Seinfeld: 40 Significant Style Moments

Michael Richards, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Jerry Seinfeld in a promotional photo for Seinfeld


Series: Seinfeld
Air Dates: July 5, 1989 — May 14, 1998
Created by: Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
Costume Designers:
* Charmaine Nash Simmons (seasons 4-9)
* Ruth E. Carter (episode 1 only)
* Jane Ruhm (rest of season 1)
* Llandys Williams (season 2)
* Marie H. Burk (season 3)
Costume Supervisor/Key Costumer: Stephanie Kennedy (seasons 5-9)


This Sunday will be the 25th anniversary of the finale of Seinfeld, the NBC sitcom that remains a pop culture touchstone more than a quarter-century later with phrases like “double-dipping”, “re-gifting”, “shrinkage”, and “yada yada yada” an enduring part of our lexicon… even if those saying them don’t know they originated from Seinfeld.

Centered around the neuroses and misadventures of four everyday New Yorkers, Seinfeld was hardly a fashion-oriented show, yet its focus on the minutiae of life means plenty of focus on the kind of comedy that can be derived from clothing, whether it’s as broad as a ridiculous jacket or as nitpicky as two buttons placed too closely together.

You can always tell what was the best year of your father’s life, because they seem to just freeze that clothing style and just ride it out to the end, don’t they? And it’s not like they don’t continue shopping, it’s just they somehow manage to find new old clothes. Every father is like this fashion time capsule, you know what I mean. It’s like they should be on a pedestal, with someone next to ’em going “This was 1965”.

To me the worst thing is shopping for pants. I hate dressing and undressing in that little room. What men need is a place to shop where you go in, you check your pants at the door, and you just walk around the store in your underwear. That would be the best way. Then you’d really have to lie to the salesman. “Need some help?” “No, just getting some air.”

— Jerry’s monologue in “The Cigar Store Indian” (Episode 5.10)

Perhaps surprising but consistent with the cyclical nature of fashion, there has recently been renewed interest in the everyday outfits worn by Jerry Seinfeld, George Costanza (Jason Alexander), and Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Across the hall from Jerry, “hipster doofus” Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) was hardly ever an average dresser, though his wardrobe of ’60s-inspired jackets and sport shirts has inspired considerable interest of its own.

In July 2018, Derek Guy (aka the “menswear guy” @dieworkwear on Twitter) chronicled Seinfeld‘s contemporary influence on men’s style for Put This On. The blog Second Button of Seinfeld explores the coding behind clothing on the “show about nothing”, and its key costumer Stephanie Kennedy has taken Seinfeld fans behind the sartorial scenes on her Instagram account @seinfeldbackstage.

What’d They Wear?

I could probably find hundreds of instances of clothing-derived humor on Seinfeld—with Kramer alone providing plenty with his seemingly endless closet of disguises, whether he’s dressing the part of a Joe Friday-like detective (“The Statue”) or a pipe-smoking professor, wearing a three-piece business suit for a short-lived office job (“The Bizarro Jerry”), or hosting a ’70s-influenced talk show in his apartment (“The Merv Griffin Show”).

For the sake of this blog’s focus, I tried to limit my selections to 40 significant menswear-related moments (with apologies to Elaine’s “urban sombrero” and Orioles cap, Sue Ellen Mishke’s bra, or Jerry’s girlfriend who always wore the same black-and-white dress), all ranging from almost innocuous throwaway jokes to character signatures and major plot points.

1. George’s Closely Spaced Shirt Buttons

Episode: “The Seinfeld Chronicles” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: July 5, 1989
Director: Art Wolff
Costume Designer: Ruth E. Carter

After Jerry’s opening comedy monologue, the very first lines of Seinfeld are about… clothes!

“See now, to me, that button’s in the worst possible spot,” Jerry comments on George’s purple button-down shirt. “The second button literally makes or breaks the shirt—look at it! It’s too high, it’s in no-man’s land. You look like you live with your mother.”

“You do, of course, try on when you buy?” Jerry confirms. “Yes, it was purple, I liked it, I don’t actually recall considering the button,” an exasperated George responds.

“Are you through?” George eventually asks. Of course, Seinfeld is far from through—it’s literally just getting started.

Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

For what it’s worth, Jerry’s not wrong…

Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

…though Jerry is certainly one to talk in his strange henley-over-T-shirt combo.

Fun fact: The first episode of Seinfeld was one of the first credits for costume designer Ruth E. Carter, a year after after her first project, Spike Lee’s 1988 film School Daze. Carter has since become one of the most prolific costume designers working today, with four Academy Award nominations and two wins (for Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.)

2. Jerry’s Obnoxiously Lined Suede Jacket

Episode: “The Jacket” (Episode 2.03)
Air Date: February 6, 1991
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Llandys Williams

Early in the second season, Seinfeld continues its long pattern of clothing-driven comedy when Jerry finds a handsome suede jacket while shopping with Elaine at Beau Brummell Sports on Columbus Avenue. Jerry describes the brown suede jacket as one that “has completed changed my life” as far as boosting his confidence, though George—while forced to admit “it’s fabulous”—can’t fathom the price tag, which he suspects is well over a thousand dollars.

It’s a very attractive jacket, cut like a waist-length bomber and styled with a classic button-up front and flapped hand pockets. There’s just one drawback—despite the luxuriously supple dark brown suede outer shell, the lining is awning-striped in white and pink, which makes Jerry look like “a damn fool” according to Elaine’s intimidating father Alton Benes (Lawrence Tierney) when he turns it inside-out to protect it from unexpected rainfall.

Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeld

“What’s with the pink lining and the candy stripes?”

Alton’s grumbling protestations result in Jerry wearing the stylish but sensitive suede jacket out in the rain, all but ruining the cloth. Jerry has no more use for the jacket, gifting it to Kramer, who indeed wears its again several episodes later in “The Heart Attack”.

Read more about this jacket in this BAMF Style post. You can also pay tribute to Jerry’s jacket with the Seinfeld x Percival reversible bomber jacket with a more weather-friendly brown cotton shell but a similar pink-and-white striped lining.

3. George’s Chocolate-Stained Shirt

Episode: “The Baby Shower” (Episode 2.10)
Air Date: May 16, 1991
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Llandys Williams

Years after Elaine’s domineering friend Leslie (Christine Dunford) unapologetically spilled a can of chocolate syrup all over his “new red shirt” during a date from hell, George finds the opportunity for revenge when she hosts a baby shower in Jerry’s apartment. Jerry should have noticed something awry when the typically selfish George actually volunteered to drive him home from the airport, though he spots the collar resting flat above the crew neck of George’s striped sweater and remembers that George had once said “the collar’s okay, I wear it under sweaters.”

