Closet Confidential: Harriet Chater of the John Street 5
By Sophia Penelope Hill
To know Harriet Chater… is to LOVE Harriet Chater. Harriet and I, I believe, were kind of kindred souls here in St. Andrews. I found out second year she would be living with a couple of friends of mine on John Street third year when she returned from Paris, France after a study abroad. Soooooo bonjour chic tres jolie!! As third year slowly rolled its way by, winter turned to spring and I distinctly remember our first meeting. My first impression of Harriet was categorically GREAT. It consisted mostly of me inside my head screaming: “HEY I WANNA BE YOUR FRIEND.” But alas… that’s like “not socially acceptable” to yell in someone’s face. But as the evening progressed, she turned to me and said: “I have a good feeling about this.” The good feeling was our combined vibe… and not even a year later…SHE WAS RIGHT! Harriet is the kind of person you could call in a crisis but also dance with like the last scene in Mamma Mia where everyone spins in a circle on the dance floor SCREAMING and singing in the rain. She tells it like it is in a way that you want to hear it. She could command the attention of any room. And she is my BIG PRES… but before this sounds like some sort of corny speech introduction, I will get into her style.
Harriet is cool, but also practical. Chic, but chilled. Put together, but effortless. It had me asking: HOW’D SHE DONE DO THIS! Harriet and I cozied into a conversation about how her hometown, Durham, slowly influenced her fashion journey. As a young girl, she opted for a more mainstream vibe than the evolved, eclectic style she rocks now. For Harriet, charity shop finds, and vintage pieces, are what sets her apart from the crowd. She is like a Lagotto Romagnolo (a niche type of Italian truffle-hunting dog), but silky satin shirts and fuzzy sweaters are the rare and coveted truffles. Harriet’s ability to mix and match pieces is incomparable. Only she would know a flowy skirt could look so cool with the right tight-fitted tank top. She even revealed the coolest Hugh Hefneresque collar shirt and well-fitted plaid pants.
And COLOR. She is not afraid of color at all, in fact, more is more for Harriet. Except when she is embracing her Parisian sensibilities, in which case, she prefers all black. Because everyone looks perfect in black and Harriet is no exception.
Aside from her thrift shop finds, she explained that the other girls in John Street truly inspired her sense of style, each dressing differently enough to give her ideas on how to transform her clothes into individual outfits. But that’s the unique joy of living with such a fempire of cool gals: there are basically five closets to choose from every day and a peanut gallery to talk to about every detail of every outfit. A fashionista’s dream come true.
Perhaps my favorite thing about Harriet, however, is just how comfortable she in her own skin. You can just sense this amazing energy about her always. She just is who she is, and it’s just purely authentic all the time. Harriet is the perfect example of someone who just seems to genuinely love being who they are; because of that, she finds clothes that are just an extended part of her soul. She really is beauty, and she is grace. And maybe even the British Miss United States.