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January 24, 2024

Catie Summers

On October 28, 2023, the world lost Matthew Perry; or to those of us who fell for his charm 

and comedic genius in Friends, Chandler Bing. While Chandler’s wardrobe did not disrupt the fashion world as his ‘friend’ Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) did, it is important that we acknowledge the wonderful person we have since lost. RIP Matthew Perry. 


Could Friends be any more influential? Since the 90s sitcom’s pilot “The One Where It All Began” first aired on September 22, 1994, Friends grew to be a global phenomenon and remains a household name to this day. Indeed, very few tv shows still capture the eye of future generations as Friends does. Yes, Seinfeld, Frasier, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, are all recognizable names, and yes, Sex and the City has more direct association with the fashion world; yet none of them give us style icons and trend setters that remain so close to our hearts as those on Friends. 


One cannot discuss the fashion of Friends without discussing the show's it-girl, Rachel Green. Played by Jennifer Aniston, Rachel’s journey from a spoiled, naïve, soon-to-be housewife to a confident, competent, and corporate woman in the fashion world is a feat of its own. It is the character’s affinity with fashion and her love for luxury that sets her on this path to eventually get a job offer from Louis Vuitton in the final season. The first two seasons of Rachel are all about comfort and cuteness– of course, this is still within a season of her chopping up her father’s credit cards. 

In terms of the influence of the novel Rachel Green- it was astronomical. Her hair– featured above– became known as “The Rachel”: every woman loved it and every woman wanted to have it. It was the most requested look of the 90s, and such was its popularity it even has its own Wikipedia page. Ironically, the hairstyle was created by the show’s hair stylist Chris McMillan to hide Aniston’s dry and damaged hair- hence the coloring and voluminous bounce. Rachel’s wardrobe evolved with her as Friend’s entered its middle seasons. Shortly after joining the corporate world, we see Rachel dawn more pantsuits and enter a classier, fitted era that, with truth be told, held her best looks of the show (Writer’s Note: The iconic yellow dress is my favorite look of the entire series).

Via   Pinterest

What about Rachel’s influence today? She was influential in the 90s, sure, but is she still? The answer to that is… yes, she remains a fashion icon. The reason Green still tops mood boards and is still used for inspiration is because of the cyclical nature of fashion (Vogue India). Friends costume designer Debra McGuire isn’t surprised by this fact as the majority of Rachel’s pieces are timeless: they will never go out of style. McGuire curated an arsenal of clothes that they eye “never gets tired of seeing… boyfriend jeans, denim vests, snug minis, slip dresses, LBDs, and powersuits” (Vogue India). Timeless fashion and enduring inspiration comes from treating the colors, shapes, and silhouettes as pieces of art; art meant to last. But when it really came down to choosing what Rachel would wear, it came down to her character’s life at that time. As a dynamic character, she was always evolving; when Rachel Green was introduced, she was a “princess from Long Island who only shopped at Barney’s” but working at fashion maisons such as Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton caused“her style [to] evolve and [become] more sophisticated” (Vogue India). 


Rachel’s character arc over the ten-season show can be seen through her wardrobe and the brilliant ensembles McGuire put together. The timeless nature of her elevated basics, her use of trends to enhance her features, and the finishing touch of an undeniable air of confidence and beauty is what keeps generations of fashion lover’s head over heels for Rachel Green.


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