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InStyle picks Carrie Bradshaw's 10 best looks

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Series costume designers Field, Weinberg and Daman talk Carrie's greatest hits
  • The tutu Carrie tried on in the first film was originally worn in the series' title sequence
  • Field's favorite is the Versace gown Carrie wore on her first night in Paris
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(InStyle) -- The plot details are still super-secret, but there's at least one thing that fans of "Sex and The City" can count on when Carrie and her crew return to the big screen next week: a visual feast of outrageous, over-the-top fashion.

To celebrate the arrival of the hotly anticipated sequel, InStyle sat down with series costume designers Patricia Field, Rebecca Weinberg and Eric Daman -- as well as our very own fashion director Hal Rubenstein -- to compile a list of Ms. Bradshaw's greatest hits.

#1: The Famous Tutu

Carrie does Degas! According to Weinberg, "Sarah Jessica Parker was always very inspired" by the French impressionist's paintings of dancers, "and there were many moments when she captured that." This pale pink tutu, originally purchased for $5 and then reproduced by the series' skilled seamstresses "because," Weinberg said, "we knew it was going to get wet," was first spotted in the series' title sequence. When Carrie tried it on again in the first film (while cleaning out her closet) it was still the most iconic -- and literal -- interpretation of the ballerina look.

Carrie's best looks ever

#2: Patricia Field's Favorite

Asked to identify her favorite piece, Field didn't hesitate to name the drop-dead Versace gown Carrie wore while waiting (and waiting) for Petrovsky on her first night in Paris, towards the end of season 6. "It took you out of reality," she said. Rubenstein agreed: "It's acres and acres of tulle and chiffon, in this darkly romantic color -- the perfect dress to be dumped in. There's nothing more woeful than seeing a beautiful woman all dressed up with nowhere to go."

#3: The Do-Or-Die Dress

Carrie chose this Richard Tyler number for a post-breakup meeting with Big at the Central Park Boathouse in the season 3 finale. "That was a moment where it was either happening, or it wasn't; either he loves her, or he doesn't." Weinberg said. They didn't get back together -- that time -- but don't blame the dress: "This is vintage Carrie," Rubenstein said.

#4: The Nameplate Necklace

"One day, I had to take the train," Weinberg recalled, "and I saw all these Italian girls wearing nameplate necklaces." From there, a trend was born. "We wanted to establish things that the audience would associate with Carrie," Weinberg explained. "Finding those familiar pieces was a big part of our success."

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#5: High and Low Mix

"This is a fun combination of high and low," Rubenstein said, referring to Carrie's season 5 ensemble, which included a sweater from mall staple Club Monaco, a dress by department store favorite Nanette Lepore and a Chanel jacket. Added Weinberg: "I love the color!"

#6: The Fashion Statement

Field didn't mind revealing that Carrie will revisit past favorites, like this Dior newsprint dress, in the new movie. "There's a reason for it," she hinted. "She has an experience that merits re-wearing it." Is the original context -- she donned this dress in season 3, when she apologized to Natasha for her affair with Big -- a clue?

#7: Runway-Ready Separates

By the time Carrie was preparing to marry Mr. Big in the first movie, she (and the "SATC" costume designers) had no trouble securing super-current styles, like this Proenza Schouler runway look. "Everyone wanted their clothes on the show," Weinberg said. "Boxes and boxes would arrive daily."

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#8: Carrie's Signature Flower

"The oversized corsage is iconic Carrie," Daman said. And it's very Sarah Jessica, too: Weinberg reported that Parker was "really into" her character's signature accessory. "They started small, and one day she said, 'Let's do a big flower,' and then they got larger and larger until it escalated into a comedy of flowers!"

#9: Tres Chic Stripes

"These were costumes, not clothes," noted Rubenstein. "You can't forget that. They have to telegraph the mood of the scene." Case in point: Carrie's super-Gallic striped Sonia Rykiel from season 6. "I wouldn't love this on the streets of Manhattan, but she's in Paris, so she's wearing classic Parisian knitwear. It's perfection!"

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#10: Show-Stopping Shoes

The ruffled, rose Louboutins that Carrie chose for her goodbye to Big at the end of season 4 were only one pair in a long line of truly stunning stilettos (good thing, too, as they were wrecked when Miranda's water broke all over them). Carrie spent, by her own reckoning, tens of thousands of dollars on shoes over the course of the series, but Weinberg insisted that it was writer/director Michael Patrick King who turned many a shoe designer into household names. "He was the one who said, 'Let's talk about Manolo."

"If you look at "Sex and The City" as Fashion 101," Rubenstein cautioned, "you're missing the point. This is fashion to the max!" Indeed, for many fans, the clothes are a crucial part of the drama. Moviegoers are eager to discover whether sparks fly when Carrie runs into old flame Aidan in the new flick, of course, but many are arguably even more excited to see what she's wearing when -- and if -- she does.

Until then, visit Instyle.com for an expanded selection of Carrie's greatest hits!

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