STYLE IN THE CITY/Susanne Seidman – Carried away? Style in our city

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With the upcoming movie release of “Sex and the City” do you find yourself caught up once again, fantasizing about being Carrie Bradshaw strutting the streets in Manolos?  

Time to hit The Shoe Hive, but could I really walk in Carrie’s shoes? Could I pen a fashion column tackling questions a touch more skin deep than a label?  

Each spring I seem to find myself walking the runway in charity fashion shows.  

The dynamic duo who own Kiskadee must be relieved I didn’t tumble at The Campagna Center’s annual Toast to Fashion a la Carrie in the Dolce and Gabbana show.  

After giving birth to my two beautiful children and burying my mother all in the last 5 years, I find myself stretching tall, holding my head high as I walk a new runway.  

Sometimes I stumble and pick myself. Fashion shows are easy and fun. Life on Old Town’s cobblestone streets proves more tricky. Still, I ask myself do the clothes still make me the woman I am or does this new woman make the clothes? 

With each episode and season of Sex and The City we waited in anticipation for the witty proverbial question punctuating the escapade of our beloved fashion heroine and friends. More than ever I find my girlfriends are in fact my family. So I ask you, what is it about Sex and The City that we just can’t get enough? Why do we imagine life as Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda, or Carrie to be something shinier and better than our own?  

Truth be told, I am probably at my core more Charlotte than Carrie. I grew up wearing smocked dresses and mary janes, just as my daughter does now. I do love a man straight out of Ralph Lauren’s latest campaign or even in a kilt, like Charlotte’s first husband Trey. My own husband is charming in a clean cut New England way. I’m still working on him to brave a kilt in my own family plaid. I felt incomplete until my children were born. All very Charlotte.  

But there is that streak of Carrie. Is it from my mother? In her early and short career days in the sixties at Saks Fifth Avenue on the famous Magnificent Mile in Chicago she knew and wore Diane Von Furstenberg and other top designers.  She counted as friends the duo of stylists who did the store visuals and conceptualized the famed white twinkle lights that now illuminate many city streets well beyond the holidays.  

As my mother died of pancreatic cancer far too early, fashion was a tiny bright spot as we celebrated each new wardrobe while she passed from size 10 all the way down to 2. Her cancer struggle disproved the myth. You can be too thin. Here’s to riches!  

Back to my inner Carrie.  

Could it be our common real estate revelation? I’m still not in my dream house in part due to our roller coaster real estate market. A Manhattan apartment sounded chic and fresh until Carrie needed a new one and found her chief asset to be her shoe selection. Carrie faced facts and gave us serious shoppers a friendly reminder.  

Ladies, we do not want to become the old woman who lived in her shoes. Fashion can have a price if you loose your priorities. Carries life gets messy at times. Us, too. But, our shoes are always neatly lined up in original boxes. All of my clothing hangs precisely on matching hangers. You? When it comes to fashion, I simply can’t help myself. I admire. I covet. I indulge. Fashion is in the fiber of my being. Very Carrie. 

You have felt the gravitational pull of a great pair of shoes or bag? You have searched in vain for the miracle jeans? Was one of your life goals to own a Chanel suit by a milestone birthday? Yes, yes, yes.  

Compliment my look and you will hear any significant piece has a story. My inaugural gown was created by Roya at Elegance and survived the snowstorm. My favorite Lilly Pulitzer print of each season I snap up at Tickled Pink, which my daughter Lilly referred to as “her store.”  

Great jeans from skinny to trouser cut I categorize and hang by style. That birthday is approaching. How I love a good sale and will pass on every bargain tip to the person next in line for coffee. Warehouse sales are my self-described Super Bowl. 

Sex and The City is delicious as an escape. Tuning into to Carrie and her crew weekly, we departed Alexandria and entered big city life. We waited with anticipation for the trials and triumphs of our favorite girls lives and studied their wardrobes for style tips and tricks. SATC set trends and coaxed us out of our fashion shells into a brave new world. We mix it up now. Our belts don’t match our shoes anymore.  

While Carrie is on and off again with Mr. Big or lunching with her ladies, our daily routines in Alexandria are more likely school drop off, a quick coffee, laundry, school pick up and bedtimes. Routines create the fabric of our lives and so too sometimes a sleepy monotony. Carrie, keep Fifth Avenue and private appointments with top designers. You and I, we cruise King Street. Our boutiques are in fact stylish with a personal hometown touch. My husband raises an eyebrow with each Old Town proprietor who knows not only me but my children by name, even in my absence.  

Let us not forget SJP, the real Carrie Bradshaw, most adores her role as mother, her neighborhood, and her city. After all, she launched a wearable and affordable clothing line for us, her adoring fans, with the notion fashion should not be out of reach. 

Be sure to catch Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte on the big screen May 30. And start a new fashion adventure in daily life with me, Susanne Seidman.

Let’s call it Style in The City, Old Town Alexandria.

Susanne Seidman lives in Old Town. Contact her at Styleinthecity@google.com.

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