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Styling Sex and the City

You know Carrie and Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda. You know Mr. Big, and you know Steve. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you know "Sex and the City," which ran for six seasons on HBO and made its big-screen debut in spring 2008. And, admit it -- one of the reasons you love "Sex" is because of its fabulous fifth character: fashion.

"Sex" and fashion
Fashion isn't just window dressing, after all. It has a life of its own. Carrie was known for wearing oversized flowers on her outfits, and the flower comes back to life on the sensational white dress she wears in the opening scene of the movie. And though it's Sarah Jessica Parker who rocks the dress, it was Patricia Field who created it.

Field, an Academy Award-nominated wardrobe stylist who dressed the girls for TV and film, is credited with creating the series' many unique and memorable looks. Fashion items like the oversized flower are nothing short of iconic, proving that wardrobe styling is a critical component to any creative endeavor. And when you're talking about 81 wardrobe changes for one film character alone (Carrie, of course), it's a colossal task.

A career in style
Wardrobe stylists like Field select the look for each project based on the client's needs and either buy or borrow clothing and accessories directly from designer showrooms and stores. But wardrobe styling involves a lot more than just selecting an outfit and putting it together. A successful wardrobe stylist must possess a deep understanding of current and future fashion trends, a great eye when it comes to proportion and silhouette, and tremendous resourcefulness in tracking down hard-to-find items.

The fact is, top wardrobe stylists are extremely influential when it comes to trendsetting. If you don't believe that, just ask yourself when Manolo Blahnik and Louis Vuitton became part of pop culture vocabulary. Field's style selections for "Sex and the City" have influenced personal style and public consciousness.

Going fashion forward
If you're a people person with a natural sense of style, consider coursework in fashion so you can develop a portfolio that will get you hired. With some training and the right contacts, you can become an apprentice to an established wardrobe stylist. And after about two years as an apprentice, it's time to go out on your own.

After that, who knows what might happen? It could be your wardrobe styling that influences a generation.

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