We Need to Talk About Ashley Banks' Socks From 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'

The character had the cutest — and most underrated! — '90s style.

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Ashley Banks Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Outfits
Photo: Joseph Del Valle/NBCU Photo Bank

There are plenty of reasons to binge-watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air right now — a young Will Smith, some light comedic relief, the whole nostalgia factor — but for fashion-lovers, Ashley Banks' wardrobe should be on that list as well. Yes, Hilary had the more elaborate outfits on the show (those matching hats alone!), but Ashley's clothes got better and better as the seasons went on. In fact, there's one outfit from season five in particular that continues to say on our mind, mostly because it's still extremely cute, 26 years later.

Technically, Ashley (Tatyana Ali) wasn't even the focus of the "Reality Bites" episode. It focused on her brother, Nicky (Ross Bagley), and his love of a Barney-like children's show character. However, the teen's sweet combination of a black dress and a red off-the-shoulder top was too good to simply skim over, and we couldn't help but marvel at how her over-the-knee socks made the look 10 times better.

Ashley Banks Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Outfits

While the classic choice would have been to go with something neutral, Ashley's thigh-highs were red and featured a plaid print. It was a small but statement-making detail that ended up becoming the focus of her outfit, and considering how often we think about them, those socks deserve more recognition. Even today, they would stand out in a sea of average jeans and tees, yet at the same time, are an easy to trick to copy (this $10 tartan pair from the Etsy shop SoxTrotSocks would help you nail the look). It's also worth mentioning that in 2020, long socks are having a moment, and are the perfect pants alternative for not-too-hot, not-too-cold days.

Ashley Banks Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Outfits

Aside from inspiring us with her bold accessory choice, Ashley also made us want to steal her LBD, which is technically a pinafore skirt (Shop similar: $25; boohoo.com). This '90s staple is still one that would come in handy year-round: in the summer, you could throw it on with a basic tank or T-shirt, and during the fall and winter, add a sweater and tights.

Ashley Banks Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Outfits

This is just one of many enviable Ashley outfits from the series, and it's also worth noting thigh-highs are one of her staples. In fact, Ashely wears a sleek black pair of socks — with another black dress and red top — in season four's episode, "For Sale by Owner," which randomly revolves around Donald Trump trying to buy the family's house (but that's a story for a different day).

Updated by
Samantha Sutton
Samantha is InStyle's senior fashion editor. She joined the brand in 2019 and oversees the site's fashion coverage, including trend reporting, fashion exclusives, celebrity style interviews, and Fashion Week coverage.
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