A lot of long-cancelled TV shows have been making a triumphant return to our collective consciousness thanks to the magic of the Internet recently. Shows that would otherwise have been forgotten or only talked about in hindsight are now up and available to relive at your convenience. I have a few favorites myself, not just for their cinematic quality, but moreover for their fashion inspiration. That’s right, what’s old is new again in more ways than one, and I’m surprised at how often I swoon at clothes that are more than 15 years old in some cases. Take a look.
I’ll start by saying, we’re not even going to talk about Sex And The City because, duh. Of course it’s a frontrunner and everybody knows it. Moving on…
So okay, 15 years doesn’t a “vintage” show make, but in the case of fashion, we’re often caught lamenting the fashion of just as many years ago, praying it won’t come back. But stylists in the ’80s and the ’90s knew what they were doing, and I for one think we’re in a critical moment where fashion choices are as free-form as the person making them. That is to say, if you can rock it, you may rock it. So here are the fashion icons from TV shows I draw upon for inspiration, and they might surprise you.
Ally McBeal. It’s hard to find pictures of the fashion in this show since it stopped airing ten years ago, but I encourage watching (after season one where it’s all suits and chunk heels) to see the fabulous and sometimes awful fashion in the show. It’ll make you reminisce about kimono tops and baby bangs, but it’ll also remind you that Prada and Versace have always been relevant, and that a skinny girl in boyish stripes never goes out of style. Okay, she was too skinny a lot of the time, but what do you expect? It was the ’90s!
Twin Peaks. I can’t say enough about this series. It’s overly dramatic, complicated, unbelievably addictive and beautifully made. If you can watch this without having a crush on someone in the show, I don’t believe you. I mostly admire Audrey Horne for her amazing northwestern throwback style and her super-weirdness, and of course my crush is on Special Agent Dale Cooper. This show ended officially in 1991 short of a follow-up prequel (I know that sounds weird but that’s what it is), but still has a cult following for its all-encompassing styling a la David Lynch and Mark Frost.
My So-Called Life. Once a friend told me I was like Jordan Catallano’s dream girl. I didn’t know what that meant but I wore it like a freaking trophy. Who didn’t love that confusing, too-cool-for-school but oh-so-sensitive dude? Okay, all crushes aside, this show so fully embraced the retaliatory nature of fashion in the ’90s, it’s hard not to watch it and feel compelled to wear something outrageous. Just for the hell of it. It was slacker-chic, egregiously effortless. Ugly for the sake of awesome. I loved it. The short-lived series ended in 1995.
Inspiration comes from all over the place. I can watch Clueless to this day and get an idea about something. Sure, a lot of it is just nostalgia for the sake of a good cringe, but fashion and hair trends from this era are back with a vengeance. So if you’re looking for the good, the better and the awesomely ugly, give these ’80s and ’90s series a shot.
Lovelies, what are your favorite old TV shows that inspire your style?