Let’s face it, the fabulous Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) had Christian Dior hanging in her wardrobe along with Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks, but she didn’t have a high-earning job. She was a newspaper columnist who crossed off star-studded event after champagne-flowing event regularly on her calendar, and only submitted one column per week – a column that ultimately earned her New York ‘influencer’ status. However, she wasn’t an influencer who was bagging paying side-gigs (besides the book she later wrote).
If Miss Bradshaw was signing any influencer deals at all, she was most likely getting paid in any freelancer’s arch nemesis: exposure. So, I couldn’t help but wonder how Carrie could afford to go on luxury label shopping sprees every other week. How did she fund this habit? Is that a habit I too could afford if I put my mind to it?
Much like everyone’s favourite Sex & The City (SATC) columnist, I am intensely drawn to shoes; hence this weekly column. But unlike the woman who walked Manhattan’s damp, grimy streets in Manolos as often as Kanye West posts an eyebrow-raising tweet, my monthly budget often side-eyes me whenever I consider walking towards a certain section of the V&A Waterfront. So, I tend to make the most of my Hollywood blockbuster taste on an indie doccie film budget by shopping statement shoes on sale… and strictly on sale (I’ll tell you how I always manage to find a sale another day, though).
Even so, I’m still intrigued by the fantasy lifestyle of the character based on Candace Bushnell’s real life – which was vastly different from Carrie’s by the way. However, I do not foresee a financially irresponsible moment (and trust me, I have many) in my life that would ever prompt me to splurge the way this media darling did.
I shared my trivial grievance with a friend the other day in a conversation triggered by a scroll down my Instagram feed. It went a little something like this:
SP: ‘Why don’t I own a pair of Louboutins yet? In fact, why don’t I have multiple pairs lined up in my cupboard right now?’
Friend: ‘Do you think you’d be able to save 1K every month for about a year towards a pair?’
SP: ‘I could, but come on, it’s not that serious. I wouldn’t do it for shoes.’
Firstly, I shouldn’t spend a year’s saving for – dare I say it – just one pair of shoes. Secondly, the Louboutins were a metaphor. And finally, it was in that moment that I went from Sartorial Podiatrist to Sartorially Jaded Podiatrist (SJP pun intended). I realised that as someone who writes for a living, I cannot justify a luxury shoe purchase, no matter how absolutely besotted I am with these Prada kitten heels. They’ll have to stay on my list of ‘one day is one day’ purchases.
At the end of the day, Carrie Bradshaw is a fictional character and her role was to make Candace’s real-life anecdotes more aspirational by making her live at least two tax brackets beyond her means. In the wake of SATC’s 20th anniversary celebrations, I stumbled upon a good read online that so succinctly articulated my cognitive dissonance with Carrie’s life:
‘It was also an over-the-top, unbridled celebration of consumerism. The ladies of Sex and the City shop, eat, drink, and shop some more with the same verve and prerogative as they enjoy and seek from sex. Charlotte has inherited wealth; Samantha and Miranda, high-pressure, high-earning jobs. Carrie has neither, and her glitzy lifestyle was troublesomely divorced from reality,’ reads the paragraph that inspired this piece.
So, basically the answer to my own question is no, I can’t buy a pair of Manolo Blahniks on impulse in the middle of the week, weeks away from payday. Not even on payday. Not right now anyway. And neither could Carrie, but she did it so that other voguish writers wouldn’t have to.
Signed, the Sartorial Podiatrist