18 Carlton Outfits From 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' That Prove Will Wasn't The Only Fresh One
I'm pretty sure that when it comes to dancing, Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is my soulmate. But besides his funky moves, the style of Will's best friend and cousin is something to be celebrated. Yes, Will Smith, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Hilary all had outrageously amazing '90s outfits, but Carlton Banks' preppy style was the bee's knees. He may have been a nerd (at least according to Will), but that doesn't mean he didn't have swagger — and plenty of it.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ran for six seasons from 1990 to 1996 and while Will Smith's fashion embraced the neon highlighter colors of the early '90s, Carlton's clothing palette favored pastels — and pretty much any color that looks good in a plaid pattern. His style also highlighted his family's wealth to the extreme (sometimes he looked more like an aging golf pro than a young student). Will was born and raised in West Philadelphia, but his cousin Carlton let his luxury life in Bel-Air reflect all over his clothing. (Although it should be noted that somehow, Carlton's sisters Hilary and Ashley were not quite as influenced by the country club chic as their brother.)
Carlton was the butt of many a joke (and quite deservingly sometimes too), but he had his own clothing charisma, even if he wasn't always as cool as Will. As proof, here are 18 of Carlton's best looks.
1. Meeting-Your-Legend Bathrobe
Typically, this look is reserved for Playboy fans meeting Hugh Hefner, but Carlton — and Tom Jones — didn't play by the rules when Carlton sang with his favorite musician in a dream sequence.
2. No Cleave-V
Carlton discovered the joy of airing out his upper chest with his first V-neck T-shirt.
3. Flags Of The United Nations Button-Down
Don't let Hilary's leopard-print piping and buttons distract you from Carlton's attempt to help influence the design of the next nation's flag.
4. Classic Preppy
While I do think that Will wins the battle of the school uniform, Carlton plays by the rules with his blazer and tie.
5. Prison Preppy
Carlton's pattern mixing (argyle sweater with plaid pants, oh my!) is more acceptable — and more discreet — than Will's neon.
6. Mrs. Doubtfire Fly
Carlton was never one to miss out on a trend — and guys in comedies wearing women's clothes was definitely a trend in the '90s.
7. Winter On The Top, Summer On The Bottom
It's really the only proper attire for hanging out with Tyra Banks.
8. Barbershop Duet
With his candy-striped suit with navy piping and another striped shirt underneath, Carlton proves one person can handle all the stripes — and all the voice parts.
9. Hulkin' Out
Carlton's fashion style isn't defined only by his shirts. Bonus points for making stripping in khakis look damn good.
10. Culkin' Out
Macaulay Culkin was another one of Carlton's idols, so he paid homage to him — complete with dyed hair.
11. High Seas Pink
Carlton's apparel almost always looked ready for a nautical adventure and with this light pink ensemble, he was ensuring the sun's rays wouldn't overheat him whilst on the yacht. (But he wanted a bulky sweater just in case of intense sea winds.)
12. Boxers Or Briefs? Neither! Swimwear
Carlton shows that boy shorts aren't just for the girls with his plaid (and super form-fitting) bathing suit.
13. Christmas Tree Transportation Sweater
Carlton answers the age-old question of: "What's the best way to move a Christmas tree?" with his seasonal sweater. (The answer? Pickup truck!) Like Uncle Jesse's Full House Christmas gear, this will be great inspiration for your Ugly Christmas Sweater party.
14. Bel-Air Baller
Yet again, when it comes to a uniform, Carlton feels no need to deviate from the assigned getup.
15. Bowling Baller
You can tell he's a professional because of the hand brace. (And seriously, he was a professional — that was a plot point in Season 6.)
16. School Spirit Peacockin'
Blue feathers look good on you, Carlton. Bet you couldn't wear that at Princeton.
17. Casual Carlton Dance Gear
Pleated khakis and a tucked in-collared shirt are the official uniform of the Carlton dance to Jones' "It's Not Unusual." This outfit gives you the space and freedom to really get your groove on.
18. Formal Carlton Dance Gear
Although Carlton is most famous for his signature dance, he also is known for his dance with Will to the Sugarhill Gang's "Apache (Jump on It)." His dance outfit shows that Carlton not only respects style — he's also conscious of how a fabric moves. His striped crop top allows for ultimate hip movement, while his matching leg warmers keep his ankles warm for his synchronized jumping movements. Only Carlton from Fresh Prince could mix fashion and functionality into an iconic ensemble so seamlessly.
Images: Warner Bros. Television (19); gifloop/Tumblr (2)