CLASSY CANDICE BERGEN made her acting debut with “The Group” in 1966, followed by a well-critiqued role in “Carnal Knowledge” (1971). But as the first female guest host of “Saturday Night Live” and as Burt Reynolds’s ex-wife in 1979’s “Starting Over,” she showed the world she had a funny bone. Her career took off in the late 1980s when she won the title role on Murphy Brown as the cynical, competitive anchor/reporter of a TV magazine show. The CBS sitcom, which lasted for 10 seasons, earning Bergen five Emmys and two Golden Globes, is getting a reboot for the 2018-2019 season. The 71-year-old Bergen will reprise her role as Brown, the tough female journalist in a male-dominated world of broadcast news.
It will be interesting to see her wardrobe for the 21st-century revival. In real life, whether for the red carpet, morning TV shows or fundraisers, Bergen keeps it simple, mostly with a uniform of black pants and a punchy jacket or blouse, and tailored pantsuits.
JANET: Very pretty jacket here in a bright face-flattering color, but I think it’s too boxy; I would have preferred something slightly longer, looser and unbuttoned on the 5-foot-7-inch Bergen. I like the choice of a fiber necklace, fringe and all; it looks like an imaginative take on a necktie but not so buttoned-up that you can’t see some skin. A kitten heel is a practical choice for making the party rounds and air-kissing fellow thespians.
NANCY: She is such a handsome woman! And anything she does is okay by me, but . . . Janet, I think the problem is that Bergen is a little boxier than she used to be. And yes, it would help if the jacket were longer and of a more supple fabric. I don’t quarrel with the kitten heel, but there are a lot of shoes out there these days that are cut straight across the instep. Who on earth ever thought this was flattering? For the record, I don’t. (One catty aside: Her little evening bag looks like something she got free with a Lancôme purchase at Bloomingdale’s.)
KATHY: Nancy! Meow! Actually, I don’t disagree and I’m glad you said it first. But, you know, it wouldn’t surprise me if the bag really were a “free” gift. It strikes me as something Candice Bergen would do and simply not give a damn. After all, she’s always been one of the most beautiful women in the world so what the heck does she have left to prove? I’ve always been wowed by her beauty but truly became a fan years ago when she had a guest spot on SNL. Adorable little dorky Gilda Radner was having an exchange about boys with the impossibly perfect Bergen and asked her if she had ever had a guy she fancied not call her. “No,” Bergen replied, “but I’ve had them not call back.” I don’t know about Gilda, but it made me feel better. As for the outfit above, I like the jacket—the pattern, the material, the cut. I don’t find it too boxy. On the other hand, the pants look too long. They don’t hang well and I want to tell her to pull them up. And that thing around her neck is just ridiculous.
JANET: Just want to chime in here about the evening bag. It did look tacky. Maybe it was one of those old Prada nylon bags, which everyone used to covet and I never understood why. As for the shoes, Nancy, I don’t like the silhouette either.
NANCY: I’m not nuts about this look, but I’m totally down with the loafers—comfort above all! The shoes and the ankle-length pants are what I like here. And doesn’t Candice Bergen’s hair always look perfect?!
KATHY: With tongue in cheek I have to admit I’m sooooo like Candice Bergen. Like her, I’ve put on extra pounds over the years simply because I like food more than dieting. So, sue me. Also like her, pants and shirts are my go-to choice. And I very much like the shirt she’s chosen here. Shirts with collars are particularly flattering. Cute shoes!
JANET: Hosannas to Bergen for perfect coordination. She eschews just plain black and white for an arty print blouse and leopard-print loafers. To top it off, she adds a multi-layered shell necklace, which becomes the focal point of the outfit. (Did she shove that briefcase between her legs for the photo?)
JANET: What else would she wear to fundraiser for Hillary but a monochromatic pantsuit. I love those patterned shoes.
NANCY: Yeah, a couple of fashion bloggers zinged Bergen for this outfit, suggesting she was taking style notes from Hillary. Whatever. In theory, this should be a good look . . . but it’s not. Maybe it’s all the wrinkles, maybe it’s the truly unserious blue. Love the shoes. But with that funny expression on her face, Bergen looks more like Rosemary Clooney than herself! (And I take back what I said about her hair always looking perfect.)
KATHY: Maybe she was dressing to avoid attention from Weinstein. I bet it worked.
JANET: So, I know this is a Dries Van Noten coat, but I’m no fan of it here on Bergen (or maybe on anyone who weighs over 100 pounds). She may be a bit overweight, but this makes her look positively porky. Too many horizontals on the print add width. The slippers are adorable, and the pattern works with the coat, but they’re too flat. She looks likes she’s nailed to the floor. This outfit screams for heels. Do I like anything about this? Yes, the white shirt and the beaded necklace.
NANCY: Well, we’re back to perfect hair, but that’s about it. I think the problem is not only the horizontal lines on the coat; I think the whole cut guarantees, let’s call it amplitude. It just kinda balloons out at hip level, not the best look for anyone. I agree about the shoes, which are fun. But there’s something to be said about these red-carpet photographers: They’re probably taller than most of the women they shoot, and they focus on the face, which seems to make everything below look stumpy. I’m sure there’s a lot of jockeying for position and they probably don’t have much latitude, but this outfit may look better in motion.
KATHY: Nancy is right. Part of the problem here is the angle and the pose. Still, it’s too much coat for her. Those slippers really are adorable, but they should have had heels.