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You may not remember what Marissa Cooper wore as her limp body was dragged from a burning car on The O.C.’s season three finale, but I do. I replicated the outfit in which she spent her tragic final moments and wore it for a week straight to commemorate her passing. I wanted all of Coop’s looks: the Pucci rain boots she sported while kissing her lesbian lover, Alex; the Chanel prom dress she donned the night she found out bad boy Volchok was cheating. Fortunately, my 15-year-old teenybopper self strove to emulate Marissa’s style rather than her substance abuse or her exploits with D.J. the gardener. Long before The O.C., the Sex and the City series elicited its own posse of fashion-obsessed followers. Clothing served as more than just a pretty backdrop on the six-season HBO phenomenon—it played its own charac- ter, empowering heroine Carrie Bradshaw in her most mortifying moments (remember when she overcame self-doubt after going splat! on a runway in rhinestone underwear?). Sex and the City 2, the series’ second feature film, premieres May 28, and fans are already abuzz over the couture in the theatrical trailer. For those who lack the glamorous urban lifestyle displayed on the show,

dressing like Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda or Samantha is the next best thing to being one of them. These days, it’s become almost effortless for fans to copy their favorite characters. Swarovski has partnered with Sex and the City 2 on a jewelry line, and costume designer Patricia Field has posted looks from the film for sale on her website. Royal blue Manolo Blahnik pumps with sparkly pilgrim buckles worn in the first movie garnered over 100 requests at Bergdorf Goodman (I doubt the $945 price tag deterred any eager fans from purchasing what they considered to be a piece of Sex and the City history). So why the copycat culture? For me, part of the appeal of emulating a character’s style is knowing that no matter how outrageous my outfit might be, I’m never taking too big of a risk. I quieted my roommate’s gasp of horror upon catching me fastening my new Bumpit with, “I read that Blair Waldorf wears one!” It’s far less nerve-racking to wear something daring – even downright weird – if I’ve already seen it on somebody else. Marissa Cooper’s ghost still lurks in my closet, but she’s slowly disap-

pearing. As gratifying as it can be to hunt down clothing I spot on my favorite characters, I’ve learned to use their outfits as a source of inspira- tion rather than a paint-by-numbers guidebook. If I ever get my hands on the white Halston Heritage dress that Carrie sports on the movie’s poster, I’ll pair it with colorful flats and feather earrings in lieu of her flashy all-gold accessories. As with any experience, I can only reap the benefits of fashion when I take a risk of my own design. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes (even if they are Manolos—ouch!) just isn’t the same as walking in

my own.


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