What Emily McCombs wants, Emily McCombs gets! And she wants to dress like everyone's favorite housewife.
Alison Freer
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What Emily McCombs wants, Emily McCombs gets! And she wants to dress like everyone's favorite housewife.

Emily’s new red hair last week made me start thinking about some of Peggy Bundy’s witty fashions on the great sitcom “Married...With Children.” I told you, I really do just think about clothes nonstop.

Then Emily sent me an email that simply said, “How can I dress like Peggy Bundy ALL THE TIME?!" I am in the habit of doing what the boss lady says (even if I AM older than her), so you are about to get a little lesson in funky, sexy, trashy housewife style.


Peg Bundy through the years.

Peggy Bundy (played by the lovely Katey Sagal) was a lazy housewife who loved to lay on the sofa and eat bon bons all day while her sad sack husband (Ed O’Neill) toiled away selling ladies’ shoes. I think her style on the show was meant to be a send-up of the prototypical 1950’s housewife. It would be easy to write Peggy off as a tacky broad who just loved leopard print, but I think she had a thoughtfully sexy, classic style that with a few tweaks, still holds up in 2012.

Peg Bundy knew how to rock the cigarette pant like nobody’s business. A lot of people are groaning right now and saying “UGH, CAPRI PANTS!” Au contraire, kittens.  Cigarette pants are longer, slimmer, made of better fabrics, and do not have those abhorrent cargo pockets.  


From left: Polka dot pants, Ann Taylor, $78.00. Printed pants, Emilio Pucci, $505.00. Green twill pants, Urban Outfitters, $49.00.


From left: Cropped turquoise twill pant, Urban Outfitters, $49.00. Black leaf print pant, Kirna Zabete, $598.50. Royal blue cigarette jean, Not Your Daughter's Jeans, $104.00.

The royal blue cigarette jeans on the far right above deserve a very special mention. Despite having the WORST BRAND NAME EVER, "Not Your Daughter's Jeans," they are insanely flattering. I get what they are going for -- the customer of a certain age that can't swan about in flimsy stuff made for 100-pound 20 year olds, but I vainly cut the tags out of every pair I buy for the actresses I dress, lest there be a "Wait, you think I'm OLD??" moment.

Honestly, try them. They are made with 4% spandex instead of the usual 2%, and they have cleverly sewn the pockets closer together to create the illusion of a smaller butt. Pocket placement on jeans is almost as important of an issue as world peace.

Peggy circa 2012 would also love some leopard print skinny jeans:


Left, Grey leopard skinny jeans, Current/Elliot, $198.00.  Right,blue H&M leopard skinny jeans, $39.95.

Peg never met a color or print she didn’t like.  These pencil skirts would fit right into her closet:


Left, Zebra print pencil skirt, $78.00. Right, Teal denim pencil skirt, $72.00.  Both, at


Left, Polka dot pencil skirt, Forever 21, $15.80.  Right, Purple pencil skirt, J.Crew, $128.00.


Left, Black skirt with peplum, Bebe, $69.00.  Right, Abstract animal print skirt, Just Cavalli, $245.00.

The flirty peplum on the black skirt above is just the type of fun-loving detail that all of Peggy's clothes had. She was so unabashedly womanly. I think a pencil skirt works for both skinny babes and curvy girls.  The longer length gives a great visual balance between a curvy upper body/hips and your legs.

Peggy Bundy knew what every woman should already know: showing some back and shoulder is universally flattering, no matter what your size.   


Clockwise from top left: Blue backless top, Frederick's of Hollywood, $39.00. Purple leopard print silk scoop neck tank, Dolce & Gabbana, about $386.00 U.S.  White off-shoulder top with black polka dots, YesStyle, $27.00.  Floral off-shoulder top, Miss Selfridge, $32.00.


Left, Cream off-shoulder top with sheer overlay and black piping, Valentino, $605.00.  Right, Black/white gingham top, Vivienne Westwood, $216.00.

Add a little shimmer powder to your shoulders and collarbone and you are set.

I think the 2012 version of Peg Bundy would also love these whimsical tank tops. A scoop neck and bare arms is practically her signature look.


