Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part One

Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part One
From left: Karyn Parsons as Hilary Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air; Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell; Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Photos courtesy of NBC and the CW)

Having paid our due respects to the lasting contriubtions of Winnie Cooper, Stephanie Tanner, Denise Huxtable and the rest of our favorite TV style icons from the '80s in Part One and Part Two of our Fashion TV Flashback series, this week we're setting our sights on '90s TV fashion, from Brenda and Kelly's spectacularly ribboned black-and-white double act, to Amanda Woodword's game-changing business attire, to the work of art that was Kelly Kapowski's bangs.

Kelly Kapowski, Saved by the Bell

Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part OneLet's start with the fact that Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen) was not only head cheerleader, but also captain of the volleyball, swim and softball teams, all the while holding down a demanding waitressing job at The Max. If anyone was entitled to an awesome caffeine pill addiction, it was her (not "I'm so excited... I'm so scared" Jessie). But the truly notable thing about Ms. Kapowski—the reason Zack and A.C. fought over her for years—has to be her bangs. In a pre-3D Imax world, Kelly's hair was multidimensional in a way that Avatar could only dream about. Add to that her flair for fashion—suspenders over glorified bras? what what!—and it's easy to see why she was the most popular girl at Bayside.

Brenda Walsh, Beverly Hills, 90210

Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part OneShe may have hailed from Minnesota, but the fairer of the Walsh twins wasted no time in catching up with the in-crowd when Cindy and Jim decided to move their family to the wilds of Beverly Hills. Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty), more than anyone else, kept up with the day's trends; from crocheted sweaters to floral babydoll dresses to menswear as womenswear to preppy power blazers, with the odd leather jacket thrown in—an homage to her dreamboat antihero b-fry Dylan. But she was also partially responsible for one of the all-time greatest "Who Wore it Best?" moments in TV history, when she and Kelly showed up in the same dress for the Spring Dance. We swooned for Kelly's 'do (a glorious mix of banana clippage, half-up half-down, and straight-meets-curly at the ends), but Brenda's opera gloves and classic pearls trumped Kelly's cubic zirconia adornment, and her losing-my-virginity plotline really clinched the race. 
Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part One(Photo courtesy of FOX)

Amanda Woodward, Melrose Place

Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part OneBefore the Devil wore Prada, she wore monochrome power blazers and mini skirts with stilettos, and she stalked the hallways of D&D Advertising, terrorizing Melrose Place's most unfortunately coiffed resident, Alison Parker. Amanda (Heather Locklear) was clearly the most influential style icon of the bunch, prompting countless women's glossy articles about appropriate dress in the workplace (and when short is just too short). Special mention goes to Jane Mancini (Josie Bissett), who despite her marital troubles, still effortlessly channeled Chynna Phillips circa "Hold On."

Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part One(Photo courtesy of FOX)

Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part OneA wisecracking valley girl with a talent for rooting out the undead, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Geller) was not only a beacon of female empowerment, but she was also unafraid to girl-out in the fashion department. Floral peasant blouses and ruffled tops were de rigeur, as were S&M boots (the better to stake you in the heart with), and singed eveningwear (see below). Her fashion motto? Just because you're the only one prepared to fend off the apocalypse, doesn't mean you can't make an effort.

Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part One(Photo courtesy of The CW)

Hilary Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Fashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part OneFashion TV Flashback: The '90s, Part One

Before Clueless fashion plates Cher and Dion made teenagers swoon over plaid blazer and skirt sets from Contempo, and even before Blossom and Six made them buy hats in bulk, there was Hilary Banks (Karyn Parsons), and oh did she do matchy and accessorizing. Proving it's never too early to dress like a lady who lunches, Hil took a politician's wife approach to "chillin' out, maxin' and relaxin'."

Above photos courtesy of NBC, Fox, CW.