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Style & Living Fashion

See How Mary Tyler Moore Revolutionized Fashion

Her groundbreaking TV shows defined the look of the modern housewife and career woman.

By Tamara Palmer

Mary Tyler Moore passed away earlier today at the age of 80. The icon—who's being saluted by many in the fashion industry and beyond—became a style role model through her iconic television roles, but she also captured an assertive grace with her own fashion aesthetic. She'll be remembered as someone who brought great life to her craft and represented how real women looked — and aspired to look — at home and on the job.

Mary played vivacious housewife Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961 to 1966. The standard image of a housewife always included a dress at the time, but Laura favored capri pants. Vanity Fair reported this wasn't the first choice of the program's sponsors, but the actress asserted it was a realistic representation of real moms.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a true television phenomenon, ran from 1970 to 1977 and inspired several spinoffs. Moore's main character, news TV producer Mary Richards, wore a sassy flip and smart suits by day, and broke out the short skirts and fur and boots at night. It's said that the show's costume designer, Leslie Hall, insisted that Mary's looks were made up of pieces that "real women" could buy. And to keep her look consistent, Leslie only dressed Mary in styles by the designer Norman Todd.

Mary had immaculate style off set, as well.

Whether taking home an Oscar, Golden Globe or Emmy, the actress always balanced elegance and fun. She never shied away from playful, clasically feminine details.

In recent years, Mary continued to show how luxurious pants can look while attending special occasions such as the White House Correspondents Dinner (in 2005) or for accepting the Lifetime Achievement honor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (in 2012). Her masterful technique for layering necklaces is worth noting.

By all accounts, the star's beauty went beyond her wardrobe. Today, her old friend, actress Cloris Leachman, told People: "the picture that we all have of her, that’s how she was—sweet, kind, so tender, so delicate. She was America’s sweetheart.”

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