It’s hard to get noticed without taking a risk—Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw knew that better than anyone. It’s been 12 years since the series wrapped on HBO, yet the style sense Sarah Jessica Parker brought to the small screen is still ingrained in the trends of today.
Between sky-high stilettos, bold prints and patterns, and (of course) everyday tutus, Carrie’s unmistakable flair continues to present itself at every turn. In fact, many of us still plan our outfits by this hard and fast fashion question: What would Carrie Bradshaw do?
Though Carrie no longer serves a weekly dose of style inspo onscreen, her real-life counterpart and InStyle January cover girl, Parker, does a phenomenal job of keeping her spirit (and taste in shoes!) alive and well.
SJP has certainly learned a lesson or two from Bradshaw—and so have we. In honor of Carrie’s unparalleled sartorial influence, here’s a look at the five most important fashion lessons she taught us through the years.
VIDEO: Sarah Jessica Parker's Red Carpet Style
For more from Sarah Jessica Parker, pick up the January issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download Friday, Dec. 9.
1. DON’T SHY AWAY FROM COLOR
Carrie was never one to stick to neutrals and thank goodness—we certainly have enough heather gray in our closets to spare her the burden. In fact, Carrie rarely wore anything that failed to light up a room or spur a double take. Move aside, diamonds, this girl is besties with brights.
2. LAYER UNEXPECTED PIECES
Pearls and a simple tank? A full skirt and basic tee? A true modern fashion icon, Carrie never feared the spontaneous pairing and neither should you.
3. INVEST IN YOUR SHOE GAME
When it comes to footwear, Carrie Bradshaw’s influence continues to reign supreme. Her penchant for designer shoes may have set her back financially through the years but, hey, she always looked good. You know what they say: Put your best foot—er, shoe forward.
4. GO BIG OR GO HOME
Carrie didn’t follow trends—she set them. And what separates a trendsetter from those who simply follow? A fearless desire to amp up the drama. When Carrie experimented with volume, she made sure we noticed. Subtlety was never her strong suit, and that’s exactly why we love her.
5. IT’S OKAY TO CLASH
Pattern-mixing is scary, but no one eased our collective fear more than Ms. Bradshaw. Carrie made what was once perceived as chaos look chic.