11 Times Mary Tyler Moore Broke BS Fashion "Rules"

Most people under 50 probably had to seek Mary Tyler Moore out. And while the quality may have been grainy on your TV Land rerun, or the ads horribly repetitive on Hulu, it was worth it — the story Mary Tyler Moore told through The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Mary Richards character resonates just as deeply today, the woman making a name for herself in the workplace without sacrificing what sets her apart. With colorblock prints, mini skirts, and countless long, swingy necklaces, Tyler Moore proved it was possible to break BS fashion "rules," go it alone and do it fabulously well — groundbreaking for the time, and just as inspiring to watch present day.

Plus, she was just great. Fun but upstanding, smart and kind, she was one of those stars so lovable she could forge frontiers while pulling a smile — a power she used to demonstrate what liberation looks like, both in society and fashion. Because Tyler Moore excelled at fashion, in the words of the New York Times taking full advantage of the "cultural sweet spot" of the 1970s. Women freed of the home were reinventing themselves, meaning clothing was more larger-than-life personal than ever before. Mary Tyler Moore was the era's spirit in a bottle, and now's a better time than ever to remember the exuberance that she fought with.

1. Avoid Competing Prints

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Need I say more (Mary Tyler....Moore)? Bold prints were essential to Tyler Moore's style, and she wasn't one to steer clear of playing them off one another.

2. Workwear Has To Be Neutral

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Tyler Moore redefined professionalism with, get this: Her merit, not what she looked like. Her personality shone through each outfit, colorblocked or mini skirt, a strength of character that foreshadowed the importance of today's ~personal brand.

3. Legs Are A No-Go In The Office

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Tyler Moore never shied from ignoring this sexist rule, and though women's outfits are blamed for "distracting in the workplace" to this damn day, she powered through with legs bared to prove her worth.

4. Older Women Should Hide Their Necks At All Costs

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Tyler Moore's style never faded through her later years, matched by her rule-breaking spirit. The star framed herself with this glistening jacket and trademark pearl necklace-collar combo, and looked fab doing it.

5. Keep One Thing The Focal Point

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Where's the fun in that? Tyler Moore's eye-catching outfits went above and beyond, especially when they were monochrome outfits and stylish black pants.

6. Retire Trends When Everyone Else Does

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"Nah," that's the entire theme of this article. Tyler Moore stuck with neck kerchiefs over the years, turning them into a signature. Never let go.

7. All Black Is Boring

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Not when you top it with something marvelous, à la the queen of prints. Add on a cat eye, because you can.

8. Women Should Wear Skirts At Home


This one feels 100% ridiculous today, but when Tyler Moore got her start on The Dick Van Dyke Show, it was groundbreaking to show wives at home in anything but full, "Mad Men"-type skirts. Tyler Moore's chic cigarette pants stylishly turned the dictum on its head.

9. Avoid Prints That Wash You Out

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This might seem like subtle shade, but it is not. Do. What. You. Want, as Tyler Moore did.

10. Take One Thing Off Before You Leave The House

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Coco Chanel's famous style rule makes for a nice Pinterest quote, but Tyler Moore proved things get a lot more interesting when you throw caution to the wind.

11. Keep Your Hat On Your Head

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Sometimes you've gotta sacrifice a hat to show your exuberance at being an independent woman in the world.

Mary Tyler Moore shoved joy into the mundane, elevating clothing into an art form. Women in the '70s fought for liberation tooth and nail, and style rules were the least of their concerns.