Elisabeth Moss, who notes she isn’t a fashionista, says ‘Dress Normal’

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss says her varied wardrobe represents “about 20 different personalities.”
(Jay L. Clendenin, Los Angeles Times)

Elisabeth Moss is best known for her role as Peggy Olson, advertising feminista on AMC’s edgy midcentury Madison Avenue drama “Mad Men.” At least for the time being.

Moss, 32, wrapped “Mad Men” for good in July, finishing up the final episodes, which are scheduled to air next year.

After seven seasons playing Peggy, Moss’ world is expanding fast. She’s in two films released this year (“The One I Love,” which opened in August, and “Listen Up Philip,” scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on Tuesday); she’s filmed three more (“High-Rise,” “Meadowland” and “Queen of Earth”), and when we talked was soon to be off to Australia to shoot still another (“Truth”). She’s also among the celebrities featured in Gap’s latest global multi-platform marketing campaign, “Dress Normal.”

On the day we spoke by phone she was moving from her 12-year East Village apartment in Manhattan to the West Side, having caught the New York “bug” at age 19. (She lived in Los Angeles while filming “Mad Men.”)


“Yes, I do have a lot of energy,” she says. “But I have a great assistant and a great mother. I don’t do it alone. I have a lovely group of people to support me and who, in fact, do more I than I do.”

Can you give us an Instagram snapshot of your closet — even though it’s probably empty now?

At the moment it’s all in boxes. I have about 20 different personalities; I change what I wear all the time. Sometimes I want to be girlie, so I have tons of dresses; sometimes I’m just Rag & Bones and T-shirts. I run the gamut; my closet represents so many personalities.

Would you consider yourself a fashionista, then?


Ah … no, not at all. I’m a girlie-girl. I love shopping, I really love clothes, I have too many clothes, but I don’t consider myself a fashionista. I’m not up on all the latest trends. And I do wish I had time to go shopping and find all the red carpet things myself. I’d prefer to do that, but obviously you can only wear this stuff once so it’s not financially practical. And I’d say also any cool fashion sense I have comes through my stylist [Karla Welch]. She does all the public things.

Is there any fashion item you lust after?

I love bags. A lot of people collect shoes, but I am definitely a bag person. For me, any Mulberry bag I’d die over. I have a couple Mulberry bags that are so beautiful I’ve never even used them! I also love Liberty bags.

What style era would you have been most comfortable in, ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s?

Oh, the 1930s. I would have loved that — the late ‘20s and ‘30s; the long dresses, the hats, everyone looking so stylized, the tailored suit look, that whole “Great Gatsby” thing. I suppose I should say that it would require a lot more work than I think I’m capable of, though.

How has fame and your increased recognition changed your life and the way you look and dress — or has it?

Well, I’m standing out in the street in gray sweat pant shorts, an old T-shirt and flip-flops. It’s moving day today, so I’m not too stylized. I guess I sometimes think, “I can’t go out in my pajamas anymore; you mean, I have to put on clothes now?”

Particularly with the Internet and social media, any photo can be sucked out there and be global in seconds. I’d think it exasperating and a bit paranoid-making for people in the public eye.


Yes, but I’ve been doing this for too long, you know? You just have to learn to not care. I’m sorry, I’m not getting dressed up every time I go to the deli, you know what I mean? Everyone’s going to just have to deal with it. I’m a normal person, I don’t spend a lot of time getting dressed in the morning.

This is an obvious question given ‘Mad Men’ is about an advertising agency, but is this Gap campaign you’re in something Sterling Cooper would dream up? And who would conceive and present it, Don [Draper] or Peggy?

Oh my God, yes! And I’d like to think it was Peggy [who created it], but I guess I should say I think it would have been a total collaboration. I think that’s politically correct.

What does the campaign slogan, “Dress Normal,” mean to you?

Dress how you want to dress, what makes you feel good. To me that’s what the whole campaign is about, what you feel most comfortable in and what you feel your best in. It’s not “dress normal, dress boring.” It’s dress your own personality, don’t look to others. What is your normal? I just loved the idea of it from the start. It’s a little off, a little odd, a little bit left of center, cool and a little bit different. Which is why it’s a really fun way to go.

You finished filming “Mad Men,” so that’s a wrap. Is it going to be good?

I couldn’t be happier with it. I couldn’t be happier with what happens to my character or to the other characters. I mean, I couldn’t have done it better myself. Who knows what the audience will think, but I feel they’ve been supportive with everything so far, so I think you’ll be happy.