When television first went mainstream in the 1950s, entering the households of families around the world, we could never have foreseen just how much it would shape the human experience. Many of us learned about all sorts of coming-of-age milestones from watching our favorite shows, were informed about the world at large by the nightly news, found new music and bands to love on MTV, and figured out what was fashionable by watching stylish shows.
After 70 years of television and thousands of shows, there are many characters who have influenced fashion or captured the styles of an era. And because they’re all fictional, their wardrobes could err on the side of the fantastic and still be totally believable, which is why they’ve gained iconic status in the present day. In this list, Savoir Flair takes a look back at ten TV characters whose wardrobes are more memorable than their storylines.
Sex and the City
When it comes to a television character’s personal aesthetic, Carrie Bradshaw is no. 1 with a bullet. We live for her closet-raiding montages, her love of Manolos, and her penchant for vintage designers.
There’s Queen Bey, and then there’s Queen B – a.k.a. Blair Waldorf, the princess of the Upper East Side. Her love of capes, preppy headbands, and fit-and-flare dresses bear all the markings of a stylish socialite.
As the female powerhouse behind one of rap’s biggest fictional companies, Cookie Lyon transmits her supreme authority over her family’s dynasty with straight-from-the-runway looks by Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Moschino. However, we get the feeling she might not be too into Gucci’s recent announcement that it’s banning fur by 2018.
American Horror Story: Hotel
We’ll be the first to admit that American Horror Story can be a bit cheesy, but the campy show is also responsible for some of television’s best fashion moments. The sartorial highlight has to be when Lady Gaga played The Countess, wearing bejeweled gloves and 1980s power silhouettes.
Game of Thrones
Of all of the powerful women in modern television, Daenerys Targaryen – also known as the “Mother of Dragons” among a litany of other titles – is one of the greatest. Her intricate medieval gowns, silver braids, and gorgeous jewelry are all eye candy.
While everything around Olivia Pope might be raging out of control, Washington DC’s best “fixer” stays calm, cool, and collected in one of television’s most polished wardrobes.
Before the curve movement was ever a thing, there was Joan Holloway convincing women with vivacious figures to flaunt what they had every week on Mad Men – the mid-century styles on the show continue to inspire to this day.
Bodycon silhouettes, short hemlines, and day-glo accents were common sights on The Nanny. As Fran Fine navigated the stuffy world of the Upper East Side, she never lost her commitment to her true Jersey-girl self.
Although she never seems to work and always seems to be partying, Patsy Stone has held down a job at one of London’s most illustrious (fictional) fashion magazines for decades, and it shows in her taste for the finer things.
Clarissa Explains It All
If you’re a 90s baby, you no doubt grew up worshiping Clarissa Darling’s utterly unique and fearless sense of style. Can we get a “Hey, Sam!”