“Sex and the City” Fashion We Can Never Forget

There’s so much about the HBO classic Sex and the City that’s impossible to forget—the Post-it note breakup, Carrie’s cheeseburger and Cosmopolitan combo order, the notion that anyone could live a designer lifestyle in New York City off a columnist’s salary. But perhaps the most memorable moment started at the very beginning, when Sarah Jessica Parker first filmed the opening credits in her now-famous tutu skirt and solidified one of the show’s core tenants: On Sex and the City, the costumes are a character. Now, more than 20 years after the comedy-drama first aired, the show’s looks, famously styled by Patricia Field, have taken on a life of their own. They’ve inspired multiple viral Instagram accounts and continue to delight and puzzle fans, while influencing the fashion we see both on our screens and off. So in honor of the upcoming reboot, And Just Like That, premiering Dec. 9, ELLE.com polled a few SATC superfans to reflect on the series’ outfits that—for better or worse—will always live in our heads, rent-free.

Pink and Patent

carrie bradshaw in a pink dress with a black patent belt


“I’m by no means a fan of Aleksandr Petrovsky, but I’ve got to hand it to him: the man gives good gifts. Like, really good. Cue the Oscar de la Renta dress. When Carrie spots it in a magazine, she dramatically (and jokingly) narrates the description out loud to counter the Russian’s ick-tastic poetry reading. I can still hear the words: sleeveless, silk, faille, full-skirted dress with black patent leather bow belt. Then—poof!—it appears along with an invite to the opera. Such is the case when you’re on a first name basis with the designer. The biggest crime of all is that Carrie never wears the dress out… unless you count a slow dance at McDonald’s.” —Claire Stern, ELLE.com deputy editor

An A1 Dress

carrie bradshaw in a dress with newspaper print


“The John Galliano newspaper dress must have filtered through my subconscious as a teenager; I was obsessed with anything in magazine, comic, or newspaper print. Now I find the pattern a bit more elegant in selective pops, but Carrie could always get away with slathering her body in bold prints. With the rise of the slip dress today, I could see this Dior relic making a comeback in And Just Like That.” —Lauren Puckett-Pope, ELLE.com associate editor

Tube Much to Handle

carrie bradshaw wearing a tube top and skirt while walking with miranda


“I unrepentantly love a tube top (or its sophisticated French cousin, the bandeau) so this late-season look, complete with slightly tacky pendant, really spoke to me. And as someone who is always laden down with too many things, the fact that she’s carrying a visor, soda bottle, and some other unidentified item (that looks like a Juul?), plus wearing a superfluous scarf around her arm, felt apropos. It might not live in my head rent-free, but it’s definitely enjoying Bradshavian levels of rent control.” —Véronique Hyland, ELLE fashion features director

She’s Got Layers

carrie bradshaw sitting in a gown in paris


“The outfit that lives in my head rent-free is the ‘dress of a thousand layers,’ the Versace gown she wears plopped on the bed waiting for Petrovsky. Of course, the dress is just absolutely stunning. A breathtaking creation! But it also, for me, captures the perfect way that Sex and the City integrates fashion into the plot line. The heartbreak of the moment is so much more vivid and visceral because Carrie is in this picture-perfect gown, waiting for all her fairy-tale romance dreams to come true. It’s just stunning, and of course, I had to recreate the moment on my own account here.” —Dan Clay, also known as Carrie Dragshaw

A Chef’s-Kiss Skirt

charlotte in a white button down shirt and lipstick printed skirt


“My outfit is one Charlotte wears during one of her most pivotal episodes. She’s wearing a crisp oxford button-down and a Prada Spring 2000 lipstick print skirt, dare I say one of the best skirts to grace this show. Not only is it a classic Charlotte silhouette, but it’s the episode where she runs out of a bar, falls into the street in front of a cab, and Trey comes out to save her and that’s how she meets him. The rest is history!” —Kevin LeBlanc, ELLE fashion associate

Food for Thought

samantha in a white sweater, hat, and grape earrings


“I will never stop thinking about the outfit that Samantha wears in the diner scene in the series finale when Mr. Big comes to convince the girls that he is the right man for Carrie. It’s an emotional scene, but I’m always completely distracted by this insane outfit. She’s wearing a slouchy cream sweater with a backwards striped Kangol hat, which appears to be made of hemp (or something to that effect) topped off with giant gold earrings shaped like grapes. It’s a little bit Ann Taylor Loft, it’s a little bit stoner, a little bit Bronx…. it truly defies genre in a way that only Patricia Field can. I love it.” —Chelsea Fairless, co-founder of @everyoutfitonsatc

Hold Your Horses

carrie bradshaw in a horse printed dress


“The outfit that I’ve not been able to get out of my head since I first saw it is the look Carrie wears to the opening of Tao in season 4. At first glance, it looks like something she thrifted at an Upper East Side consignment shop. But in actuality, it’s a straight off the runway Stella McCartney–era Chloé silk horse-print wrap dress. On its own, the dress is stunning, but it’s Patricia Field’s Quixote-esque styling that makes it unforgettable. It’s worn with a 1950s tulle skirt and an exposed nude bar. And to top it all off, her outerwear choice for the brisk fall evening is a zip-up cable knit sweater. It shouldn’t work, but it does. And I’m haunted by the fact that I’ll never be able to pull it off.” —Lauren Garroni, co-founder of @everyoutfitonsatc

The Grey Lady

carrie bradshaw in a tight gray dress and sunglasses


“It appears in the show for a second, but I’ve been trying to find my version of Carrie’s gray dress that does for me what it does for her. It’s clingy in all the right ways, without being too skin-tight. If I find one, I will be pairing it with aviator sunglasses.” —Tatjana Freund, ELLE.com beauty e-commerce writer

Risky Business

carrie bradshaw in an oversized white button down shirt


“This outfit inspired me to purchase my very own oversized white shirt. I haven’t paired it with some sleek shoes and an Hermes belt yet, but because of Carrie, I think I have to soon.” —Tatjana Freund, ELLE.com beauty e-commerce writer

Baseball Game Glam

carrie wearing a floral dress, a fur jacket, and a gucci purse at a baseball game


“I care less about the dress than I do about the Gucci bag and fur coat combo. This is Carrie’s ‘in case my ex sees me outfit,’ which I think we can all relate to. Something about the brown tones is so ‘90s, and I love it.” —Tatjana Freund, ELLE.com beauty e-commerce writer

Gossiping as a Workout

carrie bradshaw in leggings and a zip up hoodie


“I’m not sure why this look has captured my attention so much. The slinky hoodie, the braless-workout, and the idea of this character exercising are all iconic. I’ve been trying to find a version of her top for ages but haven’t been able to yet.” —Tatjana Freund, ELLE.com beauty e-commerce writer

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