There's a Sneaky Way to Shop the Exact Outfits From Shows Like 'The Nanny' and 'Friends'

You'll want to remember this brilliant vintage shopping trick.

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The Nanny
Photo: CBS/Getty Images

One of the reasons I love fashion is because clothes have a funny way of holding memories. A certain striped sweater will forever be my 'InStyle interview outfit,' and although I'm re-embracing trends such as baguette bags and tube tops, part of me flashes back to my tween years each time I spot them in the wild.

There are also designs that remind me of iconic characters, like how a tulle skirt might give off Carrie Bradshaw vibes, or an elaborate headband equals Blair Waldorf. Recreating outfits from my favorite shows admittedly makes me feel happy and nostalgic, and while celebrities have no problem pulling out pieces from the '90s or '00s to wear today, there's also a sneaky way for us normals to get in on the fun, too — meaning that if you've ever dreamed of dressing like The Nanny's Fran Fine, you can definitely make that a reality.

I discovered this fashion secret completely by accident, planning out my Halloween costume while browsing Etsy. I actually was hoping to dress like Fran Fine, and when I typed her name into my search bar, vintage designs that once appeared on the show popped up. Sure, they weren't the exact pieces from set, but someone else had owned that very same outfit — such as a leopard Moschino suit — and now, years later, it was for sale again.

the nanny fran fine suit
A Moschino suit worn on The Nanny. Courtesy

I ultimately ended up going a different route for my costume, but once this discovery was made, there was nothing stopping me from searching for outfits from other TV shows or movies from the past. On a variety of different resale sites — Etsy, Depop, Poshmark, eBay, etc. — all you need to do is type in the name of a character or a show, then set your filters to clothing and vintage to find these hidden gems. Sometimes, the seller will even include a photo of the piece being sold next to one of the character wearing it. I've come across a ton of crazy-cool pieces this way, whether it's a satin embroidered dress from Friends or a maroon leather jacket from Gilmore Girls.

There are even people out there who make it their mission to collect and sell this specific type of vintage. I recently discovered the account @cinemaspells, which posts pieces seen on shows like That's So Raven, The OC, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and a bunch more of my childhood favorites. Depending on popularity and the type of item, prices are as low at $25 — which is weirdly affordable, and especially exciting if dressing like Marissa Cooper is your thing.

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green on "Friends."
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green on "Friends.". NBC/Newsmakers

To me, shopping these TV and movie looks feels similar buying Jennifer Lopez's favorite bikini or investing in heels Rihanna wore; it's a less-obvious way pay tribute to your favorite stars, films, or series. Plus if your purchase is a true throwback, it might even bring back memories of a carefree time in your life, like when you needed to be home at 8 pm on a Wednesday, because it was pre-streaming and if you missed that episode, you'd have nothing to talk about at school the next day. Ahh, simpler times!

It also isn't lost on me that so many trends from the '90s and '00s are suddenly resurfacing. You were going to hop on the vest trend anyway, so you might as well do it while dressing just like Jennifer Aniston's Rachel Green.

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