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‘Friends’ Is My Fashion Fetish

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Friends is one of those time capsule shows. Its characters, their vernacular, their issues, and especially their clothing feel frozen in time—a nostalgic snapshot of the 1990s. To be honest, I was never really here nor there on the show. It's been around for as long as I've existed and while Ive never railed against or excluded myself from it, neither have I ever kicked off my shoes after a long day and been like, “Cant wait to see The One With Rachel and the Plane!” or whatever. But looking back at the series now, 25 years since it premiered, I am struck by how much of its fashion aesthetic skewed lesbian. And that, I am totally here for. In fact, I'd venture to say that Friends is my sartorial fetish.

The denim! The plaid! The oversized sweatshirts and backwards baseball caps! The sitcom's styling was lesbian fashion perfected as an art form. Although, I could do without Rachels miniature vests—I think queer women, as a culture, can probably do without vests from here on out (with all due respect to Jennifer Aniston for making them happen in the '90s so that the cast of The L Word could carry them into the aughts). Still, each “friend” carved out her/his/their own corner of lesbian fashion in ways worth emulating now. Let's take a closer look.

Monica

NBC

Monica was typically the highest femme of the lady Friends, but when she went butch, she slayed. Monica loved a loose, collared button-up, a belted, high-waist jean and a fashionable sneaker. Ill pass on her floor-length skirts, but I'll take Courtney Cox in a casual high-neck tee or a mock turtle any day.

NBC

Rachel

NBC

Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston's Rachel was the sole authority of nipple couture, always dressing for the perfect amount of nipple visibility. Rachel had a stronger grasp on lesbian fashion on Friends than Ive had in a lifetime of being a lesbian. She had range: On the more feminine side of things, Rachel could rock a plaid schoolgirl skirt and cropped sweater and call me a dyke to my face and Id say “thank you.” She loved overalls, full-length or shorts. She laid the groundwork for the best layered T-shirt-wearers of the aughts (looking at you, Ashley Tisdale and Ashlee Simpson). A T-shirt over a long-sleeve? Duh. A tank-top over a tee? Why not! And if theres one look the Friends costumer, Debra McGuire perfected, it was 90s girls in vintage New York sports team merch.

NBC

Phoebe

NBC

If Phoebe were around today, shed definitely be that boho-chic weed bisexual who foists the healing power of crystals on you whenever you get together. Phoebe wasn't afraid to wear a long, Cate Blanchett-esque coat, a denim dress over a long-sleeved tee, or a fringe so heinous it actually came full circle and somehow worked (and same goes for her despicable vests). Heinous-but-it-works is exactly the kind of look queer women gravitate towards (or at least I do). And lest we forget Phoebe was the main arbiter of choker necklaces—that 90s phenom that came sweeping back through teen fashion in 2018, before swiftly disappearing again.

NBC

Joey and Ross
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