“Red shirt, red shirt!” Jerry calls out, before confronting George about the futility of his plan: “What are you gonna do, badger a pregnant woman at her own baby shower? What, are you gonna take it off and make her rinse it in club soda?” “No, I’m gonna hold it under her nose so she can make her smell the scent of stale Bosco that I had to live with for three years and then say to her ‘Remember this shirt, baby? Well, it’s payback time!'”

Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

George would evidently get over his distaste for Bosco by the time he would need to come up with a secret code for his ATM card.

Of course, this being George, he retreats into humiliation as the shirt suffers another defeat when one of Jerry’s spurned exes bumps into Leslie… whose piece of cake lands directly on George’s chest.

Luckily for George, the offense would be rectified by a future girlfriend in “The Maestro” (Episode 7.03) when George’s fiancée Susan (Heidi Swedberg) buys him another red shirt so bright that Jerry jokes that it burns his retinas.

4. Kramer’s Khaki “Kavorka” Jacket

“That’s a nice jacket,” George observes of Kramer’s khaki leisure jacket when it debuts in the bottle episode “The Parking Garage” (Episode 3.06). Likely produced during the golden age of leisure jackets in the 1970s, Kramer’s light brown jacket has a wide revere collar, padded shoulders, open-top hip pockets, and a box pleat that extends down each side of the chest and the center of the back from horizontal yokes. The ’70s-era details aren’t the only elements showing the jacket’s age, as it also appears to be missing the top of three buttons on the front.

We get more backstory around the jacket in the following episode, “The Cafe” (Episode 3.07), when Kramer presents Jerry with a conundrum.

Kramer: This guy leaves this jacket at my mother’s house two years ago. Now she hasn’t spoken to him since, so now he says he wants the jacket back.
Jerry: So?
Kramer: Well, I’m not giving it back!
Jerry: Why not?
Kramer: Because I meet a lot of women in this jacket! You know, they’re attracted to it. Why do you think my mother went out with him?

As the man, Albert Pepper, continues harassing Kramer about the jacket’s return, Elaine advises that he just give it back, but Kramer ups the stakes: “He’ll have to kill me.” Though Kramer yields the coat in “The Cafe”, Albert’s arrest for mail fraud results in Kramer’s opportunity to recover the jacket from his landlord two episodes later in “The Nose Job” (Episode 3.09), where he proves its power when he escorts George’s post-rhinoplasty ex Audrey (Susan Diol) on a date. It invites further comment from a Cuban diplomat in “The Cheever Letters” (Episode 4.08).

The jacket gets immortalized when Kramer wears it to have his portrait painted by Jerry’s jealous girlfriend Nina (Catherine Keener) in “The Letter” (Episode 3.21).

Michael Richards on Seinfeld

Michael Richards on Seinfeld

“He is a loathsome, offensive brute. Yet I can’t look away.”

Though Kramer attributes so much romantic success to the jacket, it may just be a byproduct of his natural “kavorka”, the quality described to him by a Latvian Orthodox priest in “The Conversion” (Episode 5.11) as “the lure of the animal.”

5. The “Red Dot” Cashmere Sweater

Episode: “The Red Dot” (Episode 3.12)
Air Date: December 11, 1991
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Supervisor: Marie H. Burk

In Seinfeld‘s first Christmas-themed episode, George is urged by Jerry to show his gratitude to Elaine for helping him find a short-lived job at Pendant Publishing by buying her a gift. They find an ivory cashmere cardigan marked down from $600 to only $85, a deal that must be too good to be true… because it is. The saleswoman points out a small red dot, but George thinks it’s not immediately noticeable and asks Jerry to take an overview.

Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

“You want me to take an overview? I see a very cheap man, holding a sweater, trying to get away with something, that’s my overview.”

Elaine is over the moon about George’s “generosity”, but Kramer’s Scotch-tuned eagle eye spots the red dot and gradually converts Elaine’s excitement into resentment. Foiled by the store’s no-return policy on damaged items, the sweater inexorably returns to our heroes despite their many attempts to rid themselves of it, first when George attempts to satiate Evie the cashmere-loving cleaning woman (Bridget Sienna) and again when hoping to distract Elaine’s violently alcoholic ex and colleague Dick (David Naughton). Though we the viewers never see the red dot, it only further angers Evie and Dick.

6. Jerry’s Date Shirt with Keith Hernandez

Episode: “The Boyfriend” (Episode 3.17/3.18)
Air Date: February 12, 1992
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Supervisor: Marie H. Burk

Nervous about an evening spent with his new friend, former Mets first baseman and five-time MLB All-Star Keith Hernandez, Jerry dresses in a garish two-toned red fly-front shirt with a bronze-and-green equestrian print tucked into his black Levi’s.

“What about this shirt, is this okay?” he asks Elaine, who responds with a reality check: “Jerry… he’s a guy.” Still self-conscious, Jerry then turns to Kramer, perhaps the most oddball dresser of the bunch who still offers the accurate feedback: “Nah, it’s too busy.”

Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

I gotta side with Kramer on this one, Jerry.

Jerry foregoes both of his friends’ advice and wears the shirt to dinner with Keith, layering it under a tan suede baseball jacket… perhaps a nod to Hernandez’s career.

Also, it’s while still wearing this shirt that Jerry delivers the famous “magic loogie” scene inspired by Kevin Costner’s “magic bullet” monologue from JFK, which had been released just two months earlier.

7. George in “Morning Mist”

Episode: “The Trip, Part I” (Episode 4.01)
Air Date: August 12, 1992
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Seinfeld‘s groundbreaking fourth season marked new directions that came to define the series, including the introduction of a solidified season-long arc (Jerry and George’s TV pilot) and the beginning of Charmaine Nash Simmons’ tenure as costume designer, the latter particularly coinciding with an increased emphasis on clothing-centric humor.

Early in the episode, George brings his bevy of baggage into Jerry’s apartment before their flight to L.A., dressed in a light-blue oxford button-down shirt tucked into jeans, held up with a tan surcingle belt and accessorized with a gun club check hunting cap and white sneakers.

Jerry: We’re going on a two-day trip, what are you, Diana Ross?
George: I happen to dress based on mood.
Jerry: Oh. But you essentially wear the same thing all the time.
George: Seemingly, seemingly. But within that basic framework there are many subtle variations, only discernible to an acute observer, that reflect the many moods, the many shades, the many sides of George Costanza.
Jerry: And what mood is this?
George: This is Morning Mist.

Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

I only wish this bit has continued, as I’d love to know what Bath & Body Works scent-adjacent moods inform George Costanza’s sense of attire.

8. Jerry’s Slow Watch

Episode: “The Pitch/The Ticket” (Episode 4.03/4.04)
Air Date: September 16, 1992
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Jerry Seinfeld is a Breitling watch enthusiast in real life, a quality he extended to his fictional counterpart on Seinfeld, wearing Navitimer models from the second season onward. You’d think that his in-universe parents would have known better than to gift him a cheap Timex watch at the start of the fourth season. After the slow-running timepiece nearly makes him and George late for a crucial pitch meeting with NBC, he pulls it off his wrist in the street and tosses it into the first garbage can he sees.

Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

“That’s it for this piece of junk, I’ve had it!” The watch brand is never mentioned by name on the show, but the glimpse we see of it at the top of the trash appears to show that it’s a plain stainless Timex with a date window at 3:00.

The watch is then recovered by Jerry’s “frugal” uncle Leo (Len Lesser), who holds it to his ear and—hearing that quartz-powered tick—giddily slides the expanding band over his watch. The coincidence results in a slow burn over the next two episodes until “The Watch” (Episode 4.06) when Jerry offers to buy the repaired watch back from his uncle so that his parents won’t know he threw it away.

Leo refuses, citing “I haven’t seen too many like these!” despite the fact that it’s a very common drugstore watch. Jerry attempts to cover the $60 retail price and the $40 repair bill, but Leo remains stubborn: “I’ve never seen a band like this!”, negotiating Jerry up to spending $350 for a simple Timex… just in time for his father to witness the curious transaction: “What the hell is going on here?”

9. George’s Sweatpants

Episode: “The Pilot” (Episode 4.23/4.24)
Air Date: May 20, 1993
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Long before the lazy Summer of George, Jerry berates his writing partner’s choice of leisurewear when George strolls into his apartment wearing a rust-colored pique polo and navy sweatpants. “Again with the sweatpants?” Jerry asks. “What? I’m comfortable,” George responds between handfuls of Ruffles.

“You know the message you’re sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You’re telling the world ‘I give up! I can’t compete in normal society, I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.”

Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

10. The Puffy Shirt

Episode: “The Puffy Shirt” (Episode 5.02)
Air Date: September 23, 1993
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

But I don’t wanna be a pirate!

… Jerry famously whined after he realizes his polite affirmations resulted in his unconscious agreement to model a hideous, pirate-inspired shirt in front of an audience of millions on The Today Show. The misunderstanding emerged from a dinner with Jerry and Elaine with Kramer and his clothing designer girlfriend, a “low-talker” named Leslie (Wendel Meldrum) whose latest creation Kramer is convinced will be “the big new look of men’s fashions.”

“Big” being the operative word here. The cream-colored silk shirt has a full front placket with spherical pearl buttons, including two on the standing collar. A frilly triple-layered jabot is attached like a bib, covering both sides of the chest, echoing the similar triple-puffed effect down each sleeve, with banded French cuffs fastened by cuff links. “It’s all puffy, like the pirates used to wear,” Kramer describes. “See, I think people wanna look like pirates. You know, it’s the right time for it, to be all puffy and devil-may-care.”

Jerry is disgusted by the concept of wearing such a ridiculous shirt on the air, but Kramer urges to him to make good on the agreement, as stores have been stocking the shirt in anticipation of Jerry wearing it on the air with Bryant Gumbel. It only adds insult to injury when Elaine begs Jerry not to wear it, reminding him that he’s promoting a benefit for Goodwill Industries to clothe homeless people: “You’re supposed to be a compassionate person that cares about poor people! You look like you’re gonna swing in on a chandelier!”

Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

Avast, ye matey!

Bryant Gumbel obsesses over the “puffed-up” shirt to the point that Jerry publicly disowns it as “the stupidest shirt I’ve ever seen,” humiliating Leslie and dooming the shirt as well as the benefit.

A few days later, Jerry and the gang encounter a few homeless men dressed in the unsold shirts that had been donated to Goodwill, asking if they can “spare a little change for an old buccaneer.” Just as George would needle his way into the mind of a date (“Co-stanza!”) the shirt has evidently grown on Jerry with its repeated exposure, and he ends the episode by determining, “you know, it’s really not a bad-lookin’ shirt.”

The shirt was conceptualized by co-creator Larry David and executed by costume designer Charmaine Nash Simmons, who told The Washington Post that she was inspired by an ugly shirt given to her by her mother to design “the most uncomfortable, unwearable shirt you could find,” creating a total of three to be worn on screen.

Perhaps the most iconic costume from Seinfeld‘s nine-season run, one of the puffy shirts was donated to the Smithsonian by Jerry Seinfeld in 2004 and remains in the possession of the National Museum of American History. Another shirt was auctioned for a five-figure sum in 2017.

11. George’s Old Lady Glasses

Episode: “The Glasses” (Episode 5.03)
Air Date: September 30, 1993
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

After misplacing his prescription glasses at the health club (and lacking an old pair that broke while running form a bee), George is in the market for new glasses. Kramer steps in to help, promising a 30% discount from his friend Dwayne at J&T Optical on Columbus Avenue.

George brings Jerry and Elaine for help picking out his “new face”, but he hasn’t yet selected new frames until the duo need to leave him to get Elaine treated for a potentially rabid dog bite. Without any guidance from his better-seeing frames, George allows Dwayne to talk him into purchasing “an exciting new frame”… from the Gloria Vanderbilt Collection, as Kramer later points out.

“I don’t know what to tell you, Elton,” Jerry comments. “They’re ladies’ glasses! All you need is that little chain around your neck so you can wear ’em while you’re playing canasta.”

Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

12. Jerry’s Allergy-Triggering Mohair Sweater

Episode: “The Sniffing Accountant” (Episode 5.04)
Air Date: October 7, 1993
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Jerry begins the episode dressed in an uncharacteristic fuzzy gray mohair oversized mock-neck sweater, characterized by colorful teal, gold, black, and white flecks of yarn throughout.

George: Jerry, where’d you get that sweater?
Jerry: What do you think? I found it in the back of my closet.
George: I think that’s what the back of closets are for.

While chatting with Elaine and George (about clothing, of course, specifically Elaine’s gabardine jacket), he encounters his accountant, Barry Prophet (John Kapelos), who can’t stop sniffing through their entire conversation.

Kramer validates Jerry’s suspicious theory that Barry is a cocaine addict, but they determine further investigation is required… so Kramer borrows Jerry’s itchy sweater, dons a pair of sunglasses, and sidles up to Barry in a bar in an attempt to con him in to admitting drug use:

Here’s to feeling good all the time!

Michael Richards and John Kapelos on Seinfeld

Kramer’s hip to the whole bathroom scene. Sniff sniff.

Though Kramer’s attempt to bust in on Barry in the bathroom with a Polaroid yielded little by way of evidence of illicit drug use, the fact that Barry was sniffing again gives Jerry all the cause he believes he needs to terminate their professional relationship. As a postal worker and one of Barry’s clients, Newman (Wayne Knight) is entrusted with the letter firing Barry, though he’s only minutes away by the time a delivery driver bringing pizza to Jerry’s apartment starts uncontrollably sniffling, citing an allergy to mohair—the central fiber of Jerry’s sweater that Kramer is still wearing.

