Aside from being the only female-identifying member of Jerry Seinfeld's gang of cynics, Elaine Benes is also the best-dressed. Played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Elaine defined '90s style with her floral print dresses, jeans and blazer combos, and leather jackets.
While Elaine is on point in Seinfeld more often than not, she definitely has some fashion faux pas. Usually, these mishaps are a result of Elaine ending up in strange situations: some out of her control, and others a product of her own doing. Either way, Elaine Benes caused generations of sitcom watchers to either pine for her or pine for her closet. Here's the worst and best of what Elaine donned throughout Seinfeld's nine seasons.
10 Worst: Elaine Loses A Button
While the men around don't seem to mind, when Elaine loses an ivory button on her silk shirt at the movies, the result is anything but becoming.
This button situation occurs in "The Gum" episode of Season Seven. Revealing herself to everyone around town, the usually put-together Elaine is a mess here. To make matters worse, Elaine has a confrontation with a florist hosing down the sidewalk in this episode, resulting in a wet shirt.
9 Best: The Mustard Blazer
This is a classic Elaine look from one of Seinfeld's earliest episodes, "Male Unbonding." This oversized mustard blazer with padded shoulders and rolled-up sleeves screams mid-90s, and it's one of Elaine's best outfits.
Beneath the blazer, Elaine wears simple black pants and a t-shirt. She accessorizes with beaded bracelets and a few long necklaces. Her wardrobe is finished with a clunky, silver belt buckle and dangle earrings. With her long, curly hair and witty jokes, who wouldn't have a crush on Elaine in this episode?
8 Worst: "I've Become George"
In the Season Five episode "The Opposite," Elaine has a very rough few days. She gets dumped, loses her job, and ends up losing her apartment.
While eating at their neighborhood cafe with Kramer and Jerry, a disheveled and downtrodden Elaine has an epiphany. " Do you know what's going on here? Can't you see what's happened? I've become George." Considering her outfit - sweats under a jean jacket - she's probably right.
7 Best: The Black Leather Jacket
Cigar-yielding, black leather jacket-wearing Elaine is a sight for sore eyes in this photo. Not only is this slick look a quintessential late-90s ensemble, but it's also a testament to Elaine's subversive nature and outrageous feminism.
While she may never define herself as a feminist outright, Elaine eschews gender roles, often displaying behaviors or wearing clothes that would be considered stereotypically masculine. She toes the line, which makes her outfits so memorable. Here, below her leather jacket, she rocks jeans, a button-up, and dark red lipstick.
6 Worst: The Black Dress From The Barney's Sale
In the Season Six episode "The Secretary," Elaine buys a dress at Barney's that looks a lot better in the store than it does at home.
This long, black, ill-fitting dress is marked by rhombus-shaped cut-outs down the back, abdomen, and arms. Irate, Elaine becomes convinced of Barney's scheme and demands a refund. As most things go in Seinfeld, events don't transpire as planned.
5 Best: The Purple Blazer
This is another signature Elaine look from a classic episode of Seinfeld, "The Parking Garage." Alongside George, Jerry, and Kramer, Elaine spends the entire episode roaming around a mall parking garage looking for Kramer's car.
Elaine, despite the circumstances, looks great here. From her purple blazer to her broach to her black jeans to her pink undershirt, Ms. Benes shines. Too bad her goldfish likely won't make it home with her.
4 Worst: Victorian Nightgown Elaine
When Elaine's boyfriend Ed stays with her for a week in "The Busboy," she realizes she isn't ready for a live-in situation. However, when the pair oversleep, and it looks like Ed is going to miss his flight back home, Elaine goes into overdrive to make sure that doesn't happen.
Elaine's nightgown here looks like something out of a 1950s catalog. Modest and frumpy, this oversized white monstrosity borderlines on muumuu. Matched with her tousled hair and winter coat, this is NOT a winning look.
3 Best: The Fringe Jacket
Elaine rocks this fringe, tan suede jacket in Season One. While this piece is not for everyone, it looks amazing on Elaine. She wears it with pride and some seriously 90s blue jeans.
The fact that she always seems to wear a hip pair of sunglasses while donning the jacket adds more visual appeal to this look. Along with her Jackson Hole, Wyoming graphic tee, Elaine's outfit from over 20 years ago can be seen in Urban Outfitters across the country.
2 Worst: The Urban Sombrero
Elaine's worst style choice throughout all of Seinfeld is, by far, the urban sombrero. When she's hired by J. Peterman, she gets a chance to run his company while he's away. For some reason, she decides to feature this floppy, ugly hat on the cover of J. Peterman's catalog.
The hat is a major failure, and J. Peterman returns from his travels to piece his company back together after this mishap. This oversized eyesore causes some serious problems for city-dwellers who don it because its size limits the wearer's field of vision. According to Elaine, the urban sombrero "combines the spirit of old Mexico with a little big city panache." Between issues related to cultural appropriation and impracticality, Elaine should have gone back to the drawing board.
1 Best: 1950s Church Girl In The Big City
Elaine's most recognizable outfit is the long, churchy floral dress she wore early on in Seinfeld's run. With her two-toned Oxfords and exposed socks, Elaine's outfit is a mash-up between thrift store hipster and 50s religious mom.
What's so iconic about this look, in particular, is that it inspired legions of young people to riffle through old stacks of clothes and give those maxi dresses another try. Again, Elaine predated Urban Outfitters chic by two decades. Good work, Ms. Benes.
NEXT: Seinfeld: Every Main Character, Ranked By Cynicism