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10 Most Stylish Female Characters in TV History

by Maggie Furlong, posted Mar 31st 2011 9:00AM
Mary Tyler MoorePeople watch TV for entertainment, escapism and stories that can keep them tuning in season after season.

But let's face it: for a lot of people, it's also about the sexy celebs in fabulous clothes. When it comes to women on TV, wardrobe may not make the character, but it does make her more interesting. It doesn't matter if the lady never wears the same thing twice or never changes clothes -- we've got both represented here -- it's the style that adds substance.

From hip-hugging chic to hippie chic, eclectic couture and housewives demure, we came up with a definitive list of some of our favorite fashionable ladies in TV history.

Did yours make the cut, or was she out-dressed? Sound off in the comments.

Christina Hendricks, 'Mad Men'
Joan Holloway, 'Mad Men'
(Christina Hendricks)

Period shows are tough to nail -- the level of detail and meticulous research that goes into each episode of 'Mad Men' is astonishing, and that includes the costuming department.

Sure Betty Draper knows how to keep up with the latest '60s styles, but it's Joan Holloway and those dangerous curves that make workwear look wow.

Add her updo, pen on a chain around her neck and that wiggle in her hips and it's clear there's no competition here.

Sarah Jessica Parker, 'Sex and the City'
Carrie Bradshaw, 'Sex and the City'
(Sarah Jessica Parker)

In a show known for its fabulous fashion, Carrie was the style ringleader.

Often over-the-top and always unexpected, Carrie's looks launched worldwide trends (nameplate necklaces and giant flower pins, anyone?) and put designer names on the map (proof: who doesn't recognize the red sole of a Louboutin now?).

Carrie once revealed how much money she'd spent on fabulous footwear, and women everywhere were instantly jealous.

Mary Tyler Moore, 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'
Mary Richards, 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'
(Mary Tyler Moore)

The show spawned multiple spinoffs, but Mary's classic, sexy and still work-appropriate ensembles inspired a fashion revolution.

A modern working girl making her way in the world, Mary had accessorizing down to a science. Case in point: her much-spoofed hat-throwing moment in the opening credits is a timeless symbol of stylish independence.

- Watch full episodes of 'Mary Tyler Moore' here

Lisa Bonet, 'The Cosby Show'
Denise Huxtable, 'The Cosby Show'
(Lisa Bonet)

Denise Huxtable has the unfortunate honor of being a teenager on TV in the '80s. The reason she makes this list: She survived, unscathed, with a signature style that's still copied today.

Oversized button-downs and sweaters, men's hats and pants that defied all logic -- Denise was a trend trailblazer.

Just don't make the same mistake as brother Theo and ask her to sew you a shirt.

Lucille Ball, 'I Love Lucy'
Lucy Ricardo, 'I Love Lucy'
(Lucille Ball)

I've never met anyone who doesn't love Lucy, much like I've never met a woman who doesn't love her style.

Lucy made being a '50 housewife chic, whether she was wearing an apron, clad in costume for one of her hijinks or dressed up for a night with Desi at Club Babalu.

Blake Lively, 'Gossip Girl'
Serena van der Woodsen, 'Gossip Girl'
(Blake Lively)

Upper East Siders for a new generation, the girls of 'Gossip' always push the fashion envelope ... and yes, it's sometimes a little too far.

While some fans will fight that Blair Waldorf's tights, flats and headbands are instant classics, we're crowning Serena the queen of unique 'GG' style.

Whether she's all done up for an evening out or wearing jeans and boots, she accessorizes with effortless flair and is the epitome of bohemian chic.

Mayim Bialik, 'Blossom'
Blossom Russo, 'Blossom'
(Mayim Bialik)

Closet confession: I totally adored Blossom's skirt made of men's ties. (Still kind of do.) Oh, you too? Well, that's why she's on here.

Sure, maybe her oversized blazers, vests and flowered hats haven't stood the test of time, but in the '90s, she was one of a kind, and the inspiration for quirky kids everywhere.

Marlo Thomas, 'That Girl'
Ann Marie, 'That Girl'
(Marlo Thomas)

This role won Marlo Thomas a Golden Globe and four Emmy noms, but more importantly, it made her a fashion icon.

Thomas' Ann Marie was a true '60 trendsetter, taking New York by storm with a stylish 'do, a closet full of mod a la mode and don't forget those eyelashes!

Lisa Simpson, 'The Simpsons'
Lisa Simpson, 'The Simpsons'
(voice of Yeardley Smith)

Sure she only wears a red dress and matching red Mary Janes, but simplicity is what solidifies Lisa Simpson's place on this list. Well, that and her classic pearl necklace.

And don't forget this sassy sax player is only eight years old. Never has an animated gal so captured our fashion attention ...

- Watch full episodes of 'The Simpsons' here

Calista Flockhart, 'Ally McBeal'
Ally McBeal, 'Ally McBeal'
(Calista Flockhart)

Lawyers were stuffy and boring until Ms. McBeal hit the scene.

Causing quite a bit of controversy with her cute shoes and short skirts, this inventive attorney always spiced things up in the courtroom.

Known for her vivid hallucinations, even she couldn't have anticipated the stir her style caused. I mean, do you see that slit in her skirt? That's a headline-grabber if we've ever seen one.

Follow Maggie on Twitter @TheTVShowGirl

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blair waldorf is way better dressed than serena. there's really no comparison.

April 03 2011 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is it just me or does that picture of Mary Tyler Moore look more like her character Laura Petrie from the Dick Van Dyke Show then Mary Richards from the Mary Tyler Moore Show? Just wondering...

March 31 2011 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Xena: Warrior Princess?

Wonder Woman (and Diana Prince) (Lynda Carter of course, not Adrianna Palicki)?

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer?

March 31 2011 at 6:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce Nicodemus

That Girl, Marlo Thomas

March 31 2011 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Emma Peel. The article says TV history, not American TV history.

March 31 2011 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Amy's comment
Valery King

Mrs. Peel started an entire fashion trend for catsuits! It is a huge oversight leaving her off such a list.

April 01 2011 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Elaine on Seinfeld?????

March 31 2011 at 1:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Diane's comment
Maggie Furlong

Elaine tops a lot of lists for me - funny, fabulous, want her to be my best friend - but fashion just isn't one of them. ;)

March 31 2011 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about Christine Baranski /The Good Wife

March 31 2011 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cool list overall but your Mary Tyler Moore pic is from her days on "The Dick Van Dyke Show". Ironic as you mention it as "still work-appropriate" and she portrayed a stay at home Mom. However, those famous Capri pants she wore on the earlier series should give her two slots on here!

March 31 2011 at 9:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pertusi's comment
Maggie Furlong

Haha! That was absolutely not on purpose, but I agree with you - let's just call it a happy accident. ;)

March 31 2011 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know, the whole point of "list" articles is to encourage outraged comments along the line of "How Could You Forget..." but still: Lisa Simpson over Emma Peel?

March 31 2011 at 9:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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