Fun fact: Seinfeld fans have spotted that the sweater previously appeared in the third-season episode “The Boyfriend”, worn by George’s date Carrie Sokol (Carol Ann Susi). On her Instagram account @seinfeldbackstage, key costumer Stephanie Kennedy confirmed that it is indeed the same sweater, the result of staff changes and a tagging mix-up between seasons.

Carol Ann Susi and Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

Evidently, Carrie and Jerry shopped at some of the same knitwear outfitters.

13. George’s Gore-Tex Jacket

Episode: “The Dinner Party” (Episode 5.13)
Air Date: February 3, 1994
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Jerry and Elaine are debating the weather when George’s entrance perfectly aligns with Elaine asking for Jerry’s definition of “scary cold”. “That,” Jerry responds, pointing at George in his overly puffed puffer jacket.

Made of black Gore-Tex polyester, George’s jacket features the usual down-filled quilting that characterizes puffer jackets, though inflated beyond comical proportions. “It was like inflating a bike tire,” key costumer Stephanie Kennedy recently recalled in an Instagram post. Following direction from the script and costume supervisor Charmaine Simmons, Kennedy purchased the coat from a downtown L.A. discount sports shop before preparing it for its use on screen. “We ran out to the fabric store and grabbed bags and bags of polyester fill batting (like what you put in pillows) and had our seamstress, Sylvia, open up the side seams of the body and sleeves and shove about 10 bags of filler in.”

Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

Jerry: When did you get that?
George: This week! My father got a deal from a friend of his. It’s Gore-Tex. You know about Gore-Tex?
Jerry: You like saying Gore-Tex, don’t you?

The coat has a hood lined with synthetic fur, and the Western-yoked shoulder patches are a tobacco-brown faux suede. Extending to George’s thighs, the coat also has double-snapped slanted pockets over the chest and two flapped pockets lower on the body. Though it keeps him adequately warm both outdoors and in, it irrationally angers a man on a street (“you better be careful with that thing, you’d start a war,” Kramer warns) and unfortunately gets sacrificed to cover the cost of the bottles of “some cheap chardonnay” that shatter when George’s massive coat inadvertently knocks them off a display in a liquor store.

A few episodes later, Jerry has Gore-Tex on the mind when he tries “a sport jacket and scarf thing, like an unemployed actor,” in “The Wife” (Episode 5.17). His new girlfriend Meryl (Courteney Cox) feels the material—another callback—and asks “Cashmere?” “No, Gore-Tex,” Jerry responds.

14. Jerry’s “Golden Boy” T-shirt

Episode: “The Marine Biologist” (Episode 5.14)
Air Date: February 10, 1994
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

“Elaine, see this T-shirt? Six years I’ve had this T-shirt, it’s my best one. I call him ‘Golden Boy’,” Jerry explains to Elaine at the start of the episode. “Golden Boy’s always the first shirt I wear out of the laundry… but see, look at the collar. It’s fraying. Golden Boy is slowly dying. Each wash brings him one step closer! That’s what makes the T-shirt such a tragic figure.”

“Why don’t you just let Golden Boy soak in the sink with some Woolite?” Elaine asks, to Jerry’s great offense. “No! The reason he’s the iron man is because he goes out there and he plays every game! Wash, spin, rinse, spin! You take that away from him, you break his spirit!”

Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld

Golden Boy’s last stand. Jerry may be canonically more of a neat freak than I am, but I still think Golden Boy’s got a few more good washes left in him.

Just like George’s Gore-Tex coat in the previous episode, Golden Boy doesn’t make it to the end, though it’s a victim of one laundry load too many rather than any liquor store hijinks. Despite his stated enthusiasm for the shirt, I don’t believe we ever actually see Jerry wearing Golden Boy on screen… though he does debut “Golden Boy’s son, ‘Baby Blue'” in the final scene.

15. George’s Swishy Suit

Episode: “The Pie” (Episode 5.15)
Air Date: February 17, 1994
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

After Kramer tips Elaine off about a clothing store with a mannequin that looks just like her, George tags along with her in search of a “cool suit” for a job interview. He picks out a three-piece suit striped in multiple shades of brown and allows an assertive blonde saleswoman to talk him into buying it… once it’s half price during an unadvertised sale in a couple of days. Knowing he had competition from a “fellow 40 short” who would be waiting for the doors to open on Friday morning, George had stashed the suit on another rack so that only he would know where to find it.

The typically neurotic George is thus all confidence when he strolls into Monk’s to meet his friends before the interview, at least until Jerry and Elaine point out the “swoosh” that the fabric makes as it rubs between his thighs. Having heard stories about the hiring manager’s angry misophobia, George frets, but his honesty initially pays off when he and the manager laugh about his “rustling” trousers over lunch.

Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld

George panics after Elaine and Jerry point out the swishing sound that his suit trousers make.

Fun Fact: “The Pie” also marks the debut of Kramer’s iconic lobster-printed shirt.

16. The Executive, Morty Seinfeld’s Beltless Trench Coat

Episode: “The Raincoats, Parts I & II” (Episode 5.17/5.18)
Air Date: April 28, 1994
Director: Tom Cherones
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

“Look at that, Helen! Do you see what he’s wearing? That’s the Executive!” Morty Seinfeld (Barney Martin) beams with pride as Kramer makes yet another memorable arrival into Jerry’s apartment, now clad in a beltless trench coat purchased from the secondhand shop Rudy’s, where Kramer explains they’re “a hot item.”

Kramer: Now what is the Executive?
Jerry: The beltless trench coat. My father invented it!
Morty: I sure did… raincoats were my business. The Executive was a classic. These haven’t been made in twenty years.

Raincoats without belts are hardly revolutionary, but trench coats without belts are indeed a whole new coat altogether. “I came home one night, and I tripped over one of Jerry’s toys,” Morty recalls of the serendipitous origin. “So I took out my belt, just to threaten him, and I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror… so that night I cut off the loops, and the Executive was born.”

Kramer and Morty Seinfeld enter a business partnership, also bringing in Morty’s cantankerous neighbor Jack Klompus to ship a series of poorly packed boxes of about fifty coats up from the Seinfelds’ garage in Florida.

Michael Richards and Barney Martin on Seinfeld

Dressed in one of the titular trench coats, Kramer renegotiate the terms of his partnership with Mr. Seinfeld… resulting in exactly what the terms had been before the negotiation.

