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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve definitely heard that the greatest sitcom of all time, Friends, is returning to our screens.
A new generation recently discovered the series when it found its way to Netflix. It became one of the streaming service’s biggest hits, although not without its detractors. And looking back, 27 years after it first debuted in 1994, Friends truly feels like a time capsule: the speech, the lifestyle and, yes, the politics, all belong to the 90’s.
The 90’s is seemingly always back in fashion these days and, honestly, some of the wardrobe choices wouldn’t look out of place in Brunswick or Surry Hills today. All we need is the return of THAT iconic Rachel haircut and life will be good.
With the reunion trailer just dropping (how has Jennifer Aniston not aged one day?), we thought it was the perfect opportunity to reminisce about the fashion choices in Friends. We’ve looked at the style of the six main friends individually and also listed 4 of our favourite looks that deserve special mention.
In the 90’s, bowling shirts weren’t yet embarrassingly retro and Chandler (Matthew Perry) loved to sport a garish example or three. Apart from that, nothing that he wore really stood out. Lots of cosy sweatshirts, lots of uninspired button-ups, jeans in almost every episode. Could he BE any more plain?
It’s lucky that Joey (Matt LeBlanc) was so charming because his fashion definitely wasn’t going to win over the ladies. An out-of-work actor for much of the show’s run and it showed in his dress sense. No matching, no sense of style, nothing. Joey wore what was easiest – when you’re eating that much greasy pizza, it’s best to wear cheap and cheerful clothes.
Ross (David Schwimmer) really fitted the stereotype of the boring intellectual. Lots of ill-fitting suits. Elbow patches when he became a professor. Jumpers that you might find in a rummage in Salvos. Lots of disgusting ties. When Ross went to Rachel’s fashion lecture that one time, he really should have been paying attention instead of nodding off. At least we’ll always have those leather pants.
Oh Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), you kook. The character was marketed as the oddball in the group from the start and for the first few seasons, she was the definitive hippy. She wore what she wanted and wore the hell out of it. No ludicrous and bright dress was too much for Princess Consuela Banana Hammock. As the show progressed, she became less hippy and more sassy woman about town but her style never got less out-there.
Monica (Courteney Cox) was always a little in her best friend Rachel’s shadow. She might have kept it simpler but she could still rock a look now and again. Her style was less feminine and more flexible – she was equally comfortable wearing acid jeans and a shirt as she was wearing a stunning cocktail dress.
The best for last. Given that she worked in fashion (and had Barneys on speed dial), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) was always the sharpest dressed. Every episode brought a dazzling new look (and seemingly each top had to allow her nipples to be on show too). She knew how to layer an outfit, she knew how to dress down, she knew how to dress up. She could do it all. Even when her ex fiancé Barry made her wear a Little Bo Beep gown in season 2, she somehow still managed to pull it off. A 90’s fashion icon.
4 Iconic Fashion Choices
Rachel’s see-through extravaganza
What. A. Shirt. This eye-catching little number was paired with the definitive Rachel bob in season two and would gain iconic status when she wore it while reconciling with Ross. It was subtly glamorous, even though she mainly wore it lounging around the house and Central Perk. Hopefully Jennifer got to keep this one after the show ended.
Phoebe and her seriously jazzy dreamcoats
Phoebe must have had a huge wardrobe in her apartment because the amount of enormous coats she sported would need a lot of space. She was forever making a statement and standing out from the crowd (she’s a twin after all) with her coat choices. It was a look that was just perfect for the harsh new York winter. We’re assuming and hoping, of course, that they were all faux-fur given that Phoebe was a vegetarian. Perhaps her most iconic coat was the lurid, fuzzy orange one that she was wearing when she saw Monica and Chandler kissing for the first time.
Rachel’s mini skirts
Ross’s lobster really loved a mini skirt. Rachel paired them with whatever she could, making it a signature look by the end of the series. Often seen with her knee-high boots and a simple but elegant t-shirt, she looked like she should’ve been hanging out with Carrie Bradshaw far more than Chandler and Joey. When you work at Bloomingdale’s, only the best would do. She saved the best example of this for last – her outfit as she took off for her new life in Paris in the final episode was A LOOK. Classic black and white, a sleek miniskirt, stunning boots. Standing next to Ross with his musty professor outfit, it really made her decision to get off the place look a foolish one…
Lots of long, black dresses
If you ever go through your mum’s photographs from the 90’s, chances are that she’ll be sporting one of these long, velvety black pieces. Rachel and Phoebe were both fond of layering a black buttoned dress over a nice and effective blouse. Phoebe, of course, embellished the look with her many rings and necklaces, but they weren’t required. Such a simple overlay reaped beautiful results.
Check out the trailer for the Friends reunion: