I recently got the hankering to watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I had seen a few episodes here and there in the past, but never really watched the show or knew much about it. I ventured off to the library to find they had seasons 1 -3. The library turns out to not only be the quiet sanctuary filled with lovely smelling books, but you can check out DVDs for a $1. Even though these contained multiple DVDs, they’re still only a dollar and you get to keep them for three weeks. Just another reason to love the library!
I started watching and immediately knew I liked it. The show was quite cutting edge for its time. Not only did it feature the first single woman with a career, looking to make it on her own without the help of a man, but it also changed the sitcom. It focused on a more realistic view of the characters’ lives, other than an idealized portrayal of life. It also introduced supporting characters who were important and focused on more than just the main character.
This show is an example of great casting and the kind of chemistry between characters that keep a show on the air for many seasons. More than anything the writing was really great. There are episodes that are pretty common and not too consciously jarring, but there are other times they take the opportunity to address issues and highlight problems of the time. The Mary Tyler Moore Show, though being over forty years old, doesn’t seem too dated. While there are a few things that point to its age, it stands up quite well in our contemporary times.
The show itself is great, and I’m only through seasons 1 and 2, and itching to get my hands on more seasons (why don’t you have them library?!) but I will admit one of my favorite parts of the show is Mary’s wardrobe. That probably seems a bit superficial, but I’m a dress girl, especially those vintage and retro styles. I was surprised by how fabulous her clothes were. The series started in 1970, so I guess my surprise comes from not ever being too impressed with 70s fashion. It’s just not usually my favorite or preferred decade for fashion.
Once I’m able to see more seasons and they progress into the 70s, my opinion of her wardrobe may change, but the first two seasons are by far drool worthy and a gold mine of style inspiration. I even was envious of some the pants and belts she was wearing. So clean and chic looking.
I also love how simple her clothing is. She pairs basic zip up shirts or plain turtle necks with a pair of leg lengthening pants or patterned skirts. Her accessories are few, but her hair is always immaculate and the best way she tops of each outfit.
And this may seem strange, but I also adore how she wears the same outfits episode after episode. This is not like Sex and the City where they never (except for maybe once) repeated any outfits. Mary Richards mixes and matches her pieces and she repeats dresses, just like you or me would. Another way the show stuck to the reality of the character and her life. Her friends and supporting characters also wore repeat outfits. I’m not crazy about Rhoda’s clothing (though she is hilarious), but Phyllis had some gems in her closet as well.
All of the photos I’ve posted of her outfits are ones I want, and it’s hard to choose a favorite, but this is definitely one of my favorites. It’s a simple red skirt with a navy and red polka dot blouse, cinched with a navy belt. It’s fun and fresh, but takes such little effort. Just what a perfect outfit should be.
I will say, though I’m not much of a shoe person, her shoes leave a lot to be desired. While simplicity is a huge draw for me in many areas, her shoes are quite dull and frankly, unfortunate to me. Perhaps that is another symptom of the 1970s fashion. In the grand scheme of it though, her outfits don’t need the oomph of a noticeable pair of shoes. The outfits themselves are the pop, and the attention grabbing part. Though I’m sure I could find plenty of simple yet adorable shoes to pair with any of these outfits in the photographs.
When I start on season 3, I will try and focus on the show and their ideas, and not be too distracted by the clothes. However I find myself daydreaming about so many of these clothes, it’s difficult to keep my attention on the actual show. I find myself wanting to scour ebay for similar dresses, or see if ModCloth, my favorite online store, has any “Mary Tyler Moore-esque” pieces. In fact, I secretly wish and hope for a Mary Tyler Moore Show Shoppe (along with the Rosemary’s Baby Shoppe – future post!) where I can easily find dresses, pants, shirts, and skirts to mimic my favorite ensembles worn on the show. A girl can dream.