“The Raincoats” expanded on a concept first mentioned three seasons earlier in “The Pony Remark” (Episode 2.02) when Morty meditates on the greatest moment of his life being 1946, when he started working for Harry Fleming “and I came up with the idea for the beltless trench coat,” shining his laurels in the midst of his wife criticizing his taste in sport jackets. Especially from an era before when “show bibles” guaranteed a series maintaining narrative continuity, Seinfeld does an impressive job of staying consistent with Morty’s biography several seasons later, though it can be assumed that the actual Executive would have been developed at least a decade after he started working for Fleming to fit with his recollection that he was inspired by tripping over one of Jerry’s toys.

The Executive would make a few more appearances over the course of Seinfeld, next worn by Newman the noir hero while picking up Kramer’s mom Babs in “The Switch” (Episode 6.11) and again by Morty himself while visiting Jerry in “The Doodle” (Episode 6.20).

Wayne Knight and Sheree North on Seinfeld

In the Seinfeld universe, the right outerwear has an almost supernatural effect on a man’s ability to attract women, as illustrated by Newman wearing the Executive when meeting Babs Kramer (Sheree North) on the street in “The Switch” (Episode 6.11).

17. Mr. Pitt’s White Socks

Episode: “The Chaperone” (Episode 6.01)
Air Date: September 22, 1994
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Elaine’s new job for Mr. Pitt (Ian Abercrombie) is hardly glamorous, with duties including outfitting the finicky publishing executive with his white socks. “They’re too tight! There’s no elastic, you need to pull too much!” he complains of the pair she initially purchases for him. The task proves to be Sisyphean as her follow-up attempts are either too loose or still too tight.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Ian Abercrombie on Seinfeld

“I want a decent sock that’s comfortable that will stay on my foot!” Mr. Pitt barks at a hapless Elaine, despite her desperate attempts to find him the Goldilocks of socks.

“The Chaperone” also includes a sub-plot following George’s ill-advised attempt to outfit the Yankees in more comfortable cotton uniforms instead of the MLB standard polyester.

18. Larry David’s Cape

Episode: “The Chinese Woman” (Episode 6.04)
Air Date: October 13, 1994
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Our protagonists are understandably bemused after Jerry and Elaine spot Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) talking to a mysterious man dressed in a cape (Larry David). “It is good cape weather… cool, breezy,” Jerry quips, but Elaine continues to ruminate:

But why a cape? Who wears a cape? Where do you even get a cape?

Larry David and Jerry Stiller on Seinfeld

Frank Costanza consults with a caped man who we later learn to be his lawyer. Jerry was evidently so thrown off by the cape that he mistakenly tells George that Frank was wearing a “jacket and tie, no cape,” despite Frank not having worn a tie with one of his trademark leisure jackets.

“It was a reversible, double sided [cape] made of luxurious dark velvet. Heavy but not too heavy,” key costumer Stephanie Kennedy recalled in an Instagram post about the vintage cape she sourced from a studio rental house.

“The Chinese Woman” includes the additional clothing-related sub-plot of a free and unfettered Kramer abandoning both boxer shorts and “the secure packaging of Jockeys”, going commando much to everyone’s horror that there’s nothing between them and Kramer’s “boys” but “a thin layer of gabardine”:

I’m out there, Jerry, and I’m lovin’ every minute of it!

19. Bania’s Armani Suit

Episode: “The Soup” (Episode 6.07)
Air Date: November 10, 1994
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Jerry’s obnoxious fellow comedian Kenny Bania (Steve Hytner) has been proudly “workin’ out” and, now that he’s a size 42 instead of a 40, no longer has any need for a brand-new taupe Armani suit.

“I don’t even want anything for it,” Bania declares as Kramer extols his generosity, though the drawn-out conversation leads to Bania adding the condition that Jerry take him out to dinner in exchange for the suit.

Michael Richards, Steve Hytner, and Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

20. Jerry’s Cowboy Boots

Episode: “The Mom & Pop Store” (Episode 6.08)
Air Date: November 17, 1994
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Famously a sneaker-head, Jerry is forced to abandon his favored footwear when Kramer takes them for cleaning at a mom-and-pop store he’s been frequenting, despite telling him “I really don’t wear the kind of shoes that need to be cobbled.” Rather than a pair or two, Kramer takes all but one pair that Jerry owns to give the titular “Mom and Pop” as much business as possible.

Mom: So many sneakers!
Kramer: Well, he’s got a Peter Pan complex.

When Jerry gets gum on the soles of his Nikes, George demands he change his shoes before riding around in his new Lebaron that may or may not have belonged to the actor Jon Voight. Jerry discovers that Kramer left him only a pair of cowboy boots—given to him by a Dallas comedy club in lieu of payment—that he rightly fears will make him look ridiculous on the streets of Manhattan.

Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

“Hey cowboy, where’s your horse?”

Kramer: You look like a cowboy!
Jerry: (recalling “The Puffy Shirt”) I don’t wanna be a cowboy!

When Kramer gets characteristically over-involved with the octogenarians’ business and encourages an electrical inspection, Mom and Pop opt to close their store down rather than dish out the $4,000 needed to continue safely operating… evidently taking all of Jerry’s sneakers with them, though Elaine mocks Kramer’s suggestion of conspiracy.

21. The Bro Manssiere

Episode: “The Doorman” (Episode 6.18)
Air Date: February 23, 1995
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

A season after partnering with Jerry’s dad on a clothing-related business enterprise, Kramer has set his sights on another of his friends’ fathers: the recently divorced Frank Costanza. After he and George catch a sight of Frank shirtless, the entrepreneurially minded Kramer recognizes yet another business opportunity by developing a supportive undergarment for large-breasted men like Frank.

Frank: You want me to wear a bra?
Kramer: No, no, a bra is for ladies. Meet the Bro.

Estelle Harris, Jason Alexander, Jerry Stiller, and Michael Richards in Seinfeld

“As soon as he leaves the house, he turns into J. Edgar Hoover!”

Despite the embarrassment of George and his mother walking in during the initial fitting, Frank marvels at his improved posture, breathing, and comfort while wearing it and agrees to hook Kramer up with his bra executive pal, Sid Farkus, “the best in the business” who had interviewed George to be a bra salesman at the start of the previous season. Sid is interested, having noticed some jiggling on his own chest, particularly when wearing Ban-Lon, prompting Frank to add: “I wouldn’t be caught dead in Ban-Lon.”

Of course, first they need to decide on a name. Frank is against Kramer’s choice of “bro” as “too ethnic” and advocates for his own pun-inspired nomenclature: the manssiere, “a brassiere for a man!”

22. George Draped in Velvet

Episode: “The Doodle” (Episode 6.20)
Air Date: April 6, 1995
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

“I would drape myself in velvet if it were socially acceptable,” George had stated several episodes earlier in “The Label Maker” (Episode 6.12) and his relationship with Elaine’s friend Paula (Christa Miller) makes this dream a reality as he comes to terms with the facts that she doesn’t care how he presents himself.

