When it comes to fashion in pop culture, television has always been influential: Kids who wore mismatched sneakers like Punky Brewster in the late '80s and then shrunken polos like Marissa Cooper in the aughts had mothers who lusted after Mary Richard's dressy neck scarves in the 1970s. In other words, whether or not you're willing to admit it, your style has almost certainly been touched by what you've seen on TV.
Now that the '90s are back in such a massive way, we're looking towards some of our favorite scripted shows of the era for modern-day outfit inspiration. The storylines may not all hold up as well as they did back then, but in this age of mom jeans, crop tops, hoop earrings and slip dresses, the clothes definitely do. Plus, thanks to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, OnDemand — and yes, even good ole' DVDs — these series are easier to binge-watch than ever.
So, instead of dedicating your time this fall to a new show that'll probably get killed off after only one season, or worse, a few episodes — here's looking at you, "Young Sheldon"! — why not get a little nostalgic and cozy on up with some of your old '90s faves?
Below, we've listed 11 of our faves, based entirely on their '90s fashion cred. Now get streaming!
Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990 - 2000)
From the rampant sunflower motifs to the tiny crop tops, and the cutesy grown-up overalls to the little round sunglasses, it's a little insane how similar the fashion of the OG "90210" is to how young'uns (cough — Bella Hadid) dress today. Kinda makes you wonder whether Urban Outfitters execs sit around all day catching up with the Peach Pit crew. I think 'yes.'
Seinfeld (1989 - 1998)
Jerry's puffy shirt may have been best left to swashbuckling pirates, but Elaine Benes's signature style — consisting mostly of boxy blazers, long floral dresses, high-waisted mom jeans, wire-rim glasses and masculine Oxfords — is more relevant today than ever. See any 25-40 year old white woman in Brooklyn for proof.
Twin Peaks (1990 - 1991)
"Twin Peaks" has been back on our radar lately thanks to a Showtime reboot this past spring, but it's the original series's style — which combined elements of '50s fashion with a grunge-y '90s twist (think: saddle shoes and tiny sweaters mixed with oversize cardigans and flannels) — that still gets our collective heart racing.
Friends (1994 - 2004)
Though "Friends"'s largest impact on style came in the form of a flippy haircut, the clothes are just as awesome — and are, arguably, more timeless. Phoebe's kooky layers aside, we'd happily borrow nearly anything from Rachel and Monica's minimalist-chic wardrobes, filled with tiny tanks, fitted tees and slip dresses.
My So-Called Life (1994 - 1995)
The flannel shirts, velvet babydoll dresses, opaque tights and cozy AF jackets worn by the entire cast of this over-too-soon teen drama are exactly what we still wear every fall. One word of caution: At-home-dye your hair Crimson Glow at your own risk.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990 - 1996)
The clear fashion superstar here is Hilary Banks, with her meticulously thought-out, OTT getups. But with his bold patterned pants, highlighter-bright tees and a seemingly unlimited supply of Nikes and Air Jordans, it's actually Will's ultra funky streetwear style that's resonating a little more with us these days. Is it too late for Supreme to do a "Fresh Prince" collection?
Saved by the Bell (1989 - 1992)
As far as TV series go, "Saved by the Bell" may be one of the truest testaments to late '80s/early-'90s style. Puff sleeves, brightly colored tees, Cosby sweaters, shoulder pads, acid wash, statement vests and high-cut swimsuits? This show had it all — plus feathered bangs to spare.
Sex and the City (1998 - 2004)
The first time you watched "Sex and the City," you probably wanted to emulate either Carrie's trendy togs, Charlotte's tailored twin-sets or Samantha's sexy yet sophisticated (and, at times, silly) attire. This time, you'll be looking to Miranda's practical, no-nonsense 'fits for inspo. Mark. My. Words.
Clarissa Explains It All (1991 - 1994)
Sure, a melodramatic 14-year-old with a Dan Quayle-loving little brother and a pet baby alligator may not sound like the typical style icon. But it's Clarissa's unwavering adherence to her own "way cool" set of fashion rules that makes her look so special: The more mismatched and unique, the better. Why not wear a tomboy flannel with a pleather micro-mini and neon tights? We should all be so confident — alright, alright!
Ally McBeal (1997 - 2002)
It might be most remembered for that creepy dancing baby, but we're still living for this show's take on modern-day workwear. Attorney Ally McBeal had a real knack for making standard skirt-suits look straight out of a Calvin Klein campaign — even if they oftentimes were a little too leggy for the courtroom.
Sweet Valley High (1994 - 1998)
"Sweet Valley High"'s plotline may be a little lacking: Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are hot blonde twins, but get this — they're DIFFERENT! Still, in terms of '90s fashion, it covers all the bases. If the various elements of Cher Horowitz's wardrobe were split into two separate characters — one with her demure sweater sets, the other with that Calvin Klein "dress" — you'd get Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield.