Carrie Bradshaw has never been a traditionalist when it comes to playing dress-up. But when the character played by Sarah Jessica Parker becomes the best man at a wedding in Sex and the City 2, she goes for the oldest wedding standard there is. No, not a bad bridesmaid dress. Instead, she dons a tuxedo.
Of course, a tux on a woman is hardly traditional, which is why it's such a striking look.
"It pushes the boundaries of what people assume a woman should wear," says Victoria Potter, editor-in-chief of the Vancouver-based fashion blog demicouture.ca.
With wedding season approaching, women who want to chuck their dresses for tuxes have plenty of options. Several designer versions have appeared in recent years, from Stella McCartney's strapless tuxedo dress to the full styles from Ralph Lauren Blue Label to the Dior petite Taille tux worn by SJP in SATC2. Whether it's a full tuxedo or a deconstructed version, however, it's a look guaranteed to be both eye-catching and chic.
"It's still formal, but you're going to stand out in a sea of formal dresses," says Rebecca Schweitzer, founder of the fashion blog fashionmefabulous.com. "There's that appeal of taking something that's an iconic masculine look and tailoring it to feminine curves. It adds a quiet sex appeal to the outfit."
That was the kind of sex appeal Yves Saint Laurent was going for when he created his Le Smoking tux in 1966, pioneering the look for women.
Only in the past few years, however, have young women jumped on the trend in greater numbers. Among high-profile devotees, Katie Holmes, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez have all sported the tuxedo look in recent years. At last month's Costume Institute Gala in New York, TV personality Alexa Chung drew plenty of attention in her tux.
While it's a conservative look for men, it's the risk-taking SATC fan who will most likely adopt the look this season.
"Once they see [the movie] they're going to jump all over it," Potter says.
Even women who are a little more restrained can easily channel Bradshaw's glamour simply by pulling a few key pieces from the tux.
"You can take away just the shirt and replace it with a fitted, low-cut top. That way, it's still more feminine than the buttoned-up look," Schweitzer says.
To Potter, it's an incredibly chic way for a woman to thumb her nose at convention.
"It's the most elegant rebellion," she says.