“She’s seen you in this thing?” Jerry asks as George strolls into Monk’s Cafe dressed in a dark green velvet tracksuit. “That’s right! We just had sex,” George proudly asserts. When Jerry is displaced by fleas in his apartment and a bitter ex-girlfriend, he comments—in reference to George’s lush apparel and Mel Torme’s cameo in the previous episode—”I guess I’m stuck with the Velvet Fog.”

Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

23. Jerry’s 32-Waisted Jeans

Episode: “The Sponge” (Episode 7.09)
Air Date: December 7, 1995
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

“You see these jeans I’m wearing?” Jerry shares with his new girlfriend Lena (Jennifer Guthrie), moving his belt to show the signature Levi’s patch over the back right waist line. “I change the waist on the label to a 31 on all my jeans.”

The “confession” was his attempt to maintain the relationship after finding Lena’s supply of contraceptive sponges… but it backfires and she dumps Jerry for his vanity.

Jennifer Guthrie and Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

We learn more about Jerry’s jeans preferences as far back as “The Good Samaritan” (Episode 3.20) when George complains about his button-fly, but Jerry advocates for it as “that is one place on my wardrobe I do not need sharp, interlocking metal teeth. It’s like a mink trap down there.”

24. The Maestro’s Trouser Tip

Episode: “The Doll” (Episode 7.17)
Air Date: February 22, 1996
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

During a visit to the Maestro (Mark Metcalf), one of Elaine’s ex-boyfriends, Kramer and Frank are befuddled when the conductor rises from his desk and reveals himself to be wearing white tie, wing collar, and tailcoat… and no trousers.

“Oh… my pants! It’s an old conductors’ trick I learned from Leonard Bernstein,” the Maestro shares. “You keep a perfect crease by not sitting in them before the performance.” Eventually the practice would be adopted by Kramer, Frank, and even Jerry. “This is remarkable… I’m lounging, and yet my pants remain perfectly creased!” Kramer marvels as the Maestro joins him and Frank in George’s old bedroom, now converted to a bedroom parlor, and yet another opportunity for Estelle to walk in on an underwear-clad Frank and Kramer in a compromising position.

Mark Metcalf, Estelle Harris, Jerry Stiller, and Michael Richards on Seinfeld

“Oh my god!”

Movie fans may recall Robert de Niro’s perfectionist gambling executive Sam “Ace” Rothstein had done something similar with his suits in Casino, reportedly inspired by his real-life counterpart Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal.

25. Jerry’s Misplaced Blazer

Episode: “The Friar’s Club” (Episode 7.18)
Air Date: March 7, 1996
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Jerry joins George, Susan, and Susan’s friend Hallie for dinner at the Friar’s Club, but he arrives without wearing the jacket required for the dining room. The maitre’d thus issues Jerry one of the club’s own jackets, a navy blazer with a moose-less crest embroidered over the breast pocket, which he accidentally continues wearing through the rest of the evening. He plans on returning it the following evening, after another double-date to see the Flying Sandos Brothers, but the group incorporates the blazer into their magic act and then doesn’t give it back after making it “disappear”, resulting in Jerry spending much of the episode trying to retrieve it.

Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeld

In the following episode, “The Wig Master” (Episode 7.19), Jerry reveals he gained such an appetite for the crested blazer that he goes shopping for his own, resulting in an ongoing battle with a snooty salesman.

26. Kramer the Pimp

Episode: “The Wig Master” (Episode 7.19)
Air Date: April 4, 1996
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Susan’s friend Ethan (Patrick Bristow), the wig master for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, enters the orbit of the friends and agrees to lend Kramer the famous coat. One night, he takes the coat out for a stroll while carrying the J. Peterman walking stick Elaine gave him after working on it for a catalog piece. A middle-aged woman’s white fur-trimmed fedora blows off her head and directly into Kramer’s path, giving him the final ingredient he needed to inadvertently create the look of a pimp.

Michael Richards in Seinfeld

The costume doesn’t do Kramer any favors when he gets into a fight with one of the Jiffy Park prostitutes who was using his Cadillac convertible as a meeting place with a john, leading to Kramer’s arrest despite his admission: “I’m not a pimp!”

27. Kramer’s Skin-tight Jeans

Episode: “The Wait-Out” (Episode 7.23)
Air Date: May 9, 1996
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Following Jerry’s implication that Kramer could no longer fit into his old jeans, Kramer stiffly struts into Jerry’s apartment wearing the new jeans he promised he would buy.

Kramer: Yeah, I bought dungarees.
: Kramer, they’re painted on!
Kramer: They’re slim-fit.

Michael Richards and Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeld

Jerry can’t pull Kramer out of his jeans, identifiable as Wranglers by the signature leather patch and “W” pocket stitch on the back.

Key costumer Stephanie Kennedy explained the process of finding Kramer’s famous jeans in a @seinfeldbackstage Instagram post, which began with the stipulations that they be stiff, long enough to fit Michael Richards’ 6’3″ frame, and a dark wash to appear new and stand out on camera: “Even though we knew Michael’s waist size of course, we weren’t sure how tight he’d want to go. He tried on a few different styles but he really liked the feel and the stiffness of the classic Wranglers. These were rigid, unwashed denim and he kept going down sizes, tighter and tighter AND TIGHTER!”

28. Jeannie’s Sweater Comment

Episode: “The Invitations” (Episode 7.24)
Air Date: May 16, 1996
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

“Oh, see? To me this is a waste… the shirt you got on under your sweater. It sits in a drawer for three weeks waiting to come out, and when it does, it only sticks up half an inch out of your collar,” Jeannie (Janeane Garofolo) comments to Jerry almost immediately upon meeting him when she pushes him out of the path of a speeding car. It’s just the sort of shallow, fairly obvious observation he himself would make… and he determines that perhaps he’s met his soulmate.

Jerry Seinfeld and Janeane Garofolo in Seinfeld

J.S. meets J.S. and bond over trite clothing observations.

29. Eddie’s Camo Fatigues

Episode: “The Fatigues” (Episode 8.06)
Air Date: October 31, 1996
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Indefinitely in charge of the famous clothier after J. Peterman’s nervous breakdown, Elaine summons the incompetent mail room manager Eddie Sherman (Ned Bellamy) into her office to fire him, only to promote him after being intimidated by his tough disposition and camouflage ripstop U.S. Army BDU with cut-off sleeves. (They’re clearly not his own, as the name reads “Yount” rather than “Sherman”, but that’s besides the point.)

Ned Bellamy on Seinfeld

Of course, his ideas are disastrously depressing and violent, but Elaine feels forced to retain him on the writing staff. After collaborating on a surprisingly successful catalog, Elaine finally asks him “what’s with the fatigues and all the psychotic imagery?”, likely expecting a traumatic war story but instead he admits that he “went on a couple of dates with this woman, I thought she really liked me, and things kinda cooled off.”

