When it comes to TV, we all watch for obvious reasons: Biting drama (both cerebral and of the “Real Housewives” variety), the clever comedy, the juicy plot lines, and the fact that there are simply way too many excellent shows on right now not to watch. And then there’s the fashion. While that’s not always at the top of the list of reasons why we watch TV, it should be, given the abundance of stylish TV characters over the years.
Between watching current characters like Claire Underwood on “House of Cards” and Olivia Pope on “Scandal” use fashion as a powerful tool, revisiting past characters like Donna Reed and “Seinfeld” denizen Elaine Benes whose fashion choices expertly embodied a decade, and obsessing over the meticulous sartorial details on period shows like “Mad Men” and “Boardwalk Empire,” it’s abundantly clear that clothes play just as important a role as writing when it comes to a hit TV show.
To that end, we’ve compiled the 50 most stylish TV characters of all, ranked from number 50 to number one.
Scroll through our ranked list, and let us know if you agree with who took the top spot!
See who made our list of the 50 most stylish TV characters ever!
50. Aria Montgomery, Pretty Little Liars
High schooler Aria Montgomery might live in a small town, but she dresses like a cool big city chick, whose style just about everyone wants to emulate. Aria loves texture and layering and gravitates toward worn leather, velvet, chiffon and items like chain-handle bags and motorcycle boots. Call her style feminine with a a rebellious streak. And while yes, viewers turn in week after week to see who the mysterious A might be, they also clearly want to know what outfit Aria is going to turn up in, too.
49. Madelyn "Maddie" Hayes, Moonlighting
From supermodel to one-half of a private detective company, Madelyn "Maddie" Hayes, brought to life by Cybill Shephard, was the ultimate 1980s glamour girl in pastel suits, sweatheart neckline gowns, and fur galore. Hey, glamour and fighting crime can work together.
48. Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother
With a fashionable catchphrase, "Suit Up!" it's no suprise that Barney Stinson makes the cut on this list. Suits are in fact such a trademark of Barney's character, played by Neil Patrick Harris, that in the show's 100th episode, "Girls vs. Suits," Barney had to decide between being with a beautiful bartender or wearing his signature suits. Naturally, his suits won out. Oh, did we mention that his tailor is played by none other than "Project Runway" mentor Tim Gunn? Yeah, Barney is one fashionable guy.
47. Amanda Woodward, Melrose Place
Everyone loved to hate Amanda Woodward, played by Heather Locklear, in the 1990s, but they loved to love her sexy wardrobe choices. Tiny skirts suits (could Amanda's skirts have been any shorter?) and bleached blond hair became all too fashionable at the time thanks in large part to Amanda.
46. Emma Pillsbury, Glee
Guidance counselour Emma Pillsbury, played by Jayma Mays, is essentially a girly J.Crew catalogue come to life. Think brightly colored cardigans, floral dresses, and glittery necklaces and brooches that we've lusted after more than a few times while watching the show. While Emma may play a germaphobe, she sure knows how to shop.
45. Wilhelmina Slater, Ugly Betty
Styled by Patricia Field (of "Sex and the City" fame), it is no wonder that Wilhelmina Slater (played by Vanessa Williams) the supermodel turned women's magazine Creative Director is one hot dresser. With a wardrobe that revolves around the colors white, silver, gold, and brown, Wilhelmina is referred to as "A Chanel suit with an office." Sure, it's meant as an insult, but is it really?
44. Jessica "Jess" Day, New Girl
Bright colors? Check. Stripes and polka dots? Check. Flats? Check. Nerdy glasses? Check. Jess (Zooey Deschanel's alter ego) has mastered girly nerdy style, and we love her for it. While's she made fun of for her personal style on the show, we want pretty much everything she wears, and have a feeling we aren't alone.
43. Victory Ford, Lipstick Jungle
As one of the biggest fashion designers in the business, Victory, played by Lindsay Price, naturally has the wardrobe to match. From over-the-top ballgowns, to perfect sheath dresses, to high heels in spades, we wouldn't mind switching wardrobes with Victory (even just for a day).
42. Hilary Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The quintessential 90s va-va-voom queen (with a love for all things designer) whether she was wearing red bandage dresses or tight skirt suits Hilary rocked it (and made us a touch jealous that we weren't a princess of Bel-Air in the process).
41. Laura Petrie, The Dick Van Dyke Show
We will be forever trying to dress like Laura Petrie, played by Mary Tyler Moore. Between her famous cigarette-style slacks to sheath dresses paired with pearls, it's suprising how fresh Laura's wardrobe feels today, despite the show ending its run in 1966.
