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Expectations High for Fashion in Sex and the City 2

Behind every pair of shoes that Carrie Bradshaw rocks is a costume designer. And fans hope that designer Patricia Field — the woman who helped make Manolo Blahniks a must-have for every shoe-loving woman — will have more fashion surprises in store with the release of the second Sex and the City movie on May 28.

Rumors, spoilers, and speculation abound online about the movie’s plot and, maybe more importantly, the movie’s fashion. Because for the Sex and the City franchise, fashion has been as important as any of the characters or plotlines.

“Fashion has always been the 5th character in the movie and the TV series,” says Mary Jo Miller, Fashion Academic Director at The Art Institute of Atlanta.

Oversized flower brooches, gold nameplate necklaces, exposed bra straps, tutus, and menswear may have seemed like fashion risks for women at one point. But after appearing on Sex and the City, the style concepts were eagerly embraced everywhere.

“It brought back dressing up,” says Paula Taylor, Fashion Instructor at The Art Institute of Tucson. The show made it “okay to be girly and to work on a whole look. The characters are doing that in the middle of the day at a café having coffee. Whether that was true to life doesn’t matter because people started emulating it.”

It also inspired designers, Taylor says. Everyday women believed that they, too, could be as stylish and fashionable as Carrie Bradshaw and her friends, and designers and retailers were quick to notice. Sharon Haver, founder and editor-in-chief of, says the combination of women who seemed both real and naughty was — and is — irresistible.

“You get somebody like Patricia Field who always had this funky cult weird edge to her and she takes these real girls — put it in a blender and it looks … very real,” Haver explains. “That made it very obtainable and it was inspirational in the sense that it was obtainable.”

The characters, of course, sold the looks. Taylor says each of the women was relatable for different reasons to different viewers.

“It brought the fashion to light,” she says. “It was really easy for those watching it to relate to the characters and say ‘I want that look’ and then emulate it.”

That’s not to say that every look was a winner with every viewer. Carrie and her cohorts had plenty of what some thought were fashion faux pas. But that’s part of the reason the fashion was so intriguing – women either loved it or loved to hate it. Fans and viewers were rarely bored, Miller points out.

“Carrie is a collage of style — she can be sophisticated, funky, flirty, and a little wacky at times,” she says. “Whether you love what she's wearing or hate it, she always keeps us talking about it.”

So what will fans be talking about when it comes to the fashion in the second Sex and the City movie? According to some websites, the film will feature flashbacks to the 80s when the four women met.

Miller says she expects the fashion staples to be on the big screen — “fabulous shoes, clutch purses, and of course, metallics and sparkle.” But Taylor says she thinks Field could throw everyone for a loop and tone down Carrie’s look.

“What is happening in fashion is toning down, a little softer, more neutral,” she explains. “Carrie’s accessories will still be really bold and crazy, though — especially the shoes.”

Expect to see more 80s fashion in the stores if it does feature prominently in the movie, Taylor says, noting the show has always set trends. But Haver says style enthusiasts should be careful not to mimic the 80s look they might see on the big screen.

“Never wear vintage exactly as it once was worn because then it’s a costume,” she says. “If you’re taking it literally, it’s a costume. Reference it to be modern, but change it and mix it up.”

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