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12th October 2023

On screen style report #2: Carrie Bradshaw

From Manolo Blahnik to Dolce and Gabbana: How Carrie Bradshaw would rule the NYC fashion-sphere today
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On screen style report #2: Carrie Bradshaw
Credit: Poppy Clayton @ The Mancunion

“I like my money right where I can see it– hanging in my closet” Carrie Bradshaw quips in the series six premiere of Sex and the City, and a statement never rang truer for a TV icon. After six years as a fashion luminary, Bradshaw’s wardrobe became the envy of all and slowly crept to the top of the fashion ‘rob’ list.

Carrie flawlessly rocked her natural curls in the era of big blowouts, and famously had $40,000 worth of shoes sitting in an apartment she couldn’t afford. Almost 20 years after the series finale, it’s time to reimagine Carrie Bradshaw in the 21st century. Would the sex columnist still don a fur coat and stilettos for a Yankees game? Would she still turn her nose up at a Judith Leiber swan clutch?

Bradshaw embraced all the fashion trends of the noughties from capris to statement jewellery, and her style was as eclectic as New York City itself. Fashion undergoes constant evolution, and Carrie consistently excelled at remaining at the forefront, always infusing her unmistakable Bradshaw touch. The question is, would the Carrie Bradshaw of today embrace 2023 trends?

Crystal swans vs. metallic top-handle bags

The Judith Leiber novelty bag was, and still is, a major status symbol, but in the series two episode ‘The Caste System’ when Carrie is gifted a bejewelled Leiber swan purse, she instantly thinks it’s “Just wrong.” However, would a Carrie of the 21st century embrace sparkle or reject it?

One of the biggest trends of spring 2023 was metallics, particularly metallic shoulder bags. Diesel and JW Anderson led the way in the metallic revolution and other brands such as Coach soon followed, reimagining their iconic Tabby design in silver.

Carrie was always loyal to her designers and would undoubtedly embrace the trend, most likely with the Gucci Dionysus in silver, as Bradshaw wore her Gucci top handle bag multiple times throughout the series.

Silver Gucci Handbag
Credit: Gucci @ net-a-porter.com, £840

Tutus vs. lace

The legendary tutu worn by Carrie in the opening titles of the show and again in the Sex and the City Movie became an instant classic. Not only did she wear one in the series finale, she also recently styled a maxi-length tutu in the reboot, And Just Like That. 

It’s safe to say that the 2023 tutu equivalent is lace. One of the trending looks on TikTok this year was the lace maxi skirt, and the delicate fabric has been incorporated into hair accessories, vests, and slips.

Carrie was a huge fan of the slip dress and a sheer moment, so would definitely step out on the streets of New York in a lacy, sheer Dolce and Gabbana slip (who could forget the D&G rhinestone underwear moment?) and Manolos: a Carrie Bradshaw staple.

Sheer, lacy Dolce and Gabanna dress
Credit: Dolce & Gabbana @ dolcegabbana.com, £1,150

Manolos vs. Mary Janes

By the 2000s, according to a buyer at Neiman Marcus, Blahnik sales tripled thanks to Sex and the City. Carrie was rarely seen without her Manolos, so it’s hard to believe that a 21st-century Carrie would be without at least one pair. However, with the Mary Jane pumps making a comeback, even Manolo Blahnik has stepped on the bandwagon with Mary Jane-esque pumps selling for £645, a price Carrie wouldn’t look twice at.

Black Manolo Blahnik Mary Jane style heels
Credit: Manolo Blahnik @ manoloblahnik.com, £645

Mary Janes have gone through multiple reinventions from the mod look in the 1960s to ‘twee’ style in the 2010s, so are a timeless classic like Carrie and Manolos themselves. Sarah Jessica Parker famously stated that she “Could run a marathon in a pair of Manolo Blahnik heels. I can race out and hail a cab. I can run up Sixth Avenue at full speed. I’ve destroyed my feet completely, but I don’t care. What do you really need your feet for, anyway?”– a marathon in Mary Janes would be a breeze for Bradshaw.

Fur coats vs. trench coats

Carrie’s vintage fur coat was something impossible to replicate and impossible to forget, but in an ever-changing world fur has become an outdated and controversial choice, and the absence of Carrie’s fur in And Just Like That proves that Carrie would ditch the fur for a more animal-friendly winter coat.

For 2023, the most in-demand winter warmer is the trench coat as it’s easily variable. In true Bradshaw fashion, she would most likely slip on an animal print coat from Stella McCartney or D&G in the snowy NYC streets.

Snakeprint Stella McCartney coat
Credit: Stella McCartney @ net-a-porter.com, £2,300

Fur has been reinterpreted for the modern era in faux shearling, used in robe and toggle coats introduced in Fall/Winter fashion weeks. Despite this, second-hand fur is a very sustainable way to stay warm and stylish, and with sustainable fashion on the rise a modern Carrie would gladly adopt a second-hand fur coat.

In the ever-evolving world of fashion, one thing remains constant: Carrie Bradshaw’s enduring influence. As we ponder the question of how she would embrace the trends of 2023, one thing is crystal clear—Carrie’s style is timeless, just like the city she calls home. While metallics replace bejewelled swans, lace steps in for tutus, and Mary Janes make another comeback, one thing is certain: Carrie Bradshaw’s fashion legacy continues to captivate us all. Cheers to a stylish future, where the spirit of Bradshaw lives on in every trendsetter and fashion enthusiast.

Take a look at the previous article in the ‘On screen style report‘ series to see how Serena van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl would dress in the 2020s.


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