12 TV shows you should watch for the fashions

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tv fashion history

“Gossip Girl” and “Scandal” are two of many series that have impeccably dressed leads.


  • Many TV shows feature stylish characters and special outfits worth keeping an eye out for.
  • Period shows like “Mad Men” and “That 70s Show” showcase impressive new versions of older looks.
  • Series like “Scandal” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” feature trendy and sophisticated workwear.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

TV shows can captivate viewers for their fascinating plots, beloved characters, and, of course, impressive outfits.

Here are some TV shows that have unforgettable fashions worth tuning in for.

“Sex and the City” (1998 – 2004) left an impression on the fashion world.

The show is loaded with fashion inspiration.

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During its run, “Sex and the City” featured so many unique ways of styling clothing, from mismatched shoes to belts over bare midriffs. And, of course, the main stars of the show each had their own distinctive styles befitting of their careers, relationship trajectories, and personalities.

Throughout the series, costume designer Patricia Field gave viewers daring, unconventional, and sometimes downright bizarre fashion moments and trends that hadn’t really been seen on TV before.

Plus, the show’s fashion impact is ongoing — and many still recreate “SATC” looks today.

Read More: 8 of the best fall and winter outfits from ‘Sex and the City’ and how you can re-create them today

“That Girl” (1966 – 1971) set new standards for TV and for on-screen fashions.

The leading character’s wardrobe is playful and colorful.


The sitcom starring Marlo Thomas as Ann Marie broke ground as one of the first instances of pop culture featuring a single woman building a career for herself. It also showcased that workwear didn’t have to be drab or boring.

On “That Girl,” Ann Marie was an aspiring actress living in New York City and her wardrobe, designed by Marilyn Lewis, was fittingly playful and stylish. Ann Marie’s style was very of its time but it is still ageless due to her wardrobe of well-constructed, timeless silhouettes that come back into style again and again.

“That 70s Show” (1998 – 2006) is filled with nostalgia-inducing outfits.

The show includes plenty of colorful, retro outfits.


“That 70s Show” wasn’t on air during the ’70s, but the show’s stoner gang of Wisconsinites had a lot of period-appropriate looks that left many attempting to recreate and revive fashions from that decade.

If you’re looking for some retro fashion inspiration, tune into the sitcom to appreciate some of the leading characters’ vibrant bell bottoms, colorful shirts, and embroidered jackets.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970 – 1977) showcases plenty of sophisticated styles.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” is filled with trendy business-casual looks.


“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” is memorable for its then-groundbreaking premise of featuring a single woman in her 30s pursuing a career instead of marriage.

The show’s protagonist Mary Richards (played by Mary Tyler Moore) had a colorful wardrobe, created by costume designer Leslie Hall, that served as fashion inspiration for career girls of the 1970s. Richard’s vibrant skirt suits and silky shift dresses also showed viewers that workwear didn’t — and still doesn’t — have to be drab.

“Scandal” (2012 – 2018) is filled with smart, stylish outfits.

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) had dozens of memorable looks.


The leads on “Charlie’s Angels” (1976 – 1981) have wardrobes that many have envied.

The stars of the show each have unique wardrobes.


The iconic crime drama from the late ’70s is often remembered for featuring three leads with unique, fashionable wardrobes.

The glamorous spies were always befitted in the best of late-’70s fashions, be it bell bottoms or head-to-toe sequin jumpsuits. Many still take inspiration from their looks today.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1990 – 1996) is filled with colorful ’90s outfits.

The show has plenty of ’90s trends.


The sitcom starring Will Smith as a West-Philadelphia transplant dropped in Bel-Air has been widely credited for bringing vibrant street style to the mainstream.

Smith’s outfits on the show oftentimes featured bold ’90s-inspired patterns and bright color combinations— plus, they were typically completed with chunky sneakers. And you can’t forget the wealthy and lively Banks women on the series who were known for having their own trendy and upscale and sometimes colorful and youthful styles.

“Mad Men” (2007 – 2015) features dozens of memorable period looks.

The series is primarily set in the ’60s.


“Gossip Girl” (2007 – 2012) has plenty of drama and high-end style.

Each character had a signature style.

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“Dynasty” (1981 – 1989) features many glamorous ‘80s looks.

The soap opera is filled with high-end outfits.


The show’s costume designer Nolan Miller helped the rich and powerful characters on this ’80s soap opera dress to fit their parts.

The looks featured on the series were mature and strong while also often glamorous and sensual and the characters showcased many of the big trends in ’80s fashion.

Starring Joan Collins and Linda Evans as rival matriarchs, the series featured characters in luxury pieces complete with metallic fabrics, shoulder pads, and carefully coordinated accessories.

“Twin Peaks” (1990 – 1991) is still a source of style inspiration.

Each character has their own special style.


David Lynch and Mark Frost’s short-lived series, which went on to become a franchise with a cult following, is known for its highly aesthetic way of meeting the mundane with the unusual, sinister, and supernatural.

It is also known for effortlessly blending its early-’90s setting with a loosely ’50s sensibility and this can be seen in the fashions of the show, from the sharp suits of protagonist Agent Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan) and the saddle shoes and long skirts of Audrey Horne (played by Sherilyn Fenn).

Even in 2019, many many still write retrospectives on the impact of this show’s carefully cultivated fashions.

“Pretty Little Liars” (2010 – 2017) features so many glamorous, character-specific styles.

Each character has a distinct look.



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