SHE’S THE DESIGNER and entrepreneur behind her own shoe line (SJP), the star and one of the producers of HBO’s “Divorce” and mother of three. And, of course, Sarah Jessica Parker will always be remembered as Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City.” The 52-year-old is also well known for her daring—can we say quirky fashion sense?—on the red carpet. But when she’s out and about New York doing errands or shepherding children back and forth from school, she dresses more comfortably and casually.
NANCY: Somehow, I thought there might be a pre-“Sex and the City” Sarah Jessica Parker and a post-“Sex/City” Parker, but flipping through a timeline of her style evolution I see that SJP lent as much to the Carrie Bradshaw persona as vice versa. Man, this girl has had a lot of “Look at me!” looks. I was thinking this copper lamé number was a rather cartoonish Athena, Warrior Goddess look, but the more I look at it, the more I really like it. (That little flounce of nude chiffon, or whatever, at the hem is a pretty cool touch.) Can 50- and 60-year-olds learn how to dress from SJP? Only if they have a lotta guts and an incredible figure.
JANET: When it comes to her fashion choices—at least for red-carpet occasions—Parker isn’t afraid of going for bold and surprising, as in this J. Mendel shiny copper strapless dress. Those detached, lace-up sleeves, though, look as if she’s going to do battle in Westeros rather than get an award in L.A. Parker is rarely seen without super-high heels, her compensation for being “so darn short.”
KATHY: Shades of a modern-day Joan of Arc. It’s a great costume. I’m just not sure I’d call it fashion. While dramatic, those sleeves are just plain silly. But the gown and her perfect little body clearly were made for each other. I just don’t think this is something I could wear to book club.
JANET: Aw, Kathy. Why not?
NANCY: These scattered flowers look a bit lumpy to me, but that doesn’t mean the dress isn’t entirely appropriate to the occasion, which is more Manhattan-literary demure than red-carpet razzle-dazzle. Well played, SJP.
JANET: Personally I wish this infatuation with all things floral would just fade away, but Parker’s retro-inspired floral cream-colored midi dress is appropriate for a spring evening and does accentuate her small waist. A pair of purple stilettos with jewel-encrusted black bows complements the pale and bright colors of the dress. A matching purple clutch with a long, swishy black embellishment adds the edge that Parker seems drawn to in her clothing choices.
KATHY: The shoes are fantastic! But I can’t help noticing the road map of veins running up her foot. Also was struck by the same in her gladiator photo at top. I worry that years of running through the “City” in sky-high Manolos have done serious damage—though I did admire her speed and athleticism in those scenes. The dress is simply pretty. And there’s nothing wrong with pretty.
JANET: I know you both are going to say I’m boring, but I love this look on SJP. I know it’s a scene from an upcoming film and Sarah Jessica herself might never wear it, but the flowy white pleated skirt with the blue shirt, the cordovan ankle-wrap sandals and hemp shoulder bag is so classic. The shirt’s rolled-up sleeves and undone buttons takes the prissy out of the outfit. It’s not for everyone, but it works for petite figures. Instead of a brown belt and shoes, though, I might sub a nude color for anyone whose goal is to look taller and thinner. (Is there anyone who doesn’t want to look taller and/or thinner?)
KATHY: Au contraire. I’m totally on board with this look. It’s soft, casual and quite flattering. Also versatile and useful—shopping, lunch, a movie, cocktails. I might opt for a slightly crisper shirt however, and one my bra doesn’t show through. Since I buy my bras at Walmart, there’s really nothing worth seeing there.
NANCY: I don’t think this look is boring. Okay, a bit. But it looks fine, not exciting but fine. If she were walking down a city street in real life and not in a movie, though, I’m betting she would button up one more button. Maybe two. That’s a lotta boobage. Just sayin’.
JANET: Agree with Kathy, although I don’t mind a little bra showing through, but not this dark color a bra. And, yep, a little too much boob, Nancy.
KATHY: I’m with you on this one, Sarah. I really like everything about this dress. I even like the chartreuse shoes! In fact, I especially like the chartreuse shoes.
NANCY: I like the dress, don’t understand the shoes, which at least on my computer monitor show up as neon lime green. The burnout-velvet dress looks demure, I think, because of SJP’s height or lack thereof. On one site where the dress was sold (sold out, was $429), the skirt was above the knee—but of course the model was 5-foot-10! The burnout-ness of the fabric causes a certain amount of “action” in the pattern, not a bad thing for those who want to distract attention, um, upward, toward a well-made-up face.
JANET: Sarah Jessica Parker went wild in this leopard print dress. I like the frills at the hemline. But why these yellow stilettos? There are plenty of other colors in her shoe line.
JANET: Shopping at Bloomingdale’s. How very “Sex and the City.” But also an outfit (except for the metallic booties) for strolling around Manhattan with kids in tow. SJP ups the ante on casual with that good-l00king moto jacket with horizontal strips of leather.
NANCY: Look, there’s casual and then there’s your mother’s voice in your head telling you to go back home and try again. The moto jacket is great, and I get the shirttail-hanging-below-it look. But something has to be nipped in or it all goes to hell in a hand basket. With the slim jacket, the pants could have been wide, sure, but with the sweatshirt/T-shirt (plus the locks) hanging out all loose, the better bet would’ve been to pair the tops with leggings, something slim at any rate. At any age, I think, there has to be some part of an outfit that tells the viewer where the body begins and ends.
KATHY: Hmmmm, I wonder what she bought.