Are you even a real 90’s kid if you don’t know every word to the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song? The show is a relic of the decade. With star-studded cameos (hey, Tyra Banks) and sitcom shenanigans galore, the show is filled with memorable moments. It’s clear that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had a lasting effect on the cultural zeitgeist of the 90’s. And over 30 years later, we’re still talking about it and looking to the show as a beacon of 90’s fashion inspiration.
If you’re looking to embrace the resurgence of 90’s style trends, try finding an old issue of Tiger Beat to flip through...or just turn on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. We’re talking neons, acid wash, scrunchies, animal prints, overalls, and funky hats everywhere. One of the best parts is every character takes the trends of the time and really makes them their own. If you’re looking to do the same, keep reading for our fresh takes on Fresh Prince fashion.
Carlton Banks: Country Club Classic
Ah, Carlton. The only thing as iconic as his sweater vests is his namesake dance. From his polo shirts to his Ivy League dreams, he embodies all things preppy. Some may argue that Carlton plays it safe with his polos and khakis, but I love the way he leans into the preppy look. It’s almost too preppy, but that’s what makes it great.
I think 2021 Carlton would be a fan of Rowing Blazers, a brand that brings an air of light-heartedness and fun to the oft-seen as rigid, plain jane world of prep. The Cotton Cricket Sweater just screams Carlton Banks. The cable knit is classic, but the colorful accents bring a modern feel. Put a nice oxford shirt underneath (I think Carlton would be a fan of Bonobos’ plethora of patterned options) this cozy v-neck and you’re ready for a 9-hole round at the country club.
Hilary Banks: City Chic
From the show’s first episode, we learn the eldest Banks sibling has a thing for hats. While donning a pretty nice cap already, she tells her dad she needs $300 to get a new one to wear to a charity event. Her penchant for toppers is one of the most memorable parts of her style. I’d like to think today, Hilary Banks would be a big spender at Teressa Foglia. The brand’s handmade hats are one-of-a-kind and there’s a style to go with every outfit.
But, it’s not just hats that Hilary does well. Every outfit she puts together oozes a sophisticated sense of confidence. You can typically catch Hilary in structured silhouettes (think sharp-shouldered jackets), bold colors, and lots (and lots and lots) of accessories. A power dresser through and through, she rocks everything she puts on. This Sandro tailored jacket, with its sleek piping and button accents, paired with this amazingly chic Dodici Hat, from Teressa Foglia of course, and a pile of pearls would be the perfect ensemble to wear while fundraising for the local animal shelter’s underwater basket weaving program.
Ashley Banks: Teenage Trendsetter
The original baby of the Banks family, Ashley is a rebel in her own right. Even her fashion sense says so. Breaking away from the Bel-Air status quo, Ashley is always rocking the casual, yet still cool, teen trends. She has the kind of style I would not be surprised to find on TikTok or Pinterest right this minute.
Ashley was a style icon to 90’s teens everywhere. She has infinite great looks to recreate, but a personal favorite is the purple set she wears to her very first house party. The simple mini skirt and crop top look even more lovely in a lavender palette (that monochrome moment is totally on trend right now). Finding exact dupes for this skirt was a bit of a struggle, so if you see one let us know. This Asos split skirt is a close match and I love this bright Revolve wrap skirt as an alternative too. On top, this short-sleeve wrap sweater from Aritzia is perfect. While Ashley kept it simple with accessories, we’d throw on some chunky jewelry for a 2021 touch.
Will Smith: Fresh and Funky
The fun-loving, laidback, smooth-talking main character we all know and love has the style to match. His personality and language may not fit in well to uppity Bel-Air, but that’s not all. Will’s sense of style surely stands out too. Casual, but always cool, Will is never one to shy away from a bold print or unique accessory. And, we’re here for it.
The Fresh Prince himself has too many great outfits to count, but we'd be remiss not to give a standing ovation to his opening credit fit. Not only is this totally 90’s neon ensemble what we see when all meet Will for the first time, but it’s the outfit we see at the start of every episode. For that, it’s memorable. To recreate it for yourself, we recommend a pair of Patagonia Baggies and a fun, colorful striped tee. While we couldn’t find an exact dupe, the Puma Downtown Stripe T-Shirt fits the bill pretty well. Throw a Rowing Blazers 90’s Nylon Hat on top and you’re opening credits ready.
If you didn’t find something you love in this piece, no fear. There are six seasons filled with more than enough outfits to fuel your 90’s style dreams. For fashion inspo and lots of laughing out loud, I highly recommend a re-watch.