If you’re a 90s kid like me (or just happened to live through the 90s), this show is basically coded into your DNA–whether you like it or not. I bet you can hear the theme song in your head at this very moment…
Friends was hugely popular in its time, and it remains so to this day. And though it certainly had its problematic moments, like rampant homophobia (or Ross’s entire character), it also stands now as a sort of capsule, inside of which is the perfectly preserved essence of the 90s.
Including the fashion.
Which is especially relevant at the moment.
I don’t know if you guys have noticed it lately, but I’m about 99% positive that we are sliding gracefully from the 70s to the 90s right now. (And by the grace of God, we aren’t making any major stops in the 80s). And the more I think about it, honestly, there is something to be said for the 90s look. It was such a comfortable decade, in terms of clothing.
Grunge is a very accessible style. Anybody can look like they just rolled out of bed and threw on whatever was on the floor from last night. Even celebrities in the 90s looked like normal people.
The wonderful thing about fashion now, however, is that we can pick and choose elements from other decades, taking the best and leaving the worst behind.
Britney and Justin, for instance, gave us this cautionary tale of denim-on-denim.
If you do feel the denim urge, follow Mila’s lead instead. This is trendy and modernized, while still echoing that distinctly 90s feel.
(I am particularly squeamish about overdoing denim, so even this is almost too much for me. But she’s making it work, I have to admit, and you can make it work, too.)
Back to Friends.
Everybody had their own special brand of 90s style in the show, and if you’re in the mood for a nostalgic binge, it’s all on Netflix. I actually started watching it again just the other day–I was in the mood for something that I didn’t have to pay much attention to–and that’s when I realized that it’s pretty fun to watch simply for the fashion alone.
Monica is potentially my favorite on those terms. She’s definitely chic, but in a more I’m-not-trying-that-hard sort of way.
Rachel was probably the most famous for her look. She even inspired a haircut trend across America called “The Rachel.” She had a sort of fancier, more high-maintenance style, but even she usually managed to look relaxed.
Coming off as effortless was key.
And who could really say what was going on with Phoebe at any given time, but the wardrobe department didn’t leave her out of the loop. She had the chillest vibe of them all, and her outfits were typically along the lines of cozy and/or witchy.
Either way, very carefree.
And she looked great. They all looked great.
I’m not going to leave the guys out, either. Remember how basically all they did was wear button-downs and sweatshirts?
Great news! That’s back in.
Even better news! That’s a unisex look, and anyone can rock it.
Not only that, it’s especially popular right now. If you’re looking to update your wardrobe, anything plaid or flannel or just vintage-looking is the way to go.
I hopped on that bandwagon recently, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never looked cuter.
Let’s just steer clear of whatever Chandler was trying to do with his vests…
There are so many elements from the show that have already been going on in our present day style.
Crop top sweaters? Check.
High-waisted pants? Oh yeah.
With a belt? Check.
Overall jumpsuits? Hell yes.
The 90s have been creeping up on us for months already, and we didn’t even know it. But hey, trends like this happen so gradually that it can be hard to spot…until we’re already neck-deep.
And let’s not forget dresses with tiny print. That’s a trend that became really popular over this last summer.
Monica goes for that kind of dress quite a bit. And, you may recall, so does Elaine from Seinfeld, another major 90s icon.
I’m not sure that I can exactly pinpoint a pattern as far as what actually qualifies as “90s.” At least, I don’t know if I can put it into words. On the show especially, the fashion choices often seem so random. But it’s certainly distinct, and if I were to choose any determining characteristic, I would use the word comfortable.
Effortless. Nonchalant. Easygoing.
If you want to emulate the style of Friends, you must learn to dress as if you don’t really care. Fashion is only in the back of your mind. You are simply too busy living your life to spend a lot of time putting yourself together.
Of course, you can spend as many hours in front of a mirror as you please. It just shouldn’t look like you did.
For those of you out there living very on-the-go lives, your time has come.
Friends was all kinds of flawed, but it changed the way America watched TV, and it’s something that most of us have in common, for better or worse. And if you were to ask me what we can all learn from a show like this, here’s what I would say…
One, you can look good in literally almost anything if you wear it right.
And two, never ever give up your dream job for some guy. (Especially not Ross “I’m the victim” Geller).
I definitely plan to examine and write more about the different facets of this current trend. As we lean further into the 90s, it’s only going to get more interesting. I especially love that this is happening as we gear up for the holiday season.
I used Friends as my big example this time to give you a vivid reminder of what that decade used to really look like. The show is celebrating its 25th anniversary right now, as a matter of fact, and I’m not going to lie, that in itself is a little jarring, because I’m only 26.
All I can say for now is that I hope you find the next few months extremely comfortable.
Have a beautiful week.