From Carrie To Shaft: 10 TV and Movie Characters Who Defined NYC Style

New York is definitely a mecca for fashion, and who better to give us the best looks than the iconic fictional characters who live in the city?

New York isn’t only one of the best cities in the world in terms of tourism and culture, it’s also a mecca for arts and fashion. Even if it’s a distant geographical spot for you, there’s no doubt that television and movies set in the Big Apple have made us know it as if we were real New Yorkers. Not only are these series and movies icons of popular culture, but their characters are also like family for many of us, and the ones below are real fashion and style inspirations worth following. As we’ll see, they didn’t only mark generations with their personality, they also defined the style of a city, and with New York being such an avant-garde city, of the entire world.

Carrie Bradshaw

We naturally had to start with the Queen of New York (at least in the fictional pop-culture world), Mrs. Carrie Bradshaw, who in her quest of love, gave us some of the best trends and fashion in the history of television. And not just that: who wouldn’t want the lifestyle and the means to be that fashionable? 


Travis Bickle

Taxi Driver has become one of the most iconic and most important movies in the history of cinema, and such an important title also means having iconic characters. Though Travis Bickle isn’t exactly the kind of character you’d call a role model, there’s no doubt that he has quite a captivating vibe and style that makes him really interesting.

Joan Watson

In this contemporary interpretation of the classic Sherlock Holmes, we have a quite interesting character in the skin of the gorgeous Lucy Liu, and that’s Joan Watson, Sherlock’s right hand. With the series developing in the great city of New York, Joan naturally had to have an awesome style, and she does with kind of an androgynous, sleek, and smart one.


Tony Manero

Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta, New York, and disco. Do I need to say more? Tony Moreno’s style didn’t only reflect NYC’s style of the seventies, it also defined a moment in history and fashion to the point that it's still a reference to the decade.

The entire cast of Do the Right Thing

Although this movie is almost thirty years old, it's still incredibly relevant in terms of the racial dynamics we’re experiencing to this day. The characters were very honest and painted a great picture of what Brooklyn was like in the late 1980s. The movie is also a great place to see the fashion and style of African-Americans and Latinos from this time.


Rodrigo de Souza

Mozart in the Jungle is a series inspired by the memoirs of oboist Blair Tindall and her long quest to achieve success in New York’s classical music scene. In the series, one of the most appealing characters is without a doubt, the enigmatic and kind of eccentric orchestra director, Rodrigo de Souza, who doesn’t only bring some diversity to the scene, but also a very interesting style that captures that diverse music scene of the city.

Serena Van Der Woodsen

Ok, we had to go to something more popular, and what’s more popular than Gossip Girl? Not only did the series make us compulsive gossipies, it also made us desire the rich lifestyle that accompanied it, of course, thanks to the awesome style of characters such as Serena Van Der Woodsen. I mean, just one hour in her closet would be heaven, wouldn’t it?



A bit older than Do the Right Thing, Wild Style became an iconic story of the graffiti movement in New York and a great portrait of what it was like to try to make it as a minority in the New York of the eighties. With real graffiti legend Lee Quiñones as the protagonist Zoro, the movie really showed the complex and fascinating style of the hip-hop and graffiti circles.

Holly Golightly

It’s impossible to have a list of stylish New Yorkers without mentioning Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. I mean, her style is still a reference for modern, sophisticated fashion, and it doesn’t seem like it will change any time soon. She’s really the epitome of the classy and stylish New Yorker we all wish we could be.


John Shaft

Last, but definitely not least, in our list of stylish characters we have John Shaft, the protagonist of THE blaxploitation movie Shaft that puts subjects like the Black Power movement, sexuality, and even gender on the table to open discussions about them. John Shaft was an empowered black hero at a time of scarce representation, and also, he did it with such an appealing style that it turned him into an icon of the African-American community in New York and the world.

These ten characters embrace the multicultural and diverse essence of New York. They all have different and unique styles that end up defining the myriad experiences that make of the city such an impressive, complex, and wonderful place.



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