The most important fashion moments from And Just Like That

Anna Solomon

20 January 2022

To mark the ongoing release of And Just Like That, the sequel to the Sex and the City franchise, we examine the reboot’s sartorial highs and lows

20 January 2022 | Anna Solomon

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he Sex and the City ladies are back on our screens, and some things never change: Carrie is still running around New York in sky-high heels, Charlotte is still embodying her particular brand of WASP-y shrill, and Miranda's graceful aging announces to viewers that she is still her down-to-earth self (one major change, of course, is the absence of Samantha, aka Kim Cattrall, who chose not to participate). There are times when the trademark wit of the original series shines through, as well as moments of rawness and reflection.

For the most part, however, And Just Like That consists of forced plotlines designed to let us know that ‘this is the modern world’. Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte all make POC friends (a revision of the white-washed NYC of the series, perhaps) and experience attendant faux pas. Elsewhere, Miranda falls for Carrie’s non-binary boss and Charlotte struggles with how to approach having a transgender child. Far from pioneering on social issues as the original did (although, admittedly, some of the more ‘political’ elements aged terribly), AJLT feels like a box-ticking exercise.

One thing that we can count on, however, is the fashion. Although Patricia Field, who designed costumes for the original series and films, was unavailable for the reboot due to her work on Emily in Paris, proteges Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago stepped up to the plate. For every off-kilter line there is a designer bag, statement layer or gravity-defying shoe to distract us. Here are some of the best (and worst) looks of the season so far.

The ‘Forever 21’ dress (allegedly)

When AJLT started filming, fans wasted no time in documenting and dissecting the outfits spotted on set. One dress worn by Sarah Jessica Parker caused particular controversy: a paisley, floor-length sundress that sleuths were quick to point out looked a lot like a piece from Forever 21.

Carrie has never been averse to a bargain – in fact, she loved a good high-low moment. Remember when she bumped into her alcoholic beau while shopping for ‘$7 shoes to go with [her] $300 dress’? But we simply cannot imagine the sartorially-conscious Carrie shopping fast fashion.

The dress eventually showed up in episode three when, while grieving the death of Big, Carrie can’t seem to stop walking (we’ll blame insomnia for the fact she layered it with a tiger-motif shirt). The show’s writers later revealed that the much-maligned item was not Forever 21, but a label-less vintage find. Phew.

The outfit wasn’t a total bust, though. Carrie paired it with a Gucci x Balenciaga handbag (very on-brand – real-life Carrie would be dying to get her hands on a runway piece from their joint show) and glittery Terry de Havilland platforms (her ‘running shoes’, she quips to Miranda). What else for a compulsive grief-induced perambulation at seven in the morning?

Nostalgic referencing

If AJLT didn’t quite capture the essence of the original series in its writing, it certainly fulfilled the ‘nostalgia’ brief with the clothes. In episode two, as Carrie heads out to Charlotte’s daughter’s piano recital, she draws Big’s attention to her sapphire pumps – the Manolo Blahnik Hangisis she wore at their wedding.

The Hangisis enjoy a layered plotline in SATC: when Carrie and Big move in together, she christens her new closet with them. After the wedding falls through, she returns to the apartment to retrieve the shoes, where she reunites with Big who then proposes with one of the satin pumps. In the reboot, when Carrie finds Big collapsed in the shower, having had a heart attack during the recital, the water-damaged Manolos symbolise the end of their relationship.

AJLT also reprises a certain purple sequined Baguette, last seen being stolen by a mugger in series three. Carrie was separated from her AW 1999-2000 Fendi when a gunman demanded that she ‘give [him her] bag!’, to which she responded, ‘it’s a Baguette’. Priorities, people.

The purple Fendi became so iconic that, in 2019, the label recruited SJP to feature in a tongue-in-cheek ad where she corrects a group of fashionistas lusting after the ‘bag’. To celebrate the release of AJLT, Fendi has since re-launched the exact sequinned style of S3.

Natasha’s still-flawless fashion

The return of the Baguette also portends another return: that of Big’s ex-wife Natasha, aka ‘the stick figure with no soul’, who caught Carrie having an affair with her husband right before the mugging incident. Carrie, ever the empath, then tracked Natasha down and force-fed her an apology. Well, Carrie is up to her stalkerish ways again in AJLT, this time hunting down Natasha to try and gauge why Big left her money in his will.

 

Natasha is just as understatedly chic as she was in the original series: our central trio witness her heading into her office wearing a tonal silk shirt, faux-leather Stella McCartney pencil skirt, and gladiator sandals (‘she’s wearing flats’, comments Charlotte, aghast). The look perfectly encapsulates Natasha’s designation as the ‘safe’ straight-haired antidote to Carrie’s wild curls – and fashion sense.

