While most of us grew up identifying as a Carrie, a Samantha, or a Charlotte, it turns out that, with some hindsight, Miranda may just be the most aspirational character of Sex and the City’s iconic foursome. The creators of Every Outfit on Sex and the City think so, anyway. Lizzi Sandell talks to the two women behind the account about Mirandaphobia, dating, #btw dykery and politics.
@everyoutfitonsatc, created by writer/director Lauren Garroni and creative director/“professional fashion victim” Chelsea Fairless, became an online phenomenon with its lovingly satirical approach to Patricia Field’s iconic styling on Sex and the City. The millenium-era show influenced a generation with its sometimes-bonkers fashion choices as well as its sexual politics, which were often equal parts liberating and problematic. Since 2016, the Instagram account has perfectly captured the nostalgia as well as the irony many of us feel when we look back on this part of our recent cultural past by archiving Field’s creative genius one outfit at a time.
Garroni and Fairless’ new book, We Should All Be Mirandas, builds on an idea that they have pioneered: far from being fourth-best, Miranda is actually the most desirable (and sustainable) character to aspire to in the show. Duh! She went to Harvard and mostly has her shit together. Here, we discuss Miranda’s choice of spirits, Democratic candidates, and men, and answer important questions like, “Why can’t we all be Carries?” and “Why does Miranda dress like k.d. lang and yet claim to be heterosexual?”
Lizzi: In 10 words or less, why should we all be Mirandas?
Lauren: The self-care practice we can all follow in 2020.
Chelsea: Because being a Carrie is rarely sustainable.
Valid. So, congratulations on the book!!!! Does it feel surreal to be on a book tour, when you think back to the beginning of the Instagram account?
L: Totally. This account began as a joke over flaming margaritas, so yeah, we didn’t think it would lead to us becoming published authors. Because we never set out to be authors, we are not doing traditional book readings—instead we’re hosting these Miranda-themed live performances where we embellish the book with a truly insane Powerpoint presentation.
C: Yeah, we basically turned our book events into weird Sex and the City TEDTalks. The whole experience has been so surreal, we could have never imagined that our niche Instagram account would lead us here.
I took your quiz and got Miranda with a Miranda rising. But Mirandaphobia is real! I remember numerous “who is who?” conversations I had growing up, and Miranda always got picked last (although she’d be the first I’d pick for softball). Were you always believers?
L: No, I say in the book that a boyfriend in my twenties said I was “a Miranda” and I nearly broke up with him in the middle of First Avenue. You can’t help but want to be the Carrie of your friend group. But yeah I think I’ve always been a Miranda, just in denial—hence the Mirandaphobia essay.
C: I definitely aged into being a Miranda, or rather, I aged out of wanting to be a Carrie. Like, now that I’m solidly in my thirties I know that I’m never going to be an It girl and I’m fine with that. I mean, Carrie may have incredible clothes but Miranda went to Harvard and has a full-time housekeeper.
What was really going on with the overtly butch styling of Miranda? With Cynthia being queer IRL (and the episode where Miranda’s mistaken for a lesbian), it almost seems a bit meta? Was Patricia Field trolling us all along?
C: Even though all the characters had baller jobs, Miranda was the resident career woman on Sex and the City so her early series wardobe reflected that. But a corporate look reads very differently on a woman with short hair and minimal makeup. In retrospect, she looks shockingly queer, which I’m obviously into! I think Cynthia brings an androgynous, Thin White Duke-era David Bowie vibe to the character, but Pat Field is also an iconic power dyke so I’m not surprised that lesbian fashion infliltrated the series. One could argue that Carrie’s pageboy looks in the later seasons were also kind of gay…
L: It is interesting how Miranda’s styling and presentation became more heteronormative as the seasons went on. Although we stan her black-tie moment at Stanford and Anthony’s wedding *cringe* in the second film, think of all the Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann she could have been wearing. And, you know, some progressive lesbian storylines—no shade to Maria and Sam.
So, one of Miranda’s trademarks is her cynicism and sarcasm. In that light, can we discuss the phenomenon that is $1 slice Steve?
C: We try not to be too bitchy about Steve because he is a genuinely sweet guy. But yes, his optimistic worldview is difficult for Miranda-identified people to relate to. I’ve always liked him, but he isn’t my ideal match for Miranda. I would have rather seen her with that Tig Notaro-esque woman that Miranda’s colleague tried to set her up with in Season 1.
L: Steve is a good guy—which is why he isn’t in our “Which Asshole Are You Dating?” section of the book—but he isn’t the right match for Miranda. She even says, “He’s not a core shaker.” We oddly think he would be perfect for Carrie. He could show her all the great vintage places in Queens and his athleisure ensembles would actually mesh well with her style.
What are the best things that Mirandas have invented/given the world?
L: The popularization of menswear, specifically pantsuits?
C: Mirandas are fabulous writers. Where would we be without the work of Joan Didion, Virginia Woolf, Roxane Gay, etc.?
I think I know what you’re going to say, but who would be Miranda’s Dem candidate of choice? And who would Carrie, Charlotte, and Samantha vote for?
C: Miranda would be ride-or-die Elizabeth Warren. Although I think Cynthia Nixon may be supporting Bernie Sanders?
L: Carrie did not register to vote until Season Three so she might not make it to the polls, especially for a primary. But if she did vote, we think she’d be one of those annoying undecideds. Like the person who on Nov 7th 2016, was like “I’m still not sure between Hillary and Trump.”
C: Charlotte would be Pete Buttigieg, all the way. She’d be hosting fundraisers in her Park Avenue apartment.
L: In the show, Samantha’s presidential voting credo is “whomever is the most fuckable.” So Beto? Although I feel like she would also connect with Marianne Williamson on a spiritual level.
If SATC was set in present-day New York, where would they go for brunch and cocktails?
L: We live in L.A., so maybe Gjelina? As for a signature cocktail, I’m going with a Paloma. What Vodka was to Gen X and the ladies of Sex and the City, tequila is to millennials.
C: I mean, Pastis is open again, I like to think that they would stick with a classic New York restaurant for brunch. As for cocktails, I second Lauren’s assertion that tequila is the new vodka.
…..Is a #WokeCharlotte book the only logical next step?
L: I think you’re joking, but we do talk about doing a Woke Charlotte children’s book.
C: Yes, maybe a coloring book about how to be a good ally? Although as white creators, I think that pursuing any kind of commercial venture with #WokeCharlotte might be, shall we say, not woke? We love her though, and would love to expand upon her vision in the future.
Lizzi Sandell is a writer/editor from London who lives in LA.