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Sex and the City and Carrie Bradshaw: A Style Evolution With A Question To Ponder In The End

Updated: Feb 23

When we think of Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw, we think of designer shoes and clothing. Carrie Bradshaw will probably always be a fashion and style icon. But initially, Carrie's style, along with the other ladies, was a bit plain and simple. They were just regular girls wearing regular clothes. It was a mix of high and low. The low being something similar to H&M and the highest being something from the sales rack at Nordstrom Rack. Shout out to Nordstrom Rack! No offense to NR but the clothes they sell we all wear. Nothing original or striking. Nothing that would make us want to spend a month's rent. When I think back to the first season of SATC, I don't even remember any mentions of fashion or designer shoes. Maybe that was all by design? Maybe budget-driven? It was a new show aired at the end of the 1990s. This era is best known for grunge and fashion minimalism. So the dress down, I guess you can say, was the fashion. Maybe the fashions, or lack thereof, contributed to our focus on the ladies' characters and their conversations. Because that's what SATC was all about and started as. A show about discussions and those discussions focused on women's viewpoints about dating, men, and sex in modern-day NYC. That's what the show was about. It wasn't until several seasons passed that SATC became a fashionista's beckon of fashion, shoes, and designer labels.

But my memory of SATC Season One could be completely inaccurate. It's been a long long time since I've watched Season One so my memory may not be completely in tack. It was so long ago since the airing of the first season of SATC people were still smoking in bars and restaurants. All I know is other than discussions about wearing the naked dress on a first date with Mr. Big, I don't remember many conversations about fashions or shoes. But even still, Season One still managed to leave us with some iconic fashion looks from the Carrie Bradshaw closet. A few happen to be on my favorites list. And here they are!

Season One - Look One / The Fur Coat

(This is one of my favorite CB closet items. I wore a similar fur coat in the early 90s rambling around Chicago's night scene during the winter months. The only difference mine was lighter in color. Sort of a grey and white combination and a little denser in fur. If you are against fur I totally understand. I love fur and being from Chicago it's almost impossible to pass up a nice warm and cozy fur coat in the middle of a Chicago winter. But all my furs are inherited and hand me downs. I don't ever see myself purchasing a new real fur coat. Maybe something vintage. I figure it's already made so no sense in wasting it.)

Season One - Look Two / The Naked Dress

(The dress with a title. This is the Naked Dress. The famous dress on the famous SATC bus billboard and the dress CB wore on her first date with Mr. Big. There's no need to share an opinion of this dress. No matter if you like it, or not, it is irrelevant. It's the simplest of dresses but will always be iconic in the SATC world.)

Season One - Look Three / The Black Dress

Season One - Look Three / The Little Black Dress

(I love a little black dress. This is the little black dress CB had on when she randomly stumbled into Mr. Big for the first time after dropping her handbag. Guess you could say this is the dress that started it all. I love the asymmetric hem which gives a lot of leg. This is definitely one of my favorite looks of the season and this dress is timeless.)

I would say SATC, Season One is not one of the show's most defining fashion moments. But SATC Season Two begins to place more emphasis on style and fashion. It was the beginning of a slight style evolution of not just Carrie but all the ladies. The clothing became a bit less plain looking. Particularly CB's style. There wasn't just one look for CB. Sort of a trial and error of fashion exploration. It was obvious the writers and designers wanted the clothing to reflect the ladies becoming more successful in their lives and careers. It's only natural that season-to-season clothing and style would change. In real life, style changes as we get older, make more money, or have major life changes. This is also the season the importance of designer shoes to Carrie became evident to the audience.

Season Two! Talk about changes. Whew! Carrie went through a few. First, it starts with her in the dumps and still miserable over her breakup with Big. The girls take her to a baseball game and she meets the cute New Yankee (did he have an actual name?) From there, she meets a nice guy but she becomes the freak in the relationship. Gets back together with Big only to be left dumped. AGAIN! Then goes on a series of dates with men that have...well ISSUES! You name it she went on a date with it. Then after all that, only to run into Big at a party to find out he fell in love in Paris. Of all places. So Season Two Carrie's love life was all over the place and so was the fashion. But the hair was fabulous! So even though I wasn't a huge fan of many of the outfits from Season 2, the season has a couple of my favorite dresses and moments.

Season Two - Favorite Dress and Moment One

(There is nothing more feminine to me than a pink dress. Particularly to wear during the summer months. I absolutely love this dress. It's pretty, light, and flirty. This is also one of CB's dresses that can stand the test of time. It doesn't even require much accessorizing. This is also the dress she wore to her "friendly" lunch with Big. Thinking she could pretend to be friends with the man that possessed her heart was another mistake CB made with Big. Then she has a total meltdown after learning he is now engaged. Well, she kinda stepped into that one herself. "Tell me about the girl." Yeah - like that was going to go well. But I do love this scene and this dress. Actually, I ended up finding one very similar and I wore that dress until it was no longer wearable.)

Season Two - Favorite Dress and Moment Two

(The dress and the day. It was the day of Mr. Big's engagement party at The Plaza. Carrie has drinks with the girls and they discuss "why her?" It becomes clear as Miranda points out she's - Ka-Ka-Ka Katie. As she walks home she takes a path that takes her past The Plaza where she sees Big and Natasha getting into a car. Big excuses himself and walks over to CB and makes a little joke about being late. Then Carrie asked Big the one question every woman on this planet has wanted to ask of the man that broke her heart and went on to find love with someone new. "Why wasn't it me?" The answer from Big? "It just got so hard" At that moment we discover Big really is Hubbell. And with that CB recreates the scene from the movie The Way We Were - "Your girl is lovely Hubbell." Big says he didn't get it. To which Carrie replies "And you never did." Just like Hubbell, Big could never reconcile his love for Carrie because she was a bit different than his idea of who he should be with. Carrie turns and walks away in that fabulous white dress, stunning figure and says one of my favorite lines from SATC, with strings from a guitar-playing La Punta in the background.

"Then I had a thought: maybe I didn't break Big. Maybe the problem was he couldn't break me. Maybe some women aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with."

Carrie successfully managed the walk away every woman has dreamt of and fantasized about during a chance encounter with an ex while looking absolutely fabulous!

From Season One to Season Two, we saw changes in the clothes the ladies wore. But Season Three amped up the style game and took it to a whole nother level. I have to say I think this was one of my favorite seasons fashion-wise. Well, the storyline didn't disappoint either. I mean this is the season Carrie meets the new love of her life, Aidan. Then has an affair with Big. And the season when they took sex out of the NY city and into the backlot streets of Los Angeles. This is also the season the quest and passion for labels were intensified. To the point, Samantha takes Carrie to shop for faux Fendi's in the back of a car somewhere in the Valley. Everything in Season Three got a sleek makeover. The designer clothes, the hair and let's not forget those Manolo Blahnik's.

Season Three - Favorite Look One