'The Nanny' Gave Me My First Lessons in Joyful Fashion

Roxanne Adamiyatt
·4 min read
Photo credit: Art by Michael Stillwell  - Getty Images
Photo credit: Art by Michael Stillwell - Getty Images

From Town & Country

As a child, sick days home from school meant one thing and one thing only: I got to spend the day with my caretaker. No, this wasn't my mother or my family's housekeeper, it was my nanny—The Nanny. I wasn't even allowed to watch the show (deemed inappropriate for a 6 or 7 year old), but I found a way to sneak some time with flashy girl from Flushing whenever I was out of school. To be honest, I remember absolutely none of the major plot points, but the clothes? I remember the clothes.

With the news (happily received on my end; I have been eagerly awaiting The Nanny to be available on streaming for simply years) that the iconic TV show would be finding a home on HBO Max starting in April, I got to thinking about the visual education that Fran Fine and her family members provided for me—entirely different from the style that I grew up around. My parents, both immaculately dressed, each have their own aesthetic. My mother's wardrobe, as I remember it, was filled with classic pieces from Ralph Lauren and Escada; refined and elegant, never overly done. And my dad? No less fashionable, with impeccably tailored suits, beautiful silk ties, suede jackets, and driving shoes. But with each episode of The Nanny, I was presented with brightly colored and cheeky pieces (ahem, the piano dress from Moschino) and exposure to style that I just wasn't going to find in the tony streets of the town where I was raised. Prep was the perpetual M.O.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Obviously, I lapped up the bright colors and textures—the minidresses and headbands, the race track prints, leopard print sheathes, and endless sequin embellishments. Fran Fine introduced me to Todd Oldham and Moschino. With her big hair and unforgettable laugh, she showed me that a houndstooth print miniskirt and matching tweed jacket was always the right choice. What Fran Wore was probably my favorite follow of 2016, because it provided me an Instagram oasis of endless looks from The Nanny in the void of streaming. You just can't look away.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Was it not Diana Vreeland who famously said, "We all need a splash of bad taste—it's hearty, it's healthy, it's physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I'm against." Well, before my fashion-hungry self made the acquaintance of that iconic editor, I understood this notion of style. Sometimes, a little splash of tacky is just the right amount. Perhaps in the real world, Fran Fine would have had to take the volume of her hair and the loudness of her clothes down a decibel to be accepted in the uppity life that she unexpectedly found herself in—but Mr. Sheffield and his brood absorbed her even if she was a bit much. Through it all, she remained true to herself, and maybe just a smidge gaudy. Experimenting with style, color, fabrics and patterns is really what fashion is all about—it's supposed to be fun. Remember fun? After a year of having nothing to dress for, I for one am looking forward to finding joy in how I style my clothes.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Flashy may have been her general aesthetic, but there's actually another, possibly even more important, lesson from the world's chicest caretaker: find what works for you, and apply it over and over again. A micro-mini skirt and matching jacket, or a mini-sheath paired with a turtleneck and a headband just worked for Fran. She found the cuts that suited for her, her favorite lines and pieces, and she repeated that iteration over and over to great effect. That's a lesson in and of itself, whether or not you'll ever wear a sequined Stephen Sprouse miniskirt suit. In fact, it might be the most important lesson of personal style—defiant of trend and timeline—that if a silhouette suits your body and personality, then it is always in style.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Fran Fine taught me about fashion, and for that she'll always have a sweet spot in my heart—and streaming time on my TV. Now she just joins her successor, Carrie Bradshaw, who sparked a lifelong obsession with ... shoes.

Sign up for HBO Max

You Might Also Like