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Old School TV Style: Fashion Inspired by Rachel from Friends

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Everyone has that one pal who LOVES Friends. She references quotes and situations from the sitcom on a daily basis, furnishes her apartment with the same wall art seen on the show, and only dates affable nerds that resemble Ross Geller and Chandler Bing. I’m not ashamed to say that I too am THAT girl.

But really, who doesn’t have a soft spot for Friends, arguably the best sitcom of all time? Running from 1994 to 2004, Friends tells the story of six twenty-somethings (and later thirty-somethings) living in New York City. They encounter work obstacles, relationship problems, and other typical dramas that most young adults face, but form a sort of surrogate family together. I won’t insult your intelligence by elaborating on the back story too much — we all caught the show on syndication, and might even remember the night that the finale aired. It’s safe to say that almost every college girl has a place in her heart for the characters on Friends!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve covered the inspiring fashion from some of retro TV’s hottest shows. This week, we’re going to break down the style of Rachel Green, one of the greatest fashion icons of the 1990s.

(For more Old School TV Style, see our posts on Ally McBeal, Elaine from SeinfeldMy So-Called LifeSaved By The Bell, and Three’s Company).

rachel-green-style

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

A Little More about Rachel Green and Friends

Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Aniston, starts the series as a spoiled “Daddy’s girl” but develops throughout the show into an independent, successful business woman. Her inherent interest in shopping led Rachel to work in the fashion industry, first at Bloomingdale’s, then at Ralph Lauren. In the last season, she receives a job offer in Paris to work at Louis Vuitton. She is the most fashionable character on the show and helped popularize many trends of the 90′s, such as mock turtlenecks, woven blouses, chambray, and knee-high boots with mini skirts.

Perhaps Rachel Green’s biggest contribution to the look of the ’90s was her flippy layered haircut, deemed “The Rachel.” Women all across the country brought in photos clipped out of tabloids for their hairdressers to mimic!

Later in the series, Rachel begins working in the corporate offices for big-named fashion companies. Her attire shifts from casual to business casual, but she makes her suits look anything but stiff. Rachel becomes a mom in season nine, and her style again reverts to being a little more casual and relaxed. No matter the season, Rachel seemed to strike the perfect balance between timeless and modern.

Rachel’s style evolved throughout the series, but remained consistent with her chic and trendy aesthetic. Read on for a breakdown of some of Rachel’s most memorable looks!

The Early Days

The first few seasons of Friends, Rachel works at Central Perk, the gang’s coffeehouse hangout. Rachel shows off her style by rocking stylish mini skirts, over-sized chambray and woven shirts, cropped blouses, simple v-necks, denim vests, floral dresses, and more. It was also during this time that “The Rachel” became insanely popular. Whether her hair was up or down, her face was always framed by piecey long bangs.

Rachel Green from Friends outfit 1
Shirt, Skirt, Clogs, Earrings, Hair Clip

’90s trends are back, so an outfit like this doesn’t look out of date at all! For this first look, a floral tie-front shirt nicely captures several trends of the time. A pink denim skirt would look awesome with the top, giving you an uber trendy denim-on-denim look without the “Texas Tuxedo” vibe. Add a pair of clogs if you’re daring, but simple flats or even Converse All Stars would look great, too. Finish the ensemble with a pair of Rachel-esque hoop earrings and blow dry your hair with a round brush for a style that mimics the iconic “Rachel” look.

Business Chic

Rachel worked in a corporate office where the dress code was between business professional and business casual. Her work outfits were absolutely timeless and would still look great today.

Rachel’s business clothes were almost exclusively in neutral colors — think black, white, gray, navy, and tan. Despite the low-key color palette she followed, Rachel managed to look amazingly feminine and trendy by wearing figure-flattering pencil skirts and blazers, similar to ones we see today at stores like Express. She also spiced up her look with subtle details, like a lacey or patterned camisole layered underneath a dress shirt, or an elegant scarf.

Rachel Green from Friends outfit 2
Skirt, Shirt, Cami, Shoes, Ring, Scarf | J.A photo: ELLE

A basic black pencil skirt and white dress shirt will look appropriate for almost any work setting, but up the style like Rachel did by letting a lace camisole peek through. Beige pumps will complement the outfit well. Add a light leopard print scarf if you work in a trendy industry, and finish with a cameo ring, similar to the brooch that Ross gave Rachel for her birthday the first season.

Nights on the Town

Several times throughout the series, our favorite Friends went to fancy occasions like charity fundraisers, banquets, and even (in Joey’s case) an awards show! Among Jennifer Aniston’s best features are her strong, toned arms and carved collarbone. Rachel is often shown wearing sleeveless dresses, probably to highlight these features. Rachel sticks to basic colors (mostly black) at formal events, and is almost always seen in fitted, well-tailored cuts.

Rachel Green from Friends outfit 3
Dress, Shoes, Clutch, Watch, Lipstick | Hair photo

A classic cut dress like this one is something Rachel would have totally worn on a date. A little black dress in a conservative cut like this one can literally be worn at almost any occasion if you’re unsure of what the dress code is. Rachel usually wore her hair in some sort of spin on a french twist at fancy occasions. Also, her makeup was never dramatic (well, except for the one episode when Ross does her makeup for her) so stick to a chic pink lipstick. Finish with a clutch and a simple watch.

