Mary Queen of Shops

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Mary Queen of Shops TV Poster Image
Expert saves boutiques from fashion faux pas; OK for teens.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series highlights what small independent clothing retailers need to do in order to make their businesses successful. On the downside, sexist remarks about women’s behavior and attitude are occasionally made by clueless and/or frustrated shop owners.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Portas offers blunt but smart advice to help small clothing retailers survive among large high-end retailers. But not all business owners are willing to listen or take her advice.


Occasional arguments between Portas and stubborn retailers.


Occasional sexual innuendo related to looking sexually attractive and being able to maneuver during sexual activity in bad outfits.


Language including curses like “a--hole," “bulls--t,” and "f--k." The version edited for American television bleeps some of these words.


Given the context of the show, it's not surprising that clothing and fashion brands -- including French Connection, Prada, Zara, and Colette -- are prominently featured. References are also made to magazines like Elle and Hello! and fashion oriented-shows like Sex and the City.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Visible cigarette smoking. Wine, champagne, and cocktails are frequently served and consumed at fashion events.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, like many British shows, this reality import -- in which independent clothing businesses are made over with the help of fashion retail expert Mary Portas -- has its share of strong language (though the strongest words are bleeped for American broadcast), as well as some sexual innuendo, smoking, and drinking. Not surprisingly, major clothing labels (Prada, French Connection, Zara, etc.) are prominently featured. Because of its subject matter, the series will probably appeal to teens interested in fashion and/or fashion retail.

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What's the story?

In MARY QUEEN OF SHOPS, retail expert/author Mary Portas attempts to save small British clothing shop owners, one boutique at a time. Each episode features a small independent retailer who's struggling to compete among the major chains. Portas spends a month helping the owners reconnect with contemporary fashion trends and revamp their marketing concepts. She also introduces them to label owners and industry experts who teach them the necessary merchandising strategies to make their store a continued success. At the end of the month, the owners re-launch their reconfigured stores full of glamorous new merchandise in hopes of appealing to fashion-conscious consumers.

Is it any good?

Mary Queen of Shops offers viewers an interesting behind-the-scenes look at what goes into fashion retail. It also highlights some of the important but often overlooked details of running a boutique -- like visual merchandise staging and building relationships with labels -- that can determine the success or failure of an independent clothing outlet.

The show focuses on the business side of selling high-end garments, but fashionistas of all ages will probably be attracted to the constant parade of designer labels and contemporary clothing. Photo shoots and occasional scenes of models on the runway at celeb-studded fashion shows also add to the allure. Both the business-minded and the style-conscious will find something to enjoy here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fashion trends. Who determines what's “fashionable”? How is the media used to communicate these trends to consumers? Does the media have an impact on the way trends change over time?

  • What are some of your favorite fashion trends? Least favorite? Why do some clothing trends come back over time?

  • What kind of training do you need go into the fashion retail

  • industry? Is it just about knowing the latest trends, or do

  • you need to study business and marketing in order to be successful?

TV details

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