2. Wake up on the office couch, throw on a fresh-pressed shirt from the desk, then go to lunch—match Sterling drink for drink. Write down pitch idea on a cocktail napkin. At home, teach the kid how to bar-tend and be sincere enough that Betts gives you a smile.

  3. Meet with Kellogg’s and Sinatra, pitching old blue eyes as the perfect spokesman. I seal the deal with, “When you wake up after a night like mine – you need a good breakfast.” Frank and I celebrate with lunch at the Palm and drinks, followed by a night of mild debauchery.

  4. Browse the “Ivy Style” section of the NYT and try and score myself some free sunglasses.

  5. Sean McCreery | June 14, 2010 at 10:33 am |

    If I were Don Draper for a day I would stop cheating on my wife and talk to her for once. For the day I had command of I would finally be a good father and pay attention to my kids. I would stop being so selfish and fly right.

  6. Rise in the morning, fall asleep at night, and in between, do what needed to be done.

  7. Wake up next to a beautiful blond stewardess in Connie Hilton’s personal suite, slide out of bed, slip out the door. Get to the office, unwrap a crisp white shirt, and make a pitch to the RCA brass that makes their knees tremble.

  8. Don Draper living: Sharp. Smart. Stylish. Fake it till I make it, and believe in myself above everything else. In New York City.

  9. Lay pipe. Scotch. Rinse. Repeat.

  10. Wake up and load the family in my blue cadillac. Drive to the Hamptons. Picnic on the beach, show Bobby how to throw a football, play tennis with Betty and some new friends (owners of Coca Cola) who are looking for new representation. Lay on the charm and return to work landing a whale of an account.

  11. Don Draper | June 14, 2010 at 1:47 pm |

    9AM Meeting with Randolph Engineering

    Stand at head of conference table, perfectly arrogant in my purpose. Unveil artwork depicting a lone pair of RE Aviators on a blank white canvas. Three words pierce the bottom of the page.

    Substance is style.

  12. head off to the talkhouse in amagansett. catch a show. find a beat. tap my toes. cruise over to wiborg beach. catch wave. never come back. day complete.

  13. Unfamiliar hotel room. Alone. Slight hangover. Taxi to Madison Ave. Aviators on (to shield bloodshot eyes from polyester skirts). Aviators off. Fresh shirt on. Ace the presentation. Celebratory cocktail. Call home (going to be late). Aviators on (again). Drinks and Jazz, in that order, at the Village Vanguard.

  14. I’d call in sick to the agency, for starters. My day would be spent at Columbia, appreciating the Ivy style around campus, maybe catching a lecture. I’d meet some young people along the way. That evening we’d head to a coffee house to check out a young troubadour named Dylan.

  15. “I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one”

  16. M.D. Cooley | June 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm |

    Be an asshole and have everything still go my way.

  17. Wake up and shake off the feeling that in spite of the high highs, the passionate and visceral experiences of beauty and mastery, that nothing can fill the void of having to go on knowing the American Dream is complete bullshit.

  18. To be completely honest I would just try and bang Joan Holloway.

  19. Joan Holloway.

  20. Sit in the office. Arrange secretaries in poses. Jump out the window.

  21. Work hard. Play harder. Enjoy a smoke and an old fashioned made with Ole Grandad while I figure out if stepping out on the wife is work or play…

  22. I would drop the name Don Draper and move to Memphis.

  23. My day as Don Draper? Wake up, step into an impeccably tailored gray flannel suit, slick over my hair with brylcreem, and head off to work getting busy on destroying the original American dream and cooking up the new American dream (one of indulgence, excess, and opulence) at my swanky Madison Ave. ad job. After work, an old fashioned or two with some beautiful lovelies from the steno pool or models from the commercial casting call. And when I am suitably liquored up, I’ll drive on home and raise my children proper, by spending all of 5 minutes with each kid as I tuck them into bed. I think I would even find some time to love my beautiful wife, ‘Betts’.

  24. Wake up in the morning, grab Betty’s a$$! Put on the Aviators to hide the yesterday Scotch! Arrive at the office, grab Joan’s a$$! Yell at Pete, have a Scotch and a Kent, yell at Harry and Paul, have a Scotch! Put on the Aviators and go to a business lunch to grab Rachel’s a$$ and have a Gibson!

  25. Light a Lucky Strike, cut down Pete Campbell’s “death wish” ad theory, and finally realize that Rachel Menken was “the one.”

  26. I’d make sure all these hidden reality-cameras that are watching everything I do aren’t planning on packing it in any time soon — I’d encourage them to stick around, make note & film more, so that their 21st century could bring back great American style too.

  27. Breakfast with Sterling at Katz. New grey Hickey Freeman suit today, Munsingwear pitch at 2. Whiskey, clean with lunch at Lutece. Make pitch using Arnold Palmer as spokesperson. Dinner with clients at La Caravelle after sealing deal. Waitress giving me the eye. See CEO off, whisk waitress away to Cafe Pierre, room upstairs after. I can be a little late home, it’s been a good day.

