Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.


227 was one of the spin-offs from one of my favourite tv shows (‘The Jeffersons’ – itself a spin off from ‘All in the Family’) starring Marla Gibbs in a sitcom about four ladies and their families living in the same apartment building going through their every day lives together with plenty of wit, sass and comedy. The show also featured Jackée Harry (Sister, Sister) Alaina Reed Hall (Sesame Street) and Helen Martin (more of a stage actress) in a similar foursome to The Golden Girls which was airing at the same time. Guest stars included The Temptations, Billy Dee Williams (always charming), Pee Wee Herman and Gary Coleman.

227 was the name/number of the apartment building in which the ladies lived, muddled and got into trouble in and was home to their many varied outfits. That’s one of the things I liked about the show fashion-wise, it showed everyday women in daywear they wouldn’t want others to see to their dressed to the nine’s outfits and no matter what the occasion be it doing the laundry to lavish parties their attire was appropriate (until the later seasons where Jackée aka Sandra constantly had her cleavage on show). Leaving little to the imagination does exactly that and complacency soon follows.


Jumpsuits are a bit of a hit and miss, they fleetingly come back into high fashion but never really win over the masses, not since the 70s/80s anyway. Here Mary shows how to make one appear at the height of chic with a bold print sheer wrap jacket and matching accessories.


It’s Fran! We all know Fran for her ‘quirky’ laugh but Sandra was demonstrating her own before The Nanny. Ignoring Sandra’s outfit, the fringed outfit on the left and the Pink fuzz on the right (and masses of Pink in general), ‘Fran’ (Sandra’s boss) did the ‘masculine’ look very well with slicked back hair, big shoulders and straight leg pants. She looks just as good now decades later… how?!


LtR: Rose, Sandra, Mary. As usual Sandra brought the glamour, whilst the ladies sat on the stoop catching up Sandra would often make her entrance and a few put downs would ensue. Here Rose and Mary are in their homewear whilst Sandra looks high class and ready for a funeral, seriously.


Peplums do good things for us ladies! Here’s Sandra at a reading of a will, overdone (ya think?) but smokin’ hot in her bright Red dress, faux fur (I hope) jacket and of course… the statement necklace. I saw a heck of a lot of accessories in this show, particularly statement necklaces and earrings, no matter how plain the outfit the shortfall was made up for with jewellery and a fine line between chic and gaudy.


I have a thing for vintage nightwear and Sandra’s Teal lace trimmed camisole speaks to me. You can’t really see it well here but she’s also wearing a flowing housecoat that could be worn outside too and as per usual on 227, the contrast in character costumes is emphasized by Mary wearing a very modest house dress.


Sandra, again, being a show stopper. I remember dresses like this from the 80’s that were over designed – in this case the marriage of shiny, slinky fabric with two sets of polka dots, peplum and shoulder pads made a killer dress that would literally kill a lot of women but Sandra and her sashay made it work… even with that necklace. I think to have wider appeal the dress would have to lose all the polka or at least one set and in smaller, subtle spots. The dress would also be better in a neutral or pastel shade, no shoulder pads and lose the necklace.


Mary looking super chic. This style is often associated with women in their 40’s and above but I think it would work with the younger ladies and lasses as well. I’d love this dress, either in that cute White/Dusky Pink combination (and I’m not usually a fan of that shade of Pink) or Black/White which would be very striking. With the right shoes, hat and perhaps glasses and gloves it’d be very Audrey Hepburn and that extra fabric on the left shoulder would be great for flicking and making a high strung exit ;). That is also one of the better necklaces imo.


Most people would find it a challenge to pull off that many frills and ruffles especially in such a bold colour let alone with fuller cleavage… the blouse Sandra is wearing kinda calls out ‘Ship ahoyyy!’ But of course, Sandra makes it work and at least it’s well balanced with the jet Black belt and long skirt.


The viewers didn’t often see Rose dressed up for the evening but when she did she was always stunning and even though she’s carrying a laundry basket here she was ready for her date afterwards! The only problem here is fabric – the vintage inspired dress with inserts in the skirt is all well and good but the pleather doesn’t go well with the Blue fabric and looser upper body and rolled neck. The stylist pulled it together with the Black scarf and brooch though, I never would have thought of those and I’m not sure if I’d try them but they work…


I love this look, especially since it feels like it’s been cold for ages where I am! The long cardigan, fitted hat and wide scarf with gloves (hopefully faux) make for a sophisticated look and in matching colours.


Pussy bow blouses/shirts always look even more feminine when matched with a flared skirt and even more smart with knee high boots. I know not many women like to wear a skirt that covers the top of their knee high boots but I’ve done it a few times and it doesn’t look or feel awkward.


These are a bit too glam for me but the vintage marabou peignoirs are mega expensive! Do you have a boudoir worthy of this negligee?


Calvin looking very snazzy but I’m not sure if it’d fly in those colours nowadays.


Another starlet peignoir but I’m not liking that shade of Pink with the faux fur trim and flared back.


I’m not sure about this suit, it’s in a nice colour scheme and is smart yet different but it’s a bit too mature. If the plaid/check fabric was more stiff or more iron friendly and the cut better fitted it could suit women of all ages for both work and street wear.


Again, statement shirtfronts work well with a long flared skirt and in this case with a nice belt.


Pearl looking lovely in Purple with costume pearls and a little bit of shine. A little shine on a muted shade works well on the chiffon particularly on a mature lady.


Perfect Mother-of-the-Bride attire worn by both except in this case Mary is the daughter and on the right hand side her mother is dressed for renewing her vows. Elegant to a ‘t’.


Sandra stealing the show again, this time in a Royal Blue peplum faux wrapover dress. Again though, all that shine and slink was more suited to Dynasty and Dallas but Sandra was just as over the top.


A rare occasion where Mary looks better dressed than Sandra imo. Both look smart and chic but Mary’s Turquoise/Gold combo in a casual yet smart jumper dress stands out a bit more than Sandra’s Black and sparkly combination, particularly because the dropped waist both are wearing suits Mary’s figure more.


On the ‘stoop’ stylin’ as usual, all are work ready but Sandra’s Pink dress and belt are gorgeous.

Fashions that thankfully got lost en retro


As comfortable as they are those work dresses have always been awful and should never come back.


I see so many of those slinky button-up full dresses with stifling prints, akin to the one Sandra is wearing, in vintage stores and they never grow on me. Sandra makes it looks better than it is but still it’s a basic design that should have always been a rare and not protected species. Mary is again wearing one of her signature work/cleaning dresses that weren’t practical for major housework and designed to ensure the woman wearing it looked modest in means and status.


Dressing like your dad… ’nuff said.


I’ve seen dresses like these in thrift stores galore and they are perfect for re-fashioning because of all the features; in this case the cut/fit, print, shoulder pads, puff sleeves and length of the bodice – sooo many things that call out for alteration. Mary makes it easier on the eye with her pizzazz but otherwise hell no.

Did any of those take you down memory lane or perhaps make you glad you were born afterwards? 😀

Well here’s a little treat, it’s the awesome theme song sung by Marla Gibbs:

Comments on: "227 Retro TV Show – Dowdy to Dayum" (3)

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