How to grab Carrie Bradshaw’s look – without a Prada budget

If we were ever in any doubt that Carrie Bradshaw exists in a Fendi-fuelled fantasy land, way above the stratosphere of the ordinary girl and her ordinary wage, SATC 2 proved it once and for all.

Those outfits! Those shoes! If Carrie and her man were living in the real world I doubt even Mr Big’s ambiguous business dealings, (anyone know what he actually does?), would allow for such a gigantic and expensive wardrobe. Even in the early days of Sex and the City when Carrie’s lifestyle was slightly more restrained, we all knew that she couldn’t afford that apartment or those Manolos on a freelance writer’s budget, but we played along nonetheless because we loved the lifestyle so. The anticipation of what-Carrie-wore-next was every bit as thrilling as the will-they-won’t-they dramas of our leading lady and Mr Big – and women across the globe now have the credit card bills to prove it.

So, with the recession blowing a chill down high streets and catwalks across the globe, the impending UK release of SATC 2 got me thinking about how skint in the city girls can grab the Sex and the City look for less. After all, if Carrie lived in the real world she wouldn’t be able to sustain her Halston habit for long. Instead she’d need to find creative ways to concoct stand-out outfits.

Although Carrie loved her labels, she knew that you don’t need to spend a fortune to look a million dollars. In fact, some of her most memorable looks were very inexpensive; giant corsages, for example, which can be bought for a fiver or made for even less.

It’s all about taking a standard outfit and giving it a bit of a twist. Carrie loves contrasting colour: whilst many of us would choose a neutral bag and heels with a bright dress, Carrie loves to mix up her colours, as this photo shows.

Really simple tricks to give an outfit a twist work for me: buckling a belt off to the side rather than front-on; clustering brooches together in fours or fives rather than just wearing one; trimming a standard-issue trench coat with bright satin ribbon. See this post on customising for some ideas on how to work Carrie’s look for less.

Got any others of your own, Skint pals? What’s your favourite Carrie look? Mine was from the penultimate episode when she was in Paris, wearing a coat with a huge brooch right at her throat. Most girls would pin their brooch off to one side. Carrie didn’t. She wore it full frontal and that’s what makes her style so eye-catching.

Though Carrie’s budget was huge, you don’t need much cash to lift your look above the everyday. Customising clothes using simple tricks and buttons, ribbons etc from the haberdashery is all you really need to transform high street garments into one-off pieces.

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