Remembering the impact of ‘Sex and the City’

“I’m wearing a leather skirt.” “I’m wearing a white, velvet, shearling jacket.” “I’m wearing Christian Louboutin boots.” “I’m wearing a mother-of-pearl necklace.” We learned these things from the characters of Sex and the City. Sex and the City — a four-season television series from 2001 to 2004 — is remembered not so much for the characters themselves, but for the look that they wore.

Even today, it feels as if we can pinpoint when television first began taking on a more glamorized, #StarsWearingInspiredStyle trend. “The trend is, ‘I know I want a white fur. I know I want to wear a long-sleeve floral-printed blouse,’” explained contributing editor Paul Hudson, a Menswear Editor at Harper’s Bazaar UK and an old friend of mine. “Obviously we can remember [Carrie Bradshaw] wearing shiny things, ruffles, lace. It’s another example of classic styles becoming desirable in a more unabashed way,” he continued.

Hudson thinks the reason that people spend so much time looking for the ultimate Jackie O–inspired look is rooted in our environment and how women are entering the workforce as well as reshaping their role in the workplace. As a result, “the modern fashion world is definitely in the hands of the people with business cards,” Hudson explained.

To us on this side of the Pond, “women have the perfect opportunity to recreate the Jackie O look,” which includes “someone who can go from wearing work dress to going out at night in a really glam classic or very stylish dress or something that is feminine, but timeless.” Hudson believes that it all depends on what it is that the woman is going for. If a woman is “looking for the full-on Jackie O look, it’s more about being elegant. Some things change the way we want to look,” he said. “But as a woman — with being able to look good day and night, as well as doing the office and traveling with somebody — I would say that is an easier look to pull off,” he added.

Hudson explained that women are also influenced by the rise of summer, and how that is changing the way people dress for summer vacations. According to him, “When it’s beautiful outside it’s a new opportunity to look the most glamorous and to blend that into your outfit.”

It was the 1999 wedding of Paris Hilton to Nicky Hilton that inspired Diana Taylor to take her style cues from “the hype, the opening of an era of reality TV.” In 2004, WWD reported that MTV launched a competition on its website for “the next big reality TV star”: An aspiring reality TV star would have to win a spot on the $1 million cast of the reality TV show, MTV’s House of Style. The finalists would then be narrowed down to a few finalists who would compete for the title of “America’s Next MTV Star,” which would go on to earn its own spinoff show. Taylor was one of the winners and the inspiration behind the show.

In 2008, Tatiana Bartel, a “fashion spin expert,” announced the launch of Girl’s Night Out. “We were all looking for the hottest look,” Bartel explained. The project centered around the idea of finding something that was trendy in the moment. “You can’t call ‘sex chic’ or ‘femininity,’ or ‘glamour,’ all of a sudden, for trend in a period of time,” Bartel argued.

While every generation can appreciate that Sex and the City created a new look for women, their style is not over. So will we see similar fashion inspirations when Girls and Sex and the City both return for new seasons? “You will see the iconic looks from the films getting refreshed, and being refreshed with new millennials,” Taylor said. The series will return on HBO for its fifth season on Monday, November 12. Sex and the City 2 will arrive in theaters on Friday, May 26, 2010.

Read the full story at W Magazine.


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