It goes without saying I am a huge fan of Sex and the City. It is ten years since the last episode of the final series was aired and it is still as much a part of the TV listings as it ever was, if not more so. Who hasn’t had their channel surfing interrupted by being unable to resist yet another of their favourite episodes when in fact they have the box set and can watch it anytime?
So strong is the influence it wields, it is hard to believe Sex and the City stopped production ten years ago, even though of course we have had two film versions since. Ever played the “Which SATC character are you?”game? You are not alone. I even have a male friend, a straight male friend fyi, who took the SATC tour when he last visited Manhattan.
The unusual thing is that despite the series beginning in 1998 and being very much of its time, it remains relevant and is still followed not only by those who are now in their thirties but by fans who are far younger. It has achieved the (almost) impossible in being all about fashion which by its very nature has a sell by date, but not actually going out of style. Certainly Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’ outlines a very different New York with jobs, apartments and clothes being far harder to come by and with much of the sheen taken off. This more recent story of four girls starting out in the city that never sleeps is more gritty, at times more depressing and not nearly as colourful or glamorous as its predecessor created by Candice Bushnell. Perhaps life simply isn’t as glamorous in 2014 as it was in 2004 – the number of women I know currently who can regularly buy themselves Jimmy Choo shoes and Fendi bags is small that’s for sure. Perhaps we never really lived like that at all and the life that Sex and the City portrayed was no more realistic than the one shown in Dynasty in the eighties.
And yet… and yet, Dynasty is painfully dated and ridiculous with very little you could label as ‘close to home’, no matter what decade you are watching it in. Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte each represent a look that covers most bases in terms of the way self sufficient women dress today, even if the actual clothes are from collections now considered vintage. Indeed many of the outfits worn by the Carrie Bradshaw character were already vintage. Carrie was the free spirit of the show, she of the tutu and scarf tied around arm combo, just as likely to walk the dog in a pair of running shorts as have a picnic dressed as Heidi. Anyone who ever had a creative idea or a freelance job fancied themselves as a Carrie.
The Miranda character was the opposite style-wise and as arguably the most career driven of the bunch (albeit the first to have a baby) became synonymous with tailoring and a no-nonsense appearance. Remember when she went shopping for a wedding dress? I don’t personally know anyone quite as wise-cracking, suit loving and sharply hair styled as Miranda but do I know ferociously successful women who are as likely to go to a funeral and leave with a potential date as they are to eat cake from the bin? Ohh yes, I surely do.
As I recall no-one really wanted to be earmarked as a Charlotte or Samantha although we probably all contain traces of both. I know I have prom dresses in the style of Grace Kelly that Charlotte would be proud of, but I feel equally ‘me’ in a more daring bodycon number that errs on the side of Samantha and her flash-trash approach. And that’s the thing isn’t it, there’s a little bit of all of the Sex and the City women in all of us. After another ten years when Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte would be in their sixties, they will still, to me, be sipping cocktails in their sequins and heels whilst checking out the talent. The style goes on After Carrie.