  28. While saving American Airlines, I’d smoke a pack of lucky strikes and drink 5 ryes. After that victory, I’d break early to go home. After putting the kids to bed, I’d go driving in my Cadillac, drink in hand, remembering that there is no America, only a frontier.

  29. Scotch, woman, and brilliant product pitch when it counts—there’s no any other way.

  30. I’d wake up to an average day of me telling myself that I’m the best. After heading to the firm and getting some work done, I’d womanize some ladies at the office and head to lunch, come back, and womanize some more. After work, I’d go out for some hard liquor, cheat on my wife, arrive home intoxicated, and pretend that it was just an uneventful day at work.

  31. I’m no good at this kind of contest, so I’ll just make my usual type of comment.

    Adam wrote the following anti-American screed:

    “…the American Dream is complete bullshit.”

    Tell that to George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, and the countless others who have risen from modest beginnings to great heights, in all fields of human endeavor.

    Tell that to the 320 American who have won Nobel Prizes–a whopping 39% of all Prizes ever awarded.

    I’m sick and tired of left-wing anti-American ranting, here or elsewhere, and I’m going to expose it for the BS it is.

    If I were Don Draper for a day? I’d use my connections to get someone to knock some sense into you, Adam, while I drank, smoked, grabbed a secretary or two, and made the American Dream come true–again.

  32. Jpress suit, room service at the Pierre for breakfast, dress down poorly dressed underlings, dress-up and down love interest, Yale Club with Sterling for lunch, 3x Manhattan, Fedora, hire Slim Aarons as new art director, charm Hilton, win back wife.

  33. Fresh shirt at Menken’s: $14
    Haircut and a shave: $4.25
    Pitch and Kill in the room, win the Kodak account: $43 a month raise
    Rounds at the St. Regis: $10
    Remembering her name in the morning: priceless

  34. Launch a new ad campaign for a famous cigarette brand – Lucky Strike or Marlboro? Make it to the office and lock eyes with the new secretary. Maybe philander for a bit before a two-martini lunch. Come back to the office, welcome the new hire from Dartmouth and maybe ease Sal out of the closet before going home to the wife.

  35. Morning. Wispy smoke rises. Read copy, crumple it. Think.
    Lunch. Three drinks with Roger. Talk about nothing, an idea strikes.
    Afternoon. Luckies and bourbon, rocks. Idea crystallizes. Client sold. Exit meeting early.
    Dinner to celebrate, then to Hilton’s penthouse.
    Balcony. Sunset. Scotch, neat.
    Remove Aviators as she enters the suite.

  36. Greg K., PA | June 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm |

    Coffee and cigarette for breakfast
    Martinis and oysters for lunch
    Steak and Whisky for dinner
    Flavor of the week for dessert 😉

  37. Greg K., PA | June 15, 2010 at 1:15 pm |

    And Henry – you failed to address the point. Even if the American Dream is dead, that doesn’t mean it never lived. Your comment is moot.

    Keep your politics away from my clothing.

  38. I would look around me and see, see that the world is changing; mourn, mourn for a dying ideal

  39. I’d bring Betty breakfast in bed and stay there for the rest of the day. *bites knuckles*

  40. Alexander H'Lotte | June 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm |

    I would obviously love Betty, but “Oh Shit”, what’s that red heads name?

  41. Kenneth Alexander III | June 15, 2010 at 7:58 pm |

    “I would take the day off!”

  42. Alexander H'Lotte | June 15, 2010 at 7:59 pm |

    I would obviously love Betty but, “Oh Shit”, what about that red head?

  43. “I would take the day off!”

  44. Rise early; it’s brighter where I live now. Watch over my beautiful blonde wife (she misses me more than usual today). At night, fly cross-country to New York. Send a sign to Dick Whitman that he’s done my name proud, but should have kept a firmer grip on his Zippo.

  45. At the risk of jeopardizing my place in this contest, and of getting ire from most of the people (men?) on here, I would like to comment further on Adam’s comment.

    “Wake up and shake off the feeling that in spite of the high highs, the passionate and visceral experiences of beauty and mastery, that nothing can fill the void of having to go on knowing the American Dream is complete bullshit.”

    I don’t know why a couple of you have such a problem with this statement. This IS Don Draper’s reality. This is what someone wearing Don Draper’s glasses would come to realize on a daily basis. Those of you that criticized this statement, I really question if you watch Mad Men regularly (or at all), or bother to watch it for anything more than its sexy clothes, sets, and people. I love the clothes on Mad Men, and I love the type of clothes promoted by Ivy Style…but Mad Men poignantly addresses the hollowness and the illusion of the so-called American Dream. With the exception of Peggy, and probably Joan, all of the people on that show live what we in 2010 consider the golden age of “The American Dream.” Yet all of these characters are tragic figures who have serious problems underneath their gorgeous exteriors. There is no question that Mad Men can unleash a longing for 3 packs a day and casual alcoholism, but when it comes down to it, Matthew Weiner’s show is about critique, politics, and nuance. If you don’t want clothes and politics to mix, go to a mall.

