10 Characters from the ’90s Who Would Be Fashionable Today


[Editor’s note: Flavorwire is counting down our most popular features of 2010. This post comes in at position number 4. It was originally published August 20, 2010.] It always made sense that Seinfeld, one of TV’s greatest and most original sitcoms, would remain influential over a decade after ending its run. But honestly, we never imagined it would be celebrated for its fashion. And yet, The New York Times recently suggested that the show’s very own hair clip-loving, couch cover dress-wearing Elaine Benes is “the summer’s downtown fashion muse.” While we don’t necessarily agree, we can see what they’re saying, and nothing could be more obvious than the larger point that the ’90s style revival is in full swing. For those of us who don’t fancy wearing socks and grandma frocks together, we’ve compiled a photo gallery of 10 other fictional characters from the ’90s who would make perfectly good fashion icons in 2010.

Angela Chase: Perhaps the decade’s ultimate teen-angst icon, My So-Called Life‘s Angela rocked layers, flannel, and brightly dyed red hair. There’s no question her grunge chic is all over both the runway and the street in 2010, when companies are even naming shoes after the show. Hell, Claire Danes’ heroine is even providing style inspiration for indie rock’s woman of the hour, Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast.

Will Smith (the character, not the actor): Who was decked out in neon and bike caps way back in the ’90s, before every guy in Williamsburg was copping the day-glo look? Will Smith, of course, on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Earlier this year, Trendhunter celebrated the look in a photo gallery of new fashions inspired by Smith.

Blossom: Mayim Bialik, who played Blossom’s eponymous star, may have turned up on What Not to Wear last year, but for a while in the ’90s, teen girls everywhere were aping her character’s bohemian, flowery hat-wearing style. Also in 2009, The Frisky published a guide for doing your own version, complete with Doc Martens — which never quite faded from the radar but have recently come back in a big way.

The cast of Empire Records: Just about everyone we knew in junior high wanted to be one of the kids from this teen comedy about record store employees. There was preppy Corey (Liv Tyler), mysterious Lucas (Rory Cochrane), Sinead O’Connor clone Debra (Robin Tunney), artsy dreamboat A.J. (Johnny Whitworth)… and so on. Last year, Elle rediscovered the Empire crew’s ’90s-alt fashion in a photo spread referencing the movie.

Cher and Dionne: For over a year, we’ve been seeing a major ’90s plaid resurgence, from looks that reference grunge to the preppier styles of Clueless heroines Cher and Dionne. Plus, Refinery 29 recently remarked that designer Robert Clergerie’s spring shoe collection “feels like an updated version of something straight out of Cher’s closet.”

Image viaA.C. Slater and Zack Morris: We have seen so many colorful, faded tank tops on dudes this summer that we’re actually starting to wonder whether the entirety of Williamsburg exists in a 1992 time warp. And no one made this California fashion statement more clearly than resident Saved by the Bell jock Slater. We could also swear we’ve seen some bros sporting Zack-style shirts this year…

Brenda Walsh: Every girl on 90210 was a fashion icon, but brooding Brenda, with her pale skin, dark makeup, crushed velvet, and flashy blazers was always our favorite. This year, Isaac Mizrahi pretty much copied the prom dress both Brenda and rival Kelly wore to the high-school prom, and Who What Wear ran an entire spread of new looks that would be right at home on 90210.

Dylan McKay: The James Dean of 90210, Luke Perry’s Dylan dressed like a classic bad boy, in jeans and leather jackets that never go out of style. But we think this bare feet-and-drug rug look, from his stint in Baja, would be right at home on one of 2010’s ubiquitous chillwave bros.

Lelaina and Vickie: Did you ever think you’d live to see the fashions of Reality Bites come back around from dated to stylish? Well, check it out: Long, flowing dresses of the variety Winona Ryder’s Lelaina is wearing here are definitely back this summer. And Janeane Garofalo’s Vickie is practically a blueprint for hipster lady fashion in 2010, from the bright tights to the chunky platforms to the big, quirky sunglasses.

Gilbert and Arnie Grape: Acid-wash jeans and long hair — they’re ba-aaack! With varying degrees of irony… If only everyone wore them as well as Johnny Depp’s Gilbert, from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Arnie would also fit right in, as military-inspired styles have also been all over the fashion rags this year.