40. Emily Thorne, Revenge
"Emily is simple but elegant," "Revenge's" costume designer Jill Ohanneson told Zap2it. "And you never can quite pin her down. We want to kind of keep Emily clean so that nobody ever expects that she is doing what she is doing, so we put her in a lot of light colors." Between jawdropping Jason Wu gowns to adorable silk crepe tank dresses, Emily always looks pitch-perfect (all while she's trying to get revenge mind you), which is part of what makes the show so fun to watch.
39. Lisa Turtle, Saved by the Bell
Who didn't want to dress like Lisa Turtle when "Saved by the Bell" was on the airwaves? Yeah, just admit it. As the most fashionable student at Bayside High, along with being a hopeful fashion designer, Lisa was the definition of cute and girly with her flirty, fluffy skirts, cute blouses, and colorful, shoulder-padded blazers. Just the kind of girl we wish we could have hit the mall with when we were in high school.
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38. Ally McBeal, Ally McBeal
Ally McBeal, played by Calista Flockhart, made office wear chic in the 1990s with her short skirts, boudoir-inspired camisoles, and strappy sandals that were the unofficial uniform for her days at law firm Cage & Fish. Sure the show hasn't been on the air for over a decade, but we wouldn't mind stealing some of Ally's best looks, even still.
37. Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Not many people could look chic while slaying vampires, but Buffy (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) pulled it off in spades. Her "nerd chic" look of crop tops, short skirts, mules, and even hair barrettes (yeah, remember those?) had girls everywhere clamoring to dress just like this vampire slayer.
36. Roger Sterling, Mad Men
Sure, Don Draper might get all of the attention on "Mad Men" but Roger Sterling and his incredible suits, deserve some of that spotlight too. As the true advertising veteran in the group, Roger dresses with a little more formality than some of the other characters. For instance, he favors single breasted suits worn with a vest, and he never seems to leave home without a pocket square. Yes, watching Roger in action makes us wonder why men still don't dress like that. If only.
35. Marissa Cooper, The O.C.
When Marissa Cooper, played by Mischa Barton, burst onto the small screen in the early aughts, girls everywhere collectively sighed in jealously at her wardrobe. Between the chain-link Chanel bag that she wore as a book bag to high school, to the Marc by Marc Jacobs sundresses that she seemingly had an endless supply of, to the Chanel haute couture gown she wore to prom, Marissa never missed a beat. Thanks for making us all feel inadequate, Coop!
34. Audrey Horne, Twin Peaks
David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" is a masterpiece, and so is Audrey Horne, played by Sherilyn Fenn's, wardrobe. Her uniform, a mix of cropped sweaters, high-waisted tartan skirts, and black-and-white brogues, screams femme fatale in the best possible way. Now this is the character we would die to go vintage shopping with.
33. Lisa Douglas, Green Acres
After relocating from Park Avenue to rural Hooterville, Lisa (played by the insanely glam Eva Gabor) isn't about to give up her signature style of chic dresses and peignoirs, even when she has to collect eggs and milk cows. Now this is a woman after our own heart.
32. Elaine Benes, Seinfeld
No one perfected '90s style quite like Elaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Whether wearing a borrowed from the boys suits, or a babydoll floral dress and brogues, we have to give Elaine props for her truly original style, that we can't help but still admire during all of those "Seinfeld" re-runs.
31. Mary Ann Summer, Gilligan's Island
Much of "Gilligan's Island" fandom revolves around whether you are a Mary Ann or a Ginger person. Mary Ann, and her Daisy Mae outfits, make the cut on this list for standing the test of time. Who wouldn't kill for one of Mary Ann's high-waisted bathing suits or gingham dresses right about now? Yeah, we thought so. Team Mary Ann for life.
30. Jessa Johansson, Girls
Of all of the characters on "Girls" Jessa is by far the most fashion forward, with her mix of flea market finds, cool girl picks from places like Pearl River and Zara, and designer pieces here and there. Every time she appears on screen you are bound to say to yourself, "I wish I had thought to wear that!" And thanks to Jessa we are now big fans of felt hats, chiffon wide-leg pants, and even kimono tops.
29. Arthur Herbert "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, Happy Days
Sometimes being stylish isn't about having a comprehensive wardrobe, it is about having a signature look. Case in point, Fozie, whose jeans, leather jacket, and white t-shirt look from "Happy Days" is now a part of history. We have only one word to say about that: "Aaaaayee!"
28. Rachel Green, Friends
While her hair might have gotten the bulk of the attention (who will ever forget "The Rachel" cut) Rachel's wardrobe deserves some of the spotlight too. Between her spaghetti strap sundresses, her perfect little black dresses, and her pleated skirt and turtleneck combos, her style evolved as the show grew, and surprisingly still feels fresh. No wonder Rachel landed her dream job at Gucci during the series finale, she clearly has the style chops.
27. Ike Evans, Magic City
Hotel boss Ike Evans is a Sinatra-like character on "Magic City," set in the late 1950s in Miami, and his style does Ol' Blue Eyes proud. Can all guys just wear white-on-black tuxes with cumberbunds from now on? Please?
