Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Carrie Bradshaw

For those few who haven't already heard her name, Carrie Bradshaw was a ground-breaking character from HBO's hit show, Sex and the City, of which I have watched the entire series... twice. Carrie's character was the child of Candace Bushnell's column that ran in The New York Observer which was eventually turned into a book and later, into the sitcom. The series broke many social barriers in the 90s such as speaking openly about sex and highlighted several feminist views. Carrie, played by the infamous Sarah Jessica Parker, is a modern, fashion obsessed woman living in Manhattan. She is intelligent, notoriously witty with words and writes a column for the New York Star entitled Sex and the City. Through the many, many ups and downs in her romantic life as well as in her sexual endeavors, she is always left standing tall in her Monolo Blahniks. Throughout the show, Carries wardrobe evolves along with the major men in her life, whether it be Mr. Big, Aiden or her 'Russian', Aleksandr Petrovsky.

When the show first debuted, Carrie was a self-confessed love virgin in day one of Sex and the City. This was reflected in her clothing. She would often wear pretty, soft, feminine colours and styles that projected her purity as demonstrated in the opening credits when she struts down a New York street wearing a modern, white tutu and a pink top. Her outfits remain somewhat inconsistent throughout the first season, displaying Carrie's youth and her search for her true identity. Mr. Big and Carrie meet in the very first episode of the series when her bag is knocked over in the street and he kindly helps her clean up the contents of her purse, including an  astounding amount of condoms. He is a very successful, handsome and mature business man that had been known to exclusively date models. When their relationship begins to flourish, we notice her wardrobe starts to mature. She still knows how to have fun with her clothes but she takes it to the next level and we start to see her experiment with romantic evening gowns on her very formal dates with Big. When heart break becomes Carrie we see her style take a major nose dive before she steps up her game when the opportunity arises to try to get back with Mr. Big. Although the roller coaster that is their relationship takes its ups and downs throughout the entire series, we never quite see the innocent, pretty-in-pink Carrie again.

When Carrie flirtatiously buys a chair from Aiden, the hunky country-boy carpenter, it doesn't take them long to fall completely head-over-heals for each other. At this point in the show, we find Carrie making major ajustments to her life. She quits smoking (sort of) and much to her chagrin, she even gets up the nerve to scoop his collie's poop. Her style also takes a turn and we see her start to take a more relaxed approach to fashion. When she is whisked away to Aiden's country house upstate and even wears plaid flannel, which if you didn't know was a major risk in the 90s.  Carrie struggles to adapt to the country life and despite their profound admiration for each other, she finds herself constantly fighting with her hunky man. Later, Carrie is devastated when she loses Aiden due to an affair with Big. Here, we see her pull out all the stops when we she gets back on the dating scene. She sports huge broaches, asymmetrical lines and pastels are nowhere in sight. This, in my mind, mirrors all the craziness and confusion that is going on in her life.

In the last season, she meets Mr. Aleksandr Petrovsky. The intense eye contact that was made at a contemporary art exhibition between Carrie and "her Russian" stuck in her mind. He was a well-known artist with a swanky penthouse apartment/studio and an old-world romantic charm.  Although uncertain at first, Carrie found herself in love once again, this time, with someone much older and experienced. With a book and dream freelance job with Vogue under her belt (or should I say Gucci hip bag) she is pushed towards a more classic style, dipping into old Hollywood glamour and a more refined look. She is tempted by the thought of settling down with Aleksandr in Paris (who wouldn't want to be with a man that buys you Oscar De La Renta and wants to live with you in France?). Tempted but not convinced, Carrie ends up with Mr. Big once again in New York. Here, she reverts back to her fur coats and her sometimes-unconventional-but-always-amazing outfits.

Throughout the show, Carrie's amazing sense of style breaks all the rules of fashion. From her feathered heels to her very over-sized flower broaches, she is never afraid of taking chances with her (very large) wardrobe. This is something that I absolutely love about her character because she always has a lot of fun with clothes and doesn't let the idea of comfort stand in her way. After all, very few of the most amazing style icons like to follow the rules. Throughout the sitcom, her style evolves, usually depending on the man in her life and the words that appear in her column.  

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