The true trauma in the episode would fall to Frank Costanza, who spots the fatigue-clad Eddie choking on the food he cooked for a Jewish singles mixer and flashes back to when he accidentally gave his unit food poisoning as an Army cook during the Korean War.

30. George’s Sable Hat

Episode: “The Chicken Roaster” (Episode 8.08)
Air Date: November 14, 1996
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Impressed by an attractive Barneys saleswoman’s response to him wearing it, George picks out an $8,000 Russian sable fur hat that Elaine—still acting president—irresponsibly charges to her J. Peterman expense account. He actually manages to score a date with her, though her obvious lack of interest inspires him to leave behind the hat as an excuse to see her again.

Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

“This hat just bottles in the heat, I don’t even need a coat!”

The J. Peterman accounting department demands to see the hat Elaine purchased to the account, but Heather refuses to see George again, so he and Elaine are forced to resort to one of Kramer’s shady unseen friends tfor an alternative. Unfortunately, the fabled Bob Sacamano can only get her a cheap simile made not of fine sable but nutria… “a kind of rat.”

Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer were inspired to write this plot by a friend who had been warned against buying a Russian hat without doing his due diligence as there was an abundance of cheap “rat hats” made of nutria rather than sable.

31. A Backless Entry for George

Episode: “The Susie” (Episode 8.15)
Air Date: February 13, 1997
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Ahead of “Yankee prom”, George finally has the opportunity to make an entrance with his beautiful new girlfriend Allison (Shannon Kenny), whom he describes as “genetically engineered to go to a ball,” specifically to twirl into the room in her elegant backless dress. Of course, he’s George, so she’s looking for ways to end it. In the pre-ghosting era, George thinks that all he needs to do is avoid her until the ball, using Kramer as an intermediary.

Understandably fed up, Allison bails on George before the ball and leaves just Kramer to accompany him, dressed in a purple bow tie, wing collar, and peak-lapel dinner jacket. “Like the tuxedo? It’s a rental, but I’ve had it for fifteen years,” Kramer shares.

George tries to prevent Kramer from entering as his date, but the struggle just peels away the back of Kramer’s jacket and shirt as he spins into the room… delivering not the twirling backless entry into the ball that George needed but the twirling backless entry into the ball that George deserved.

Michael Richards and Jason Alexander on Seinfeld

32. #1 Dad T-shirt

Episode: “The English Patient” (Episode 8.17)
Air Date: March 13, 1997
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

“This shirt will never leave my body!” Morty declares of the generic #1 Dad T-shirt that Jerry gifted him for Father’s Day, though there’s no way that either Seinfeld could have anticipated the controversy it would cause, instigating the fiercely competitive octogenarian athlete Izzy Mandelbaum (Lloyd Bridges).

Barney Martin and Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeld

“Oh, I see how it works now… he knocks me out of commission so you can strut around in your fancy #1 shirt!” Izzy concludes, encourages his son to make him a “World’s Greatest Dad” in the hopes that he would now outrank Morty.

33. George the Tourist

Episode: “The Muffin Tops” (Episode 8.21)
Air Date: May 8, 1997
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

George and Jerry are walking down the street when a man asks George to watch his suitcase. After the man fails to return in a period of time deemed adequate, George keeps the contents for himself and begins dressing himself from the man’s bright duds. The uncharacteristic clothing includes a yellow Derby-style golf jacket, pastel shirts, and pleated chinos in shades of off-white and mint-green.

Jason Alexander in Seinfeld

The decision proves to be surprisingly fortuitous for meeting women, when the attractive Visitor’s Center rep Mary Anne (Rena Sofer) mistakes George for a tourist and agrees to help him navigate the Big Apple, as she’s convinced the city would “eat him alive” otherwise.

34. Jerry’s “Hacky” Suspenders

Episode: “The Butter Shave” (Episode 9.01)
Air Date: September 25, 1997
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Hoping to sabotage Kenny Bania’s act that follows his, Jerry abandons his usual comedy routine for a more obnoxious and obvious style, complete with a purple T-shirt worn under a pair of rainbow suspenders. The plan goes awry, thanks to a sun-baked Kramer and a hungry Newman, as the visiting NBC executives are impressed with Bania while merely informing Jerry that his suspenders are “… a little hacky.”

Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

35. Kramer Dressed Like Jerry

Episode: “The Voice” (Episode 9.02)
Air Date: October 2, 1997
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Kramer briefly gets an eager intern, Darin (Jarrad Paul), whose internship is ended by NYU when they discover that Kramerica Industries is “a solitary man with a messy apartment that may or may not contain a chicken.” One of Darin’s duties had been Kramer’s laundry, though—echoing the fate of Jerry’s shoes in “The Mom & Pop Store”—Kramer was left unable to find any of his clothes after Darin took them to a random cleaner, leaving Kramer to forage in Jerry’s closet for something to wear… hence his very Seinfeldian outfit of a light blue oxford-cloth button-down shirt and blue jeans.

Jerry Seinfeld and Michael Richards on Seinfeld

36. George’s Painted Timberlands

Episode: “The Betrayal” (Episode 9.08)
Air Date: November 20, 1997
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

George gets new Timberland boots that make him feel like “a whole new me… I’m up two inches in these babies!” After meeting Jerry’s friend Nina (Justine Miceli) and securing a date with her, George realizes that he had been standing eye-to-eye with her due to the boots and doesn’t want to revert to standing 5’6″ tall when seeing her again (“I can’t go eye to chin!”), so he continues wearing them exclusively through the episode, including to a wedding in India.

“George, you’ve been wearing those boots since I met you, you’re not gonna wear them to the wedding, are you?” Nina asks after their plane lands in India. “No,” he snorts, “I’m gonna wear black shoes.”

Unfortunately, George’s black-shoed solution is merely to attempt to paint his classic wheat-colored nubuck work boots, which Elaine immediately spots (“Are those Timberlands? Painted black?”) and which Nina calls out after the wedding falls apart due to petty jealousies among the friends. It’s a shame that George didn’t feel comfortable standing at his true height, as he dresses for the wedding in an otherwise tasteful cream-colored tonal-checked linen suit that would have looked great with a set of tan derbies.

Jason Alexander in Seinfeld

George haplessly tries to convert his Timberlands to dress shoes to maintain an illusion of height.

George’s frustrations recall the plot of Kramer’s actor pal Mickey Abbott (Danny Woodburn), a little person who was caught by his colleagues using lifts in his shoes to “heighten”.

37. Denim Vest

Episode: “The Strike” (Episode 9.10)
Air Date: December 18, 1997
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

At Tim Whatley’s Hanukkah party, Elaine can’t avoid the advances of a guy she refers to—for obvious reasons—as “Denim Vest” (Kevin Macdonald), finding it particularly loathsome when he smooths it out when striding over to approach her. “Nice vest, I like the big metal buttons,” Elaine tells him. “They’re snaps,” he responds. She sends him away with a fake phone number but, when realizing she handed out the number on a card she needed to redeem a free sub, she arranges to meet him again.

