As someone who loves fashion and pop culture in exorbitant amounts, when I tried to understand Carrie Bradshaw’s style from the POV of a conventional sartorial rule book – I failed. Back when I was a student, I religiously watched the SATC series – and Carrie to me, was all about the big labels and the vintage finds. Then as I progressed, so did the series. It turned into larger-than-life movies (Hello, Abu Dhabi!). From an industry insider’s point of view, Carrie’s maximalist choices made little or no sense to me. Why did she wear a tulle Dior dress to a spice and gold souk? it didn’t really add up. My love-hate relationship with Carrie ended when I finally cracked the code of the method behind her madness, thanks to the latest reboot.
The show unpacks a lot, right in the first two episodes. We watched her dance with the love of her life – only to lose him because of a Peloton accident. Of course, I expected her to turn up as Mrs-Preston-who-lives-in-a-fancy-penthouse for Big’s funeral – but it’s what followed that finally explained her emotional connection with fashion to me. Everybody deals with feelings differently – after a grave loss like that, Carrie grieved and mourned and spent sleepless nights in her plush home. Only to find solace in her old musty closet in her original apartment – right in the middle of all the clothes and shoes, she treasured all her life. The next day, she dressed in an enormous white tutu dress, adding a layer of casual with a striped t-shirt – polishing the look with her ’90s signature, purple sequin baguette and white ankle booties – all for a coffee run to a nearby bodega.
This explained 2 things to me – Carrie explicitly emotes through fashion and in no era or age will she dress based on trends or occasions. That explains all her choices in the past, present and probably the future. Now that it all made sense to me, here’s a breakdown of all the monumental Carrie Bradshaw looks that were purely driven by her sentiments.
1. Naked Dress
Remember this fine silhouette from her first date with Big? People on their first dates often play it safe, not Carrie – especially not when she is crushing hard on the man she is going out with. She knew what she wanted and the weapon in her fashion arsenal helped her get it.
2. Non-Wedding Wedding Dress
First things first, this Vivienne Westwood dress is a piece of art *chef’s kiss*. Of course, she eventually got married in a vintage skirt suit set at the courthouse, but this dress symbolises Carrie’s big love for Big. She was marrying the man she chased across New York for years, it was finally time for her happy ending – how could she not put a bird on her head?
3. Date With New York
Single Carrie was always gloomy Carrie – in an attempt to take herself out of a funk, she went on a romantic rendezvous with the city she loved the most, New York. For this fun little date, she dressed cute – in a flirty, colourful ensemble, trying to fill in the otherwise lonely life she was living at the moment.
4. Big Flower Energy
After the series ended, there was a big hiatus and then came the fashion-packed movie. This was Carrie’s moment to shine, as towards the end of the series she won it all – love and label. What attire could have possibly made more statement than this giant hibiscus baring dress by Eugene Alexander.
5. New Year New Me
When Carrie almost wore *wait for it* pyjamas (or some version of it). After being dumped by Big for the 78,56,49th time – Carrie decided to lay low. She went on her honeymoon alone (with her gal pals), dyed her hair super dark and brought in New Year’s eve in this semi-casual loungewear she would otherwise not be caught dead in.
6. Arabian Night
The thing about Carrie was, she knew exactly how to cash in fashion for attention. Question: How to dress for a date with your ex-boyfriend in an exotic country while your marriage feels boring and mundane? Exactly like this! Although she tried to call it a ‘casual dinner’, one look at her decolletage-focusing gown and kohl-rimmed eyes gave away her flirtatious intentions to her friends (and the audience).
7. No Colours Left To Cry
The very next day after Big passed away – Carrie brought out her utilitarian best. When else would she wear a pale striped dress with a dull pink coat and an oddly shaped, errand-running tote bag?
8. Sari Not Sorry
If you’ve watched the Diwali episode, you’ve probably already read all the heated sentiments pointed at Carrie for calling this beautiful Falguni Shane Peacock lehenga a sari. While their hearts were in the right place, they definitely messed this one up. Keeping the angry Indian diaspora aside, let’s talk about Carrie trying to one-up the Indians at a gathering that was celebrating an Indian festival. The grand lehenga and the floral mohawk is very on-brand with Carrie’s extra-ness – wait, did you think she was going to show up in a solid chiffon sari with straight boring hair? If the memo given to her was the festival of colour and light – she will definitely overdo the assignment.
Let us know in the comments, in case we missed a look that had an interesting back story.
Also, if you love SATC, as much as we do, here’s where you can read more about the same.