Photo: Chris Cuffaio/NBCU Photo Bank (Getty)
On September 10, 1990, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired its first episode on NBC and we quickly collided with a rich, uptight family whose life is shaken up when a family member, Will Smith, arrives in the household. And with that the family is never the same again. But neither was style either. And the reason we say that is with Smith’s arrival came a boatload of new outfits and fashion trends that television hadn’t seen before, all thanks to Smith’s character. So in this look back, we’re going to focus on the style that Smith brought to the show, and remind you that we’ve come a long way. But if you only learn one thing from this article let it be this: don’t be afraid to try new things.
The Inside-Out Jacket (Season 1 – Episode 14)
In this episode, Will’s character attends Bel-Air Academy, only to be hit with culture shock as the school is extremely different from his school back in Philly. So what does he do to change things up? He simply puts his school uniform jacket inside out, thus creating a bold, bright look. Anyone can try this today to standout. And you will stand out.
The “Philly Tux'” (Season One — Pilot)
Will Smith arrives at the Banks’ house and immediately causes chaos. But all that is put aside as our attention is reeled in by Smith’s “tuxedo,” with a bright green, pushed-up baseball hat included, as well as some fly Air Jordans.
The “Philly Casual Look” (Season One – Episode One and 24)
This look is similar to the “Philly Tux” from the pilot, but it makes another appearance in episode 24 when Will looks back at the time he showed Ashley how to rap. And if you’re going to rap, you need to let loose and keep it cool. So Smith dons his classic bright green hat, a bright yellow and green-striped shirt and some bright blue short, shorts. Incredible.
The “Vogue” (Season One – Episode Seven)
Before joining an after school poetry club, this episode opens with Will wearing what we’re calling “The Vogue.” An incredible top that looks like Smith is rocking four layers, each one with its own unique design. And of course, Smith accompanies that shirt with some jean shorts.
The “I Came To Sort Of Fight” Look (Season 3 – Episode 21)
While on the lookout for possible colleges for Will, he and Carlton run into boxing champ Riddick Bowe in a casino. And let’s just say that Will takes quite the punch. But let’s not forget that Will is wearing red baggy pants, with another multi-layered top, this time it’s a sweater filled with purple, yellow, red, green and even some black thrown in there. Hey, if you’re going to get knocked out you might as well look good.
All About The Zubaz Pants (Season One – Episode Two)
Everyone was wearing some zebra Zubaz pants back in the early ’90s, and Will had no problem pairing it with his iconic brightly colored baseball caps. And he made sure to add some Air Jordans along with this outfit, too. And if you’re going to wear this type of outfit you should go nuts and dance.
The Trumpster (Season Four – Episode 25)
Before he became president and lost his marbles, Donald Trump made an appearance as himself on Fresh Prince, as a potential buyer for the Banks’ house. Will keeps it casual with some light-colored baggy jeans and a purple, half-zipped sweater. But since he’s next to Trump we’re going to go ahead and say that this outfit and episode was “The best of the best. Everyone says so. The best people say it.”
Those Hamburger PJs (Season One – Episode 13)
Blackmailing Hilary after he learns she dropped out of college three months ago, Will makes Hilary his personal servant. And with that we get to see Will’s hamburger pajamas. And only the Prince would sleep in a matching cap. Because style should always be brought into the bedroom when you’re about to kickback and sleep.
The Fabulous Jail Look (Season One – Episode Six)
While Will and Carlton were the victims of mistaken identity and end up behind bars, that doesn’t stop Will from facing the music in another pair of Zubaz pants (this time with red zig-zag lines), to go along with a pink, black and greenish-yellow windbreaker. Not exactly going to blend in with that one.
The 76ers Crop-Top (Season One – Episode 5)
How can you forget this outfit? Will rocked a Philadelphia 76ers’ crop-top, some green sweatpants and yet another baseball cap. Hell, this outfit is so memorable Will’s own real-life kids roasted him. But hey, it’s what a lot of guys were wearing at your local basketball court.
The Tux Upgrade (Season Four – Episode 20)
Will’s best friend Jazz is getting married, so Jazz has decided that his groomsmen wear yellow tuxes, and that’s exactly what Will wears. Oh, but he adds a pair of Jordan IXs (not seen in the photo, but hey, you know he had those babies on.)
The Collage (Season One – Episode 16)
Only Will can throw on a pair of pants that have every color known to man on it, throw a shirt that looks like it was made by a toddler in art class, and dance all while studying. Yep, only Will Smith can.
If you grew up during this time chances are you had one of these hairstyles: Infamous Old Hairstyles We Could Have Done Without in Our Already Difficult Lives
The 7 Clips Club (Season Three – Episode Six)
This episode is all about a nerdy girl showering Will with gifts, but I have to make it about this outfit that he’s wearing. Baggy jeans, a bright yellow shirt and 7 glorious clips to keep his vest together because without them his vest would fall off his body apparently.
Modern Art Shirt (Season One – Episode 18)
Uncle Phil’s mom visits The Banks,’ and Will finds himself sneaking out to a concert with her. But the only thing I want to talk about is this glorious shirt that you may or may not have seen on your last trip to your local art museum. Just look at his face — even Will is confused by his outfit choices.
‘I Mean Business’ (Season One – Episode 16)
Just another doozy from season one, episode 16, and this time we have to focus on the outfit that Will wears when one of Phil’s clients, Jamison, begins to view him as a good luck charm. Now I don’t know if the outfit above is lucky — all I know is that the black and white squares look like a bathroom floor from the ’80s. But at least he rounds off his shirt with a matching cap.
The Spring-Time Look (Season Three – Episode 24)
Will is forced to sing with 12-year-olds in order to graduate, so of course he just makes the best of it. Because every sunflower needs sun, so of course you need some shades, too.