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Not Just a T-Shirt Kind of Crowd

October 06, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN

The Series: "Friends" (NBC, Thursdays, 8:30 p.m.).

The Setup: Six buddies, all in their 20s, discuss life or whatever else comes up, mostly in Monica's (Courtney Cox, pictured) New York apartment.

The Costume Designer: A former New York-based fashion, hat and jewelry designer, Debra McGuire has also outfitted the series "Family Album," several movies of the week and the upcoming feature "S.F.W."

The Look: There's an agreeable, comfortable hipness about this bunch who blessedly own more than jeans and T-shirts, the mainstay of most television boomer and slacker wardrobes. Obvious effort has been made to give each character a well-developed fashion ego in a struggling, Lower East Side, New York vein. The result is that you can admire them and their eccentricities, but none is so picture-perfect that you want to set a torch to your own closet.

Hit and Miss: Most wonderful are the coltish Monica (of the shiny, black, long-layered hair--just crying out for a shampoo sponsor) and everyday-guy Chandler (Matthew Perry). They both know all about putting together vintage flea market finds with new store-bought treasures that suit their shapes and personalities. Monica favors full-cut trousers and loose, ankle-length dresses that skim her reedy body. Chandler opts for old, quirky, patterned shirts, vests and ties. But already tiresome is Joey (Matt LeBlanc) in his James Dean-Marlon Brando rebel get-ups--black leather jackets, black T-shirts and all-important greasy hair.

Body Watch: More and more, women's arms have become to the '90s what their legs were to the '60s. It's striking that while Monica favors skirts that virtually graze the sidewalk, and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) alternate between short and long hemlines, all three women noticeably expose the entirety of their perfectly toned little arms. Sleeveless vests, sleeveless dresses and shirts with cut-off sleeves are the trick.

Quoted: "For any actor or actress, the hardest thing is to dress outside of who you are," McGuire says. "I went through it with the boys, but more with the girls. At first they wanted to look the way they always look and wear jeans and T-shirts. They'd say, 'Oh I can't wear that.' 'I never wear that color.' But now there's a lot of trust. I've convinced them I have no ego involved. I have no other agenda beyond how they look. That's my only focus."

Sources: Women's clothes are from Agnes B., American Rag, Fred Segal, Ron Herman and Barneys New York, and vintage clothes are mostly from Repeat Performance and studio wardrobe department stock. Chandler's vintage items are from Repeat Performance.

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