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Upbeat message from fashionistas

When Sex and the City debuted on HBO in 1998, I was in my early 20s. I didn't relate.

When Sex and the City debuted on HBO in 1998, I was in my early 20s.

I didn't relate.

But then 30 happened, I got a better job, and I upgraded my technology. A lot of my close girlfriends - including my younger sister - were married, and I found myself still dating. (Big sigh here.) I was a columnist. I had great clothes, but with every new relationship I heard the painful you-should-be-coupled-up-by-now refrain in my head.

Suddenly Charlotte, Samantha, Carrie, and especially Miranda, were my girls. I can't tell you how many Sunday afternoons I watched SATC, box of tissues in hand, sobbing.

But thankfully, time didn't stop. And like SATC, I grew and realized I made my worst decisions when I let others - employers, parents, not-really boyfriends - define my happiness. Still, like Carrie, I obsessed, made mountains out of molehills, and realized I'd never be saved by a Vivienne Westwood dress.

So now, two years after I was awed by Carrie and Big's sparkling walk-in closet, touched when Miranda met Steve on the Brooklyn Bridge, and cheered with news of Charlotte's pregnancy, I want to know not only what's in store for the girls, but what's in store for me. Will the angst continue to plague me?

Nope. By the end of the sequel, I learned that if I let things be, sheer, unadulterated happiness can be mine. That's right - joy with a capital J.

Thankfully, the packaging of this message comes with frills. This completely unreal jaunt to a sunny $22,000-a-day resort in Abu Dhabi is perfect.

Of course for the zillions of other women who love SATC, the fantasy begins and ends with the clothes. And considering these women rocked Dolce when they were in the depths of despair, stylist Patricia Field had no choice but to find phenomenal pieces for when they were at their best.

From the opening monologue, which flashes back to their late '80s ensembles, the fashionista is hooked.

Carrie absolutely mastered the maxi, from the handkerchief-hemmed mauve Halston halter dress to the orange pleated tank Halston, to the one-shouldered emerald Lanvin. Carrie also paired at least three of her maxis with a Maison Martin Margiela menswear jacket. (Was that an example of frugal packing, or did Field just develop an affinity for the piece she nicknamed Rum Raisin?)

And SATC fashion historians will appreciate that Carrie wore her Christian Dior newspaper dress as a nod to the woman she used to be. (She wore it as a single woman in the HBO series.)

Miranda's clothes came in a close second, especially when the camera scanned the body-hugging, plunging Julien MacDonald gown at Stanford and Anthony's out-of-this-world wedding. (It was heaven, complete with an appearance from Liza Minnelli.)

Miranda is settled and sexy, and in her off-time, she wears Zero + Maria Cornejo, just like Michelle Obama.

Charlotte is the epitome of perfection - even though her baby cries incessantly - in her classy Oscar de la Renta and Gianfranco Ferre sheaths. She also looks good baking cupcakes in an apron by Anthropologie and a vintage Valentino pencil skirt. (Who bakes cupcakes in nude Christian Louboutins?)

And lastly, we have Samantha, who at 52 and on the cusp of menopause, sits at her desk applying hormonal cream with a red Marlies Dekkers thong around her ankles. In true Samantha fashion, she shows up to a red-carpet event in a super-short, gold strapless Matthew Williamson dress.

While looking fantastic, the girls handle their latest dramas - defining marriage, motherhood, and menopause - with finesse and aplomb, reflective of the mature women they have become, even if we have to hold our head in our hands at one of the silly decisions Carrie makes.

So, single girls, take heart. There is hope.

At any moment, we can put our self-made drama behind us. And we'll be fine whether we choose children, a career, or endless nights on the couch watching black-and-white movies with the one we love. The important thing is to look good doing it.