Our look back at Mary Tyler Moore fashion icon:
In our series on fashion icons of different decades, we’ve ignored Mary Tyler Moore fashion. Why? Because MTM spanned several decades as an influence on style, and deserved her own post in our spotlight. Sorry that we waited until she passed to give Mary her due!
Mary started as a dancer, appearing in commercials as Happy Hotpoint the dancing elf in the 1950’s. She modeled for record album covers (I would love to see some of those!) Then she got the gig as the receptionist on “Richard Diamond, Private Detective” in 1957. Only her sexy legs appeared on camera.
In 1961, she was cast as the wife on “the Dick Van Dyke Show”. But Laura Petrie was not the typical wife of the 50’s sitcom, in her fancy dress, lacquered hair,high heels, and pearls. Mary started a fashion trend in her capri pants and sweaters, worn with flats. Her easy going flip hair-do was also a big hit.
“The Dick Van Dyke Show” ended in 1966. What’s a cool chick actress to do? How about star in a film with Elvis? She’s not very fashionable in 1969’s “Change of Habit”, since she is usually wearing a nun’s attire, but it’s Elvis, so we’ll forgive her for that one. The best was yet to come.
In 1970, we saw “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. Just the opening montage, with Mary roaming the streets of Minneapolis in those wonderful outfits with that theme song playing was enough to inspire us. Those pantsuits! Scarves! The cute double-breasted coats! She wore minidresses but they weren’t too funky or revealing (not like her friend Rhoda). And, of course, the hat. How many of us started wearing berets in 1970?
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” also had a message. Like our previous fashion icon of the 60’s, Marlo Thomas, she showed us an independent woman. This was a woman who could “make it on her own” and look great at the same time .(Ironically, MTM auditioned to play Danny Thomas’s daughter for his TV show. Her nose was too small for the job, but he recommended her to the producer of “The Dick Van Dyke Show”.)
Mary Tyler Moore’s influence continues to this day . We’ll finish with Joan Jett (who deserves her own Fashion Icon post) and her tribute. Hats off to Mary! Rest in peace.