It’s hard to remember a time when Sex And The City didn’t influence women’s fashion. What in the name of Alberta Ferretti did style mavens emulate before the series premiered? Friends? Melrose Place? Dawson’s Creek? (Shudder.) ”The show liberated the way women felt they could dress,” says costume diva and designer Patricia Field. ”They could be more eclectic, show more skin. They could just be a little bit more original.” Even if that originality meant following the countless trends the show launched — horseshoe necklaces, flower everything, the cult of Jimmy Choo, to name a few. ”They became big rages because you don’t have to be a size 2 to wear them,” says Field. ”It’s not like a slit skirt, which is great the first time you see it…but then the dimple-kneed lady is wearing it, and you’re like, Oh, my God, I hate those skirts.”
As we don our acid-washed jeans and Birkenstocks — we are in mourning, dammit! — and progress through the five stages of grief, we have this to console us: No other show has so successfully made fashion a living, breathing, couture-dripping character. And until another one does, here is our list of Carrie & Co.’s best (and worst) style moments.
1 Carrie’s Nameplate Necklace SEASON 2, EPISODE 13
In between the time Carrie donned this gold trinket and when she lost it in Paris, the retro necklace infiltrated the masses when a new generation of Tiffanis made it their own. Who knew this little throwback would cement the show’s reputation as trend-central?
2 The Fendi Baguette SEASON 3, EPISODE 44
The Christian Dior saddlebag. The vintage envelope clutch. The Louis Vuitton Murakami. All handbag crazes that owe their existence to the little shoulder purse that made it possible — finally! — to hold a cosmo and a Jimmy Choo shopping bag at the same time.
3 Samantha’s ”Fleet Week” Dress SEASON 5, EPISODE 67
This clingy ice-blue number, paired with an extravagant necklace and slouchy stiletto boots, is pure Samantha: sexy, age-inappropriate, and just this side of tacky.
4 Charlotte’s Second Wedding Dress SEASON 6, EPISODE 82
Soft, graceful, and utterly romantic, this dropped-shoulder Badgley Mischka is way less uptight than the Vera Wang she wore to her wedding to the way more uptight Trey.
5 Carrie’s Striped Paris Dress SEASON 6, EPISODE 93
The freshest, prettiest frock Carrie’s worn in years gave the ubiquitous flower trend the proper send-off.
1 Carrie’s Nurse Cape/Candy Striper Outfit SEASONS 4 AND 6, EPISODES 49 AND 85
Which look will fashionistas follow: urban Florence Nightingale or sexed-up hospital volunteer? Uh, neither.
2 Samantha’s Pink Gingham Shorts Set SEASON 3, EPISODE 48
We love that she refuses to act her age. But channeling Daisy Mae — complete with pigtails — is just too immature for us.
3 Miranda’s Hair, Pre-Brady SEASONS 1-4