Alice Wyllie: 'I would have left the cinema if it wasn't for the Louis Vuitton obstacle course in the aisle'

DRESSING up to go to the cinema is like dressing up to go to Tesco. For cinema and supermarket visits, I dress for comfort and practicality, which means donning my public pyjamas. Unlike private pyjamas, those of the public variety are identifiable only to fellow ultra-lazy types as nightwear. To others, they fall loosely under the leisurewear heading. Crucially, they are comfy and warm enough to withstand the lumpy seats and vicious air conditioning that is today's cinema-going experience,

And so this week I hit my local middle-of-nowhere multiplex in my public pyjamas, purchased a ticket to see Sex and the City 2 and made my way to the queue. All but one of my fellow cinema-goers was female, and it quickly became clear that, on this occasion, none shared my penchant for PJs in public. On the contrary, they were dressed in their finery, and reeking of cosmopolitans, perfume and general hysteria.

As we made our way up the escalator, the metal steps were taking them out one by one as they got their heels stuck in the ridges. How in those shoes, I wondered, did they pick their way across the industrial waste ground to get here? When we took our seats, they struggled to find space for their over-sized handbags. Indeed, the film was so bad that I would have left halfway through if it wasn't for the obstacle course of Louis Vuitton in the aisle.

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These women have all fallen for the myth perpetrated by the four middle-aged characters on screen; that women should aspire to some sort of perma-glam state. As if, because our fictional heroines wear designer heels on the streets of Manhattan and keep their nails manicured in the deserts of Abu Dhabi, we should all share such silly aspirations. And in attempting to dress like this quartet of Manhattanites, the result always looks like bad drag, since it can only be a much cheaper facsimile of what's worn on screen.

Sex and the City is to blame for the 'fabulization' of ordinary women, and if the television series kicked off the trend, the two subsequent films have turned it into an epidemic. In the past few years, a "because you're worth it" generation of women have felt almost entitled to 1,000 designer handbags and a snarky gay best friend. They have bought into the silly ritual of "cocktails with the girls" and have persuaded themselves that anyone can be 'fabulous' as long as their sunglasses are big enough and their dog small enough.

In one of the most unpleasant scenes in the film, the four women discover a book club of women who are all obsessed with fashion and wear western designer clothes under their burkhas. The four Americans learn that, despite cultural differences, they're not so different from these ladies after all, when they find themselves bonding over expensive fashion, beauty and hormones to delay menopause.

Is this, ladies, how we cross cultural divides, by celebrating that Muslim women might like a slick of lippie just like us?

Carrie and Co have rammed it home, and by the time we're force-fed a third film, we'll probably all be donning cocktail dresses in Tesco.