Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Sex and the City and now that we’ve all got a little distance on the show, can we please just admit, to ourselves and each other, that the majority of those outfits were just plain ugly?
I know, I know. People love to go on and on about how amazing the outfits on this show were and are, but come on! No one looks good in a ruched pink mini dress with white pumps and a silk scarf headband. Especially when the whole look is topped off with some ghastly brooch and what looks like an OshKosh B’gosh shopping bag. Not even Ms. Carrie Bradshaw. If you saw a human on the street in this outfit the last thing you wouldn’t think is “chic.” Admit it.
And this isn’t an issue of things that once looked cool, now looking dated. No. These outfits were just as much of a mess back than as they are today. I mean, honestly, did anyone ever actually think this looked good?
How about this?
And definitely not this!
People love to give Carrie a pass for her style on account of how “uniquely her” it is, but, honestly, it’s not that unique, even within the context of the show. So many of the outfits Carrie wears could just as easily have been worn by any of the other three main characters. It’s just that people like her better and want to be like her, so they idolize her and call her stylish while at the same time calling Miranda dowdy, or Charlotte conservative, or Samantha trashy.
I mean, are you really telling me that Carrie wouldn’t wear this outfit of Samantha’s?
Or this one?
She wore this mess, after all.
This dress looks like it was ripped straight out of Charlotte’s closet.
And Carrie’s outfit here is really just the over-the-top-look-at-me-look-at-me version of what Miranda’s wearing. Because, as we all know, Carrie always has to be the center of attention.
I mean, how many think pieces have been written about what a selfish and self-involved person Carrie Bradshaw is? She’s shallow and superficial and only ever wants to talk about herself. And her outfits, with their insistence on being the most extra in any situation, are really just an external manifestation of her extraordinary and toxic narcissism.
Remember that hideous Dior newspaper-print dress she wore to “apologize” to Natasha after she was caught fleeing her apartment after sleeping with Big?
Real talk: that dress was the definition of “trashy” — John Galliano, who designed it, famously said the print was inspired by the homeless who wrap themselves in newspaper for warmth. Galliano’s tasteless comment aside, it’s hardly the kind of thing anyone other than Carrie Bradshaw would wear on a mission of contrition. Even Samantha Jones would exhibit more class and self-restraint than that.
And that’s another thing, I’m tired of people giving Samantha Jones a hard time for wearing almost the exact same clothes Carrie does. Sure, some people are Team Samantha all the way, but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people complain that Samantha is too old to dress the way she does. These are the same people who fawn over Carrie’s infantile tutu-and-tank-top combo in the show’s opening credits. If Carrie can wear that, why can’t Samantha wear this ugly blue two-piece?
Sure, it looks like a Paris Hilton hand-me-down from 2002, but Carrie’s outfit in the opening credits looks like she picked it up at JonBenét Ramsey’s estate sale.
And don’t even get me started on that ridiculous headpiece Carrie wore to Stanford and Anthony’s wedding! Actually, do. That thing was ghastly. It looked like Bavmorda’s crown in Willow.
And can we talk about how obsessed people are with Carrie wearing Aidan’s underwear that one time. I cannot tell you how often I’ve heard people ooh and ah over that one and, I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. It just looks like a big, saggy diaper to me. And a full one at that! Not sexy. Unless you’re into autonepiophilia, that is.
And what was with all those big, ugly belts? I’m not just talking about Carrie here. Giant belts were everywhere on that show and most of the time they looked like they had been sourced from the giveaway bin at some Saint Mark’s boutique’s going-out-of-business sale.
Now, if you think all of this means that I was never a fan of the show, you’re dead wrong. I loved Sex and the City when it was on the air and although I find Carrie (and Charlotte, for that matter) deeply problematic these days for a whole host of reasons I won’t get into right now (Could they be any more superficial and heteronormative!), I’ve probably seen every episode at least three times, so don’t get it twisted. You can be a fan of the show while still acknowledging that the clothes in it were utterly ridiculous. And don’t feed me that line about fashion being a form of self-expression and therefore beyond reproach. That is a facile argument and you know it! Disagree with me if you like, but don’t try to tell me you’ve never looked at someone’s else’s outfit and found it lacking. Especially when that someone is named Carrie Bradshaw.
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