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What You May Have Missed About Kramer's Wardrobe On Seinfeld

When "Seinfeld" premiered in 1989, few people probably predicted that the sitcom would become something of a fashion phenomenon. Given that it's a show about nothing, "Seinfeld" clings to the basic commonalities and pet peeves that unite us — or, in the case of the comedy's misanthropic foursome, drive us apart. It stands to reason, then, that something as elemental as clothing is an endless source of fascination and humor for Jerry and company. This is the show, after all, that turned the puffy shirt, Gore-Tex, and the Manssiere (or the Bro, if you please) into comedic shorthand.

If the "Seinfeld" writers were actively mining for yuks with their sartorial jokes (cashmere! Morning Mist!), they couldn't have foreseen that the characters' day-to-day costumes would maintain their own kind of lore. Now over twenty years off the air, the gang's love of unfussy '90s staples like chinos, bulky Nikes, and washed-out jeans have become downright fashionable. Elaine's (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) floor-length floral dresses have even come back around as a major style moment. Though hardly fashionistas, each member of the "Seinfeld" gang had a distinct look over the show's nine-season run, including Kramer (Michael Richards). Here's what you might not have noticed about the K-Man's wardrobe.

Kramer wore the same shoes for Seinfeld's entire run

Of all the major "Seinfeld" players, perhaps no one's look is as consistent as Cosmo Kramer's. Nowhere is this more evident than the character's footwear; over the course of the series, Kramer exclusively wears black Doc Martens oxfords. Per the series' costume designer Charmaine Simmons, Michael Richards cycled through two identical pairs. "Every day for rehearsals he wore the shoes and usually grabbed one of his flecked wool blazers," Simmons told The Los Angeles Times.

Kramer's signature move on the series was his spastic entrances into Jerry's apartment, a feat that would have looked very different were not for the Docs, which allowed him to glide with ease through the doorway. "Those shoes made him Kramer," Stephanie Kennedy, the show's former key costumer, told InsideHook.

But the shoes weren't purely a vehicle for Kramer's bungling kinesis. They were an extension of the character's vintage, threadbare wardrobe, which itself was born more out of Kramer's hoarding tendencies than any real fashion sensibility. "I established the Kramer look, but I wasn't going for a real hi retro thing," said Richards, per The Baltimore Sun. "These are the clothes he's always just worn, and never bought any new clothes ... Kramer never loses anything. If you throw something out, Kramer wants it." As a result, Kramer is regularly outfitted in thinning, thrifted shirts that look straight out of a '50s closet, as well as too-short trousers that elongated the actor's 6'3" frame. 

Kramer's Docs may have been more subtle than his collection of flamboyant prints, but they shaped the look and raucous energy of one of TV's most eccentric characters.