The fashion on Sex and the City was bold and groundbreaking. Many of the outfits seemed over the top during SATC’s original run, so it has come as a surprise how well many of the purses have aged.
We (we=me and my mom) scoffed when Samantha schemed over a $4,000 Birkin and when Carrie threw shade at a mugger who demanded she hand over her bag—it’s a Baguette you guys! But, in 2019, this all seems fairly normal. Are we all just getting more extra due to the cyclical nature of fashion? Or did SATC irrevocably change the rules for purse lovers everywhere? I have no idea, and neither does my mom, but I couldn't help but wonder: where are the purses that SATC introduced into the cultural lexicon now?
The Fendi Baguette
Carrie’s famous Fendi Baguette is often cited as the first 'It Bag', and Fendi holds a special place in SATC history as the first major designer to lend its wares to the show. This bag has aged remarkably well; though it briefly fell out of favor in the mid-2000s, it’s become a favorite of tiny bag fans like Gigi Hadid.
As I am writing this, Fendi has a new campaign out about the role the Baguette played in women’s lives, and the fashion house is reissuing a number of classic Baguette designs for SS19. This purse continues to be widely discussed and hotly debated in mainstream media, which honestly is pretty impressive for a 22-year-old purse modeled after a type of bread.
When Samantha uses Lucy Liu’s celebrity status to get a red Birkin bag, the whole thing seemed a little ridiculous to the average viewer (i.e. me and my mom). Even more ridiculous was the bag’s $4,000 price tag.
Ah how times have changed: these days you’d be hard-pressed to find a Birkin for less than $12,000, and the competition to get one has only become more fierce. Birkin bags are favored by the Kardashians and most other celebrities, and to be honest they’re one of the only purses that will actually get more valuable over time. The Birkin is hotter than ever.
The Dior Saddle Bag
The Saddle Bag is having a major moment too: Dior brought one of Carrie’s favorites back in 2018, and the bag can be found nestled into the armpit of Instagram influencers and fashion models alike. I will always stan for Carrie’s chain print Saddle Bag. She wore it to visit Aidan’s furniture shop for the first time, and in 2019 the only thing less plausible than a newspaper columnist being able to afford a Dior purse is finding a normal dude to date that owns a furniture shop and wants to get married.
The Tiny Bag
Carrie waved around her miniscule Fendi Baguette to showcase the type of bag she couldn’t wear when she went to stay at Big’s house due to his refusal to let Carrie keep any of her personal belongings at his home. Ok this is a dating plotline I can relate to. The Baguette is still hot, of course, but so is any iteration of a tiny bag. Jacquemus probably took this trend to its logical limit, and we’re now seeing a resurgence of giant bags for the SS19 season, but the fact remains that SATC introduced the concept of a tiny, non-functional purse while simultaneously lamenting its futility in a commitment-phobic world.
Samantha came through to teach us a timeless, yet highly specific lesson: don’t buy a fake gold Baguette unless you want to get kicked out of the Playboy mansion.
In recent years a handful of models have carried fakes, perhaps as an ironic statement on the nature of appearance vs reality, perhaps as a direct challenge to the concept of authenticity, or most likely because they just sort of felt like it. Our discomfort with the fake designer purse has persisted, which I think is due to the idea that a designer handbag should be special, rather than something you buy out of a guy’s trunk in LA.
The Belt Bag
Carrie’s crop top and Gucci belt bag is a classic look, and while the fanny pack hasn’t exactly remained a favorite over the years, it has reemerged with such a vengeance that it’s hard to believe it’s going anywhere anytime soon at this point. Carrie’s Gucci belt bag caused a frenzy when she first wore it (the New York Times even reported on it), and the bag still looks fresh off the runway in 2019.
The Judith Leiber Clutch
Big gives Carrie a jewel-encrusted, swan-shaped Judith Leiber clutch, to which she responds by telling him she loves him (for the first time). While the episode propelled Judith Leiber into the pop culture lexicon, it also tied her irrevocably to a deeply awkward plotline and resulted in at least one obituary that called her “Judith Leiber of Legendary Sex and the City Plot Line.”
Regardless of how Leiber felt about her mainstream fame, the brand is still going strong. Last year both Beyonce and Lupita Nyong’o stepped out in Leiber clutches, which is truly all the endorsement I need.
That Louis Vuitton weirdness Jennifer Hudson carried in the SATC movie
Jennifer Hudson is a national treasure, and while her character’s bag choices in the SATC movie were certainly not for the faint of heart, I approve. Her character took on the role of Carrie’s assistant and then *sniffle* friend. She favored some fringed Chanel and a bonkers Louis Vuitton denim patchwork confection, both rentals. She finally got a Louis of her own when Carrie gave her a Motard Firebird as a thank you and goodbye gift.
I hated this bag when I first saw it, but the years have made me look upon this odd creation a little more kindly. This is one SATC purse that seems to have slid into obscurity for now at least, and it’s been years since the bag has been seen.
Carrie's Horse Head
This one is a bit odd, but it somehow looks fantastic with Carrie's outfit. HBO auctioned off many of Carrie's outfits online during SATC's original run, and this horse head purse sold for $500 more than what costume designer Patricia Field paid.
These days the decapitated animal look is going strong (example: Gucci's Mickey Mouse head purse, which I will never stop talking about), and the original designer Timmy Woods is still at it: his website features multiple Santa Claus head purses that rapidly escalate in terms of creepiness, and the horse head is available too. Not going to lie, I'm considering it.
Miranda’s Strictly Rhythm Messenger Bag
This bag is most likely in the trash, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. Sorry, Miranda, I love you but I’m not sure why they made you wear that.
Nostaligic for SATC? Shop our SATC approved picks below!
P.S. Please consider supporting our small, bag-loving team by clicking our links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, or any of the listed partners on our shop page. We truly appreciate your support!