How Hollywood Icons Marilyn Monroe, Joan Collins, and Kim Novak Influenced ‘Sex and the City’

Fans all around the world love Sex and the City for the witty dialogue, the memorable characters, and the hilarious situations. However, it is the show’s fashion that has helped it to remain so consistently popular over the years. From Carrie’s quirky style choices to Samantha’s sleek evening gowns, every character has a definable style all their own. Interestingly enough, while the Emmy-winning series set its own fashion standard, the cast and crew looked to movie stars of the past, including screen legends Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, and Joan Collins.

Sarah Jessica Parker looked to Marilyn Monroe as an influence for Carrie Bradshaw

Any SATC fan knows that Carrie Bradshaw is a sucker for a classic lingerie set. Throughout the series, the character wears pastel bra and underwear sets made out of luxurious materials like satin or silk. According to BuzzFeed, this is partially because Marilyn Monroe herself influenced Carrie’s lingerie style. As Parker noted, “She really believes, in a literary way, in the idea of love, so I thought there was something pure and chaste about wearing bras to bed.”

Carrie doesn’t just wear colorful bras to sleep in, either. In the series, the character rocks unique bras as accessories, with detail peeking through the top or dress. Also similar to Monroe, Carrie remains a romance aficionado in spite of her ill-fated romantic relationships, usually bouncing back with a different man in relatively short order.

Kim Novak and Joan Collins inspired Kim Cattrall’s Samantha Jones

sex and the city
The cast of “Sex And The City” (“The Caste System” episode). From l-r: Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker. | Getty Images

Several other iconic Hollywood actors inspired Kim Cattrall as she was developing the character of Samantha Jones. Patricia Field, the stylist for the series, once noted that “At the beginning of every season, (Kim Cattrall) would say, ‘Let’s do a Joan Collins thing’ or ‘let’s do a Kim Novak thing.'”

Certainly, those nods can be detected in some of Samantha’s signature style moments, including her fondness for sleek, simple dresses in statement colors and glamorous, large coats. Samantha also often wears gloves, a classic style accessory that was frequently utilized by both Novak and Collins in their TV shows and films.

‘Sex and the City’ remains a fashion inspiration

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When Sex and the City first debuted on television, it was under the radar. Most fashion designers wouldn’t think twice about the effect that the series would have on popular culture. However, Field would later describe how, by the beginning of the second season of SATC, designers were contacting Field in order to try to have their pieces featured on the show. Fans noticed, picking up on the fact that as the show went on, the characters seemed to wear ever more expensive designs.

The ultimate effect was that SATC became one of the most fashion-forward shows of all time. To this day, fans love the clothes worn by Carrie Bradshaw and friends. More than that, they love discussing the various fashion “misses” that appear in the series. The general consensus amongst fans is that, while Carrie is the most stylish of the friend group, Miranda is the worst-dressed, with her puffer jackets and overalls standing out as being particularly tragic.

With the second season of the reboot series And Just Like That… currently in production, it seems likely that fans will have even more to discuss in the coming months in terms of outrageous fashion.