(InStyle.com) -- When "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" premiered on September 19, 1970, it was almost revolutionary: the first television series focused on an independent (read: unmarried) career girl. And Mary's wardrobe was a little bit revolutionary too -- working women across the country were quick to copy her colorful dresses and wide-legged pantsuits. To celebrate the iconic program's fortieth anniversary, InStyle takes a look back at five fashionable TV shows -- and characters -- that have influenced women's at-work style.
"The Mary Tyler Moore Show''
Mary Richards lived in wintry Minneapolis and therefore had no shortage of cute cold-weather staples, including double-breasted coats, knee-high boots, and that famous blue tam. But it was her 70s work-wear that most women sought: colorful scarves, two-piece suits, and bright, office-appropriate dresses.
Okay, so the Carrington women weren't exactly your typical 9-to-5ers. Nevertheless, the big-shouldered, wasp-waisted creations worn by oil mogul Alexis (Joan Collins) and her longtime rival Krystle (Linda Evans) were popular enough with fans that the show spawned a signature fashion line, "The Dynasty Collection" which was designed by the show's costumer, Nolan Miller.
In 1998, shortly after the show's first season finale, Ally McBeal's disembodied head appeared on the cover of Time magazine along with the question, "Is Feminism Dead?" Despite the conclusions reached by that article (is it really fair to compare a fictional character to activists and thinkers like Susan B. Anthony and Gloria Steinem?), women do owe something to the flighty young lawyer played by Calista Flockhart: She almost singlehandedly made the workplace safe for bare legs, freeing us from the tyranny of mandatory pantyhose.
"Sex and the City"
The amount of money that Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), a freelance writer, spent on shoes was so improbable that it eventually became a plot point; her clothes only got more prohibitively expensive as the show went on. Still, "Sex and the City"had an enormous impact on regular women's style: Aside from all of those quickly knocked off (and forgotten) nameplate necklaces and oversized faux corsages, the ladies' willingness to play with fashion inspired legions.
It's set in the early 1960s, but the best ensembles on "Mad Men" for example, almost anything worn by Joan (Christina Hendricks) would look chic, virtually unaltered, in today's offices. In fact, the show has heavily influenced fashion in the four years it's been on the air. This fall's runways were dominated by richly colored dresses, circle skirts and camel coats, straight from the "Mad Men" era.
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