It’s insane to think that there are people operating motor vehicles who weren’t even alive when new episodes of Seinfeld were coming out, but yes, the show really ended sixteen years ago today. We’ll never forget the time Elaine sent out her Christmas cards without realizing you could see one of her nipples in the photo, or the time she got wasted and showed off her unconventional dance moves, or the time she rationed her birth control sponges, or the times when the men… did… things. Whatever. We all know Elaine was the whole point of the show.
To celebrate one of our favorite female characters of all time, we’re going to take a stroll down memory e-lane (I’m so sorry) and give a little round of applause to some of the ugliest, frumpiest, still-somehow-sexy outfits that Julia Louis-Dreyfus made famous. Without further ado, here are ten of Elaine Benes’ most memorable style moments!
1. Absolutely nobody could work white bobby socks as well as Elaine. You know your footwear is making a bold statement when it can distract people from the fact that you’re wearing an ankle-length dress that looks like wallpaper.
2. Bow down, bitches, because you’re in the presence of the reigning queen of shoulder pads. When Elaine rocked a blazer, she didn’t worry about looking feminine. She liked her shoulders puffy and she liked them tall.
3. Not only did she own a men’s wool coat that looked like she stole it from the set of Fargo, but she knew exactly where it belonged: layered over a denim jacket.
4. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to show off my love of foreign currency than to own this silk shirt. She was definitely the coolest chick at the stamp collectors’ meeting.
5. I’ve always wondered why more people don’t bring flannel shirts to the gym. Tie one around your waist to add a certain visual interest to your Spandex wrestling singlet.
6. I’m so grateful to ’90s fashion for letting us women know that, in order to compete in the workplace, we needed to drown our figures in shapeless skirts. Especially ones covered with tropical fish.
7. Leather, suede, fringe, shag. These are all good things. These are all sexy things.
8. Elaine totally predicted the future of fashion, and she basically invented cutouts. You’ll never be able to work them this hard, Lily Collins. The key is to show off just enough of your white bra to make it seem unintentional.
9. Nothing says “flattering” quite like obscuring your legs with black tights and chunky platforms until you look like an oddly proportioned Troll doll.
10. I’ve always believed that the proper attire for a girls’ night out involves oversized blouses buttoned all the way to the top, weird vests, and looking like a preteen boy at his bar mitzvah. Work it, girl.
It’s sad that we’ve yet to replace Elaine when it comes to hot women dressing like alcoholic librarians on primetime TV, but the harsh reality is that no one’s ever going to be able to compete with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She mastered the art of pairing huge hair with huge skirts, and we’ll never stop loving the hell out of her wardrobe.
Photos: NBC’s Seinfeld (1989-1998)