During Season 4 of the iconic, enduring, eternally beloved series Sex and the City, clotheshorse Carrie Bradshaw lamented that she “will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes.”
But in this case, art does not imitate life, as Sarah Jessica Parker, who produced the show and played Bradshaw, can attest: Her own wardrobe doesn’t nearly measure up to Bradshaw’s impressive collection.
“Like a lot of people in New York, I don’t have a big closet because space is such a premium. I didn’t build a big closet when we moved into our house. I’m not a shopper. I don’t buy a lot,” she tells Yahoo Style. “I’m pretty disciplined about cleaning out the closet. I don’t toss things. I archive a lot. I give a lot to my sisters and friends. When people come over for dinner, they’re disappointed by the size of the closet. It’s good to have to work within these limitations.”
Parker, 51, is specific about everything she does. The actress has her own brand, called SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, which sells shoes, and she’s expanded her offerings to handbags with a line called The Seven Essentials, sold at Bloomingdale’s and online through Amazon Fashion. The two-time Emmy winner and mom of twins Tabitha and Marion, 7, and older brother James Wilkie, 14, called a reporter one hectic Thursday morning to talk pumps and purses, which top out at $695 and are all made in the United States.
Parker is building the line in a considered, careful manner, adding hues — teal, a favorite color of hers, is in the works. She’s very involved, working the floor in shoe departments and fitting customers in her heels and flats, going over every Instagram post, and sitting in on every single sales meeting. All this while Parker is headlining the HBO series Divorce, which just went into production on Season 2.
Phoning it in, like so many celebs who lend their names to brands but have minimal involvement, “would definitely be easier,” says Parker, but it’s not in the cards for her. “I feel like I have this relationship with this group of women, the audience for Sex and the City. I wouldn’t have this opportunity to produce shoes or bags if it wasn’t for those women.”
Which means she and her tiny team answer every single customer email. Parker knows every specific, minute detail about buckles and snaps and handles. “The buck stops with me. The biggest role model for that has been Laura Mercier. She didn’t have PR dollars when she started out. It was Laura on the road, meeting her customer, telling her story, what makes it special. She grew that business,” says Parker. “I want to know my customer. One should be held accountable. I go over everything.”
Her kids might enter the family business — or not.
“James Wilkie hasn’t expressed interest, but Tabitha has. She wants to do what I do. She has other 7-year-old skills. She has expressed an interest many times in the work. But I think she’s going to end up being an architect. She designs all day long, and she loves building,” says Parker. “It’s exciting that for her it’s of interest. All my children know what I do. They’re interested when they’re interested, and they’re completely bored by it when they’re bored by it.”
Parker, herself one of eight children, is savvy about sharing her life with the public. She’s unfailingly courteous to fans, always stopping to say hi when she’s recognized — which is a lot. But she’s much more protective of her family, which is why a heartfelt recent Instagram birthday wish to her older sister garnered so much interest from fans.
“She’s so great and special. We didn’t get to celebrate with her yesterday because she was with her children. It’s a funny thing about Instagram. It’s a family member. It wouldn’t be right to not do it for my siblings when I do it for friends,” she says of publicly celebrating them.
Now it’s back to her day job, on the set of Divorce. Season 2, she says, is much more uplifting in tone.
“You just want it to be good and smart and special. It’s a season of hope. I love acting so freaking much. I love this part,” she says, before adding a major caveat. “It’s not me. That’s the beauty of it. I come home, and on the days I come home and my children are awake, it throws you out of everything. I learn my lines in the van. I don’t bring the script home with me. I can separate.”
Read more from Yahoo Beauty + Style:
- How Emma Watson Made Belle From ‘Beauty and the Beast’ a Modern Style Icon
- Lisa Kudrow Embraces Her Age: ‘Older Women Have a Lot to Say’
- Cate Blanchett Dresses Daughter in Boys’ Clothes for the Best Reason