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‘Friends’ Is Back — And Its ’90s and 2000s Fashion Is Here to Stay

When Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc reunite on Thursday for “Friends: The Reunion,” on HBOMax, they will be portraying themselves — not their characters from the original NBC sitcom. The actors will instead revisit the show’s well-known sets, reminiscing on their time together, showing some behind-the-scenes footage and even revealing a few surprises as part of the special.

With all of that nostalgia floating about, the show’s fashion is bound to come up. While it was never a central thesis or character to “Friends,” as it was in “Sex and the City” (another ’90s-to-2000s show getting a reboot this year), fashion has become something of a posthumous thread for the show.

Carrie Bradshaw’s Manolo Blahniks were part of SATC’s New York fashion fantasy. But Monica Gellar’s stonewashed denim was what everyone in New York was actually wearing at the time. Even Rachel Green’s Bloomingdales’s and Ralph Lauren wardrobe, with its silk knit twinsets, pointed-toe sling backs and semi-sheer black hosiery, seemed rooted in a high-end-but-realistic aesthetic for a fashion buyer in the late ’90s. For all six of the show’s characters, fashion, reflected the real times they were living in.

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Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courtney Cox in “Friends.”
CREDIT: Everett Collection

As it turns out, that attainable mid-’90s to early-2000s style is still influencing fashion today — in a big way. The past eight years or so have ushered in a wave of ’90s nostalgia, first fueled by Millennials (the unofficial nostalgic generation). It has also since also been adopted by Gen Z, who actually made “Friends” a literal fashion trend:  In 2018 and 2019, the show’s logo could be found on dozens of t-shirts from nearly every fast-fashion retailer (perhaps not so coincidentally, cast member Perry has started his own limited-edition line of tees with familiar Chandler Bing phrases).

Now, as ’90s fashion influences are mingling with a fast-growing renewed interest in 2000s style, a “Friends” reunion, both situational and sartorial, couldn’t be better timed. After all, the show (perhaps along with “Seinfeld”) was “normcore” before it was ever called that.

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Ross and Rachel in early 2000s outfits.
CREDIT: Everett Collection
friends, friends reunion, friends fashion, friends '90s fashion, '90s fashion, 2000s fashion, jennifer aniston, coutney cox, lisa kudrow, david schwimmer, matthew perry, matt leblanc
Aniston’s Rachel Green as runaway bride in the pilot episode of “Friends,” 1994.
CREDIT: Everett Collection
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The cast in all of its stonewashed denim glory.
CREDIT: Everett Collection

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