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'Friends' Turns 20: Fashion Lessons We Learned From All 10 Seasons

We can't believe it either but 20 years ago, on Sept. 22, "Friends" aired its first episode and 10 seasons later, we weren't ready to say goodbye.

Although there are countless memories that we'll never forget (#smellycatforever), it's the characters' fashion choices that still linger on in pop culture and on the runways today. (Remember when we said the '90s are back in a big way? Yeah.)

And so, we take a look back at the fashion lessons we learned from "Friends" (and it doesn't involve "The Rachel," thank goodness).

Story continues below slideshow:

1. Western Attire Is Always Fine

(Unless we’re talking about Joey’s short-lived stint as the Ombre cologne man.) However, before Phoebe Buffay assumed the role of the series' "quirky" (read: not-as-fashionable) friend, she embraced alternative '90s fashion in a way most of us can only dream of. Her fringed suede jacket she wore while busking in season one is proof of that, as is the oversized denim vest she wore underneath it. It’s almost like elements of Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2014 collection was inspired by her (and we guess Joey too).

2. Plaid Pajama Pants Are The Only Valid Pajama Pants

And we say this as someone who looks to nineties-era Rachel as a source of endless style inspiration and joy. So, like everyone else that decade, Rachel loved plaid. That’s why she wore it when prying the phone out of Ross’ hand (after she left a voicemail that introduced to us the word, “closure”), when she adapted her pajama-wear for summer, and when she decided to catch up on her correspondence. Frankly, we can burn all other pajama pant types.

3. Layers Are Powerful

Layers have evolved past being a seasonal thing to an all-around lifestyle (who doesn’t layer?), and we can 100% thank Joey Tribbiani who, in response to his underwear being stolen, donned every single piece of Chandler Bing’s closet. Could he be more fashion-forward in 2014? (No. Well...maybe if he had a hat on.)

4. The Louder The Coat, The Warmer The Person

As mentioned, Phoebe was kind of given the short end of the style stick—until we look at what she was wearing. Case in point: her orange coat, which may have seemed loud and over-the-top circa 1999-2000, but would now fit in perfectly among collections by Topshop and H&M, who are channeling those exact nineties qualities. Ultimately, Phoebe was just hipper than all of us.

5. All You Need Is One Good Bag

The world wasn’t ready for Joey and his bag, which is a travesty since if he had the bag now, everybody would want it, too. Even though Joey’s relationship with the bag was used as a joke, it arguably highlighted how uncomfortable some people are with those who don’t abide by gender norms. Joey? He didn’t care about his bag. Some of his friends, however, probably should’ve examined why they were so uncomfortable with him being well accessorized.

6. Shorteralls Are Comfortable And OK

There’s a reason most of us spent the nineties in overalls, and that’s because they were comfortable and great. So thank you, Rachel Green for reminding us that you can dress up overalls (with a jacket you keep receipts in)—and you can wear them even when confronting your best friend about Julie. (#Normcore) Also, look at this photo.

7. Vintage Is Not Always Wonderful

Despite us fondly remembering the greatest decade of all (the nineties—in case you weren’t sure what we were forcing you to embrace for the duration of this article), know this: vintage isn’t always flattering. At least not when Chandler, Ross, Monica, and Rachel remembered their ‘80s-era holidays that saw unflattering layers, oversized sweaters, bad facial hair, and whatever it is Chandler was doing.

8. Even An Eye Patch Works If You Have Confidence

Really, it does. (Even though we're still not sure what happened to warrant the eye patch. Ice flew out of the freezer and hit Monica? Somebody help us understand.) But also: on top of Monica bravely embracing a facial accessory in the midst of Thanksgiving pandemonium, she made the look almost formal when she wore a sheer burgundy top that actually worked with the patch quite nicely. (Man, this show would totally not have worked today, would it?)

9. Everybody In Velvet

To be honest, we're not sure if "wear velvet" is a lesson "Friends" taught us specifically because all TV shows in the nineties had to include at least some, or they would risk being cancelled. (We're making that up.) But if we have to use Phoebe’s maternity clothes as an example of how velvet has a place for any moment or occasion, we will do it. So here we am, doing just that. (Even her purse is velvet! And not even of the same variety!)

10. Yes, You Can Wear Suspenders

You! Yes, you—because talk about kicking off the series with a bang: in the very first shot, we have Monica Geller not only embracing menswear, we’ve got her wearing suspenders. Real, live fashionable suspenders. Which, in theory, are horrible. But in practice? They work! Especially since the early nineties explored all aspects of kitsch and vintage revival, not just the seen-on-the-runways type. (Though yes, suspenders were at one point seen on the runway – see: Chanel. And now, on Rihanna.) Besides, we all know our true friends wouldn’t lie about what to wear, anyway.

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