TV shows come and go, but a great sense of style sticks with us. Over the years, we’ve witnessed some seriously trendsetting starlets grace our screens. Season after season, we watched their personal style evolve as we developed our own. After all, who didn’t covet Whitley Gilbert‘s wardrobe or aspire to be the trendsetting, busy-yet-successful woman that was the illustrious Claire Huxtable?
In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are 10 of our fave fierce fictional characters – women who molded the outfits we rock today.
1. Hillary Banks: ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’She was the trendy older sister we all wanted. Maybe it’s because we always wanted to raid her closet. Was she snobby? At times. A dimwit? Usually. Fashionable? Always. Regardless of her nonsensical remarks and shopaholic tendencies, we were fans of her body-conscious cocktail dresses, pastel-colored tailored suits and ladies-who-lunch hats.
2. Gina Waters-Payne: ‘Martin’
When she wasn’t lounging around in sweatshirts and jeans and putting up with Martin’s brash sense of humor, Gina was decked out in chic power suits and other colored-coordinated looks. Her style was unfussy and accessible. A monochromatic mix of classic cardigans, tailored blazers and loose trousers. Minimalist chic at its best.
3. Lisa Turtle, ‘Saved by the Bell’
You can’t beat ‘Saved by the Bell’ for its "it’s so bad, it’s good" factor, and nobody wore it better than the show’s resident princess Lisa Turtle. She rocked signature ’80s frocks with a hint of sophistication. We’re talking acid-wash denim jackets paired with printed floral dresses, oversize earrings and brightly colored hats. There wasn’t a wild pattern, color or outfit that the show’s resident style maven couldn’t rock.
4. Claire Huxtable, ‘The Cosby Show’
Known as the perfect TV mom and wife, Claire was smart, sexy and very, very stylish. Mrs. Huxtable always displayed an unmistakable elegance and grace unparalleled by any sitcom mom. Her professional style consisted of primary color power suits paired with Ferragamo pumps and ankle-length wool trenches. While spending quality time with the family, she would casually parade around the house in neutral-toned jumpsuits or cigarette pants and ballerina flats. This is one women who knew how to wear anything – she even made silk pajama pants look chic!
5. Whitley Gilbert, ‘A Different World’
For six seasons, debutante Whitley Gilbert sashayed across the fictional Hillman College campus in an array of fur coats, Italian leather pumps, Chanel suits and Louis Vuitton bags that always hung from her desk chair in her dorm room. The messages the show delivered were always positive and, more often than not, punctuated with a chic look from their southern belle. Whitley’s wardrobe consisted of classics that would be appropriate in any situation and, most importantly, were timeless.
6. Joan Clayton, ‘Girlfriends’
Joan’s chic ensembles, outfit-making accessories and lush mane made it easy to look past her neurotic personality. We never got enough of her floor-grazing bohemian dresses, chunky jewelry and sky-high stilettos. She wasn’t shy about bold color or prints and rocked every silhouette imaginable, from retro high-waisted pants to flirty A-line dresses to sleek pencil skirts. Her style was always classy and on trend.
7. Denise Huxtable, ‘The Cosby Show’
Played by the ever-lovely Lisa Bonet, Denise was a little quirky, kind of a hippie, kind of preppy but also kind of tomboyish. She wore things like palazzo pants with slippers paired with a man’s tuxedo shirt and a tailored jacket over it all – combinations that were offbeat, but not flamboyantly eccentric. Denise evoked a blend of late ’80s/early ’90s fashion – one centered around a sort of global chic. No one could look like her then, and no one can look like her now. A sort of ineffable mix of elements that looked relaxed and offhand and hasn’t quite been duplicated by anyone since.
8. Wilhelmina Slater, ‘Ugly Betty’
One of the best favorite TV villains, Wilhelmina Slater is practically a hanger for couture. Her appearance was always immaculate, but sharp and tailored without being too classic. She favored mostly neutral colors, such as white, greys, golds and silver, and accessorized with luscious furs.
9. Sandra Clark, ‘227’
Sandra was the sassy, sexy, single sista who lived in the same building as the Jenkins family. She always wore glamorous peplum dresses and shoulder-padded blazers, but the best thing about her was that women across the country could relate. She showed that you didn’t have to be a size two to be sexy.
10. Sheneneh Jenkins, ‘Martin’
Some wonder how Martin’s hoodrat neighbor made the cut, but you have to admit that Sheneneh Jenkins’ wardrobe was one of the many reasons we all tuned in. She wasn’t easy on the eye, but her gear was pure entertainment. Sheneneh was all about ’90s around-the-way girl glam. She wore dookie braids, finger waves, oversized gold jewelry and a fanny pack. Her style is appreciated because she was completely comfortable in her own skin and could care less what anyone else thought
Who was your favorite TV fashion Icon? Tell us!