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‘Arthur’ Is the Most Stylish Show on TV

All the TikTok baddies and e-boys want what Arthur’s parents have

The baddest bitch on the internet is an anthropomorphic aardvark. No, I’m not talking about Arthur — I’m talking about his mom.

Jane Read is an absolute capital-H Hot. The mother to Arthur and D.W. Read on the PBS Kids cartoon Arthur has the look every femme alt-baddie on TikTok wants: cropped pink sweater, washed-out mom jeans and crisp white sneakers. She is the blueprint for all those retro-knockoffs Urban Outfitters peddles to unassuming Gen Zers like me. 

Arthur, which premiered in 1996, is the longest-running animated children’s TV show. In fact, it’s the second-longest-running animated series, behind only The Simpsons. It has an impressive legacy that extends over 20 years, including several elite memes like Arthur’s fist and D.W. holding a fence. In particular, Arthur is revered among the aughts kids who grew up on the show and now spend their lives online. 

In 2019, the show featured a same-sex wedding. This type of progressive, outwardly queer moment is a rarity among traditionally staid children’s shows. This is why Arthur is adored by queer people, and I’m not just saying that because I once dressed up as the aardvark for Halloween. Don’t believe me?

Arthur and his two athlete older brothers. Photo by Jane Longo

Though the show’s cultural legacy only continues to grow, the characters’ looks haven’t changed one bit. Arthur still rocks a yellow sweater and wide-framed round glasses, while one could argue Justin Bieber’s white-boy streetwear game was co-opted from Arthur’s best friend Buster Baxter. 

But no one is doing it quite like Arthur’s parents, David and Jane Read. They’re modern style icons. Hell, Jane even has the ultra-trendy Farrah Fawcett hair. (Yes, Boomers, your grandkids want the infamous shaggy curls of your youth.)

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PBS should set up a mommy blog for Jane because this work-from-home tax accountant is pandemic goals. She knows how to balance her time at home and take care of two rambunctious children, all while maintaining an effortless array of white button-downs and knit sweaters. 

Fortunately, the entire family is pulling their sartorial weight. Her husband, David, a chef who runs a catering business, is a testament to the power of uniform dressing. On the show, he’s almost always in a long-sleeved light-blue polo with an accentuated dark-blue collar. Add in the chinos and brown boots, and you’ve got yourself a sensible daddy. 

The Read family might be old-school, but a quick read of their sartorial choices is better than any magazine’s style guide — well, except MEL’s.

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