Seinfeld, the show (that was essentially about absolutely nothing) miraculously became the voice of a generation with their catchphrases, dating disasters, perpetual daily mishaps and zany characters whose lives compelled us in so many ways. Zero kudos were given to the cast’s wardrobe, however – and rightfully so, you may think. But that was the 90s. And almost 30 years after the first episode (of Seinfeld: the show about absolutely nothing fashionable) was aired, the series’ influence is dressing a new generation …
why it’s relevant today
Seinfeld: the show about absolutely nothing fashionable
When Seinfeld started airing way back in 1989, the show’s creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld couldn’t have imagined the impact their sitcom would have on television and popular culture – let alone the fashion industry three decades on. So many lines from the best-loved episodes have become catchphrases among young and older millennials, but the show’s then-understated and (often referred to as) “ugly” wardrobe, has somehow reared its hideous head in today’s fashion landscape – quite akin to the story of the ugly duckling – and established itself as the fashion reference for fashionistas.
From Jerry’s obsession with “uncool” dad sneakers to George’s classic cardigans and parka jackets; or Elaine’s floral dresses and Kramer’s cropped tapered trousers with whacky vintage shirts – millennials, who may just be too young to know much more about the comedy series besides the name, have embraced these styles with open arms.
the ugly 90s are back yada yada yada
Seinfeld: the show about absolutely nothing fashionable first started in 1989. It ended in 1998. The cast were never referred to as stylish or hip while the show was initially being aired. In fact, numerous outfits were mocked and (oh no, even worse!) disregarded. The characters were perceived as tremendously normal and out-of-date laggards. However, that was the perception in the 90s. And now, somehow, the show’s wardrobe has managed to capture the imagination of haute couture’s most elite and daring. You see, back in Seinfeld’s heyday the character’s looks were understated and mundane. With 90s fashion being what it was at the time, they looked rather strait-laced and even uptight (except maybe for the cray thrifty style of Kramer, in a “doofus hipster” kind of way, as so aptly stated in one of the episodes). Post norm-core – a trend that started on the streets and propelled itself to the top of the fashion industry in the past five years – left lingering influences that bled into current styles and collections, rammed with unassuming 90s focal points and unflattering fits of old being weaved in with the new. Seinfeld just happens to be one of the most prevalent of these focal points.
Jerry the daddist minimalist
When you think of Jerry, the first thing that comes to mind has to be those white Nike sneakers. Or in millennial terms, simply dad sneakers.
There is no denying that sneakers are the hottest of commodities right now (and none more than Nike). High-end brands, in particular Balenciaga, adidas, Yeezy, Reebok (and even your Gucci’s, Prada’s and YSL’s) have pushed the bulky dad shoe to new heights (and weights). They are not made to be beautiful, that’s for sure. Yet it is one of the most desired items on the market today. Seinfeld: a show about absolutely nothing fashionable had no idea of knowing that they were spearheading a major current trend three decades in advance. Jerry’s trademark straight-leg blue jeans with the unflattering high-rise fit have also found their way into every other scenester’s wardrobe. And then there’s the turtleneck turtleneckin’ a head above all the other pullovers. Not so lame now, is it?
gorgeous (awkward) George
George is probably the 90s television personality least likely to be a style icon. And yet those checkered shirts, cashmere sweaters and parkas are once again all the rage. Burberry’s classic checkered shirt is back with full vengeance (did it ever really leave?), while Saint Laurent, Paul Smith, Marc Jacobs and Off-White are pushing the grunge and indie looks this fall/winter.
Special mention has to go to that ridiculous puffer jacket that made George look just like the Michelin Man – and which doesn’t seem so ridiculous in today’s fashion landscape. Moncler is but one of the many brands relentlessly pushing the quilted down and puffer jackets this season. They range from classic and sophisticated to elaborate and ginormous in size. Rihanna rocks them, and the runways are awash with large and in charge puffers. George, you trendsetter, you …
Elaine “GET OUT” <pushes someone> Benes
Perhaps the best-styled character over the nine seasons of Seinfeld: the show about absolutely nothing fashionable, Elaine balanced the tight rope (luckily without three inch heels) of looking stylish while keeping things low-key and classy (we’re only talking about her clothes here, okay!) – something not as easily achieved as one might think.
Those floral dresses with the lace-up brogue shoes, tasteful blouses, blazers in every color with big shoulder pads paired with pants or a dress … Mixing feminine with a healthy dose of masculinity, Elaine’s style truly appeals to a great number of women today. It wouldn’t be too strange to think that her wardrobe was making a statement for headstrong professional woman in a changing world, which would be a perfectly good explanation for Seinfeld: a show about absolutely nothing fashionable yada yada yada surge in popularity among a woman of today.
The “hipster doofus” Cosmo Kramer had his own swag. Open-collar bowling or Hawain shirts were a staple. The high-rise tapered pants were always cropped, exposing those white socks that contrasted vintage wingtips. And the check patterned blazers that seemed to barge through Jerry’s apartment door more times than one would care to count.
As if his Eraserhead hair wasn’t enough of a statement, The Kramer never succumbed to a dull fashion moment. His vintage thrift finds are now one of the leading looks in men’s fashion. The coolest cat on Seinfeld can be seen on every street corner from Williamsburg and Casca Viejo to Montmarte and Sants.