Left, Leopard heart tank, exclusive to, about $27.00 U.S.  Right, Rainbow tank, Christopher Kane, $297.00. 

The cornerstone of almost all of Peggy’s ensembles was a wide, waist-nipping belt. A wide horizontal line at your natural waist (the smallest point) cinches everything in and accentuates the curves of your hips and upper body.


Top: Red leather buckle belt, Alice&Olivia, $97.00.  Middle: Royal blue elastic belt, Forever 21, $8.80.  Bottom: Hot pink leather buckle belt, Cole Haan, $79.99.


Top: Black studded belt, Pucci, $416.00.  Middle: Pale pink/turquoise belt, Asos, $24.86.  Bottom: Black elastic belt with enamel flower buckle, Stella Mc Cartney, $315.00.

I just realized that it would be so easy to make your own version of that black Stella Mc Cartney belt with the enamel flower buckle -- just pick up a plain black wide elastic belt anywhere, and pin a vintage thrift store brooch to it. These wide belts are great “fat trappers,” because they really do tend to hide bulges. Try it, YOU’LL LIKE IT!

Peg was definitely all about the saucy high heel, even when just lounging around the house.


Clockwise from top left: Black ankle strap shoe with woven gold detail, Vince Camuto, $129.99. Pastel ankle strap wedges, Matiko Echo, $184.99.  Hot pink stilleto with open work detail,, $59.99. Black floral wedge, Aldo, $90.00. 


Clockwise from top left:  Black suede shoe with gold platform and heel, Marc Jacobs, $338.00.  Royal blue/teal pump with silver toe,, $59.99. Red & white polka dot fabric sandal with wood heel,, $99.00.  Pink/black suede sandal with ankle strap, Barbara Bui, $620.00.

You can also pick a Peg-errific flat shoe and still be funky, pretty, and feminine. Since Emily is a mom now, I had to include some flat shoes. We wouldn’t want her to pull a Britney and stumble with the toddler while wearing skyscraper heels.


Top: Leopard print Keds,, $40.00.  Bottom:Royal blue jelly ballet flats, Vivienne Westwood, about $127.00 U.S.


Far left: Green suede skimmers,, $135.00. Top right: Pink/brown printed open toe flats, Marni, $525.00.  Bottom right: Leopard print thong sandal,, $88.00.

A great way to get a little instant Peggy flair without spending too much cash is to wear some just-this-side-of-gaudy colorful jewelry.  The bigger the better.  Peg wore her fake gumball-sized pearls and plastic jewelry as if she had just taken them out of the safe.


Clockwise from top left:  Rhinestone bamboo earrings, $12.95.  Yellow/blue candy gemstone earrings,, $18.00.  Yellow animal print resin bangle,, $15.00.  Long multi-color stone necklace, Neiman Marcus, $50.00.

I am clearly well on my way to becoming a crazy over-bejeweled “Real Housewife of New Jersey” myself.  I love anything ticky-tacky, plastic, colorful and sparkly.


Just casually on a Tuesday in September.  You don't need a reason to wear giant tacky jewels.  It's just fun!

I am sitting here trying to recall what type of bags Peggy carried on the show. You rarely ever saw her outside of her living room! I am pretty sure she’d happily carry any of these:


Clockwise from top left:  Printed velvet tote bag, Emilio Pucci, about $485.00 U.S.  Hot pink rubber bag, Furla, $228.00.  "Watermelon" clutch, about $25.00 U.S.  Black/white envelope clutch, Lulu Guinness, $621.00.

Peggy’s big red hairdo was really her best accessory.  Unless you own and use the BumpIt religiously, the bouffant might come off as a little dated. Here’s a new twist on Peg’s “big hair” -- with the volume on the bottom half instead of the top.


Photo credit, Paul K. Media.

Peg was really kind of a classy gal when you get right down to it -- she never dressed down, she was always made up, even if she was just sitting on the sofa. I always make an attempt to dress up, or at the very least slap on some lipstick, even when I don’t feel like it. It always helps my mood enormously.

Peggy always dressed for herself.  She was pretty clearly dressing to be a vixen, but always with a wink towards her own eccentric personality. Nobody could ever bring her down.  I agree with her -- flaunt it if you've got it.

Follow me on Twitter: @IveyAlison