Some of the greatest wardrobes on television are completely unrealistic, but that’s okay. You don't necessarily watch TV to see something real. If that were the case, shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones wouldn’t have such massive audiences. Instead, viewers look to television shows for some good old fashioned escapism. They want to sit down and be transported somewhere else for an hour. Still, it's jarring to see TV characters dressing way, way better than their supposed income suggests. How can these characters afford such amazing clothes?
It’s no shock that some television characters live well beyond their means. You'll see waitresses with designer purses, writers with hundreds of pairs of Manolo Blahniks (yes, you, Carrie Bradshaw), and assistants who dress better than their bosses. While the beautiful clothes are stunning to see, the fact that these characters could never afford these outfits can be a little distracting.
From elementary school teachers to freelance writers, homeless teens to high school students, there are so many TV characters who could never afford their wardrobe. Still, a fan can dream, right?
The Wardrobe: Carrie Bradshaw’s insanely fabulous wardrobe in Sex and the City is part of what makes her a pop culture icon. Nearly everything Carrie owns is designer, especially her shoes. She isn't shy about that fact, either – Carrie may talk about Manolo Blahnik more than she talks about Mr. Big.
The Income: With apologies for bursting the bubble, Carrie flat-out can't afford her lifestyle, even considering inflation and the economy. Carrie writes just one popular column per week. Sure, she starts looking for other avenues of income, but that isn't until late in Season 4. With a rent of $750 and her one-article-per-week job, it's unclear how much that leaves Carrie for shopping money. But however much she makes, she certainly can't afford to drop $40,000 on shoes.
Actor: Sarah Jessica Parker
Occupation: Reporter, Author, Writer
The Wardrobe: The Big Bang Theory’s Penny should be praised for her practicality. Her wardrobe is something that normal people might actually wear. However, normal people don’t have a new shirt every single day. Sure, Penny's clothes are simple, but running through that many pieces gets expensive. She does repeat one item, though: her purse from Lucky Brand, which retails at $149.
The Income: For a lot of the series, Penny works at The Cheesecake Factory while she pursues her dreams of being an actress. With her Pasadena, CA, rent, working at a chain restaurant wouldn’t leave her enough money for all those tops. If Penny had been working at a higher-end restaurant, her wardrobe would be more believable.
Actor: Kaley Cuoco
Occupation: Waiting staff, Actor
The Wardrobe: Rachel Green’s wardrobe is arguably the best on Friends. Rachel is chic, fashion-forward, and always put together. Since most of the show takes place in her apartment, fans see Rachel both dressed up and in her comfortable clothing, but either way she's always on point.
The Income: During the first few seasons, Rachel works as a waitress at Central Perk. It's insane to imagine that job pays enough for Rachel to even cover half the rent, let alone her clothes. Rachel eventually finds success in the fashion industry, but that's not until after she spends time working as a personal shopper and assistant. A more realistic show would have her wardrobe improve with her income, but then again, when was Friends ever incredibly realistic?
Actor: Jennifer Aniston
Occupation: Waiting staff, Retailer
The Wardrobe: New Girl’s Jess doesn’t necessarily wear anything too outlandishly expensive. She's not known to rock Manolo Blahniks or Gucci gowns. However, Jess's funky, girly wardrobe still manages to stand out. Apparently, Jess owns a closet with so many bright dresses that she’s basically a living Disney princess. Those enviable frocks come from well-known brands like J. Crew, and when you consider the fact that she never repeats an outfit, you're looking at one pricey lifestyle.
The Income: If Jess were a lawyer or executive of some kind, her ability to buy a zillion beautiful dresses would be totally believable. However, Jess works in education. Considering the fact that a teacher in Los Angeles makes an average of $53,613, Jess's ability to wear a new dress every day is far fetched.
Actor: Zooey Deschanel