30 Years Later, Fran Fine Is Still a Style Icon and ‘Nanny’-Core Is as Prominent as Ever

“She's the lady in red when everybody else is wearing tan”

a collage of fran fine's fashions.
Dasha Burobina for PureWow/IMDB/Getty Images

“She had style, she had flair, she was there, that’s how she became the nanny.” I saw my first episode of The Nanny as a kid, while staying up way past my bedtime and channel surfing. (It was a rerun, because I was born a couple of months before the final episode aired.) But it didn’t take much for the tiny fashion lover in me to notice how ahead of the curve Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) truly was.

While the character is now rightfully considered a ‘90s fashion icon, she wasn’t always perceived that way. During The Nanny’s six-season run, trashy and tacky were constantly used to describe Fran’s sense of style. Compared to the subdued ‘90s minimalism of the Sheffield family and uptight C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane), the ‘flashy girl from Flushing’ stood out like a sore thumb—in style and personality. But like any other fashion fad, trends always make a comeback, even the ones that weren’t as loved during their prime.

fran-fine-style-icon: daniel davis, fran drescher, charles shaughnessy, and lauren lane.
CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Fran’s influence is littered throughout current fashion trends—vinyl fabrics, loud colors and mini skirts galore. ‘Nanny’-core calls to mind loud garbage, or bold, in-your-face clothing, another trend on the rise that’s a counterpoint to quiet luxury. Unlike most, Fran wasn’t afraid to experiment with her style. She loved a unique textile, always flaunted bold hues and prints and never shied away from flashy accessories. Fran represents the maximalist, and her confidence and style inspired likeminded dressers to step out of the box when it came to fashion, even with naysayers telling you otherwise.

fran-fine-style-icon: fran drescher and bette midler.
CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Interestingly enough, despite the ‘wild’ nature of Fran's ensembles, almost all of her wardrobe consisted of luxury designers. From Moschino to Fendi, her closet was one to be idolized. One of the biggest conspiracies of the show was how exactly Fran afforded all of these designer garments on a nanny's salary. We knew she loved a bargain and was in mountains of credit card debt (aren’t we all), but we truly didn’t get an answer until season three, when Maxwell (Charles Shaughnessy) allows Fran to oversee wardrobe for one of his plays to make her feel better after being stamped a fashion ‘don’t’ in a magazine. Fran seeks counsel from her cousin ‘Toddy,’ who we later learn is prolific American designer Todd Oldham, whose pieces she wore regularly throughout the six seasons. After brief questioning from Mr. Sheffield, Fran puts it plainly, “How do you think a nanny could afford to dress the way I do.” It’s no wonder her style is making a resurgence. (There’s even an Instagram account, @whatfranwore, dedicated to dissecting the outfits Drescher wore on the show.)

The Nanny checked all the boxes for a perfect 90’s sitcom—quippy one-liners, a sense of family and, most importantly, a killer wardrobe budget. Fran Fine’s fashion sense has inspired generations and continues to do so, even as the show recently marked its 30-year anniversary. Fashion lovers all over are still searching for some of her signature pieces, like the iconic Moschino red heart bag she wore on a date with a mobster (unbeknownst to her). See how one TikToker found this rare gem.

It’s no surprise Fran’s sartorial choices are coming back around again. The woman’s got an eye for style…that’s how she became the nanny.


Editorial Assistant, Candle Connoisseur, Honorary Beyhive Member Since ‘99

Courtney Mason (she/her) is an Editorial Assistant at PureWow. She has three years of experience writing for digital publications and covering fashion, beauty, pop culture, and...