Big Sister’s Clothes

Sartorial inspiration from some of our favorite sitcom siblings from the ’90s.

This month I’m turning my focus to the small screen to celebrate the stylish sisters of some of my favorite ’90s sitcoms. Warning: There is PLENTY of inspiration here, so I hope your closets are ready! It’s no wonder their little brothers and sisters looked at them with sartorial awe and envy.


It’s safe to say that the Huxtables, the family at the center of The Cosby Show (1984–1992, NBC), were one of television’s most stylish families of all time. There are countless blogs and articles dedicated to Cliff Huxtable’s sweaters, the Gordon Gartrell shirts that Theo coveted, and of course, perhaps best of all, Denise’s cool outfits. Denise, the middle Huxtable sister, pretty much invented a style genre I’ll call “avant-casual”—her printed button-downs, attention-grabbing headgear, intense sweatshirt layering, and ever-changing carousel of hairstyles are just a few of the reasons she will forever be a style icon. Get her look by mixing some fun prints of your own and pile on the accessories like your life depends on it.


Clockwise from top left: Shirt, $26, Romwe; beaded necklace, $2, GirlPROPS; checked pants, $40, Romwe; circle scarf, $25, Modcloth; black-and-tan oxfords, $48, LuLu’s.


Kelly Bundy from Married…With Children (1987–1997, Fox) was the quintessential cool older sister who was always going on dates with bad-boy hotties. Her clothing, however, was even BADDER in the best way. Even though the show aired during the ’80s and ’90s, her outfits would still look great today. Cases in point above: Crop tops, bodycon dresses, shoulder-baring leather, big hoop earrings, and silver cross necklaces?! Someone give me a credit card ASAP, ’cause I’d totally I’d buy all of that, THANK YOU. Work some Kelly vibes into your own wardrobe with a velvet dress, black boots, and the biggest hoops your lobes can handle.


Clockwise from far left: Velvet bodycon dress, $68, Nasty Gal; cross necklace, $5, GirlPROPS; hoop earrings, $5, GirlPROPS; knee-high boots, $29, Go Jane; double-layer studded belt, $25, Nasty Gal.

karen2 Collage

On The Wonder Years (1988–1993, ABC), Olivia d’Abo played Karen Arnold, the free-spirited big sister whose hippie mindset often caused friction between her and her conservative military father. With her psychedelic blouses and boho-style headbands, Karen was the ultimate flower child. You can pay homage to this ’70s babe by pairing up some bell-bottoms and a fringed cardigan, and accessorizing with peace-sign jewelry and beads.


Clockwise from far left: Fringed cardigan, $75, Modcloth; peace-sign necklace, $5, GirlPROPS; feather necklace, $16, Modcloth; wide-leg rainbow jeans, $60, Modcloth; fringed booties, $42, Go Jane.


Roseanne (1988–1997, ABC) focused on a tough and saucy matriarch and her close-knit family, whose favorite pastime seemed to be bouncing sarcastic jokes off one another. The middle child, Darlene Conner, inherited the lion’s share of her mom’s acerbic wit. Over the decade the show was on the air, we watched Darlene transform from a prepubescent tomboy into the Teen Queen of Angst. It’s this late period that gave us her best outfits. To conjure up some of Darlene’s style in your own life, stock up on flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and vests (to wear over T-shirts), and don’t forget the wisecracks.


Clockwise from top left: Flannel shirt, $23, Target; yin-and-yang necklace, $10, Etsy; ripped, floral-hemmed jeans, $25, Romwe; rubber bracelets and rings, $3 for the bunch, GirlPROPS; boots, $120, Dr. Martens.


  • Tyknos93 November 26th, 2013 12:12 AM

    This post is giving me life!

  • ampm November 26th, 2013 1:08 AM

    The Cosby Show was on NBC. Fox didn’t exist yet; we hardly had any channels to watch back then! I’ve been reading this blog lately about the Cosbys’ clothes:

    • Anaheed November 26th, 2013 1:32 AM

      Thanks for the catch — totally a botched copy & paste on my part.

  • julalondon November 26th, 2013 1:45 AM

    LOVE this! Like you, i would buy IT ALL!!!!!!! I am especially in LOVE with Kelly Bundy’s style!!!=)

  • Raissomat November 26th, 2013 2:32 AM

    Just wanted to say, Rookie is getting even better. I did’nt believe that was possible. THANK you everyone.

  • AnaRuiz November 26th, 2013 5:00 AM

    We’re all 90′s-worshippers here at Rookie!! It’s our own kind of family.

  • spudzine November 26th, 2013 11:02 AM

    Big sisters in 90′s television shows are the BEST big sisters. They’re the ones we looked up to when we were kids(or, as really, really little kids), and for so many reasons. Like their cool attitudes, or more importantly, THEIR WARDROBE. Rookie should totally keep making posts about 90′s older sisters, because they are such great gems!

  • elliecp November 26th, 2013 11:39 AM

    these are so fab! gotta love some 90s wear

  • daniellelucy November 26th, 2013 12:31 PM

    this is such a cool post, i love all of these styles :-)


  • honorarygilmoregal November 26th, 2013 2:23 PM

    Denise had the funkiest wardrobe and I loved it.

  • lubs November 26th, 2013 5:19 PM

    I want my wedding to be exactly like Karen’s

    • Badlands November 26th, 2013 10:11 PM

      OMG remember when Karen tries on her wedding dress in front of David Schwimmer, and her mom is like “That’s bad luck!” and Karen says “What he’s already seen me naked.” KAREN IS SO COOL!

  • SkillzBeat November 27th, 2013 12:10 AM

    Ahh, all my favourite characters from these respective shows. Darlene especially I’ve loved for a long time; her attitude and style is what I wanted to imitate for quite sometime.

  • zombiesockmonkey November 27th, 2013 1:29 PM

    I love this, but I feel like it’s missing some D.J. Tanner…

  • Chi Chi November 30th, 2013 3:21 AM

    I love all of these! Especially a sucker for Denise Huxtable’s style