On HBO’s Sex and the City (1998-2004), sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw is the quintessential NYC single girl. She is successful, attractive, stylish and independent. Between Sunday brunches and Cosmos with her besties Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha, Carrie writes about the trials and tribulations of dating, sex and love.
Over six seasons, Carrie deals with highs and lows both personally and professionally. Carrie is a woman constantly trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. Heck, even her wardrobe evolves. The only three constants in Carrie Bradshaw’s life are her friends, her shoes and her beloved rent-controlled apartment. Here are the 10 biggest ways Carrie changed from season 1 to the finale.
10 Her Style Becomes More Conservative
Both Carrie Bradshaw and the woman who plays her, Sarah Jessica Parker, became style icons. During the first four seasons, Carrie isn’t modest about showing her body in form-fitting, midriff-baring, see-through outfits. The most iconic fashion moment — after the white tutu she wears in the opening credits — has to be the “naked dress:” a tiny flesh-colored ensemble she wears for a promotional campaign and to seduce Mr. Big.
But there is a definite shift in Carrie’s wardrobe at the start of Season 5. Parker, who was pregnant with her first child during filming, embraced longer hemlines and overall less-revealing looks. During one episode, Carrie tells Samantha it’s time for women her age to cover up. Carrie doesn’t stop taking fashion risks, but by Season 6, she’s more couture, leaving what’s underneath to the imagination.
9 She Becomes A Home Owner
After Carrie and Aidan break off their engagement during season 4, Carrie finds herself short on assets and facing eviction from her perfect rent-controlled apartment. This explains how a writer living in one of the most expensive cities in the world can have enough money to buy all of those Manolo Blahniks — forty thousand dollars’ worth.
As a woman in her mid-30s, Carrie gets a long-overdue wake-up call when it comes to her finances. Out of all her friends, she’s the only one living way beyond her means. Thanks to a loan from Charlotte, Carrie can buy her apartment, but homeownership doesn’t put a damper on her shoe addiction.
8 She Writes A Book
After years of writing a weekly sex column and picking up some freelance work at Vogue, a book deal falls into Carrie’s lap. During Season 6, she’s approached by two female editors from a small publishing company who are convinced Carrie’s particular brand of sex will sell. Comprised of previous columns — mainly those about her relationship with Mr. Big — Sex and the City (Carrie’s book) receives rave reviews from the New York Times.
The book appears to be a modest success since she still keeps writing her column until moving to Paris. But at the start of Sex and the City: The Movie (2008), Carrie establishes a timeline of having written three books in three years, so sales must be pretty good.
7 She Moves To Paris
The latter part of season 6 has Carrie in a very grown-up relationship with the Russian artist Aleksandr Petrovsky. On the upside, he’s not like the other men in Carrie’s life. He’s mature, he doesn’t play games and a life with him is full of amazing possibilities. He’s also a bit icy, consumed by his work, self-centered and not a fan of her friends or they of him.
But with her friends moving up, moving on and moving away, Carrie isn’t about to be left behind when Aleksandr invites her to go with him to Paris. This is the commitment she is looking for from Big during Season 2, and he refuses to give it to her, so of course, she’s not going to let this second chance pass her by.
6 Two Of Her Best Friends Find Their Soul Mates
By the time Carrie’s 35th birthday rolls around at the start of season 4, all of the ladies — even a married Charlotte — are dealing with the wear and tear of many relationships gone wrong. It’s then that they vow to be each other’s soul mates. But the one most likely to fall in love, Charlotte, and the most cynical of the bunch, Miranda, both find their respective happily ever afters and tie the knot during Season 6.
Even Samantha finds happiness in a less conventional arrangement. So maybe this foursome isn’t exactly soul mates, but as Mr. Big says, “You three know her better than anyone. You’re the loves of her life … and a guy’s just lucky to come in fourth.”
5 She Gets The Guy
After six seasons of an on-again-off-again relationship with the infamous Mr. Big, Carrie finally gets the guy. After dabbling in monogamy twice, the two become good friends (sometimes with benefits), but when it looks like an old twice-married, cheating dog can’t learn new tricks, Carrie moves on.
On the Season 1 finale, Big can’t see Carrie as the “one,” but years later on a bridge in Paris, as the series comes to an end and all the main characters get their happy endings. Big is finally able to tell Carrie what she’s always wanted to hear. It’s also not even close to their love story, just the start of a whole new chapter.
4 She Trades In Sex Talk For Vogue
For a fashionista like Carrie Bradshaw, if style was a religion, Vogue would be her church. It’s kind of surprising Carrie didn’t make this jump to freelancing sooner than season 4, especially in a city like New York. But Season 4 is a big one for Carrie when it comes to hitting some very adult milestones; ones she’s not sure she’s ready for.
In dire need of extra cash, Carrie doesn’t give up her day job as a sexpert and local semi-celebrity. She just gets to combine her love of maintaining her lifestyle, with clothes and shoes and still dishing about the down and dirty of relationships.
3 She Becomes A Serial Monogamist
During season 1, Carrie enjoys a few flings before settling into a relationship with Mr. Big. Carrie moves on to short-lived involvements with a politician, writers and a personal assistant among others before and in between her makeups and breakups with Aidan and Big.
She sleeps with 18 men (give or take) throughout the series. During season 6, Carrie’s only sexual partners are Berger, Aleksandr Petrovsky, Harry’s best man (in town for Harry and Charlotte’s wedding) and her former high-school sweetheart. This means the bulk of her, um, boning takes place before the final season.
2 She Quits Smoking
Carrie chain-smokes throughout Seasons 1 and 2. After meeting sexy furniture designer Aidan Shaw — a staunch anti-smoker — during Season 3, Carrie quits. She figures this cute boy is worth the sacrifice. But when bad influence big reenters her life, Carrie falls off the wagon.
It turns out giving up cigarettes is as difficult for Carrie as giving up Mr. Big. After a period of abstinence from both the man and the nicotine, Carrie lights back up when she relocates to the City of Light — Paris. She presumably quits again after returning to NYC.
1 She Learns To Back Up Her Work
There’s a lot about Sex and the City that’s hard to believe. It’s tough to imagine how the writer of a weekly column can afford to eat out every night and wear designer labels and obscenely-expensive shoes. But all of that is easier to swallow than a writer never backing up her work. On Season 4’s “My Motherboard, My Self,” a computer crash causes Carrie to lose all her work and her mind.
The episode is not just about Carrie’s well-established dislike of technology, it’s about allowing others to be her safety net without feeling as if it threatens her independence. Not only does Carrie avoid future computer mishaps, but by the finale, she realizes when it comes to love and friendship, Big and the girls have had her back all along.
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