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Carrie Bradshaw: fashion icon or bag lady?

September 17, 2009

Jo: Hoorah for the long-anticipated arrival of awesome little BabyG!!

Ally did pregnant sooo well. So lovely, all the time. She didn’t once wear anything like this:


Elena Perminova is married to the owner of the Evening Standard. She is pregnant. This Mark Fast fabric scrap of a dress is what she wears. Photo: Jason Bell for British Vogue (From New York Magazine ‘s Best and Worst of May Fashion magazines Best Maternity Dress – British Vogue)

Golf claps for Ally, everyone!

OK, enough baby business. Time to move onto something a little more fierce, shall we?

It’s the Carrie Bradshaw face-off! I must admit, I have been plotting this for some time. I adore L-A and agree with her on ALMOST everything except my beloved Carrie Bradshaw. Every bag lady reference she makes cuts me deep. DEEP! Let’s remind L-A of CB’s awesomeness.

Why we love Carrie Bradshaw…

Sure, she doesn’t always get it right, but who does? We love her for her faults, oui? Makes her more like me real? When she DOES get it right, she really, seriously, rocks it.


Jury duty chic


Who would work at Vogue and NOT wear a killer Vivienne Westwood pinstriped suit??


Post Post-It break up … the best revenge is to look AWESOME


Single-handedly brings florals back with one swoop of several fabulous coats (like this off-white velvet Luisa Beccaria  floral beauty, which incidentally, tops a lovely lavender Badgley Mischka velvet sequined dress)


Oops, I look fantastic, especially while wearing a fabulous Oscar de la Renta


Sidebar … the next time I marry (for money, not love), I will wear this Jill Stuart pink ruffle dress


This Sonia Rykiel sweater is perhaps not for everyone, but is totally adorable, non?


Why can’t I look like this whilst trotting around Halifax in the rain?


So cute I can’t stand it … I’m pretty sure bag ladies don’t wear Balenciaga dresses, LaCroix coats and Christian Laboutin pumps (If they do, I am in the wrong profession…)


… let’s take a closer look at the dress, shall we?


Stanford is way funnier while wearing this Vivienne Westwood dress

red and white

L-A will not approve, but I know Ally loves this as much as I do.


[L-A edit: I do hate this outfit. It was one of the outfits I was planning to use to prove my point. No worries. I had plenty to choose from.]

And, let’s not forget the legendary, seafoam 1,000 layer Versace gown that nearly made my heart stop. Seriously. Bag lady??? LOOK AT HER!!!


The bottom line? CB is the master of the high-low mix – and I KNOW you love that L-A . She was – and still – is a tremendous influencer. It would seem in this case, life imitates art (I am using the term “art” loosely here, people). Thank you SJP/Carrie Bradshaw/Pat Field … This dream team is the Oprah of the fashion world. Carrie wears, we buy … whether you realize it or not.

Bring on your best bag lady L-A … bring it.

“I like my money right where I can see it – hanging in my closet. “- Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

LA: I’ve been looking forward to this Carrie Bradshaw smackdown as well.  It’s almost timely with the photos from the movie sequel floating about the internets. Because with a new movie being filmed, it is time we nip the Carrie-mania in the bud.

Now, before we get started, I’m going to have to make a couple of things clear: This is not about how SJP looks or  how some folks think she’s not attractive. She’s not the Most Beautiful Woman in the world, but I like her. So it’s nothing personal.

And it’s true. Bag ladies don’t wear Louboutins. Or any of the designers that Carrie wears. And she wears a lot of really hot designers. Fierce designers. Some of my favourite designers. And I will admit, many of the outfits that Jo has highlighted here are pretty frakking awesome. She almost convinced me that Carrie really is the fashionista we’re supposed to think she is. That last Versace number? That is what Lainey might call dress porn and I love it.

What gets me is that at some point, when Sex and the City was swallowed whole by it’s own hype. Don’t get me wrong. I admit: there was a time when I loved that show. Loved it. I watched it every week. I was even among the throngs of women who were charmed by this:


(This is the first time I’ve noticed that dude int he background is wearing a sheer top!) But along the way, the hype became too much for me. I mean, you can now watch it on TBS with the swears and the sex edited out. And seriously? Without the Sex, you’ve just got The City:


and that’s just the poor girl’s version of The Hills and you probably don’t care about it. Let’s face it, we only cared about Whitney when she was there to ask LC questions about her date and what evil tricks They Who Shall Not Be Named are up to. But I digress. We’re not here to talk about Whitney. We’re here to talk about the monster that Patricia Field created. And that monster is Bag Lady Carrie.

Just to remind you, this is Patricia Field:


If that age inappropriate outfit doesn’t give you nightmares, I don’t know what will. If you are not 19, you should not be wearing that. And despite the fact that Patricia Field created the look of Charlotte York-Goldenblatt, which was almost always 100% lovely, I have trouble taking fashion advice from a woman who will wear that in public. This is what Carrie would become if she were a real person and carried on dressing like she does.

