An Homage to the Style Influence of Black TV and Movie Icons

black film fashion icons, a collage of black stars on screen


Everett Collection

For years, costume choices have impacted how characters' legacies are carried on to the future. Trends have been born and shared through the characters we've seen on-screen, and while many fashion folk will refer to Rachel Green or Carrie Bradshaw as TV's best dressed, they end up erasing Black creatives who have been the trendsetters of every generation. Spanning decades of entertainment, Black characters have given us the best of fashion, from classic sitcoms to heavy-hitting dramas. Actresses such as Issa Rae, Karyn Parsons, and Tracee Ellis Ross have not only entertained their audiences in their roles, but they've also inspired many with their characters' striking ensembles. 

Below, look at eight iconic style moments from Black characters in TV and Movies.

Hilary Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

black film fashion icons, a photo of Hilary Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air


Everett Collection

The entirety of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air consisted of striking fashion moments, but Hilary Banks's looks stand out the most. Every outfit relayed confidence with her streamlined and color-coordinated aesthetic. All the elements of Hilary's style remain on the trending list today, from strong and tailored suiting to dramatic color pairings. 

Shop pieces inspired by Hilary Banks's style:

A dress as classy as Hilary herself. 

Eighties-inspired earrings are a must for re-creating Hilary's signature style. 

Raven Baxter, That's So Raven

black film fashion icons, a photo of Raven Baxter from That's So Raven



Yes, Raven Baxter could see in the future, but we think her best skill was her fashion sense. Considering that she made most of her clothing, we're deeply impressed. Her fur collars, printed jackets, and bedazzled jeans have taken up permanent space in our brains, and with the Y2K renaissance still running among Gen Z, elements of Raven's style still serve as inspiration.

Shop pieces inspired by Raven Baxter's style:

Raven always had quirky accessories, so this bag is right up her alley. 

Prints were very much a part of Raven's signature look. 

The wash of these jeans feels very reminiscent of the aughts. 

Dionne Davenport, Clueless

black film fashion icons, a photo of Dionne Davenport from Clueless


Everett Collection

While Cher Horowitz does indeed have a fabulous wardrobe, we think Dionne Davenport's looks are worthy of just as much attention, if not more. After all, just take a look at that hat. If the movie didn't provide enough looks for you to peruse, the spin-off TV show is filled with even more '90s goodness. 

Shop pieces inspired by Dionne Davenport's style:

The key to attaining Dionne's bougie energy lies in having preppy staples on hand. 

Pleated miniskirts are an essential part of the aesthetic. 

Opting for a '90s-inspired bag shape is a must. 

Zoey Johnson, Grown-ish

black film fashion icons, a photo of Zoey Johnson from Grown-ish



Yara Shahidi has major fashion strengths both off-screen and on-screen. Her Grown-ish character is almost always making a statement in bold prints, saturated shades, and layers galore. Despite the questionable decisions her character might make, she'll always make the right choices in the style department. She continuously proves that she's willing to experiment with her look and aesthetic.

Shop pieces inspired by Zoey Johnson's style:

Main-character energy, attained. 

We can picture Zoey loving this swimsuit. 

Another great piece from a Black-owned brand! 

Issa Dee, Insecure

black film fashion icons, a photo of Issa Dee from Inseucre


HBO/Warner Media

When Insecure first was released in 2016, it quickly became a fan favorite for its authentic storytelling. Stylist and costume designer Shiona Turini brought each character to life, including Issa Dee, with realistic takes on a modern-day Los Angeles wardrobe. Throughout the seasons, Issa's fashion sense sees incredible shifts as her character evolves. While her character prefers comfort, she moves into more put-together looks with her personality shining through each.

Shop pieces inspired by Issa Dee's style:

Now, here's a blazer that embodies Issa stepping into her "grown" era. 

Staples are a must-have on and off the screen. 

Casual jeans are an essential part of Issa's style throughout the series. 

Moesha Mitchell, Moesha

black film fashion icons, a photo of Moesha Mitchell from Moesha show


Everett Collection

Moesha showed effortless '90s style, which is more on-trend than ever, and continuously celebrated Black designers. Brandy's character Moesha had multiple looks to love that featured micro bags, monochromatic color schemes, and next-level layering.

Shop pieces inspired by Moesha Mitchell's style:

Moesha was never one to shy away from hair accessories. 

Olivia Pope, Scandal

black film fashion icons, a photo of Olivia Pope from Scandal



Olivia Pope is strong-hearted, bold, and determined to get what she wants. If anything, her clothing exudes the same energy. Olivia's style is powerful, from sleek trench coats to full Prada suits.

Shop pieces inspired by Olivia Pope's style:

The white coat is an essential part of Olivia's wardrobe. 

Toni Childs, Girlfriends

black film fashion icons, a photo of Toni Childs from Girlfriends tv show


Everett Collection

When we asked others who was the best dressed character on Girlfriends, the majority said Toni Childs. We get it. How can one not be considered the best when their top looks include vintage Jean Paul Gaultier? 

Shop pieces inspired by Toni Childs's style:

We already know that Toni would have lost her cool over the new Ferragamo collections. 

Fun fact: Hermès was one of the first luxury fashion houses to regularly loan bags to the Girlfriends costume department. 

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.