20. The Golden Girls
Don’t discredit these ’80s ladies based on their ages. These saucy GILFs knew how to best flatter what God gave them. Big hair, bold jewelry, bright scarves, and shoulder pads aplenty contributed to the cult-inspiring show’s unforgettable look.
19. Twin Peaks
David Lynch’s short-lived but stylish series captivated viewers from day one — and won an Emmy to prove it. Costume designer Patricia Norris took home the award for Outstanding Costume Design for the pilot episode. Sure, the supporting characters’ fashion was often over-the-top, but character Audrey Horne’s looks included classic 1950s throwback pieces like vintage inspired sweaters and pleated A-line skirts.
18. Ugly Betty
Patricia Field struck television fashion gold (yet again!) with a turn on this telenovela-based dramedy. The show took place at a fashion magazine — and all cast members dressed the part. While Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams) and Amanda Tanen (Becki Newton) wore more fashion forward pieces, Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) wore quirky ensembles that perfectly suited her personality. As for the star’s signature red glasses? They were originally Field’s — prior to the pilot episode. ”I think America pulled them off my face and said, ‘Let me try your glasses.’ And she tried them on, and they became her glasses,” said Field, according to a 2009 New York Times article.
17. My So-Called Life
My So-Called Life was all about plaid shirts, oversized sweaters, matte lips, and funky vests — the true look of early ’90s teen angst. Actors Claire Danes and Jared Leto wore the look well…as did teenagers across America after just one season of the trendy show.
16. Beverly Hills, 90210
Sideburns became big in the ’90s thanks to the original 90210. The dramatic teen soap redefined what style meant to high schoolers nationwide. On the show, Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, and Shannen Doherty helped popularize the cropped tops, spaghetti straps, baby dolls dresses, and oodles of denim that became synonymous with that era.
15. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Will Smith’s style has long been the envy of fans, but this sitcom took the rapper to a whole new level of influence. The Fresh Prince lived up to his name with his bright take on athletic gear paired with windbreakers, oversized silk shirts, neon vests, overalls, backwards hats, and — of course — his vast array of Nike shoes and Air Jordans.
14. I Love Lucy
When Lucy debuted, Lucille Ball was perhaps better known for her comedic timing over her sense of style, but the truth is that this funny lady could dress with the best of them. She often found herself in outlandish costumes, but between crazy antics this starry eyed housewife opted for classic silhouettes, courtesy of costume designers Edward Stevenson and Eloise Jensson.
13. Miami Vice
Don Johnson’s snazzy blazers, pastel shirts, light linen pants, and sockless loafers inspired men across the country to get in touch with their inner ’80s action star. Costume designer Jodie Lynn Tillen helped conceptualize the look, which has been re-created many times over the years to represent that era. ”All of that came out of the design of the character,” Johnson told Midwest Today in 1996. ”There wasn’t anyone saying, ‘Hey, you know what, we’ll just make this guy a fashion icon.’ And the fact that he wore no socks — well, it’s too hot in Miami for socks.”
Cowboy hats, Lucchese boots, and big hair! Thanks to costume designer William Travilla, J.R. Ewing’s family influenced fashion with the best of ’em. The original series — which featured over-the-top ball gowns in addition to traditional southern style — made such an impact that producers were inspired to create a modern reboot for TNT. ”Over the top fashions were trendy in the 1980s and that was a sign of the times,” Rachel Sage Kunin, who was tasked with wardrobing the 2012 show, recently told Possessionista.com.
Sure, actress Kerry Washington could make a potato sack look good, but it’s Lyn Paolo’s immaculate eye that keeps things interesting week after week. As crisis management expert Olivia Pope, Washington is often found wearing Armani power suits, (exclusively) Movado watches, and chic long necklaces. ”It’s a classic business look,” Paolo told CNN — though she typically opts for pinks and pastels over a more traditionally darker palette. ”When you talk about Washington, D.C., you think of dark gray and navy blue. Look at a picture of Congress. Everyone pretty much looks the same…. My idea was, we should always have Olivia Pope stand out in some way.”
