A Fashion Psychologist on What Carrie Bradshaw's New Outfits Are Saying

·7-min read

And just like that… we all fell totally and utterly in love with Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe, again. In the span of just a few days, the New York paparazzi has been busier than they have probably been throughout the entirety of the past year documenting the sidewalks that Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon have been strutting down while filming segments for the reboot of Sex and the City. While the jury is still out on whether Carrie has the technical know-how to launch a podcast (yes, that's her job now) or whether each episode will be totally stripped of sass and LOLs without Samantha or whether the new script is any good (a single page leaked, and the world went wild), what we do know is that the fashion is still igniting passion.

For this new series entitled And Just Like That…, every OG fan has been wishing the same thing: Please don't let Carrie be any less adventurous or trendsetting or joyful with her outfit choices just because she's in her 50s. Fortunately, the looks thus far have not disappointed. Revered costume designer Patricia Field was the progenitor of Carrie's kooky aesthetic in the old days, and while she is too busy on Emily in Paris to be signed up for this gig, a dear friend and former colleague from the previous seasons, Molly Rogers, is the person responsible for this high-pressure wardrobing in 2021. We know our gut feelings about the ensembles, and our audience sure has shared their reactions on social media, but what do we think SJP and her stylist are really trying to say about Carrie 2.0? I reached out to behavioural psychologist Carolyn Mair, PhD—author of The Psychology of Fashion and founder of Psychology.Fashion—to drill down into the nitty-gritty of what each colour, cut, detail and accessory might be portraying, subliminally or overtly. Keep reading to find out.

1. THE BRIGHT DRESS (AND THAT BELT)

On Sarah Jessica Parker: Carolina Herrera dress; Streets Ahead belt; Judith Leiber bag

The psychologist's take: Mair says it's definitely "girly (obviously because of the colour) but also bold and modern," and it's true that there's nothing too saccharine sweet about this shade of mauve and the business-like shirt-dress style. "Because of its colour, it says, 'Look at me,' and because of its volume, it says, 'But keep your distance,'" she adds. So perhaps Carrie is more guarded and that little bit tougher going into her new era? The spiky belt and stiletto heels would echo this idea. And yes, that belt is the one from the first movie.

An editor's take: Vibrant shades of pink have been trending for some time, and it's only natural that Carrie's full-skirted tutu and bodysuit was reinvented for the reboot. There's a lot to translate directly from this look and into our current wardrobes.

Shop the trend:

Ted Baker Luuciiy Dress (£179)

2. THE GINGHAM CORSET SKIRT

On Sarah Jessica Parker: Norma Kamali skirt; Celine shoes; Monrowe NYC hat

The psychologist's take: "Flirty and fitted," says Mair. "It’s sexy and reminiscent of a corset, yet it's demure because of the length. Gingham is traditionally associated with children's clothes, so it looks youthful, energetic and fun. It says, 'I feel great' and 'This is going to be a great day.'" Time will only tell whether the plot correlates with the mood of this ensemble, but this particular gingham skirt has inspired many a comment on Instagram, with shoppers desperate to know how they can get hold of one.

An editor's take: Carrie has always leaned heavily into accessories, but it seems even more apparent in this series, with piece upon piece piled high. Could it be that the clothes themselves are more demure and the add-ons bring the kook? It's a fail-safe formula for many of us to follow when we feel more comfortable in classic clothing items.

Shop the trend:

Ganni Gingham Skirt (£54)

3. THE MIX 'N' MATCH JUMPSUIT

On Sarah Jessica Parker: Dries Van Noten jacket; Claude Montana jumpsuit; Paco Rabanne bag; Saint Laurent sandals

The psychologist's take: "I love this! This shouts class and style," says Mair. "The jumpsuit alone draws attention but suggests a more reserved approach than some of the other looks. It says, 'You will need to get to know me first.'" So could this be worn for a new friend or lover? There are plenty of new cast members for Carrie to get acquainted with. "The jacket is a fun addition that brings animation to the neutral nature of the jumpsuit, and because it's fitted, it accentuates the flowing skirt part of the trousers. It 'softens' the look, making the wearer appear less aloof and more approachable. The hat, bags and shoes are all statement pieces that draw attention in a way that suggest business (two bags) and uncertainty (two bags)," she adds. Mair, like many of us, felt a bit stumped on the jaunty hat—is it just a piece too far?

An editor's take: There's a lot here to unpack, but essentially, tailored, smart jumpsuits are a brilliant choice for those days where a dress just doesn't feel radical enough. You can make like Carrie and do some experimental layering, but a key piece like this will stand up on its own, too.

Shop the trend:

King & Tuckfield Wrap-Effect Belted Cotton-Cloqué Jumpsuit (£545)

4. THE PASTEL COAT

The credits for this look are currently unknown. We'll keep you posted!

The psychologist's take: "Classic, plain and loose, this is a very different look to all the others," explains Mair. "It's delicate (colour) and suggests vulnerability (silhouette). This look would be chosen purposefully to project the wearer's mood. It says, "I don't want company, but if you must, approach with care or stay away.'" Should we be expecting a major upset? Did Carrie lose a recording? Or Big? We need answers!

An editor's take: Many online commentary has centered around this look being supposedly "dowdy" or too subdued, but I actually think it's elegant and understated. Not every outfit has to be loud and wild, and perhaps, that's something Carrie has also come to the conclusion of in her 50s. I am rather enamoured by the white mules, and they feel a lot more like her previous wardrobe than the many other platform shoes pictured here.

Shop the trend:

& Other Stories Oversized Single Breasted Blazer (£83)

5. THE PARTY LOOK

On Sarah Jessica Parker: Fendi bag; Saint Laurent shoes

The psychologist's take: "This one suggests openness, an attitude towards experimentation and welcoming new experiences. The bold colours, shiny fabrics and sequinned bag reflect light and draw attention. Each would grab attention on its own, but in combination, they have a wow effect that says, 'Notice me—I'm up for fun.' The neutral colour of the coat tempers this a little and perhaps suggests, 'But I might need a little warming up first.'" This appears to be the message throughout and perhaps rings true with the Carrie we already know: She's open and fun, but those traits are mostly reserved for the inner circle.

An editor's take: As the world of parties and socialising starts to open up, a fresh injection of outfit ideas is more than welcome. The way a jazzy dress has been calmed by a more demure outer layer is a good hack for chilly British evenings, and I adore the purple Fendi paillette baguette—who wouldn't?

Shop the trend:

Paco Rabanne Sparkle Embellished Shoulder Bag (£890)

Up next, these are the big shoe trends of 2021.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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