  46. I receive a call from Midge, she sounds frantic. “Meet me at my old place, I need you…” Contrary to my better judgment I agree. Old memories replay in my head on the trip over. I walk through the door; she embraces me and whispers two words into my ear.

  47. I would smoke a Lucky, mix an Old Fashioned, open the shoebox and gaze at those old faded pictures of what I once was. Then, I would put those sunglasses on and walk out the door, away from my past.

  48. Be thankful for the Seal Of Confession, and get myself to church.

  49. My day would be Saturday. Grab a bottle of good prosecco (a remnant from our trip to Italy) and two flutes and drive the Caddy in the sun with the aviators on. Sit on the Connecticut River bank with Betty, sip the wine. Take her home when the sun sets.

  50. Call in from work to grab an early round at Westchester Country Club, then head down to Echo Island and join a buddy on his private yacht for a mid-afternoon gin and cola. Top it off with an evening at a Manhattan art gallery viewing some works by Jasper Johns.

  51. Highball in the morning,
    off to work.
    Lowball in the evening,
    New York at my feet.
    Scotch Neat,
    time to start in on the Serious Equipment.

  52. While shaving, I notice that I’d cut myself. I flashback to the days of insecure Dick Whitman. I’m haunted. After breakfast, I hop into my Cadillac. I open the glove box and grab my aviators. As I slide them on, “Don” slowly comes back. I drive off into the sunlight.

  53. Renegotiate contracts with clients to be paid in stock equity. Phone White House, tell president to duck in Texas. Sell the firm on the future of social marketing. Head to the Hamptons and buy beach front property. Find George B. Boedecker, Jr, nudge him into a career of construction work.

  54. Lauren, your comment is spot-on. On the surface, Mad Men seems to be a celebration of a by-gone era. However, like most mainstream entertainment, it is both dishonest in its portrayal of the past (on the whole, people were nowhere near as venal and dysfunctional as they are portrayed on the show) and deeply hostile to our pre-mid-60s Cultural Revolution culture.

    Some of this can be attributed to the needs of drama: if nothing dramatic is going on, nobody cares. Most people’s lives would make terrible movies or books or TV shows. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about how modern-day liberals are always going on about how “enlightened” we are and how allegedly horrible all previous generations were. So, in order to keep with liberal script about the past, we have to have not only historically-accurate elements (the clothes, the smoking, the drinking) but also the overall portrayal of the past as veritable hell on earth: the serial infidelity; the blackmail; the duplicity; the treachery; and, of course, the “worst” of it all, the racism.

    (I’m not defending racism. It’s just that I don’t think that government-enforced racism, whether it’s called Jim Crow or Affirmative Action, is ever appropriate. Also, I’m not saying that the behavior mentioned above never happened; it just wasn’t as prevalent as the show makes it seem.)

    When it comes down to it, while the “hollowness and illusion” the show portrays are appropriate for the immoral, wicked characters on in, it is NOT an accurate representation of that age, nor, of course, of the American Dream (reports of its death are greatly exaggerated).

  55. Fresh Cuban coffee; crisp pocket square; ad pitch (small-fries, nothing to fret over); long business lunch, watching Columbia/NYU girls pass on their way to the park; nightcap at the Carlyle, accepting a friend’s invite to an upstairs “private party” with the Kennedy brothers, Sinatra and ever venerable Mrs. Monroe.

  56. I would spend the day in the office with the boys developing campaigns for my customers that cultivate images of grandeur and fulfillment. Leave the office early and enjoy a few ryes of course.

  57. oh, I see…we were supposed to suck up to the sponsor, Randolph Engineering, in order to actually win. Not that the selections were necessarily bad; but really, if you had a chance to live the life of Don Draper in early 1960s New York City, and the best you did with that was give an ad for a pair of sunglasses, that would be quite a waist (not to mention unimaginative).

  58. BTW..Don doesn’t drink bourbon he’s a rye man…

  59. Just an addendum:

    Ellie LaVeer Stager, maker of fine hand-made bow ties, had this reaction to Mad Men:

    “Mad Men has some slick suits and dapper hair. But it’s a pretty disgusting show.”

  60. Henry is our moral compass.

  61. Hey Clayton – The real Don Draper would be clever in his approach to win any contest, especially a “Battle of the Wits”. It’s a good sell to mention the aviators that are running the contest. The first winner actually pulled off a Don Draper pitch… which I can only assume Randolph Engineering wouldn’t refuse, and that was just the start of his fictional day. It may have ended with Mrs. Monroe; who knows.

    Give the guy props for winning. Well played.

  62. I’m disappointed that I didn’t know that Don was a rye drinker, although it certainly fits his character. Where did you learn that? My eyesight isn’t so great, so if it’s the kind of think I had to pull from the label of the bottles in his office, that’s why I’m behind the curve, I guess.

  63. Oh, and I actually had to go back to the Randolph website to double-check whether “Substance is Style” was their motto. THAT was very good.

  64. Great brand indeed. A great alternative to Ray Ban and Persol that tend to be seen around a lot. I wish I was living in the US to have been able to grab a pair of those!

    If there is any french readers or google translator addicts, we also did our little research on the brand:
    don’t hesitate to leave you feeback


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