From the Vault: The Top 5 Most Fashionable Shows From The ’80s


Before Carrie Bradshaw‘s ballerina skirt and Blair Waldorf‘s slutty/Stepford Wives silk blouses, there were Punky Brewster‘s ripped “boyfriend” jeans.

In honor of the Metropolitan Museum’s “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity,” which explores the style evolution of American women from 1890 through 1940 (and opens today), we’d like to pay homage to an era that’s had a special influence upon our fashion psyches — the ’80s.

Here are 5 TV shows that laid the groundwork for the hipsters of today.

Show: Rags to Riches (1987)
Premise: A Daddy Warbucks type takes in a clan of orphaned girls to live in his mansion. Kind of shady now that we think of it — and probably why it only lasted two seasons.
Edge: Expansive, from ’50s Mad Men-esque influences to a playful tomboy and a Madonna-inspired character who wore neon-colored tights and bulky bracelets.
Not to be confused with: Facts of Life — Jo and Tootie may have had attitude, but they had no fashion sense.

Show: Double Trouble (1984)
Premise: Like The Parent Trap, except these twins were actual twins (played by Jean and Liz Sagal) and not fakes like Lindsay Lohan.
Edge: Both girls represented crucial looks of the ’80s — the preppy blazer and sweater look on one; radical casual wear (think Molly Ringwald) on the other. Just like the Wakefield twins!
Not to be confused with: My Two Dads — Greg Evigan was the real fashionista there. We’re just sayin’.

Show: Miami Vice (1984)
Premise: Two good-looking dudes in cool clothes fight crime in Miami.
Edge: five o’clock shadow, blazers, white pants, no socks. The first metrosexuals on television.
Not to be confused with: The A-Team — Mr. T never spiced up his look. Just like the Fonz, he wore the same thing in every episode (boring!).

Show: Punky Brewster (1984)
Premise: Old man takes in a homeless girl and her dog. (AMBER alert!)
Edge: Punky did more for jeans than Bruce Springsteen and Brooke Shields combined. Her denim alterations can be seen in several Gap campaigns today and her mismatched style exuded originality, speaking to spirited kids (who yearned to have an elderly man as their caretaker) across the nation. Her best friend, Cherie Johnson, who always wore her signature headband, is the inspiration behind MGMT.
Not to be confused with: Saved By The Bell — Zack Morris and crew were pretty generic with their wardrobe. The only cool thing about that show was his cell phone.

Show: The Cosby Show (1984)
Premise: Affluent parents and their kids living the good life in New York — but they weren’t uptight or anything.
Edge: The Huxtables single-handedly changed the face of fashion and here’s how: Whatever age you were at the time the show aired you could easily relate to one of the characters and bite on their style. Whether you wanted to be preppy (Sandra), funky (Denise), sporty (Vanessa), classic (Claire), cool (Theo) or simply sweet and cute (Rudy), you had your fill of fashion. And Cliff put hideous Dad-sweaters, most notably the Coogi brand, on the map. You couldn’t help it but be mesmerized by the color and squiggly lines adorning each be-yarned masterpiece.
Not to be confused with: Family Ties — The only edge this show had was Alex P. Keaton’s Republican POV.