With its hyperrealistic characters and familiar storyline, there’s plenty to love about the new, live-action version of The Jungle Book. In terms of fashion however, the animals are, well, animals—far less anthropomorphized than in the 1967 classic. It shouldn’t be much of a spoiler to reveal that, no, Baloo does not appear singing in a hula skirt and coconut top, nor does any animal sport human apparel. But since seeing it, I’ve found myself musing on the opposite end of The Jungle Book-adjacent fashion spectrum: the beloved animated series, TaleSpin.
Revisiting this underrated classic—which reimagines some Jungle Book characters as a ragtag team of pilots, or villainous businessmen—I remembered how secretly stylish its cast was. Set in the mid-to-late ’30s and airing in the early ’90s, it features a wild mix of occasionally kooky, but always entertaining fashion choices that deserve special recognition.
I’ve always been a sucker for an aviation-inspired look. Here, Baloo’s leather jacket and captain’s hat achieve aeronautic perfection, an unexpectedly stylish look from this carefree bear. The shoulder tabs and rolled sleeves on his field shirt also lend an adventurous edge to his style that we’d happily replicate.
A little while ago, we celebrated Peggy Carter, from Marvel’s Agent Carter, as a style guru. Becky, TaleSpin’s female lead, channels a similar retro vibe, with oversized victory rolls, a turtle neck, and a smart blazer. However, where Peggy’s outfits were often toned in navy, black, or red, here, Becky’s ensemble features neon pinks, magenta, and purple, giving us serious ’90s flashbacks. Though the color scheme may seem dated, the individual pieces would add a bold pop of color to any modern style.
With festival season upon us, it’s impossible not to mention Louie’s eccentric outfit on this show. The bold print button-up, straw hat, and pink lei make it easy for us to imagine people sporting Louie’s ensemble at any of this spring’s concert line-ups.
In what may possibly be my favorite reinterpretation of an original Jungle Book character, here Shere Khan’s imperial power and darkness are communicated through the language of fashion with a navy blue, double-breasted suit. The details—namely that delicate rose bud boutonniere and gold tie pin—are what really make this not-so-secretly stylish outfit, conveying Shere Khan’s meticulous attention to detail.