'90s TV Characters With The Most Iconic Fashion

In terms of style, it can feel like the '90s remain culturally relevant. Thanks to streaming, it's easy to get caught up on hit series from the era, from "Full House," which got the reboot treatment from 2016 to 2020 as "Fuller House" (via IMDb), to "Dawson's Creek," to "Friends," and, of course, all of the '90s looks on the cast members. 

Now that pieces like bucket hats and acid-wash denim are taking up space in our wardrobes, it feels vital to reflect on the fashion icons who set the standard for our favorite '90s trends, from the spaghetti-strapped slip-dress-meets-nightgown, to risk-taking animal prints, to sheer dresses and shirts.

Many of today's fashionistas are still taking their lead from the ladies on the recently rebooted series "Sex and the City," who, between 1998 to 2004, wore a decade-plus-long spectrum of looks. Just a few unforgettable examples include Miranda's bold '90s overalls, Samantha's 2000s-chic, shimmering mini dresses, '80s-inspired blazers, and timeless trench coats.

Rachel Green had cool girl style

Few characters in the history of television have inspired a haircut trend, and "the Rachel," first seen on "Friends," will forever remain the well-intentioned look that was best left to Jennifer Aniston. In addition to her headline-grabbing hairstyle, which changed several times over throughout the course of the show's ten seasons on air, from 1994 to 2004, Rachel was never hesitant when it came to trying bold new looks (via IMDb). 

A fashionista at her core, Rachel could transition from killer workplace looks for her job at Ralph Lauren to her signature sleeveless turtlenecks for a night in with the gang. Rachel also inspired a new generation to take ownership of mom jeans, for which the generation who experienced low-rise jeans will be forever grateful. Rachel was also never shy about layering, pairing sweaters with tiny mini skirts and high socks, or going for a tomboy look for a Thanksgiving football game with the gang (via Bustle).

Buffy Summers slayed her looks

Buffy Summers was the epitome of tough but cute, and she used her supernatural strength and killer 'fits to secure her place in TV fashion history. The character's proclivity for super '90s mid-length skirts, tight sweaters, and skirts with boots left the viewer wondering how she had time to look so good with the weight of the world on her shoulders, not to mention killing vampires and demons in the impractical, but cute, outfits (via Society19). 

Buffy's later era of clothing choices mirrored her acceptance of her role as the Slayer, and her looks went from school-girl to badass. She and Spike regularly rocked leather jackets and pants, and despite his problematic history, Spike gets an honorable mention for his consistent look: slicked-back bleached hair, black T-shirts, and a long black leather jacket (via Screen Rant).

Carrie Bradshaw's fashion couldn't be pinned down

Carrie Bradshaw is far from the only fashion-forward character on "Sex and the City." Samantha Jones could work a plunging V-neck dress like no other. Charlotte York had the preppy plaid market cornered, and Miranda Hobbes gave a new meaning to tomboy chic.

But the name Carrie Bradshaw has become synonymous with style in and out of the fictional world of "Sex and the City." Besides Carrie Bradshaw's most iconic outfits, the character is probably best known for retooling her staple wardrobe pieces; she tied scarves on her head and bicep and belts on her bare midriff. Instagram accounts like @Dan_Clay (aka Carrie Dragshaw) and @everyoutfitonsatc have done fans a service by memorializing Carrie's greatest looks, from the newspaper print dress to her cowboy hat and bandeau Hamptons look, all thanks to show stylist Patricia Fields. In light of the series' 2021 reboot, "And Just Like That," it looks like Carrie's fashion won't be playing it safe anytime soon.

Ashley Banks was the true fashionista on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Anyone watching Ashley Banks grow up on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" between 1990 to 1996 witnessed a fashionable metamorphosis like few others, as the 11-year-old actress went from cute outfits to our newest style role model (via Screen Rant). Though her sister on the show, Hilary Banks, had the hat game on lock, Ashley's fashion sense was more whimsical, incorporating suspenders, cropped sweaters paired with loose jeans, and flannels around her waist (via Society19). Ashley's transition into young adulthood was also the blueprint for bringing girlish knee socks into more mature looks, perfectly balancing her relaxed tomboy aesthetic with pieces that showed more skin.

The actress who played Ashley, Tatiana Ali, experienced her own fashion transformation during her "Fresh Prince" years, and wasn't a fan of Ashley's floral looks early on in the series. She originally expressed admiration for Hilary Banks, buttoned up looks, telling us that she asked, "Can I wear a — I wish I could wear a suit and, like, a dope hat like all her outfits?" Thankfully, her own character's style matured along with the actress, and Ashley Banks inspired a generation of fashionistas in her own right.

Fran Fine on The Nanny is our ultimate inspiration

Fran Fine will forever be the '90s icon who took the biggest risks in her fashion while maintaining core pieces, her mini skirts, crop tops, and the perfectly tailored blazers. Fran Drescher's style was influenced by her home in Queens, New York, and the show resembled her life growing up so closely that her husband at the time worried her real-life mother would be offended, according to Drescher's 2012 interview with QNS. However, she revealed that her mother's response had been, "'I'm glad you didn't exaggerate the hair.'" It's clear where Fran got her bold sense of style when her character visits her mom and grandmother back home. 

"The Nanny" relied on visual ironies between Fran's busy ensembles and the Sheffield family's done-up looks and the kid's school uniforms (via Instagram). Fran's infectious personality and loud style eventually transforms the family for the good, cementing Fran as the '90s embodiment of a bombshell in both spirit and looks.

Fran Drescher even noted that her iconic character's fashion is coming back in style; she told Byrdie, "There's so much about 'The Nanny' that's in vogue right now. Almost everything I loved about 'The Nanny,' you can find now, whether it be a brightly colored faux fur or over-the-knee boots or a mini skirt." In 2021, the star showed off one of the brightly colored vest from her old wardrobe on Instagram