The once strong-willed icon has become a proverbial punching bag on ‘And Just Like That…’. Can her style evolution save her?
From the moment And Just Like That… entered the zeitgeist, fans have been mourning Miranda Hobbes. She didn’t pass away — but something about her felt lost.
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Of all the Sex and the City women, Miranda — played by Cynthia Nixon — was once uniquely aspirational. Throughout the original show’s six-season run, she rejected expectations of femininity and looked great doing it. Sporting power suits, keeping her hair short and spiky, and putting her career above all else, she championed a cool minimalist androgyny. Sure, she had her faults. But one thing remained true about Miranda: She knew who she was. That is, until And Just Like That… came around.
Because of her gender-bending chicness, there was always speculation as to whether Miranda was queer (Nixon herself is married to a woman). So when AJLT decided to explore this plotline, it had the exciting opportunity to see her flourish later in life. But instead, we’ve gotten some cringe clothing moments that just don’t feel fair.
Over the course of And Just Like That…, Miranda has gone through head-spinning style changes. In season 1, after transitioning from law exec to nervous grad student, her hair is grey and she wears relaxed, comfy clothes (read: lots of plaid). While exploring her sexuality, she enters a relationship with Che Diaz, a non-binary comedian who treats her horribly and has emerged as the show’s de facto villain. She also callously cheats on her longtime husband Steve, which casts another shadow of negativity on her radical self-discovery.
In season 1, she looks pretty casual — a major switch up from her SATC corporate wear. This visual 180 comes with a personality transplant, and she spends episodes feeling insecure, unsure of herself and all over the place emotionally. Through this shift, the once vivacious, strong-willed Miranda feels woefully watered down.
In a series where clothes have always mattered, Miranda’s journey in reclaiming her sexuality started off far less fashionable than it could have been. By abandoning her established subversive style, she wasn’t able to continue the gender-fluid experimentation she was once known for. At the beginning of season 2, after moving to California with Che, a now-red-headed Miranda spends the better part of an episode literally covered in trash after a beach cleanup goes wrong. While her NYC friends are dressed to the nines, Miranda is sartorially punished. Something about that doesn’t feel right.
As season 2 progresses, things appear to be getting better for Miranda. She leaves her dysfunctional relationship with Che, and she leans into sexier silhouettes when casually dating. She’s rising through the ranks at her new job, and her revised work attire is softened but stylish — with pleated dresses, chunky jewellery and brighter colours than in previous years. She’s also retreated to her beloved bluntness. After a co-worker sarcastically calls her “perfect,” she responds: “Actually, I’m a sexually-confused alcoholic who’s in the midst of a divorce.” That’s on self-awareness!
Her style improvements continue into episode 9, when she dons a sage green pantsuit to go apartment hunting with Carrie. It’s a “She’s back!” moment for sure. And it culminates in episode 10, where she takes two well-paid-off fashion risks: a striking gradient coat to leave a meeting with her boss, and a brown tailored jumpsuit with neon buttons for brunch. These looks don’t emulate SATC Miranda, yet they still feel authentic to her. But even with glimmers of sartorial hope, Miranda remains the show’s punching bag.
In episode 10, she attends Che’s comedy show at the advice of (and alongside) Carrie. Here, Che divulges intimate details about their love life and mocks her sexual curiosity to a crowd of laughing strangers. Miranda gets up and leaves, while Carrie stays put. Later in the episode, Carrie dismisses Miranda’s (valid) anger at Che, calling it “high school.” Try as she may, it seems Miranda can’t avoid mistreatment in And Just Like That….
Don’t get us wrong: Miranda’s aesthetic rollercoaster is not objectively bad. It’s refreshing to see a middle-aged woman go through raw self-discovery on-screen. What’s bothersome about this is the fact that Miranda’s journey consistently feels overshadowed by the bad things in her life — no matter how well she’s dressed. With the final episode airing on August 24, let’s hope the end of the series gives Miranda what she so desperately needs: peace of mind.