26. Kelly Garrett, Charlie's Angels
1970s glamour girl style was exemplified by the cast of "Charlie's Angels" particularly Jaclyn Smith's character Kelly Garrett. Grecian gowns, secretary blouses and pencil skirts, gold lame jumpsuits—who didn't (and still doesn't) want to dress like Kelly? Now if only Studio 54 was still open.
25. Kelly Taylor, 90210
The ultimate teen queen of 90210, Kelly was the girl at Beverly Hills High who started trends including denim cutoffs, high-cut bikinis, matte lipstick, body con dresses, and oversized menswear blazers. Now if only picking between Brandon and Dylan came as easy to her as her sartorial choices.
24. Donna Reed, The Donna Reed Show
Between her signature full-skirted shirtdresses and sky-high heels, Donna Reed's wardrobe somehow actually made doing ironing and dusting look chic. Sure Donna made legions of women feel inadequate in the process, but it is hard to fault this 1950s icon for being utterly flawless, at all times, wardrobe included.
23. Diane Lockhart, The Good Wife
Diane Lockhart, played by Christine Baranski, is the kind of woman that makes us aspire to dress better. Both label-loving and classic in her fashion choices, Diane's wardrobe is flawless at all times whether she is wearing a power-suit and statement jewelry or a cinched leopard print jacket. If this is how women lawyers dress, where do we sign-up?
22. Neal Caffrey, White Collar
No wonder Neal Caffrey, played by Matt Bomer, gets away with being a criminal, have you seen his suits? His style clearly takes it cues from the Rat-Pack including three-piece suits and that fedora he never seems to take off. Neal's clothing is all about the perfect fit, which makes us want to tell all of the guys in our life to please find a great tailor, stat.
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21. Selina Meyer, Veep
We have to hand it to Julia Louis-Dreyfuss for consistently picking characters that are seriously well dressed. Her latest, Selina Meyer, is the first woman vice-president, with quite the enviable wardobe consisting of Christian Dior fitted dresses and suits by Prada. Now that is a vice president we can proud of.
20. Penelope "Punky" Brewster, Punky Brewster
Who would have guessed that Penelope "Punky" Brewster, played to '80s child actor perfection by Soleil Moon Frye, would eventually morph into a style icon? Pigtails, mismatched high tops, handkerchiefs, and oh yes, that pin collection—we want it all.
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19. Patsy Stone, Absolutely Fabulous
"Patsy dressed exactly as a fashion editor would: the perfect Chanel jacket no one else has got," Joanna Lumley who played the boozed up editrix on "Absolutely Fabulous" told the Daily Mail. "She dressed immaculately most of the time, in lovely neutrals—she always looked elegant." With hair styled to look like Ivana Trump, oversized jewelry, and a love of skirt suits, who hasn't at one point wished to have Patsy's wardrobe. With that thought we are off to Harvey Nichols.
18. Robert Crawley, Downton Abbey
Anyone who knows the difference between white tie and black tie definitely deserves a spot on this list. The Earl of Grantham knows a thing or two about dressing utterly perfectly whether he is going for a walk on his estate's grounds or hosting yet another dinner. Something tell us this isn't a man about to turn his back on tradition and formality, and thank heavens for that.
17. Fran Fine, The Nanny
Guache? Sure. Fabulous? Absolutely. Not your typical nanny wardrobe by any stretch of the imagination, Fran, played by Fran Drescher, loved leopard, mini skirts, tights suits, and body con dresses, and seemed to change about ten times an episode. We only wish we had a wardrobe half as extensive (and sparkly).
16. Lucille Bluth, Arrested Developement
Everyone's favorite perpetually inebriated matriarch Lucille also had a penchant for fashion. No matter what hijinks were ensuing she always seemed to be wearing a Chanel-esque skirt suit paired with an oversized brooch, and we love her for it.
15. Angela Chase, My So Called Life
While Angela, played by Claire Danes, clearly didn't set out to be a fashion icon in plaid shirts, baby doll dresses, and ripped jeans, she became one anyway in the 1990s. Almost two-decades later we are still trying to mimic Angela's cool aesthetic, which might explain why what she wore on the cult show has had such an impact with everyone from designers like Marc Jacobs to street style stars.
14. Olivia Pope, Scandal
Take a moment to step outside of the bananas plot lines on "Scandal" and you are bound to ask yourself, "How the heck does Olivia Pope, always look so darn perfect." Of course, it helps that Kerry Washington, who plays her, is beyond gorgeous, but the clothes are also a huge part of it. Between the insanely gorgeous designer coats, to the Prada bags, to that memorable white fedora, Olivia can teach just about every woman out there a thing about how to dress for success.
