Mary Poppins immediately brings to mind sensible and whimsically delivered life lessons, musical numbers, spoonfuls of sugar, and unusual tea times. Fashion isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, BUT, upon reconsidering, it’s ever so clear that Mary Poppins is actually quite the fashion influencer in her own right.
One of the first things that differentiates her from the other nannies who queue up on Cherry Tree Lane is that she actually has some style. True, Jane and Michael do request a nanny who is fairly pretty, but we’re not necessary talking about looks. What we’re referring to is her style, her fashion perspective.
Mary shows up in a proper hat, sensible heels, a long coat just like all the other nannies who end up floating away on a suspicious wind. But there’s a little something different about Mary’s ensemble: the hat has a tiny sprig of quirky flowers, the heels are bright purple, her carpet bag is patterned and gigantic, and of course there’s that bright red tie that adds a touch of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Upon rewatching Mary Poppins through this fashion lens, we’ve synthesized the style lessons that we learned from Mary over the years.
1. Make An Entrance
Mary Poppins shows up unannounced, literally blows away the competition, and waltzes in with the utmost confidence. This is how you enter a room, no matter what the outfit or occasion. Mary knows that style sometimes has more to do with attitude than apparel.
2. Add a Personal Touch
Mary doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with every outfit she wears. In fact, she tries to dress appropriate for every occasion: a proper nanny’s outfit for her “interview,” a white lace frock for a garden party, and a touch of soot on her nose for gallivanting on the roof. What she does do is put her own personal spin on it. She adds a pop of color (the shoes and tie), she has signature accessories that make her immediately recognizable, even in silhouette. Sometimes fashion is about subtle differences instead of a full-blown revolution.
3. Exaggerate Proportions
In the rooftop scene, Mary dons what might be the largest pink bow tie ever to be successfully worn in fashion history. The thing is, it doesn’t look ridiculous. Sometimes a ridiculously large bag or hat can take an ordinary outfit to extraordinary.
4. Signature Accessories
Mary is known for her carpet bag as much as she’s known for her parrot umbrella. These are some rather unusual accessories to sport at all times, but she totally pulls it off with her Mary Poppins confidence (see #2). They become so much a part of her persona, you no longer think it odd that she’s talking to her parrot umbrella or pulling a lamp out of her purse. That’s just Mary’s style, proving you can pull off outlandish accessories if you work them just right.
5. Don’t Let Style Get in the Way
Though Mary is always dressed perfectly for every occasion, she doesn’t let her high heels or fact that she’s wearing a rather frilly dress get in the way of having an adventure. She rides side saddle on the carousel horse, since she is a lady after all, but then goes on to win the race. She maintains her adorable outfit while prancing on rooftops, then outdoes all of the chimney sweeps in a twirling contest. Just because she’s dressed to the nines, doesn’t mean that she stays on the sidelines.
6. Be Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
This one is a little hard to explain, but that’s kind of the point of the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious–it’s a word to use when you don’t know what to say. One might even say that supercalifragilisticexpialidocious might describe that indescribable thing that makes an “it” girl like Mary Poppins an “it” girl. It’s style, mixed with demeanor, mixed with charm, mixed with charisma, mixed with mystery.