Style Bible: The Fran Commandments

In an era of casual toned down outfits on television sitcoms such as Friends and Seinfeld, The Nanny was a fish out of water fully embracing a prism of color and chic styles. The show itself followed the story of the flashing girl from Flushing, the one and only Fran Fine. After leaving her job at a bridal store, she finds herself in a new nanny gig to the posh Manhattan children of a british Broadway producer. The two worlds collide and she is thrown into a series of comical chaos, yet she still manages to dress like a runway superstar in every scenario. Fran’s fashion was the heart of the show and showcased the essence of her character. She was a woman who talked a mile-a-minute, wore her heart on her sleeve, walked with equal parts confidence and sex appeal, and most importantly, had a soft spot for Barbara Streisand. Due to it’s recent streaming on HBO Max, the show has seen a nostalgic resurgence with Fran’s fits cycling back into trends. 

So one may wonder, how on God’s glorious Earth can I mimic an inch of Fran’s impeccable taste? After gracing everyone’s TV boxes, Fran Drescher’s portrayal as Fran Fine on The Nanny remains one of the most glamorous and fashion forward characters ever. It’s a style that’s not easy to replicate as maximalism is never an easy feat. Yet for Fran she had a certain tour de force in style where she could pull everything together seamlessly and make dazzling daring cohesive looks. I had many sleepless nights pondering the same thing and decided there was one thing I was meant to do: create a New Gospel in honor of the fashion hero Fran Fine. Following an intense sabbatical I came to the conclusion that there were five major components that built Fran’s look from the high heel up. If you follow the upcoming major key alerts, then you should be a close enough spitting image in no time.

COLORFUL LEATHER

If homegirl knew one thing right, it was most definitely that leather should be embraced in all shades of the rainbow. Throughout the series run, she sports leather looks multiple times making it a style staple of hers. There have been notable knockout fits including her lime green Andres Courreges 60’s space girl set and a very 80’s shoulder padded leather jacket with gold grommet detail. The simplicity of a black leather jacket is something that is timeless and never goes out of style. But for an icon like Fran, the mentality of “less is more” is not in her repertoire. She has always pushed the status quo of elegance bringing personality and confidence into the game. 

BLAZER SKIRT SUIT SETS

When Fran was on the clock, she had to dress to the nines to fit in with her employed circle of posh high society, but she still kept true to herself and displayed her humorous side through clothes. So she dressed up in many fitted coordinating blazer skirt suit sets, but added an element of kitsch and humor through the fabrics and patterns she chose. Plus, Fran was never afraid to be the center of attention and stand out from the crowd. A designer that did the job for this was none other than the class clown of camp, Moschino. She was working with kids after all, so it makes sense she went for out-there patterns like polka dot fruit cocktail and rainbow tie dye. In this avenue of camp, the flashier the better. Now this kitschy workwear remix may have been reserved for the quirky offbeat character in the past, but nowadays it has become much more mainstream. Why have an understated main character moment why you should rightfully be in the spotlight? Just because one likes to wear baby pink newspaper print doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously in the office.

ANIMAL PRINT GALORE

Fran was also a sucker for animal print as it helped bring out her wild side, with many instances of her bubbly demeanor getting her into trouble. The lady known for wearing red also loved any animal motif, even a Betsey Johnson cow print fur coat. Then of course there was always her safe bet of cheetah galore as a blazer with an animal print collar was the first outfit audiences ever saw her in, sassy elegance always in her DNA. While some are quick to label animal print as gaudy or tacky, the trend has cycled in and out of style so many times that it’s impossible to deny the power. For a female, wearing animal print can unlock a femme fatale prowess of power and confidence. It’s a dynamite print that makes people like Fran stand out from the crowd even more.

FABULOUS FUR

During her reign on air, Fran also made it a point to wear as much fur as she possibly could. Be it on coats, collars, or cuffs; fur was the best way to layer and accessorize. The Mona Lisa screencap of Fran’s fits is actually the white shag fur coat she layers over her all white preppy tennis court set in season three. It’s one of the Nanny-est outfits from the show and has lived its life out as a mood meme. Other variants of fur she has been known to rock included neon orange hues and baby blue cuffs. Being a Nanny in New York it’s essential to bundle up in the cold hemisphere, and there’s no other option more fabulous than a collection of grand fur coats. Fran would wear anything but the minimal puffer jacket as the maximalist in her finds no need for boring parkas, rather an excess of faux fur should do the trick.

MINI MANIA

All this being said, the golden rule of the Gospel Fran is to always try and minimize – the length that is. The minier, the tighter, the better. One of the best anecdotes to come out of the show’s costume department was that almost every piece that came in was altered to be shorter or tighter, even if it was already classified as a mini dress. Fans could never forget Fran’s own take on the little black dress and her geometric crop tops. This also gave her key room to layer up with turtlenecks under mini dresses and sheer black pantyhouse. The beautiful and beguiling Fran proves that defying hemlines is worth the risk. With the tight and mini factor, it shows that she is not afraid to be her unapologetic self, full of confidence and fearlessness.

Now I believe that this style bible is a religious text that will stand the test of time, because Fran Fine has done the same and will forever be a style icon! So much so that nearly every look she has worn back in the day has been reworked into modern trends such as avant basic. She was the blueprint for taking simple fitted silhouettes and adding edge with funky patterns of contrasting colors and fun prints. Brands like House of Sunny and Lisa Says Gah are known for this style that favors colorful fur collars, mod swirls, and various animal prints. 

It’s not only independent brands that are obsessed with Fran, there’s actually a whole internet subculture devoted to tracking down the designer pieces she wore on the series. @whatfranwore is a popular Instagram account that is 100% dedicated to this task, researching fits from the show and posting listings of the pieces on resale sites like Ebay or Vestiaire Collective. These cites cater to the resale of upscale designer duds, maintaining principles of sustainability and aiming to reduce toxicity of fast fashion, yet in a glamorous manner. Cause in a moment of honesty, let’s face it, no modern nanny or working gal is getting a salary that buys a year’s worth of high fashion clothes like Fran did. So instead of cashing out the next paycheck, you can save a dollar sustainably through resale designer and still look like a million bucks. It’s even more of a bonus that Fran loved anything retro inspired. But be careful, because a vintage Moschino blazer does not come cheap.

So when you’re out there in the world looking for pieces from indie fashion brands or vintage designer duds that just speak Fran, all you have to do is remember these main 5 commandments. And to always keep it bold and sassy no matter the occasion. In the name of Fran Fine, Todd Oldman blazers, and Bob Mackie gowns; AMEN!

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