Friends was (and still is) a timeless show. Not only did it introduce human relationships in a way that society hadn’t really seen yet, it was an aspirational sitcom that touched on the thematic element of “I have no idea what I’m doing, but everything will be okay.” It was ahead of its time socially and anthropologically, weaving its way into the 90’s pop culture lexicon… and beyond.
Its characters became household names we could relate to — whether that be through their witty comments, life lessons learned, or their fashion choices.
Unlike the Sex and the City gang, the Friends didn’t have seemingly endless budgets and bottomless closets, but still, when we think of iconic, fashion-forward characters that defined the 90’s it’s hard not to think of Rachel Green, Monica Geller, and Phoebe Buffay.
If Carrie Bradshaw was the Manolo Blahnik of fashion, Rachel was the H&M version in that hers was much less flashy and way more affordable.
There is an ease to her look that’s almost frustrating. Girl next door meets feminine chic meets preppy school girl. Here are some of our favorite Rachel trends that still delight today:
The plain white tee, mini skirt, and black knee high boots that made a schoolgirl outfit you could go to class or the nightclub in.
Checkered pants. Who knew 20 years later plaid would still be a thing? (As would the intuitive dichotomy of pairing said pants with white shoes and that clutch white tee?)
Not only did Rachel take the term cut-offs to a new level, she’d regularly pair overalls with a blazer, giving the whole ensemble a high/low look.
Jeans and a tee. She’d regularly pair jeans with something simple and classic, like a crew neck or a tank top.
And, last but not least, the simple summer slip. It’s light, affordable, and versatile — and if it’s chilly, pair it with a long sleeve (you guessed it) tee.
So maybe Rachel wasn’t necessarily a fashion daredevil. But a lasting impression can be made for her uniquely basic style. She made it okay (even aspirational) to be thrifty… and frankly, she made it look so good our skinny jeans are having a serious case of 90’s FOMO.
Nicole Best is a freelance copywriter and published author living in Los Angeles. Her book of poetry on modern dating culture can be found at independent bookstores locally and in San Francisco. She’s currently a student at the Uprights Citizen Brigade, where she’s learning to write sketch comedy shows. You can follow her on Instagram at @nikkiibest or follow her poetry at @haikantwithyou.
Illustration credit: Juliet Romano.
Nostalgic for more 90’s? Check out our recently launched 90’s issue.