So here’s what I think happened: Carrie was quirky. Her outfits were quirky. We loved it. We did quizzes online to determine if we were a Carrie or not and were probably all disappointed if we got “Miranda”. We bought into the hype. And then I think Patricia Field started to believe the hype. And she forgot how to edit. She kept trying to out-quirk herself. And it got scary. Now for the photographic evidence. Let’s start with a photo of a bag lady:

Adriane Moreno Bag Lady_jpg

Replace those boots with heels and I bet Carrie would tap that look in an instant. Oh, wait, she kind of has already:


Pajamas and a fur coat with ankle booties. And some pearls for good measure. Sort of makes me thinks of another picture I found while googling “bag lady”:


MmmHmm. Carrie was just a pair of puffy thinsulate mittens short of that look. She does it again here:

bagladycarrie2 sarah_jessica_parker

I bet I’d actually like the dress if it wasn’t for the sad blue coat and the messy hat. Instead, all together, it looks like a crazy old lady. Like your weird Great Aunt who owns seventeen cats and smokes a pack of menthols a day.  As for the second, well, it seems that Carrie just has the best collection of sad looking coats and hats known to mankind. Give the girl some thinsulate mittens and she’s set.

But the evidence doesn’t stop there! She does summer bag lady as well!


But, it’s Chanel! No! Label does not matter. It’s just wrong. I’m not even going to address to jeans.


Vegas style! Or maybe a little bit Burning Man attendee.

Need More? Well, okay,


A fanny pack! How fashion forward!


Notice that Miranda looks smug even though she’s looking like a minivan driving soccer mom? That’s because she isn’t wearing a belt on a bare midriff.  Okay, those last two were a little less bag lady, more crazy lady. They still aren’t okay.

And sometimes, Carrie just likes to wear as many pieces as possible. Kind of like a bag lady might.

ep75_carrie_street_pinksweater toomanylayers

Individually, some of these pieces would be cute. Except for the baggy mom jeans and the cargo capris. Those are just not okay. I just don’t understand why she is wearing them all at once.

I could go on for days.  I know it hurts when I say these things. But I think it hurts because deep down, you know it’s true. Sure there are cute outfits in her fictional closet. Some are downright fantastic. But it’s moments like those that cancel out the lovely in her wardrobe and make her look just plain crazy. Like this outfit, the one that started this debate:


Oh that coat. That giant old man’s coat.

And that, my friends, is why I say Carrie Bradshaw looks like a bag lady.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue permalink
    September 17, 2009 9:44 am

    One day I saw a woman walking down Barrington Street wearing low rise jeans, a cropped top and a white belt around her naked waist. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever.

    Flash forward a couple of years and I am watching a rerun of SITC and there’s SJP wearing that green and white number pictured above. Suddenly the lady with the white belt made sense. I start pointing at the TV, yelling “J’accuse!”

    Most of the time I am surprised that SJP looked good on SITC, but mostly I blame Patricia Field.

    • L-A permalink*
      September 17, 2009 10:59 am

      Oh dear. Now, this is why tv series stylists need to take their work seriously: because real people might try to copy the look! This worries me more than kids getting too much violent TV. Will no one think of impressionable fashion victims??

  2. September 17, 2009 11:23 pm

    Well played, ladies. Well played.
    I have always been a Carrie fan. Remember the necklace? Those were the days, really. Way back there was this episode on a boat and she wore this gorgeous vintage-looking navy dress that I loved. My all-time fave was the end of season 5. The bubble dress and sixties-esque ‘do. Having read through this post, though, I have to say that L-A does make a surprisingly strong argument.
    Whoever wins the Carrie Face-Off, the post was fantastic and I love your site!
    Love, P

    • L-A permalink*
      September 18, 2009 12:26 am

      I know the dress/hairdo you speak of. It was absolutely lovely (and was edited out of this post for space). Carrie had her moments of looking amazing, but I’m sticking to my guns on this one. Too much crazy for me.

  3. allygarbs permalink*
    September 22, 2009 9:53 am

    OMG Thank you for this post. I had 5 minutes of computer time while BabyG was sleeping and this made me roar. You two are hilarious. L-A, you know I heart that last outfit so, so effing much. In fact, I shall wear something similar to our next coffee date. We can communicate across the room with whiteboards as I assume you will refuse to sit with me.

    Ally xo

    • L-A permalink*
      September 22, 2009 10:48 am

      If you wear that ugly ass coat, then yes. whiteboards it will be.

  4. Libby :) permalink
    September 25, 2009 11:50 am

    OK so
    A: nice work JO!!!!!!
    B – i feel very passionately about this topic and have to agree very much with BOTH points of view. Patricia’s choices are definitely questionable by times BUT… there is nothing I hate worse than a fashion lemming…. (see: little black book of style by Nina Garcia)……. I think the world needs a little more bag lady chic! There is absolutely nothing wrong with adding a bit of crazy into your wardrobe…… Many woman i see walking down the street all look the same and decide to put on certain items of clothing in the morning because someone else told them it was cool to do so….. Having said that …. i firmly believe there is such a thing as taking it too far….

    • L-A permalink*
      September 25, 2009 12:30 pm

      Jo’s half of the post almost convinced me that Carrie is not a bag lady after all. But then I did some googling and realised that no, the crazy often went a little too far. I could deal if they edited just a bit. Like the outfit with the bare midriff belt? If they dropped the belt, I could deal. If they got rid of the Fendi fanny pack? I wouldn’t like the outfit, but I would call it crazy either. On the other hand, there is no redemption for the acid wash/tiedye purple jeans with the ugly ass Chanel top and the bandanna.


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