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The 10 Style Lessons from 30 Rock

  • Najib Benouar

The final episode of 30 Rock airs tonight. Forever optimists, we’ve decided to focus not on our sadness, but on opportunities for growth. So we mined the past seven seasons for the most important sartorial lessons the show has offered.

While Jack Donaghy undoubtedly stands head and shoulders above the rest of the show’s unkempt misfits and trucker hats, there are still plenty of examples of what to do and what not to do. And here they are:

The 10 style lessons to be learned from 30 Rock.

Take Pride in What You WearKenneth Parcell may be the lowliest member of the TGS team, but he wears his page uniform daily with zeal and without deviation—showing not just a Tom Wolfe–like discipline, but a patriot’s respect for that suit and the job it represents.

Err on the Side of FormalityIn “The Tuxedo Begins,” Jack’s cufflinks get stolen, and he’s forced to wear the only pair he has at work—his tuxedo links. So he makes the right decision: change into a tuxedo. Another confirmation that you can never be overdressed.

Respect the HeritageIn “Brooklyn Without Limits,” Liz finds the jeans of her dreams in Brooklyn only to find out the quaintly hip shop is owned by Halliburton—so she does the right thing and ditches the jeans. Takeaway: know what you’re wearing. For instance, you might want to take a second look when a label that's sprung out of thin air is using the term "heritage."

Always Be Prepared for BattleJack thinks he’s caught his nemesis, played by Will Arnett, off guard by showing up to his home unannounced in “Plan B.” He is wrong (in lots of ways), but the first comes when Will rips off his stay-at-home dad outfit to reveal a perfectly unwrinkled suit underneath. Well played.

Tattoos Should Not Be Taken LightlyIn an ill-conceived romantic gesture, Tracy tries to get a tattoo of his wife’s face. The result? The word “Tangiers” beneath what everyone agrees is a “super-gay lion.” If that’s not enough of a cautionary tale, we don’t know what is...

Your Hat Choice Says a Lot About YouWhile Frank Rossitano’s hats literally say things, this applies across the board. Hats are returning to menswear. Choose wisely, gentlemen.

Fear Not the Turtleneck. (Still Fear the Beret, a Little.)Tracy sets out on his epic EGOT attempt (winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) with an art-house movie, Hard to Watch, and takes his new role as serious thespian to heart by donning a turtleneck and beret. The turtleneck? Great. Beret? Pushing it.

They Never Fire the Only Guy Wearing a TieToofer is the guy in the writers’ room who keeps himself put together. No boss is walking into a room full of schlubby, untucked employees and firing the one guy who looks like he deserves the job.

You Are What You Wear Liz hires a feminist blogger in “TGS Hates Women.” When it turns out she likes to dresses like a school girl and pretend she’s “a very sexy baby,” her feminist bona fides come into question. It just goes to show: even smart people will judge you by what you wear.

Find Your Comfort ZoneThe most important tenet of personal style is feeling comfortable in your own skin/clothing, so we’ll end with a salute to Liz Lemon’s Princess Leia wedding getup. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before the haute-sweatpants-and-shawls trend evolves into the ’70s-intergalactic-street-wear trend.