The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of the greatest television shows of allll time. This isn't even a hot-take — it's more of a factual statement. Running from 1990 - 1996 and introducing us to the charismatic Will Smith, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air blessed us with laugh-out-loud moments, potent social commentary, some of our favorite celebrity cameos, and a theme song that most of us can recite better than most modern pop songs.
However, being that I was obsessed with clothes from a young age, one of the most endearing memories from the 90s classic was Will Smith's vibrant and eclectic fashion picks. Now, don't get me wrong.
Hilary, Ashley, and even Carlton Banks had some impressive fashion moments. But Will's style transcended the show, making its way into my family circles, the classrooms, the basketball court, my closet, and beyond. Hell, I spent a good chunk of my childhood trying to emulate Will's rotation.
Nearly 30 years later, there is still a lot we can learn from the Fresh Prince's style choices. And in an era where the latest trend is "no trend," pulling from Bel-Air royalty could be a great way to refresh your wardrobe. As you can probably guess, we are going to take a look at some of Will's most iconic looks and help you recreate them using some of your favorite brands.
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Don't be afraid of clashing patterns
Will was a master of clashing patterns. It was a skill that almost bordered on wizardry. On paper, some of Will's fashion choices do not make any sense, but in the real world, they look fantastic, perfectly blending various street style trends with his signature, i.e., blue and yellow cap. From Dries Van Noten to Coogi, there are a lot of brands out there that do clashing patterns well — in a way that feels fresh and even refined. The point being; do not be afraid to try new bold, and eclectic patterns, even if they don't make sense.
Neon colors? No problem.
Will's colorful picks perfectly juxtaposed with the uppity Bel-air community — a very intentional choice by the show's costume designer and stylist. Another iconic look, neon, was a staple of the Fresh Prince's style in the earlier seasons and was often used to break up more neutral colors or simply to better frame Will's bright and silly personality. Would I recommend throwing on a full neon fit like it's 2018? No, not necessarily. But a little neon through graphic tees, accessories, or footwear can go a long way.
Checkered shirts can be used to break up the monotony
Checkered shirts almost became a staple of the show, constantly appearing season after season on various characters. Sure, you can throw one on your back and use it as a statement piece throughout the season. But, Will would often use it to break up matchy outfits, using the checkered shirt almost like an accessory. It's giving me Riccardo Tisci Givenchy vibes, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Baggy jeans and jordans go together like peanut butter and jelly
A common question I get is how to style Jordans. The preferred sneaker of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, you can easily thumb through Will's fits and find a range of ideas for your fashion mood board. In short, one of the best ways your can wear your favorite Jordans is with a pair of baggy jeans. They especially go well with Jordan 1s, 11s, and 12s. It's a trend that has constantly appeared and reappeared in streetwear that still has some weight today.
You can wear vests all year long
Vests were everywhere in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. They are a fantastic tool for layering clothing, adding textures, and color blocking. Use sparingly and with the right supporting cast — I am thinking t-shirt and jeans.
Color blocking can be a stylish superpower
As hinted before, you cannot talk about Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 90s fashion without mentioning color blocking. Will taught me about color blocking before I even heard of the term in Vogue years later. Color blocking is an excellent way to stand out — a lifelong style skill that can take even the most minimalistic dressers to unprecedented heights. The key here is to simply apply a little color theory and mix and match colors that you feel confident in. You will be surprised at how this little trick can drastically improve your style year-round.
Next up, here is everything you need to know about 90s fashion.