Casual Chic

Rachel Green from Friends outfit 4
Turtleneck, Skirt, Boots, Locket | J.A. photo: ELLE

I’ve worn knee-high boots with skirts for so long that it never occurred to me that the look has fallen in popularity over the last few years. Although pairing these two items might not be the most cutting edge look these days, as long as the skirt is just a few inches above your knee and the boots aren’t too high, it will still look classic and chic. I sometimes feel like I’m the only girl in Oklahoma that LOVES turtlenecks, but I don’t care! If they’re good enough for Rachel, they’re certainly good enough for me. Finish the look with a deep side part, straightened hair, and a simple necklace.

Hot Mama

Season seven concludes with Rachel unexpectedly getting pregnant with Ross’s baby. But just because she has less time for fashion, that doesn’t mean she looks less stylish! Rachel switches from her usual heels-and-a-skirt uniform to graphic tees, henleys, and boot-cut denim. Simultaneously, her color palette becomes more colorful, reminiscent of the first few seasons of Friends.

Rachel Green from Friends outfit 5
Shirt, Tee, Jeans, Shoes, Studs | J.A. photo: ELLE

Your favorite fitted graphic t-shirt will look cute layered over a long-sleeved colored shirt. Boot cut jeans were all the rage during the last few seasons of Friends, but of course, this outfit will look great with your favorite pair of skinny or boyfriend jeans as well. Finish with a pair of sneakers, stud earrings, and a quick ponytail.

What Do You Think?

Did you watch Friends growing up? Who is your favorite character? What is your favorite episode? Are you praying for a reunion movie like I am? Which character’s style do you admire most? What do you think about Rachel’s style, and its transformation over time? What other shows would you like us to cover? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Posted on on August 9, 2012 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , ,

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27 Responses to “Old School TV Style: Fashion Inspired by Rachel from Friends”

  1. 1
    August 9th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I swear you can read my mind sometimes!

  2. 2
    August 9th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Ahh I’ve been waiting for a post about Rachel’s style! I have watched every episode of Friends at least a few times each and always payed attention to how fashionable Rachel is.
    Thank you, this is great. Feelin the nostalgia :)

  3. 3
    August 9th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Yay for this post! I am a huge Friends fan and just love love love Rachel :)

  4. 4
    August 9th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Great post, these outfits are all Rachel to a T!

  5. 5
    August 9th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I loved this! i would love to see you do ones for Monica and Phoebe (and maybe the guys?), as well!

  6. 6
    August 9th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Ah I LOVE this!
    You picked some really great outfits, very Rachel!

  7. 7
    August 9th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Haha, what a co-incidence! I was planning to leave a comment here requesting a Friends inspired outfit post. Thanks for this! :D I actually am not that big a fan of Ross and Monica (really hated her) but Rachel was absolutely brilliant. You’ve totally nailed her style. I love it.

    Would be great to see a post on Phoebe’s rather hippie style too.

  8. 8
    August 9th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I love this post!! Friends is one of my favorite shows of all time. My favorite episode is The One with the ‘Cuffs. My favorite character is Phoebe. I love the idea of a reunion movie!!!! That would be awesome!

  9. 9
    August 9th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Love this show and the outfits! I feel like the older I get the better I think the show is because I can relate more to it.

  10. 10
    August 9th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    oh my god I love you!! Friends is the freaking best show ever!! :D Please continue with the rest of the friends cast!! Oh and another show that I’d like to see is Ghost Whisperer. I love Melinda’s vintage-y flair. :D

  11. 11
    August 9th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I love this show because it’s funny, it shows real life situations and it resembles my friends and me. I love the outfits inspired by Rachel and her hairstyles too.
    Nice post! :D

  12. 12
    August 9th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I am obsessed with Friends. I totally relate to talking about it everyday to my friends who haven’t seen the show! There always seems to be an episode or plot line that relates to something in my life! Rachel is definitely my favorite girl character but I think my favorite guy character is Chandler! I have always noticed Rachel’s fabulous style throughout the years!

  13. 13
    August 9th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    omg thank thank thanks!! :) I LOVE LOVE friends and as well I am one of those people who as well quote from friend’s line.

    For this post i give the author a A++++++ :)

  14. 14
    August 9th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Cool article…I’d love to see a post on Denise from The Cosby Show–I always thought her style was so awesome!

  15. 15
    August 9th, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    I LOVE FRIENDS!!!!! (read in really high pitched fangirl voice)
    thank you so much for this post! I hope you write about monica and phoebe as well, they have greaaaaat style (I love phoebe’s so much!!)

  16. 16
    August 10th, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Oh this was amazing! Brigns back so many memories. Please do Monica and Phoebe next! I’ve always loved their outfits on the show.

  17. 17
    August 10th, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I am extremely proud to say that I am THAT girl too! I absolutely adore Rachel and, just like on the show, Jennifer Aniston has an amazing sense of style in the real life as well. She’s got that brilliant casual sophistication that I’ve yet to see at any other actress. I love her to death and I would LOVE it if you would also make an article about the woman behind Rachel Green, because she most definitely deserves it! Thank you for the beautiful post!

  18. 18
    August 10th, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Hey Anne,

    I’m totally Jennifer Aniston crazy too! It’s funny how I feel like I know her, and genuinely feel happy whenever she gets a new boyfriend and sad when they break up, lol. I wrote a post about her daytime casual style a couple months ago…here’s the link!

    http://www.collegefashion.net/inspiration/california-casual-4-outfits-inspired-by-jennifer-anistons-daytime-style/

  19. 19
    August 11th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Hooray! I love Rachel’s style!

  20. 20
    September 7th, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    This is awesome! Please do Monica next! <3

  21. 21
    January 1st, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Love this! X

  22. 22
    November 21st, 2013 at 7:46 am

    can u do phoebe too?

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