10. Boardwalk Empire
Courtesy of costume designers John Dunn and Lisa Padovani, the show’s 1920s men’s fashion is as captivating as the women’s. ”We all wanted it to be very, very accurate and specific to the period,” Dunn told Esquire.com, of the perfectly tailored three-piece suits, trench coats, and pocket squares featured on the show. ”So, I limited myself to the fabrics of 1920. It got to the point where a couple of times I had woolens manufactured for suiting because I couldn’t find exactly what it was that I wanted.”
Who didn’t request ”The Rachel” thanks to Jennifer Aniston’s infamous shag haircut? But the hitcom’s influence didn’t end there. Costume designer Debra McGuire outfitted the female cast in everything from chiffon tops and floral maxi skirts to high-waisted jeans and overalls. Moreover, not only did Rachel Green work at Ralph Lauren, but the character wore top designers like Dries Van Noten, Burberry, and Alberta Ferretti.
8. Charlie's Angels
The ’70s hardly looked as good as it did in this 1976 series. The Angels (Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, and Farrah Fawcett) kicked major butt in form-fitting, undercover ensembles. Of course, the show’s biggest trend extended beyond wardrobe. Fawcett’s feathered, winged hair quickly became a sensation and is still one of the most emulated hairstyles of all time.
Dynasty was ABC’s answer to Dallas — and it defined the era. The primetime soap opera may have been set Denver in the ’80s, but it was filled with sequined gowns — complete with thick shoulder pads — and fur stoles featured on the likes of actresses Joan Collins and Heather Locklear. According to the New York Times, costume designer Nolan Miller’s weekly wardrobe budget was reportedly $35,000. ”I never want to see them wearing the same outfit twice,” Miller once said of the Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino inspired pieces. Meanwhile, Collins told PBS’ Primetime Soaps, ”I think the clothes were a huge part of what made Dynasty fun. Remember that this was the ’80s, this was the excessive ’80s, and we went all out.”
6. Downton Abbey
The show has jumped eras (and thus styles), but one thing has remained the same — costume designer Susannah Buxton’s impeccable taste. Lady Mary has worn dazzling Edwardian dresses, corsets, and tweed suits. Though the show follows yesteryear, surprisingly most pieces are new. ”About a third of the costumes are made entirely from new. I often try to use vintage beading and try to restore an original dress,” she told Time magazine. ”Many are [rented] from different costume houses and then re-trimmed or re-dyed.”
5. Gossip Girl
The CW, 2007-12
Almost immediately, this chic Upper East Side soap launched star Blake Lively’s career and branded her a bona fide fashion star on and off-set. But costume designer Eric Daman told Teen Vogue that things weren’t always so elegant. During the first season, he said, ”it was hard to be able to get what we needed to make the show what it is on the budget we [had].” By the series’ end, designers were ”calling up and giving us a whole showroom of Prada bags and Miu Miu bags.” You know you love it…
4. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Olivia Pope’s got nothing on Ms. Moore. Mary Richards paved the way for working women everywhere, often opting for chic blazers and jumpsuits while her off-duty wardrobe consisted of one-shoulder dresses and column gowns.
3. That Girl
Ann Marie is the original Carrie Bradshaw — only in mod minidresses, fishnets, and white boots. Actress Marlo Thomas played the well-dressed aspiring model/actress whose Big Apple escapades provided for some both hilarious and fashionable moments. Thomas won numerous Emmy and Golden Globe nominations in addition to accolades for her original style.
2. Mad Men
Matthew Weiner’s brainchild brought 1960s style back to the fashion forefront — with multiple Mad Men-inspired capsule collections landing at Banana Republic stores. Things got a little groovier during season 6, but costume designer Janie Bryant’s signature attention to detail has always remained the same — extending well beyond the show’s leading players. ”I get very neurotic about the extras,” she once told Glamour, ”because I want them to look as gorgeous as the principal cast.” She estimates that she creates between 75-200 costumes per an episode for just the lead actors alone.
1. Sex and the City
Nearly 15 years later, this show is as relevant as it was when it first aired on HBO in 1998. Costume designer Patricia Field expertly matched each of the women’s varied personalities with their own unique style — all while making ”Manolo Blahnik” a household name. ”The clothes are helping to tell the story, to define the character,” Field once told the Archive of American Television. ”I never tried to consciously create a trend. All I really ever did was try to make things look beautiful, and tell the story.”