13. Detective James Crocket, Miami Vice
Who new undercover police officers could be so trendy? You would be hard pressed to think of a show that has had as big of an impact on men's fashion as "Miami Vice." Crocket, played by Don Johnson popularized the t-shirt under the Armani-style jacket that quickly became the 1980s yuppie uniform for men. With designers such as Vittorio Ricci, Gianna Versace, and Hugo Boss consulting on the show, it's no wonder Crocket's style was so cutting edge.
12. Betty Draper, Mad Men
Betty Draper, played by January Jones, might seem like she was ripped out of The Feminine Mystique, but that doesn't take away from her flawless style. Between retro full-skirted ensembles, classic 1960s sheath dresses, and all of those perfect car coats, it's no wonder her style has had an impact on fashion trends as of late. With all of her faults, you have to give Betty credit at least for her impecable style.
11. Rhoda Morgenstern, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda
Rhoda may have finished its run in 1978, but her character's bohemian caftans, signature head scarves and layers of chunky costume jewels feel as "now" as can be. Seriously, looking for some bohemian style inspiration? Watch a few episodes of this iconic show.
10. Claire Underwood, House of Cards
Claire Underwood, played by the flawless Robin Wright, is a Washington, DC power wife with the wardrobe to match. She favors Zac Posen, Akris, and L'Wren Scott for day and Calvin Klein and Armani for evening—yeah, we wish we had that kind of a wardrobe too, and her sartorial choices are all about fit. And while it would be off to call anything she wears loud (she definitely favors neutral colors), it is hard to not notice her impeccable style during every moment she is on screen.
9. Allison Mackenzie, Peyton Place
Before cutting off all her hair and appearing in "Rosemary's Baby", before marrying Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow played Allison Mackenzie on the soap opera Peyton Place, setting in motion her path to 1960s style icon. Whether in mini skirts and oversized cardigans, skirt suits and white gloves, or a headband and a pastel sundress Allison's style was always spot on. Now if only we could time travel back into Allison's wardrobe.
8. Denise Huxtable, The Cosby Show
Few TV characters have been as fearless when it comes to fashion as "The Cosby Show's" Denise Huxtable, played by Lisa Bonet. Oversized smocks, harem pants, jumpsuits, oversized blazers, patterened head wraps—we'll forver be in awe of Denise's style.
7. Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey
Tune into "Downton Abbey" and you'll be immediately awestruck by Lady Mary's sartorial choices which consist of one pitch perfect embellished dress after the next (many worn with elbow-length gloves, naturally). A fashion moment that will be forever ingrained in our minds is her gorgeous wedding gown. Now that is fashionable TV at its best.
6. Blossom Russo, Blossom
Faux pas or fabulous? Regardless of your opinon on Blosson's style (a mix of patterns, textures, and layers), you have to admit it was a look. And those denim fisherman hats with giant plastic flowers attached? Yes, those are now an indelible part of fashion history. No wonder Blossom's fashion choices will forever remain some of those most talked about on TV.
5. Blair Waldorf, Gossip Girl
Sophisticated, ladylike, preppy, and elegant, Blair Waldorf's style is aspirational in every way. A mark of a TV style icon is one that sets fashion trends and Blair definitely did—prints, headbands, and tights all came into style because of Blair. Now if only we could have Blair's clothing budget, all would be right with the world.
4. Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, Boardwalk Empire
Nucky is one part gangster and one part corrupt Atlantic City politician, and his wardrobe matches his high-flying lifestyle—including cashmere pinstripe suits, bowler hats, and wingtip shoes. His clothing screams custom, and expensive, and is incredibly true to the period the show is set in (the 1920s). While so many TV shows focus the fashion attention on women, we love that what Nucky wears steals the show in such a big way.
3. Alexis Carrington Colby, Dynasty
The bigger the shoulder pads, the better. The bigger the hats, the better. And the bigger the diamonds and furs, well it goes without saying, the better. TV Guide named Alexis Carrington number seven on their list of The Nastiest Villains of All Time, but with a wardrobe like hers, we just say she's fabulous.
2. Lucy Ricardo, I Love Lucy
"I Love Lucy" is without a doubt one of the most popular television shows in history, so it is no surprise that Lucy Ricardo's style has endured the test of time. Slenderizing 1950s dresses, three-inch heels, flared bias cut skirts, the famous checked pencil-skirt dress, Lucy was quite the trendsetter in the '50s, and she remains one of the most influential fashion icons still today.
1. Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
Few shows can count fashion as a bona fide character, the exception being "Sex and the City." During the run of the show Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, turned Manolo Blahnik into a household name, created more than few fashion trends (nameplate necklaces and oversized flower pins among them), and had women around the world pining to simply be half as chic (all while clamoring to move to New York City to emulate her stylish life). It's likely not a surprise that Carrie came in number one on our list, but really, you have to admit, it is deserved.