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Flashback! Suzanne Somers looks back on 'Three's Company,' 'Step by Step' style

by Erin Clements / / Source: TODAY

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We've watched Suzanne Somers' onscreen style evolve from Chrissy Snow's flirty wardrobe on "Three's Company" to Carol Foster Lambert's conservative mom garb on "Step by Step." And the actress and author has sported plenty of memorable offscreen looks — boho frocks and slinky gowns — along the way.

When Somers recently visited TODAY to celebrate her new book, "Two's Company: A Fifty-Year Romance with Lessons Learned in Love, Life & Business," we asked her to take a walk down memory lane with us.

Here's what she had to say!

THREE S COMPANY
Janet (Joyce DeWitt, left) and Jack (John Ritter) question Chrissy's (Suzanne Somers) romance with an older man in the 1977 "Three's Company" episode "Chrissy's Date."ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

"This is Chrissy, but not full Chrissy yet," Somers explained of this navy frock her "Three's Company" character sported in 1977 — which would look just as chic in 2017. "This was year one, maybe one and a half. And she was starting to figure out her look. By the next year, I gave her snow-white hair, with big pink cheeks and dark eyes, and then only pastel colors, so it was a work in progress. But you can see she's working the off-the-shoulder thing."

THREE'S COMPANY, Suzanne Somers, 1977-1984
Courtesy Everett Collection

"Well, aren't I having fun?" Somers joked of her playful pose. "It was a big skirt and it was really long and I didn't like how long it was, so I thought 'Let's put it over my head. Wear my skirt as a shawl.' What l like about this, it just shows how thrilled I was that this had happened to my life. Never in a million years did I think this would happen to my life, and you could just see that all that joy was so unlikely to me. So, that's what that says to me."

THREE'S COMPANY, Suzanne Somers, 1979. 1977-1984. (c) ABC Television/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.
Suzanne Somers in 1979.

"Now we're getting there, now Chrissy's starting to come," Somers said. "Although this is at the height of Chrissy, this was Suzanne. But Chrissy could've worn that outfit too. Just changed the hairdo a little bit."

THREE'S COMPANY, Suzanne Somers, 1977-1984
Courtesy Everett Collection

"Full out, 100 percent Chrissy Snow. This is it. Short shorts, pastel colors, the two ponytails. I was walking down Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and I passed an outdoor cafe. And there was a woman sitting there with two Afghan dogs. And I looked at the dogs with the hair hanging down in the face and the two long ears and I thought 'What a cool hairdo for Chrissy.' So this hairdo was based on an Afghan dog. And then the roller skates, 'cause why not?"

THREE'S COMPANY, Suzanne Somers, 1979. 1977-1984. (c) ABC Television/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.
Suzanne Somers in 1979.

"Oh, Chrissy Snow wore this outfit a lot. She liked it. She liked the monochromatic and it matched her hair. So, she wasn't all ditzy. She had a style. Again, the little short shorts and the ponytails. They were sexy but not vulgar. And that's what I really enjoy about her. She was a woman child. She had the soul of a child and the body of a woman, and she didn't know it. And that's what made her likable, I think."

Suzanne Somers at Studio 54
Suzanne Somers at Studio 54 on Dec. 19, 1978.Tom Wargacki/WireImage

"This is a Lancetti. I bought this in Italy, and I had a lot of fun in that dress. It's all silk and kind of cool. And you didn't have to wear a bra."

Singers' Salute to Songwriters - April 7, 1986
Suzanne Somers at "Singers' Salute to Songwriters" on April 7, 1986.WireImage

"This is when I left ('Three's Company'). I didn't really leave the show; I was fired. And who would've thought that Chrissy Snow would be the first feminist? But my contract was up and I realized all the men in television were making 10 to 15 times more than me on lesser shows. I was on the No. 1 show and I had the highest demographics of any woman in television, and so I asked for commensurate pay and they fired me to make an example, so no other woman would get so uppity. So, what did I do? I went to Vegas. I took my fame and put it on the Vegas stage and we sold out every night, and in 1987 I became Las Vegas Female Entertainer of the Year along with Frank Sinatra, who was Las Vegas Male Entertainer of the Year. It was kind of a triumphant moment. You get knocked down in life, the important thing is to always get back up and reinvent. So this is my reinvention in electric-blue bugle beads."

The 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards
Suzanne Somers during the 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel.Ron Galella / WireImage

"This is when I was trying to morph Diana Ross. We women and our hairstyles, it's a clear indication that we don't quite know who we are yet and I thought Diana Ross had the coolest hair. This is my hair, this is what my hair wants to do. This is what I did to it, I fried it night after night to go out onstage. But my daughter Leslie made me this dress; she's a designer who graduated from Parsons and look at the design."

STEP BY STEP, (back l-r): Stacy Keanan, Angela Watson, Patrika Darbo, Patrick Duffy, Brandon Call, P
Stacy Keanan, Angela Watson, Patrika Darbo, Patrick Duffy, Brandon Call, Peggy Rea, (front l-r): Christine Lakin, Christopher Castile, Suzanne Somers, Josh Byrne on "Step by Step."

"Well, Carol had five children," Somers said of her "Step by Step" character. "By the way, the mother and the sister had a pig year one, and then they were both gone. We never saw them again, never talked to them again. No one ever said 'Where's mom? Where's sister? Where's the pig?' That's television. Anyway, being a mother, it took some adjustment for me, because I was used to going out there and being kind of a sexpot, in a clean way. And you have to do the right thing when you play a mother, so the sexy clothes would be at night when Frank and Carol were in the bedroom and she would wear the little teddies, but it always got interrupted by some kid walking in."

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