Few fictional fashion icons have endured quite like Carrie Bradshaw. When Sex and the City first aired more than two decades ago, the style-savvy sex columnist took the sartorial world by storm and inspired fans with her Manolos, nameplate necklaces, crop tops, and unconventional outfit choices. While a few of her looks might not have aged well some 20-odd years later, (may the bubble hem stay forever in the past) many of Carrie Bradshaw’s best outfits are on-trend in 2019. When you consider the creative experimentation that characterized her signature aesthetic, it’s pretty impressive that her influence continues to hold strong with a modern crowd, especially with the blink-and-it’s-passé pace of today’s fleeting trend cycle.
Right now, her knack for looking on trend in the smothering city heat is especially relevant. Whether she’s running around in a cropped tank and terrycloth dolphin shorts, getting brunch with the girls in a tube top and cargo pants, or out on a date wearing the infamous "Naked Dress," Carrie’s flawless yet somehow unfussy summer vibe is a goal to aspire to. If you're in need of some inspiration for how to stay cool and chic as the temps soar, here are 18 of Carrie's best summer ensembles that look as on trend now as they did back then.
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The Naked Dress
Start with the obvious here: the naked dress. You can't talk about Carrie Bradshaw's style without mention of this iconic look from the show. It's the sultry, minimalist piece you should put to work this summer, especially for date night.
A Little White Dress
Okay, so the naked dress isn't your thing. Understandable. A flowy, white slip dress hits similar notes of simplicity and sleekness. Adhere to the same styling rules and keep your accessories understated. A clear mule would be perfect here.
A Tube Top + Cargo Pants
If you keep tabs on the micro-trends that pop up on Instagram, you'll know that tube tops are back in fashion this season. Carrie's fitted bandeau and slouchy utility pants make for just the high-low balance you want to aim for when styling a strapless top.
A Button-Down + Satin Miniskirt
Carrie's jewel-toned satin miniskirt is an outfit-making piece that needs little else to create an impactful ensemble. Her breezy button-down, worn tucked in and haphazardly rolled at the sleeves, is the perfect counterpart to complete the look for a hot summer night.
A Belted Boyfriend Shirt
After an unplanned dip in the Central Park pond with Mr. Big, Carrie makes the most of the outfit disaster by borrowing from her ex's closet and turning his boxy button-down into a sartorial masterpiece by way of a leather belt and some strategic zhooshing. This is easily one of her most memorable style moments, and it's super simple to recreate.
A Floaty Floral Dress
This is what Carrie had on prior to the pond mishap, and it's a look you can't really go wrong with once the weather warms up. The subtle floral print, delicate flounce hem, and fluttery sleeves are feminine and breezy, while the asymmetrical cut and PVC mules give it a more modern appeal.
A Retro Bikini + Surf Shorts
An underwire bikini top, tropical print shorts, colorful tinted sunnies ... what could be more befitting of the leading trends of Summer 2019 than this bold throwback?
A White Tank + Sparkly Slip
If ever there were a Carrie look that screamed late '90s, it's this perfectly simple, perfectly fresh outfit. Don't shy away from a little casual sparkle — the plain tank subdues the glitz enough to make it entirely daytime-appropriate.
A Peek-a-Boo Bra
If there's one style rule that Carrie disregards with complete abandon, it's don't let your bra show. It's pretty much her go-to move for adding a sensual touch to whatever she's wearing. The lacy black balconette and subtle sequin detailing on the otherwise neutral dress makes this look a great evening option for when you want to look a little bit sultry but not like you tried too hard.
A Headband + Fitted Cardi
This may have been the outfit Carrie was embarrassed to be wearing when she ran into Berger, but by today's standards it's actually rather trendy. The shrunken cardigan and headband are some of the must-have items of the season.
A Headline-Making Dress
The iconic newsprint dress by John Galliano for Christian Dior is one of Carrie's best-remembered looks. If you're hoping to make a statement and turn heads, a graphic number like this is guaranteed to generate some buzz.
Tube Top + Arm Scarf
Everything about this outfit is on point, from the bold-colored bandeau top, to the slinky slip skirt, and the minimalist mules — but it's the inventive accessorizing that really stands out as unique. Next time you go bare-shouldered, make use of the blank frame by folding up a silk scarf and tying it around your upper arm.
Colorful Prints + Tie-Dye
This is a polarizing outfit, to be certain. Some people consider it one of Carrie's all-time wildest looks. (This was the episode where she goes to the comic book store and ends up dating a much younger guy, so perhaps she was just in a juvenile mood.) But considering the popularity of splashy tie-dye prints at the moment, perhaps it's worth reconsidering. Just scale back in certain places if this is color overload for you.
A Simple Bodycon
A simple fitted shift dress is essential for summer's sweltering weather. Dress it up with some nude heels, à la Carrie, or go a more casual route with some plain white sneakers. You can't go wrong with this one.
A Girly Blouse + Camp Shorts
Compared to some of Carrie's other more eccentric ensembles, this one is a bit more realistic in that it depicts what a lot of women might actually wear on a lazy weekend morning. That said, Carrie's ability to wear retro lounge shorts and not look like she just rolled out of bed is what makes this worth noting. The key to elevating casual shorts is to pair with other pieces that are a touch more refined, like this feminine blouse and a kitten sandal or a block-heel slide to polish things off.
A Polished Python Mini
Snakeskin is everywhere this season. A chic way to style the exotic print is to stick to classic concepts and offset its edginess with elegance. Choose a pattern in a neutral, earthy color scheme and opt for a simple, understated silhouette, like Carrie's simple skinny-strap shift.
A Feminine Frock
Prim printed midi dresses, like Carrie's above, are returning to the fashion scene as brands like Elliette and Dôen sway shoppers away from the hyper-casual in favor of styles that are a bit more elegant and feminine.
A Cowgirl Hat + Boho Skirt
The onset of this new season means backyard barbecues, rooftop parties, and beach bonfires. Get in a summertime state of mind with an ensemble that's a little bit West Coast bohemian and a little bit Southern country.