“I see you’re still stickin’ with the denim,” she comments of Steve’s Levi’s Type III trucker jacket he has layered on when they meet in the street, bringing his total denim-adjacent pieces to four: the jacket, the three-button “orange tab” Levi’s vest, a light blue chambray shirt, and blue jeans.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kevin Macdonald in Seinfeld


38. George’s Cuff Links

Episode: “The Strike” (Episode 9.10)
Air Date: December 18, 1997
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

The season of giving is alive at Kruger Industrial Smoothing (“we don’t care, and it shows”), where George takes a page out of Tim Whatley’s book by handing out charity donations as gifts to his colleagues. The only problem is that the charity in question, the Human Fund, is totally made-up… which adds insult to injury as George receives considerably more meaningful Christmas gifts in return, including a set of gold rectangular cuff links with a black bar through the center.

George proudly shows his new cuff links to Jerry, who observes “that’s not a French cuff shirt, you know.” George confirms that, rather than buying a new shirt to accommodate the links, he merely cut off the existing cuff buttons and poked holes through the barrel cuffs with a letter-opener. “Oh, that’s classy,” Jerry deadpans.

Jason Alexander in Seinfeld

“Office Christmas gift!”

Cuff links would return as a more significant plot point four episodes later when Jerry stores Jerry Lewis’ cuff links in Kramer’s strongbox.

39. The “Fancy Boy” Fur Coat

Episode: “The Reverse Peephole” (Episode 9.12)
Air Date: January 15, 1998
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Elaine’s constant on/off-again boyfriend David Puddy (Patrick Warburton) doesn’t understand what’s so funny about his “winter coat”, a thigh-length fur coat with three toggle buttons.

Jerry: So Puddy wears a man fur?
Elaine: He was struttin’ around the coffee shop like Stein Eriksen.
Jerry: And of course you find fur morally reprehensible?
Elaine: Eh, anti-fur, who has the time anymore? This is more about hanging off the arm of an idiot.

Fur coats were evidently in season among Seinfeld‘s men in the winter of 1998, as Elaine believes she’s ridding Puddy of the dreaded coat when she throws it out the window of Joe Mayo’s party… only to learn that the discarded coat belonged to Joe Mayo (Pat Finn) himself. (Why Joe Mayo tosses his own coat among the guests’ jackets isn’t explained, but characters on Seinfeld often defy basic behavioral expectations.)

The always-opportunistic Newman stumbles onto the coat and gifts it to his secret girlfriend, whose husband Silvio (Jon Polito) is their building’s landlord. When Silvio discovers the coat and suspects perfidy, Kramer convinces him that it’s a man’s coat like one worn by Jerry, a “fancy boy” celebrity. The ruse that isn’t hard to convince Silvio given that Jerry has already abandoned his wallet in favor of a European carry-all purse.

Patrick Warburton and Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

Who wore it better?

Seeing Jerry looking like “a bit of a dandy” in the fur coat inspires Puddy to ditch his fur coat in favor of…

40. Putty’s 8-Ball Jacket

Episode: “The Reverse Peephole” (Episode 9.12)
Air Date: January 15, 1998
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Elaine is none too thrilled when Puddy replaces the fur coat with a leather 8-ball jacket, which he continues wearing through the rest of the season as seen in “The Burning” (Episode 9.16) and “The Finale” (Episode 9.23/9.24).

Patrick Warburton in Seinfeld

Puddy: “You got a question, you ask the 8-Ball.”
Elaine: “You’re gonna wear this all the time?”
Puddy: “All signs point to ‘yes!'”

Developed in 1990 by San Francisco-based designer Michael Hoban, 8-ball jackets were most popular through the early years of the decade when they were associated with bold sports stars and hip-hop figures, quickly so in demand that there were actually many cases of wearers who were fatally shot or stabbed by robbers who wanted their 8-ball jackets. Their high cost, the violence surrounding them, and the fleeting nature of fashion meant popularity had mostly waned within two years… and thus were perfectly passé when writer Spike Feresten selected it as the blockheaded Puddy’s new favorite jacket.

Feresten later told the New York Times that he was hoping to solidify the uncool association between Puddy and 8-ball jackets, but the surprising result was a somewhat ironic renaissance for the colorful outerwear.

…and, ending with a familiar conversation

Episode: “The Pilot” (Episode 4.23/4.24)
Air Date: May 14, 1998
Director: Andy Ackerman
Costume Designer: Charmaine Nash Simmons

Of course, the series’ double-length finale would include its share of clothing-based humor as well, including continuing the bit of Kramer’s outlandish lawyer Jackie Chiles (Phil Morris) whose brash tailoring recalls the real-life Johnnie Cochran.

After the four are arrested in Massachusetts for violating the “Good Samaritan law” that required them to intervene while witnessing a crime in progress, Jackie is brought in to defend them, extending his legal strategy into sartorial schemes, ranging from swapping out Jerry’s tie to informing George’s courtroom attire:

Jackie: Didn’t I tell you I wanted you to wear the cardigan?
George: It makes me look older.
Jackie: Look older? You think this is a game? That what you think this is? I’m tryin’ to give you a moral compass, you have no moral compass! You walk into that courtroom and the jury’s gonna see a mean, nasty, evil George Costanza. I want ’em to see Perry Como! No one’s gonna convict Perry Como. Perry Como helps out a fat tub who’s getting robbed!

George takes heed and sports a soft cardigan and open-neck shirt, though the evidence collected over nine seasons of misdeeds can’t stop Judge Art Vandelay (Stanley Anderson) from convicting the “New York four.”

Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld

At the start of their year-long imprisonment, George’s lack of tie allows Jerry the opportunity to size up his shirt… specifically the spacing of its buttons along the placket, just like their very first conversation at the start of the series.

Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, and Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld

Jerry: See now, to me, that button is in the worst possible spot.
George: Really?
Jerry: Oh, yeah. The second button is the key button. It literally makes or breaks the shirt. Look at it! It’s too high. It’s in no man’s land.
George: Haven’t we had this conversation before?

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  1. Bob Saccamano

    George´s cardigan and knit tie in the episode with Lawrence Tierney. Kramer´s outfit in the episode where he bets on the horses. His green cardigan working as a perfect bridge between his brown shearling jacket and his yellow shirt. Kramer´s leather jacket in the Colin O´Brian episode. Frankly it just goes on and on and on into the night.

  2. FDR

    Didn’t Kramer have another jacket that he wore a lot? And someone borrowed and wouldn’t give back?
    Someone should offer a whole Kramer line of clothing. Just think of it, Kramers on every corner.

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