Mother’s Day should be a reprieve for moms, granting them a guiltless day in pajamas. For those who want to loll on the couch, clicking through channels, here’s a fashion show of TV moms through the decades.
Their clothes have kept pace with the times since June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) wore a starched shirtwaist dress, pearls and heels, her hair coiffed and lipstick applied — at all times.
Well, maybe most moms during the 1957-63 run of “Leave It to Beaver” weren’t quite that turned out as they contentedly made the beds and did the dishes.
By the time Carol Brady was rocking her polyester flared pantsuits on “The Brady Bunch” (1969-74), the look and times had changed. Mrs. Brady was perfectly turned out in minis (though not too short), even if she was a little groovier than most of her suburban counterparts.
It wasn’t until Clair Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad) on “The Cosby Show” (1984-92) that we saw a professional in a healthy marriage, balancing her family and job.
She was pulled together, but her outfits always seemed plausible and possible. Could any mom have pulled on this look of a beige blazer, striped trousers and white blouse? Yes. Would she have laughed as easily and often? Well, that was Clair’s special gift.
TV moms may have costume designers stocking their closets and funny husbands, such as
Bill Cosby, but until “Roseanne” (1988-97), they didn’t seem as real as most people.
Roseanne Barr was about as real as it gets, from the afghan covering her couch to clothes that looked as if she bought them in the remainder bin and didn’t really care if they fit that well, as long as her kids had shoes.
It was Doris Roberts’ Marie Barone on “Everybody Loves Raymond” (1996-2005) who captured the ultimate mother-in-law and mom. Her hair told of a standing weekly appointment, her outfits were impeccable and probably highly flammable, but she had that mom, grandma and mother-in-law look down.
While Marie’s life revolved only around her family, Alicia Florrick’s (Julianna Margulies) universe is broader. She took off over a decade to tend to her children and husband, and when she had to return to work, she plunged in. And as she went from associate to partner to opening her own firm, her wardrobe went up a notch.
Alicia’s mother-in-law has castigated her for wearing expensive clothes, but she loves her Dior suits and exquisite dresses.
Here is someone not unlike Mrs. Cleaver, in that she’s dressed, coiffed and in high heels very early in the day. But instead of heading upstairs to make beds, Alicia strides out to win cases, making her very much the quintessential modern mom.
Of course, on Mother’s Day she, too, might want to spend the day lounging about in yoga pants and a sloppy top.