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Old School TV Style: Fashion Inspired by The Nanny


Fashion from The Nanny
Photo Credit

I’m crazy about leopard print. I tease my hair on a daily basis. The only nail polishes in my cabinet are day-glow brights. I own more faux fur coats than any reasonable individual should. These are my confessions, and this is exactly why I absolutely LOVE The Nanny‘s Fran Fine!

The Nanny tells the story of Fran Fine , a Jewish girl from Queens who nannies for the Sheffield’s, a British family living in in New York City. Fran, played by Fran Drescher, introduces the very “WASP-y” family to her street-smart Queens upbringing and Yiddish sensibilities, and teaches them to relax and approach life in a more fun way. She later goes on to marry Mr. Sheffield and become a real part of the family.

Since I started covering old school TV shows, I’ve been so excited to cover this show because my personal style mirrors Fran’s in more ways than even I realized. Want to learn more about Fran’s eccentric style? Read on!

(For more on Old School TV Style, check out our posts on Elaine from Seinfeld, Three’s Company, Rachel from Friends, Saved by the Bell, My So-Called Life, and Ally McBeal.)

Fashion from the TV show The Nanny
Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4

A Little Bit About The Nanny

At first glance, The Nanny comes off as “just another” family sitcom that dominated prime time during the ’90s. Although the show included lots of slapstick comedy and running gags, the series’ humor was actually unique and even a bit ahead of its time!

The characters often made pop culture references, and sometimes referred to their true actor identities. Mr. Sheffield once made a joke about the actors on Days of Our Lives (Charles Shaughnessy, who plays Mr. Sheffield, used to be on the soap) and in one episode, Fran Fine meets her idol, Fran Drescher! Also, the characters sometimes broke the fourth wall and addressed the audience directly. These details really set The Nanny apart from other shows.

Fran’s Style

Fran’s outfits on the show embody the sort of stereotypical “New Jersey” look that we see on shows like Jerseylicious and films like Goodfellas and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

While some people cringe at the thought of the caricature that recent TV shows have created, I have to be honest: I actually kind of love the loud, eccentric outfits seen on the ladies of Real Housewives and even Jersey Shore. I appreciate that these ensembles – even when bad – are unapologetically over-the-top. Like I mentioned before, I am crazy about faux fur coats and tall boots, but it takes lots of confidence to wear stuff like that in public, especially in places like Oklahoma! Fran always wore her bold outfits without even a touch of uncertainty. It’s awesome and inspiring!

Fran Fine also knew how to ROCK ‘80s-style suits. Hers were in bold colors or patterns, and often featured very structured shoulders and a short skirt. She highlighted her legs by pairing these suits with stiletto heels. She also wore things like knee-high boots, leather pants and jackets, tons of animal print, fluffy (faux) fur, sequins, and bold colors.

Fran always had perfectly teased hair and a full face of makeup. She was super glamorous, even when she was pregnant with her and Mr. Sheffield’s twins! Fran’s big hair especially became one of her signatures.

Outfit Inspiration

No fashion post would be complete without a few inspiring outfits. Check out the looks below to see a modern take on Fran’s bold style!

Fashion inspired by The Nanny - leopard and black
Blouse, Blazer, Shorts, Lipstick, Shoes | Hair Photo: ELLE

For an updated (and more casual) take on Fran’s signature suits, pair a blazer with matching black shorts. A leopard blouse will help you get Fran’s look, too. Curls and a poof (like Diana Agron’s, above) are a fresh take on Fran’s signature hair style, and will look great with red lipstick.

Fashion inspired by The Nanny - black leather and red
Turtleneck, Skirt, Boots, Earrings | Hair Photo: ELLE

Tuck a bright red turtleneck (or blouse, if turtlenecks aren’t really your thing) into a leather mini skirt for a fun look inspired by Fran. If you’re worried about looking too domanatrix-esque, pair this outfit with suede boots to avoid leather-on-leather. Finish with hoop earrings and full hair, like Miley’s, pictured above.

Fashion inspired by The Nanny - neon orange dress and white blazer
Dress, Belt, Jacket, Shoes, Earrings | Hair Photo: ELLE

Fran often wore fitted sheath dresses. This orange one looks ladylike and proper, but still has a fun Fran vibe thanks to its bright color. Add a black belt around your waist and a white blazer, then accessorize with colorblock heels and orange earrings. Finish the look with a sleek bouffant, similar to the style that Beyonce is rocking.

What do you think?

What do you think about Fran’s style? Do you ever watch The Nanny? Do you have any over-the-top pieces that you absolutely love to wear? What other shows would you like to see us cover? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!!

Posted on on August 16, 2012 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , ,

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20 Responses to “Old School TV Style: Fashion Inspired by The Nanny”

  1. 1
    August 16th, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I am so glad that you did a post on The Nanny, I absolutely love the show, and what a coincidence I was actually watching the show when I saw this post.

  2. 2
    August 16th, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Oh, I love this post! I’ve been a huge fan for many many years. Fran’s style is just awesome. A friend of mine once counted how many different outfits she wore during the whole six seasons of The Nanny: 900! :-)

  3. 3
    August 16th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Please please cover Dharma + Greg! My all time favourite old-school tv show

  4. 4
    August 16th, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Love the orange dress, colourblocked shoes, and the white blazer.Fran’s style is very unique….love the way she mixes bold colours with leopard prints.

  5. 5
    August 16th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    These Old School TV Style articles are getting better and better! I absolutely love each and every one of them because these TV shows were such a huge part of my life and now, through these posts I can once again daydream about those days. I admit, I do feel kind of old when reading them but they undoubtedly make my day, so thank you!

  6. 6
    August 16th, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    These are great outfits, the last one would be great for a night out with my loves! :)

  7. 7
    August 16th, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I adore this show and adore Fran Drescher! Her style in her new show Happily divorced is equally va va voom as this which I love! Hope you guys do a post on that as well! And I very much agree with the leopard print love!

  8. 8
    August 16th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Ah I miss the Nanny! :)
    I love how you transformed her iconic crazyness into a modern wearable style, great job!

  9. 9
    August 16th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Oh my gosh I used to LOVE The Nanny! Great post, that last outfit is so fun!

  10. 10
    August 16th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Amazing job transferring a pretty crazy wardrobe into something totally wearable. You took her wardrobe from halloween costume to chic :)

  11. 11
    August 16th, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    LOVE The Nanny! well chosen outfits (:

  12. 12
    August 16th, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    These looks and ideas are amazing! I’m so glad you did a post on them. IMO, The Nanny most definitely had some of the best looks. She was always looking stylish and to bring back her style with a modern aged look is a fabolous idea. Thanks for sharing :-)

  13. 13
    August 16th, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Love these! Even as a 2000’s girl myself, I always watch old tv. On that note, can I suggest Donna Moss from the West Wing for next week? She wore some awesome clothes on that show! And I just love her in general… But I have no doubt whatever you come up with will be fantastic!

  14. 14
    August 17th, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Love the first and last outfits. I adore The Nanny and still watch it.

  15. 15
    August 17th, 2012 at 1:36 am

    the nanny has always been one of my fave sitcoms!!! ive always wished i had the confidence to rock one of fran’s fab mini skirts! thanks for the post!

  16. 16
    August 17th, 2012 at 1:39 am

    just re-read the comment policy where it says not to post website links! bad habit, sorry for looking like a spammer lol.

  17. 17
    August 22nd, 2012 at 2:31 am

    I love the way you spin the (often very) dated costumes I to something reasonable for today. Any chance you could do Northern Exposure?

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