For children of the ’90s, Sex and the City will always be a touchstone when it comes to clothes. The slip dresses! The fur coats! The slingbacks! The way Carrie wore a belt around her bare waist and what looked like a crown of thorns around her bun (that one definitely required a slightly more open mind), and the way Samantha wore fuchsia trouser suits with clip-on earrings!
There are Instagram accounts dedicated to the wardrobes of the famous foursome—@everyoutfitonsatc is full of Carrie-isms like, “My relationship is at a standstill so instead I’m evolving my look”—not to mention flourishes on the A/W runways that looked straight out of Patricia Field’s style playbook. Toga’s collection featured brooches pinned delicately at the throat and clustered on the lapels. It reminded me of Carrie’s first foray into the Vogue office in a pinstriped suit with a paste brooch on her collar.
But it’s not just SATC outfits that seem to inspire every few seasons. Take a deep dive through Sarah Jessica Parker’s personal clothing choices circa 1986 and you’ll be surprised by how, for a want of a better word, now they look. The Balenciaga-esque blazers that could fit her and then-boyfriend Robert Downey Jr. comfortably inside: check! The vintage-looking cowboy boots: check! She even wore scrunchies (not something her onscreen persona would condone, but big news among Scandi influencers right now).
This got me thinking about a theory—if you just wore clothes that SJP would have worn in the ’80s, you’d pretty much look like Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid do now. They’re both big fans of the bra top as an actual top—sorry, SJP did it first—and the room-for-two checked blazer. Keep scrolling for SJP’s best ’80s outfits and shopping tips for where to buy those prized pieces today.
The borrowed-from-my-boyfriend tuxedo blazer, the pristine tennis socks, the cat-eye sunglasses—it’s a little bit Lady Di, and a lot what all the cool girls are wearing now.
Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Kendall Jenner are today’s poster girls for the bras-as-tops movement, but SJP beat them to it by roughly 30 years. The trick is to wears yours with a trouser suit—preferably one with a high-waisted bottom half and a roomy fit—so you can do the big reveal later in the evening when you’ve got a bit of Dutch courage.
Carrie was a pioneer of the “naked” dress (remember the beige number with the teeny straps she chose on her first official date with Mr. Big?), but SJP knows a thing or two about its cousin, the slip. It’s totally fine to wear something you could have slept in if you add a blazer and a tousled updo, right?
Flats were an aberration to Carrie, but SJP likes to mix it up. This fringed suede jacket plus mid-calf-length cowboy boots combo should have equalled rodeo roadkill, but with SJP’s T-shirt dress and straw hat, it’s somehow quite fabulous.
Supermodels love swapping jeans for leggings, but SJP got there first. She could be going to aerobics or she could be going shoe shopping—we may never know.
The trench coat refuses to go out of fashion, especially the oversized, hand-swallowing style put forward by SJP. Very 2018 Olsen twins, don’t you think?