This article contains spoilers for the fourth episode of season two of “And Just Like That…”
“Women of our time are massively underrepresented in the media,” says Enid Fricke (Candice Bergen), a former Vogue editor who recently got her hands on the shoe presented by Condé Nast, on the final episode of “And Just Like That….” . A new online magazine that “focuses on the women of our time.”
For Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), the pitch-sweet receiver, her blending demographic with her one-time editor leads to a secondary identity crisis—one that raises intriguing questions about aging, maturity, confidence, and how we present ourselves to the world. (As Gloria Steinem muses from a staircase: “Maybe the new frontiers are getting old.”)
Of course, this is the “Sex and the City” cinematic universe, the clothes tell the story. Ahead of Episode 4, members of the New York Times Style Desk gathered to dissect the fashion show and its significance.
Vanessa Friedman I actually thought this was a relatively light episode, as far as fashion statements are concerned, though I still can’t get Lisa Todd Wexley to drop her kids off to camp in a Louis Vuitton-branded puffer jacket and scarf.
Jeremy Allen Looks like LTW is the brand ambassador for the fashion house, right? Do we think that was it pink PP She was wearing an espresso martini date night with her husband?
VF I wondered about the same thing. Looking at the Valentino gown she wore to the Met, my guess would be yes.
Callie Holtermann Its very barbecue.
VF What do you think of her sequined gown and anniversary dinner? She doesn’t wear it for date nights.
Ja Dare I say… sublime? It felt decadently disco — made even more confusing by a poorly attended anniversary party where, once again, you had Charlotte sporting a Barbiecore in petal pink.
VF Charlotte’s blouse game is strong. I had never thought so much of sweaters saying something about identity through element. And I don’t really like blouses.
Meanwhile, Sima remains a supporter of the series for its Zen neutrality. Even if she’s wearing a giraffe print and Fendi F earrings. It’s all relative.
CH We owe Jeremy a compliment for correctly predicting during last week’s conversation that Cima would be wearing more animal prints. But Jeremy, in your wildest dreams, did you think she’d wear a leopard, zebra, and giraffe print jumper at the same time?
Ja I have to say, I felt very arrogant, Callie.
CH And you’re right, Vanessa – it’s somehow an understatement!
VF It’s a wardrobe board. We should all have our own wardrobe board. I’m beginning to think that the confusion in Carrie’s life is the confusion in her wardrobe.
Ja Then again, hasn’t her wardrobe always been delightfully “clumsy” — or, at least, somewhat variable from episode to episode? The lingering question, “What are you going to wear next?” He seemed to have audiences buzzing during his ‘Sex and the City’ days.
VF I think the confusion was part of that point at the time. But shouldn’t she… uh… be outgrown? She might be trying to figure out who she is without Big. But still.
Can we talk about Gloria Steinem?
CH If you were a fashion designer and were told that Gloria Steinem would guest star, how would you handle it?
VF Gloria has to do Gloria. This is why the drop hip belt was so perfect.
Remember when Jane Fonda donned that iconic red trench coat during the Fire Drill Friday protests against climate change? I wonder if Gloria’s coat is a nod to that.
Ja definitely. I can’t stop thinking about that most harmonious palette, Vanessa. The scene with Carrie and Seema in the café struck me as they were both sporting neutrals while talking about aging. “Has my life been hacked recently by AARP?” asks Carrie, looking like an elegant lady in an Ellen Fisher-esque kaftan and string of pearls, the cheeky answer from the fashion department might be: “Yeah. So what?” It’s one of my favorite looks so far.
VF Well – then the hat appeared.
CH That tricorne, Benjamin Franklin’s nifty number?
VF This is it.
CH It was revolutionary (in the sense of revolutionary war).
Ja And maybe a funeral boy? The series has been criticized in certain corners in the past year for fast-tracking the ladies to seniority, rather than treating them like the 50 somethings they actually were. This episode seems like a clever way to address that – and advance the plot.
CH It was an interesting episode, with Carrie dealing with aging, but also some of her inner aging self. At first, she isn’t happy about being grouped with two seniors by her former boss, Enid Fricke. She dodges photos by saying her hair doesn’t look good (lousy excuse – it looks perfect).
VF Well, she dodges a photo with a woman in a walker so she doesn’t look too old, and makes up a bad excuse. The one thing they don’t really struggle with is plastic surgery and fillers, which is a huge thing in middle age. I hope they address that.
CH There was a face-lift plot point in the previous episode, right? Bitsy von Muffling made the increasingly familiar argument for plastic surgery as something that can be empowering—for those who can afford it. But even if this were true, it’s an argument on an individual level that doesn’t address the broader issue, which is that women are expected to look eternally young. And they can be eliminated – socially, professionally – if they don’t.
VF One episode doesn’t make for a satisfying story.
CH justice. My favorite note in the episode was the hot pink hat the LTW’s daughter wore at the scene as she was heading off to summer camp. Not least because it felt like something a teenager would wear today. (For those keeping tallies, our bucket hat count for the season is up to four.)
Ja I can’t get this question out of my head: What do we want from this show — and its costumes — right now? Is there any world in which “and just like that…” brings us a new take on couture, or are we going to be content with it resting on its old glories – played as it may be?
VF I want something new, rather than a refurb. Once upon a time, back in the days of “Sex and the City,” the way characters approached fashion served as a kind of roadmap to discovering themselves: what they want, who they are, and how they want to present it to the world. Self-experimenters, which is what most of us do at that early stage of adulthood.
At this point, I hope these characters have actually wandered further down this road, to a place where they know who they are, rather than getting stuck in a constant dress-up game. Sophistication can also be a fashionable thing.
Vanessa FriedmanAnd Callie Holtermann And Jeremy Allen Contribute to the preparation of reports.