The vintage style of stars like Fran Drescher, Jane Seymour, and Michelle Pfeiffer is coming back around – but these successful ladies are still iconic dressers after turning heads in the 1970s and beyond.
Read on to see how these starlets’ onscreen and offscreen styles shaped fashion decades ago, and how they continue to dress well in their sixties and seventies.
The Early 1970s: Jane Seymour
Onscreen in the 1970s, actress Jane Seymour was a chameleon, playing roles from a chorus girl to an Arabian princess. But offscreen, her style epitomized the bohemian aesthetic of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In other words, she dressed like a hippie.
“When I was younger I didn’t have any money, so I’d buy good fabric from Liberty – the offcuts that nobody wanted – or I’d go to vintage stores, bring-and-buy sales, or church sales, and turn them into outfits for myself,” she told The Guardian in 2019.
Seymour’s long chestnut hair was center stage in any ensemble she wore, whether it was a simple dress or a long fur coat. As she progressed in her career, she grew close to many top fashion designers, including David and Elizabeth Emanuel, Brian Rennie, and Gianni Versace.
“Gianni Versace used to lend me gowns that were made for Donatella because we were the same size. One was a beaded, all-in-one that you thought you could see through, but really you couldn’t. Although, if you looked carefully, maybe you could!” she said.
Seymour has even claimed a gown the Emanuels designed for her in the 1970s inspired their most famous creation, Princess Diana’s 1981 wedding gown. She wore the gown in 1978 to meet Queen Elizabeth at a movie premiere.
“[The Emanuels] let me borrow this beautiful, beautiful off-the-shoulder white dress, and I wore it. The joke in our family was that the Queen liked the dress and turned to Prince Charles, 'We've found the frock, go find the girl!'” Seymour said in a February podcast interview according to Vanity Fair.
Now 70, Seymour still sports her long chestnut hair and signature bangs. She swears by products like Mason Pearson hairbrushes and Oaui leave-in conditioner.
Seymour has spoken out about ageism in the fashion industry. “I was never paid by a designer to wear anything, although nowadays not every designer will dress someone my age,” she said.
Fashion and art are two of Seymour’s biggest focuses now. She runs Jane Seymour Designs, which sells scarves, handbags, and even original paintings by the actress. A quick scroll through her Instagram account shows she still loves wearing youthful, beautiful prints but has lowered the hemlines and raised the necklines of her dresses as she’s matured.
The Late 1970s: Lynda Carter
Lynda Carter rose to fame as the original Wonder Woman, starring in the popular show from 1975 to 1979. A singer turned beauty queen turned actress, Carter was best recognized by what she wore onscreen: the red, white, and blue superhero costume that showed off her amazing hourglass figure.
Also onscreen, Carter wore fabulous outfits while playing career woman Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s undercover identity. Diana Prince was sure to be the envy of any fashion-conscious girl in the 1970s with her jewel-toned wardrobe of midi skirts and wide-legged trousers.
Offscreen, Carter eschewed the hippie aesthetic that tapered off in the 1970s and wore tailored dresses and trousers, plus wide-brimmed hats to top it all off. Carter often balanced form-fitting dresses with longer hemlines.
But in a nod to her Arizona roots, Carter could also rock a pair of jeans and a laidback Western-style button-down.
Carter shocked her Hollywood compatriots when she traded in her show business career to raise a family on the East Coast with her husband, lawyer Robert Altman.
Now 70, Carter has said she doesn’t regret her choice to leave Los Angeles. She still sports her signature dark tresses and has made public appearances with her successor Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman in the DC Comics films. On the red carpet these days, Carter often opts for a red lip and a black-and-white color palette.
She posts frequently on her Instagram, promoting her music and even her cameo in Wonder Woman 1984. Today, Carter seems to have a lot of fun with her fashion, wearing glamorous gowns for photo shoots but more often donning a collared shirt or blazer for a sophisticated everyday look. She seems to take a lot of her cues from her Wonder Woman character – there’s plenty of red, white, and blue in her wardrobe today!
The 1980s: Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer made her name as an actress playing mob wife Elvira Hancock in the 1983 film Scarface. Her costumes in Scarface still loom large in pop-culture today, especially Elvira’s minimalist blue gown with a high slit that took its cues from the 1930s, not the 1980s, according to Vogue.
Pfeiffer’s off-duty style couldn’t be more different than Elvira’s style, however. She tended toward dark colors and oversized, menswear-inspired looks. Pfeiffer recently posted a throwback photo of herself rocking a giant blazer, hoop earrings, and big sunglasses with just the caption: “Aw… the 80’s.”
Now 63, Pfeiffer’s style hasn’t changed so much as elevated and become more feminine. Instead of a blazer straight from the men’s section, she wears one that’s tailored and has feminine touches like a shawl collar.
Pfeiffer has shared many of the outfits she’s won on the press tour for her new film French Exit, and she seems to definitely gravitate toward classic patterns like plaids and checks. She also still loves statement eyewear, something Elvira Hancock would definitely approve of.
The 1990s: Fran Drescher
The Nanny and its star, Fran Drescher, are having a moment after HBO Max started streaming the ‘90s sitcom in April. Drescher actually pitched the show to CBS executive Jeff Sagansky during a chance meeting on an airplane, and she ended up modeling the main character, Fran Fine, on herself.
In the show, Fran from Queens moves to Manhattan to nanny for the wealthy Sheffield family. Fran doesn’t have any experience as a nanny, and her loudmouthed honesty clashes with the Sheffields’ reserved, upper-crust personalities, with hilarious results.
Although she frequently jokes about buying all her clothes at discount department store Loehmann’s, Fran Fine shows up onscreen in high-end labels including Dolce & Gabbana, Anna Sui, Moschino, and Vivienne Westwood.
As The Nanny gained popularity and its wardrobe budget grew, Fran wore more and more daring looks, but Fran turned heads in early seasons using a simple, replicable outfit formula, as YouTuber Mina Le detailed in her video essay on the sitcom’s enduring fashion.
Costume designer Brenda Cooper consistently used a form-fitting black turtleneck, short black pencil skirt, black tights, and black suede heels as the base for Fran’s outfit, adding colorful vests and jackets to mix it up.
Cooper mixed high and low in Fran’s wardrobe, pulling pieces from both Norma Kamali and Kmart, she told the Los Angeles Times in 1994.
What would Fran’s wardrobe be without loud colors and prints? She’s “the lady in red when everybody else is wearing tan,” as The Nanny theme song declares. Cooper decked out Drescher’s character in lots of bold red but was not afraid to experiment with bright yellow, magenta, and even chartreuse.
At 63, Drescher’s style has definitely evolved since the 1990s, and if her Instagram account is any indication, you’ll often find her in a figure-flattering midi dress in a dark color like black or navy. She seems to stay away from eccentric styles like she wore in her The Nanny days but always values great accessories and details, like a boatneck, peplum, and classic cateye sunglasses.
Keeping up with trends is hard, but pulling timeless inspiration from the outfits of these actresses doesn’t have to be. Don’t shy away from your bohemian tendencies like Seymour, create an hourglass figure like Carter, try effortless menswear-inspired looks like Pfeiffer, and embrace an outfit formula like Drescher.
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