Though the fashion of Friends is often unmistakably of the ‘90s and early-aughts, there’s no denying its influence on the modern day. I mean, Selena Gomez (who was just 2 years old when the show premiered) recreated one of Jennifer Aniston’s ’97 looks just a few months ago.
According to Saul Austerlitz’s new book Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era, co-creator Marta Kauffman had initially intended for the show’s fashion to act as a “nod to realism,” keeping the characters in jeans and simple, affordable pieces. Friends’s fashion designer, Debra McGuire, disagreed.
McGuire developed an aesthetic and color scheme for each of the show’s titular six. “Chandler would regularly wear sweater vests, along with a black button-down with a gray racing stripe that would come to be his early-season calling card,” Austerlitz writes. “Joey was intended to be soft and huggable in sweaters, a deliberate reaction to the leather-jacket player of the pilot. Ross would be dressed in corduroys and tweeds.”
“The female characters were distinguished by their preferred colors. Rachel went with greens and blues; Monica leaned toward red, black, and gray. Phoebe preferred yellows and purples, mixed patterns, skirts, and unstructured pieces.”
Of course, no one’s style would be a greater watercooler topic than Aniston’s Rachel Green. The fact that she worked in fashion made her the most obviously stylish of the characters, though McGuire worked to ensure that her closet wasn’t oversaturated with the brands for which she was employed. “It was important to her that Friends not become a show that was exclusively outfitted by any one designer,” Austerlitz writes of McGuire in reference to Rachel’s time working at Ralph Lauren. “McGuire still wanted Rachel to be able to look alluring and sexy but preferred a wardrobe that a working woman in her twenties might enjoy having.”
While the entirety of Green’s 703-outfit wardrobe has received its fair share of analysis and praise through the years, there’s one look that McGuire says stands above the rest in terms of viewer interest — and no, it’s not her cheerleading uniform.
The outfit people are "most curious about" is the strapless yellow dress Rachel wears in season five’s "The One with All the Kissing," which aired in 1998.
People still call and email McGuire asking where they can find it, but she doesn’t have good news for them — the dress is from British label IDOL, which went out of business years ago.
Hear that, Zara?