Later, when Carrie finally forces a conversation, Natasha exudes the collected cool that only she could after having been burst in on while peeing in a cafe toilet. It helps that she’s wearing an eminently distinguished shirt dress from Gabriela Hearst.

Carrie’s first date dress

When Carrie goes on her first date with Big in Season One of SATC, she dons the infamous DKNY slip – tellingly, Samantha deems it ‘fabulous’ while Charlotte clutches her pearls and (correctly) conjectures 'well, you're obviously going to sleep with him tonight!’. If the ‘naked dress’, as it was dubbed, represents Carrie’s flighty thirties, then the one she wears for her first post-Big date represents her worldlier fifties.

After Big’s death, Carrie is urged by her publisher to go on a date so that she can end her new book on a hopeful note. Enter Peter, a perfectly inoffensive rebound – Carrie meets him in a powder blue Norma Kamali 'Diana' dress, paired with metallic sandals and an oversized satin blazer.

Unfortunately, a classy dress does not a classy evening make. After a depressing introduction to the date, Carrie and Peter decide to get really, really drunk, which results in both of them throwing up outside a downtown gastropub. Chic.

Charlotte's prim ensembles

Charlotte reliably exhibits a carousel of pussy-bow blouses and polka-dots during the reboot, careening between pencil and A-line skirts with abandon. But our ‘Park Avenue Pollyanna’ is as fashion-conscious as any, even walking her English bulldog in a Balenciaga skirt and puff-sleeved Stella McCartney with a Burberry poop bag dispenser to boot.

In episode two, Charlotte resolves to dress herself and her two children in matching florals for the fateful piano recital – she in an embroidered cocktail dress from Lela Rose (accessorised with a Louis Vuitton bag and Cartier watch), and Lilly and Rock in Oscar De La Renta, the latter rebelliously teaming the dress with a graphic tee and knitted beanie.

And it was only a matter of time before Charlotte donned tweed – this time in the form of a nipped-waist midi dress by St. John. Elsewhere, she rocks a princess-pink Gosilk blouse with an ultra-high-waist skirt and, for her discovery of Miranda’s alcohol problem in Starbucks, a white sundress patterned with blue sailboats from Emilia Wickstead.

Miranda’s sartorial relaxation

Once the queen of power suits, Miranda adopts a more bohemian look in AJLT, appearing in floaty dresses and, in a word, prints. Lots of prints. There’s a plaid L'Agence shirt dress paired with Maje wedges; a colourful Dries Van Noten midi; and a clashing-but-not Altuzarra wrap shirt and Akris skirt.

We also want to talk about the jumpsuit. You know, the queer version of the naked dress that compelled Miranda to stay behind after Che Diaz’ comedy show, triggering the awakening that SATC fans have been clamouring for for years? The berry red halterneck is from Likely NYC, and witnesses the moment that Miranda begins an affair with Carrie’s boss.

We can’t help but wonder (see what we did there?), though, whether Miranda has been done dirty this season. The no-nonsense lawyer is portrayed as a bumbling fuddy-duddy whose default setting is embarrassment, whether she’s putting her foot in her mouth around her Black professor, acting totally desperate and love-lorn around Che, or drinking excessively. We find it hard to believe that the no-nonsense Miranda of the original series would be so adrift in the modern world. But we digress.

Carrie going full Carrie

Our feelings on the SATC reboot are mixed, but we’ll end on a high. Despite some wobbles, Carrie is still our fashion doyenne, and this was captured particularly powerfully in two instances.

In episode four, Carrie awakens in her old apartment after feeling unable to return to the one she shared with Big. She roots around in her old closet and emerges regressed into the kooky fashion persona of her thirties.

Fendi Baguette in hand, she wears a layered tulle skirt (in reference to the pink tutu of the original show’s opening credits) and slouchy striped sweater with a pair of ivory Chanel booties and an additional tote bag (double bag? Why not). This chaotic high-low ensemble is quintessential Carrie-going-to-the-bodega.

Then, in episode six, change is in the air. Having sold the apartment that she and Big shared, Carrie tries out an uncharacteristically modern downtown loft. She also finds herself talking to a plastic surgeon, who promises that he can ‘erase the last 15 years’.

Ultimately, she realises that old apartments and aging features are a part of who she is, and opts not to metaphorically erase this period of her life. Back in her old old (as in, original) apartment, Carrie dons a voluminous red midi dress with rose appliques beneath one of Big’s blazers, and steps out onto a sun-drenched New York street. The feeling is one of renewal and revitalisation which doesn't forget the importance of the past: a classic moment of storytelling through fashion well worthy of the original SATC.

Read more: The best TV shows to stream in spring 2022

And Just Like That is available on HBO Max in the US and Sky Atlantic/Now in the UK