7 Wild Style Moments from 90s TV Goddesses

by Sonia Edwards

I was never one for binge-watching TV shows. That is, until I saw the first episode of Sex and the City on HBOGo. Needless to say, it sucked me in like a feathery Dior tornado, and to this day has not let go.  I may be a decade late to the game, but the outfits, like good cheese, only get better with age.  

A few (okay, more than a few) episodes into one of my Sex and the City sprees, my brain started to short-circuit, and I started thinking about other shows from the nineties and how the women in them dressed. “Did everyone dress like this?” I thought to myself, becoming more and more frenzied. “Was everyone wearing fluffy kitten heels and baggy pantsuits? Since when was any of this okay??” 

Before I completely freaked out, I reminded myself to take some deep breaths. In taking a step back, I started to really appreciate the freedom and subtle genius behind these wacky ensembles. So here, in no particular order, are 7 of the wildest (most inspirational?) outfits donned by the nineties queens of the small screen:


1. Elaine’s whole wardrobe in Seinfeld

One of my favorites. Her whole wardrobe counts because all its comprised of is just slight variations of the same outfit. To channel Elaine Benes, all you need is a flood-level floral dress (preferably short-sleeved), a pantsuit that is a few sizes too big for you, chunky black shoes and a healthy dose of attitude. Mix and match as you please, and feel free to include accessories such as wire-framed glasses and a jean jacket which is also too big for you.

2. Carrie’s skirt/belt situation in Sex and the City

Finding just one of Carrie Bradshaw’s outfits to put in this post was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My mind abuzz with tutus and pretzel necklaces and whatever this is, I finally decided to feature the one ensemble that will probably haunt me forever. Sometimes I’ll be taking a shower or walking my dog when, out of no where, this image will appear in my brain and confuse me all over again. 

3. Samantha’s banana shirt in Sex and the City

Samantha is not usually the one you’d go to for particularly out-there outfits on this show, which makes this moment stand out all the more.  Sam usually sticks to sleek, clean lines and timeless cuts, but she can sure dial it up and have fun with it when she wants to.  Like a real banana, this top does not age well.  I forgive her, though—it’s couture, after all.

5. Hilary’s courtroom tartan in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

This is probably my favorite utilization of the nineties’ plaid trend. Here is a deliberate, dare I say violent departure away from grungy, oversized men’s flannels, and into the world of high fashion. High, that is, in the sense that whoever put this outfit together must have been smoking something. I kid, I kid! I actually really admire her for wearing this—she looks fab, and must have been sweating buckets under those hot studio lights.

6. Sabrina’s lace-up get-up in Sabrina the Teenage Witch

(Image courtesy of this awesome blog)

Like Sex and the City, this show is a veritable treasure trove of questionable fashion decisions. Between the velour, the way it fits and the blue/brown color combo (admittedly a favorite of mine in the third grade), it’s hard to know where to even begin to address this ensemble. It does, however, get double points for attention to detail (note how the criss-cross pattern on the pants compliments the lace-up detail on the top) and for the fact that someone else decided to wear the same exact outfit. 

7. Phoebe’s orange fur in Friends

Last but certainly not least, Phoebe Buffay. Again, hard to settle on just one outfit, as everything in her wardrobe perfectly encapsulates her iconic, free-spirited urban flower child energy. Out of everything, though, this coat was just too good to ignore.  And of course not just the coat, but also the chunky necklace and brown dress with its subtle embellishments, really make this outfit worth spotlighting.  

I know I talk a lot of trash, but really, I admire how bold these ladies were with their style decisions. And while I don’t look to their specific outfits for inspiration on a daily basis, I do look to their attitude and ability to wear whatever they want as an expression of themselves.  I know I missed a few (okay, way more than a few), so let me know—what are your favorite style moments from nineties TV?


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