There’s a line in the new movie of “Sex and the City” that takes my breath away every time I hear it. And I’ve heard it about a million times now because it’s on the trailer. No, I’m not talking about, “Welcome home, baby,” although that one’s pretty swoon-worthy, too.
What really makes my heart flutter is when Big turns to Carrie and asks, “Should we get you a diamond?”
“No, just get me a really big closet.”
This sums up everything fashionistas – and average Janes everywhere – love about Carrie Bradshaw. The gals of SATC radically altered the state of women’s fashion – for women of all ages. If you think I’m overstating the show’s influence, ask yourself these two critical questions: Did middle-class suburbanites wear $200 jeans before the HBO series hit the air? And was Manolo Blahnik a household name? I think not.
Movie critics like to say that Manhattan became a fifth lead character in the movie, but I argue that there were six: the clothing had a life of its own. SATC is the show that launched a thousand stilettos, many of which ended up in my too-small closet. And it liberated American women from the hell that is a “matchy-match” wardrobe.
So it’s fun to speculate what trends the movie version of SATC will inspire.
After spending far too much time studying the trailer and stills, I offer the following predictions. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Carrie or a Samantha (I’m actually more of a Charlotte) because I have a few suggestions on how to make each look your own. And I also have a few suggestions on how to get the “Sex and the City” look on a Queen City budget.
. Pattern on pattern: Carrie’s green-floral-on-green-floral ensemble isn’t for the faint of heart, but there’s something to be said for mixing it up. Start out with something a little tamer – such as a black-and-white floral sundress under a black-and-white graphic print jacket – and work up your courage. Both can be found at Bella Luna in Bangor.
. Enormous sunglasses: I know, SATC didn’t start this trend, but Charlotte does Jackie O. shades far better justice than LiLo or either of the Olsen twins ever could. I got mine (Juicy Couture) at Marshalls for a fraction of the regular retail price.
. The bold and the beautiful: Whether it’s Samantha’s bright yellow dress and cardigan, Louise’s (Jennifer Hudson) indigo top or Enid’s (Candice Bergen) aquamarine and chartreuse combo, bright is right. Skip Samantha’s dreadful peplum suit, but do try color, and loads of it – it’s summer, kids. You can get a fab yellow sundress – or a turquoise overcoat – at Bella Luna, but brights are everywhere from Macy’s to Burlington Coat Factory.
. It’s in the bag, and the bag is big enough to hold a king-size tub of popcorn and enough clothing for a week in Paris: If you take one lesson away from the big-screen SATC, let it be this – you need a huge purse. Don’t buy a knockoff. Get the real deal for a steal at T.J.s or Marshalls, or better yet grab something uniquely fabulous at Maureen Elizabeth Handbags on Main Street in Bangor, Awholelottabags on outer Hammond Street or, my current obsession, the mock-croc Big Buddha bags at Bella Luna.
. The ’50s (and the 50s) are nifty: I’m talking about the decade – Carrie sports puffy skirts, floral dresses with nipped-in waists and hair slicked back into a ponytail. But I’m also talking about the age. If Kim Cattrall’s Samantha isn’t enough to convince you that sexy doesn’t stop at 49, then I don’t know what is. I bought my puffy skirt at The Pretty Woman in Orono, but they’re everywhere right now.
. Shoe love is true love: The men in SATC may come and go, but one thing remains constant – a great pair of shoes will never, ever let you down. Since I can’t afford Carrie’s $770 Christian Dior gladiator sandals, I’ll stick to the patent leather stiletto Mary Janes by Nine West I found at Macy’s.com.
. Prints charming: In the auction scene, Samantha’s dress is coming up roses, Miranda is bedecked in sunflower blossoms and Miranda is mod in black and white. If all that pattern is a bit much for you, work it in slowly – a print skirt with a solid top – or pull out all the stops. For high style at a low price, you can’t beat the dresses from J.C. Penney and Kohl’s. I especially like JCP’s Bisou Bisou line.
. Hats on: Only the truly courageous among us could pull off any of the SATC hats, but if you feel inspired by Samantha’s wide-brimmed straw number or the green confection Sarah Jessica Parker wore to the London debut, head to Burlington Coat Factory. It’s always good for a topper. Better yet, check out the Steve & Barry’s in the Auburn Mall, which carries SJP’s Bitten line, in which every item of clothing, including hats, costs $8.98.
. The little white dress: There are plenty of frothy wedding dresses in SATC, but the white dress I truly want is the one worn by Charlotte in the promo photos. It’s a streamlined A-line, and it’s truly gorgeous. I have no idea who designed it, but look for a sea of knockoffs this summer.
. Tie one on: In the aforementioned promo photos, Carrie wears a ridiculous white suit with a ridiculous white vest and a ridiculous men’s tie. A kinder, more stylish version of the suit and vest is available at New York & Co. If the tie trend catches on, which it inevitably will, save yourself some money and borrow one from your own Mr. Big.
. Great expectations: Charlotte (Kristin Davis) gets preggers in the movie, and in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ruthie Stein, Davis says stylist Patricia Field doesn’t do maternity. In six months’ time, expect to see Oscar de la Renta-inspired trapeze dresses at Motherhood Maternity.
. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize: Despite Carrie’s insistence that Big buy her a closet, she’s dripping with diamonds. I suggest the giant CZ studs at The Meadow of Blue Hill as an alternative.
SATC may have started a fashion revolution, but its most important message – the reason why it resonates with so many women – has nothing to do with sky-high heels or designer handbags. At its core, the series, and the movie, are about the best accessories of all: a good set of girlfriends.
As Carrie would say, “Friendships never go out of style.”
We have a winner!
Congratulations to Gwyneth Freeman of Bangor, who will receive a pair of Switchflops and a foot-care goodie bag as part of the ShopGirl giveaway.