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Sex and the City Shoes

Whether or not you consider yourself a Sex and the City fan, you have to admit: no single television show has given us so many jawdropping shoe moments. Many, many women loved shoes before Carrie did, but she gave us license to bring our shoe obsessions into the light. Thanks to the fabulous foursome, we cruise one another’s shoes with abandon and treat ourselves to that extra pair. There’s yet to be another truly shoe-centric show, so in the meantime—and in celebration of summer footwear—let’s revisit some Sex and the City highlights.

10. Gold Boots in “Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl” (Season 3)

Carrie dates a younger, bisexual guy and spends most of the episode feeling like an “old fart”.  But her one-shouldered minidress and gold lame boots say otherwise, even if an anything-goes game of spin-the-bottle and a quick kiss from Alanis Morissette send her running back uptown.



9. Chartreuse Sandals in “The Real Me” (Season 4)

An invitation to walk in an NYC fashion show leaves Carrie feeling flattered and insecure about her looks.  The solution?  She asks to wear a super-high pair of heels for her walk down the runway.  You can guess what happens next…this classic episode gave us the term “fashion roadkill”, used to describe the phenomenon of a model stepping over her fallen colleague (in this case, Heidi Klum sweetly steps over the mortified Carrie).  Carrie picks herself up and dusts herself off, and we’d bet she’d do it all over again for another chance to wear these chartreuse green ankle-strap stiletto sandals.



8. Manolos in “What Goes Around Comes Around” (Season 3)

She doesn’t put up a fight when a mugger demands her purse, ring, and watch, but she’s aghast when he asks for her shoes by name (“These guys weren’t just after money anymore, they were after fashion,” she quips in voiceover).  Carrie believes her bad luck is karmic, and reluctantly hands over her favorite pair of shoes.  The camera pulls back for a hilarious shot: SJP, looking teeny-tiny without her heels yelling, “somebody stop him, he took my strappy sandals!”



7. Manolo Mary Janes in “A Vogue Idea” (Season 4)

Carrie feels she’s arrived when she gets a freelance job writing for Vogue, but her power play with editrix Enid Frick (played by Candace Bergen) doesn’t go smoothly.  Another sweet, paternal editor steps in to help, and even tries to lift Carrie’s spirits by taking her to the Promised Land: the Vogue closet.  There, she spots the mother of all shoes, the Manolo Blahnik Mary Jane.  “I thought these were an urban shoe myth!” she says gleefully, but the mood is ruined when her new friend wants to show her something else, aka what’s inside his Versace briefs.



6. Dior Gladiators from Sex and the City, the movie

Costume designer Patricia Field rarely used the same shoe twice in the series, but for the first Sex and the City film, she tried something new by having Carrie repeat a pair Dior Gladiator sandals with various outfits.  This decision made the showstopping shoes more memorable, and showed that like all girls, even Carrie can get hooked on a single accessory.  And honestly: any real-life woman who paid $770 for her shoes would probably want to get some use out of them!


5. Pink Chanels in  “Cover Girl” (Season 5)

It’s a lifechanging moment when Carrie gets an offer from a publisher to print a collection of her best columns, but she’s mortified when they present her with the mock-up for the book’s jacket: Carrie, hailing a cab on 5th Avenue, naked.  But all’s well that ends well.  By the end of the episode, she gets to do the cover shoot her way, wearing a cropped black jacket and a pair of amazing pink Chanel shoes.




4. Gold Louboutins from Sex and the City 2

For the run of the Sex and the City series, the girls namechecked Manolo Blahnik about as often as they drank Cosmopolitans – which is to say, a lot.  But speaking of watershed moments, all that changed when the second Sex and the City movie premiered in 2010.  In keeping with inevitable shifts in fashion, Carrie wore mostly Louboutins throughout the film, starting with this pair of sky-high gold pumps.  Every woman in the audience recognized the trademark red soles.



3. “Something Blue” pumps from Sex and the City

The ladies of Sex and the City were always shoe-obsessed, but the first Sex and the City movie – which premiered in 2008 – took it to another level.  In Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King’s updated spin on the Cinderella myth, the plot revolved around a shoe; in this case, it was a blue pump designed by Manolo Blahnik.  Carrie bought the “Something Blue” shoes to go with her simple wedding suit, but of course plans changed and she decided to wear an outrageous Vivienne Westwood gown instead.  After a crushing left-at-the-alter sequence, Carrie and Big break up, but don’t fret, because the magical shoes bring them back together in the end.



2. Pink Louboutin Sandals in  “I Heart NY” (Season 4)

This episode is all about milestones: Mr. Big leaves New York, and Miranda has a baby.  For her last fling with her on-again-off-again man, Carrie chooses to wear a pair of frilly pink sandals.  She spots them in the window of the Christian Louboutin store, and in what’s now a famous moment, leans in and coos “hello lover.”  Unfortunately, neither the date nor the shoes make it through the night.  Miranda goes into labor, and her water breaks on Carrie’s perfect pink sandals.



1. Manolo D’Orsay Pumps in “A Woman’s Right to Shoes” (Season 6)

Arguably one of the best episodes of the whole series, “A Woman’s Right Shoes” contends that the life of a single woman can be difficult, which is why she needs beautiful footwear.  It’s a fun message, but the story goes deeper; when Carrie’s vintage-style silver D’Orsay pumps get stolen from a party, she asks the host to pay for them.  A power struggle ensues, and it has less to do with money than it does with defending her life choices.  Carrie learns to stand up for herself, with or without her expensive shoes – which in some ways is the ongoing theme of Sex and the City.




Rachelle Bergstein is the author of Women From the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us, which publishes with HarperCollins this June.  You can find her on Twitter @RaBergstein or post pictures of your favorite shoes on her Facebook page.  She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, her cat and her shoes.


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