Favorite TV Fashion Icons

Thursday, October 07, 2010
Recently I've been thinking about memorable television characters whose sense of fashion style has always stood out for me. Kudos to the costume designers of these five shows, because the actors and actresses they dressed still have made an impact on my memory after so many years:

Denise Huxtable, The Cosby Show
Even though most of my preteen 80s wardrobe (especially the matching Esprit sweaters and miniskirts) was similar to Vanessa Huxtable's, I secretly longed to look as cool as her older sister Denise did on The Cosby Show. From men's hats and boyfriend blazers to parachute pants, Denise made all of the 80s' quirky fashion pieces look good. In fact, many fashion sites and blogs have cited her style as an influence seen on the streets and runways in recent years.

Did you wear a long string of fake pearls knotted at the bottom like I did? I learned not long ago that Denise wore them that way in an early episode, so I can only imagine I must have subconsciously copied her style!

Blossom Russo, Blossom
I bet a lot of people have long forgotten how cute the lead character on this show dressed. Blossom's fashion style took over my imagination once Denise Huxtable went onto A Different World. In the early 90s, when this show aired, I wore a lot of oversized tees, baggy sweaters, and dressy vests like Blossom did. I would have loved to have had some of her funky hats as well, if I hadn't been so self-conscious of what the other kids in my high school would have said.

Maude Findlay, Maude
It may sound strange that I've always admired Maude's style, especially as the character was older than everyone else I watched on TV growing up in the 70s and 80s. Yet Maude's fashion sense - at least, for a middle-aged woman of the 70s - always appeared as hip and no-nonsense as her tarty one-liners. She also rarely appeared in a dress or skirt, proving that she did indeed wear the pants (and vests) in her household. And she owned a smashing collection of scarves!

Ralph Furley, Three's Company
Yes, Mr. Furley has made lists of the Worst Dressed TV Characters of all time, but his flashy wardrobe was a vast improvement over the drab Mr. Roper (whose wife, oddly enough, loved colorful prints.) His style was the epitome of the tacky 70s Western bachelor, a curious mix of Bronco Billy meets Ron Burgandy. Polyester leisure suits, white platform shoes, and wide collared garish printed shirts made up the bulk of his wardrobe, and all the better to conform with his ladies' man image. 

Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, Miami Vice
Even though it's delusional to think that real vice cops can afford to wear Versace suits and drive Ferraris, Crockett and Tubbs' casual style was groundbreaking and made them fashion icons of the 80s. In fact, the whole show, with its sleek Art Deco style and palette, made for eye candy. I never actually saw a guy dressed during this time with a tshirt under a suit jacket and going sockless, but I did witness it on my friends during the Miami Vice theme party I requested for my fourteenth birthday (luckily, no photos exist of this embarrassing event.) Yep, If I couldn't have Don Johnson at the time, at least I could emulate his style, even if I was a girl.

Which TV characters do you remember that had a sense of style that you admired or made you barf? I'd love for you to add to my list.


  1. I loved Mr. Roper (more so than Mr. Furley). His sense of style was also pretty goofy. :)

  2. I was watching Who's the Boss a few days ago (I'm obsessed with this show) and Sam (Alyssa Milano) had on the best sweater. It was all pastel-ly pink and big and she had a matching scarf. I was coveting.

    Also, the twins in Double Trouble had exceptional 80s taste!

    As an adult I've grown a real appreciation for Diane's wardrobe on Cheers. Fantastic! Especially her evening wear!

    Now, I'm more of a 70s girl. I love all the stuff the angles wore on Charlie's Angels and anything of that ilk...

  3. i really liked chrissy and janets outfits in threes company. melissa joan hart made grunge both feminine and cool on clarissa explains it all and while i loved her, i ended up looking more like the scrubby, tomboyish alex mack on the secret world of alex mack.

  4. I was SO in love with Denise Huxtable back in the day! Funny, when Lisa Bonet turned up in HIGH FIDELITY, I couldn't believe John Cusack would still want to go back to his ex-girlfriend after being with her.

    When I was younger though I think I was into the Bo and Luke Duke look!

  5. It may be obvious to say, but the incomparable Cher.

    From the moment she hit Sonny and Cher, the gasps. While never a huge fan, the woman could wear almost anything and look good - over decades! V-A-M-P; Vamp.

    Guys fashion 60s-70s; James Coburn as Flint. Of course, the Bonds, James. And definitely Robert Conrad in Wild Wild West; while decidedly not a western fan, he could make Western wear look great. Rod Serling always looked dapper. Maybe Link from Mod Squad, the Monkees, and Karen Valentine.

    But from the 20s-30s, Louise Brooks and Clara Bow; not only because they were drop-dead gorgeous but I loved some of the fashion of the time.

    Women on TV who wore 50's Party, Rockabilly Dresses.



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