[Written By: Morgan Laing]
Who, between the years 1998-2004, could we identify as the owner of the shiniest hair, the best wardrobe, and the most hopefully romantic outlook in the whole of Manhattan? Charlotte York Goldenblatt, that’s who. For as long as Sex and the City graced our screens, Charlotte York Goldenblatt (formerly known as Charlotte MacDougal, though we don’t talk about that now. Her first husband was fine in some respects, but the way he allowed his mother to interfere in every aspect of his life was hella weird) trotted around NYC in some of the chicest ensembles you’ve ever seen – and yet Carrie was supposed to be the unequivocal style icon? Let’s discuss this for a second.
From her fashion sense to her attitude, Charlotte has offered me more inspiration than any other fictional character. She taught me not to give up on love – you can get hitched to the man who helped you that time you were almost struck by a cab. And if that doesn’t work out? Dump the dude and marry your divorce lawyer. Joking aside, Charlotte’s elegant brand of understated, coordinated glamour has been instrumental in shaping and solidifying my own personal style. Her put-togetherness is the standard against which I measure the quality of my own outfit choices. I even have a mantra – What Would Charlotte Wear? – Which I repeat like a litany whenever I’m looking to upgrade my wardrobe. Would Charlotte pair these shoes with this skirt? I wonder silently to myself in the middle of a department store. Would she enjoy a novelty print bag?
Charlotte became my ultimate teacher, providing lesson upon lesson in how to achieve her classic chic. Lesson Number One? Never underestimate the aesthetic value of a good coat. Charlotte is a proponent of outerwear, particularly when it comes in the form of a Burberry trench. The trench in question – along with the pastel pink number she wore the time she made sure Big had his ass handed to him on the sidewalk, and the houndstooth beauty she rocked in one episode – proving that the right coat will help shelter you from the cold AND instantly give your look a timeless feel. We love you Charlotte, Queen of Coats.
And another thing: life in a metropolis like New York is busy. Like, cry-on-your-commute-home busy. But despite all that, Charlotte still takes the time to meticulously plan her outfits. After all, you don’t just “throw on” a designer tweed skirt-and-blazer combo. You don’t don a fuchsia suit, with a matching Dior bag, on a random day because you “haven’t done laundry this week”. This takes planning! This takes an eye for detail! This takes a strong sense of what works with what! Charlotte prompted me to realise that a little colour co-ordination can be totally striking. So while my clothes planning may fall slightly short of, say, Cher Horowitz’ outfit-selecting computer programme, Charlotte helped me move away from the this-doesn’t-have-a-coffee-stain-on-it-so-I’m-going-to-wear-it method. Like Charlotte, I’m trying to be more matching than motley these days.
Finally, Charlotte’s style is imbued with a sense of playfulness that’s hard to ignore and almost impossible not to appreciate upon re-inspection. Since Charlotte’s disposition is a tad more reserved than that of the other three, she’s been dubbed – by various unquestionably wrong people on the Internet – ‘dull’ (wrong) and ‘boring’ (so wrong, wtf). To all those wrong opinion-havers, I say this: Charlotte’s closet contains a lipstick-print skirt and enough pink to make Barbie swoon. THIS IS NOT THE MARK OF A DULL PERSON. Seriously, Charlotte does not get enough credit for how fun and adventurous she could be in the wardrobe stakes. From a noughties popstar-esque shearling jacket to her breathtaking Elizabeth Taylor dress, Charlotte’s stylistic choices were often bold, unique and varied. Boring? Bye.
Charlotte carefully curated (she was an art gallery director, get it?) every outfit to reflect the glamour of Park Avenue and her own personality. Each look was sophisticated, and polished, and princess-like. As soon as I pull the funds together, I’m going to try and gather a few pieces to furnish my summer wardrobe. As I inevitably enter my seventh hour of battling Saturday shopping crowds – feet blistered and brow beaded with sweat – I know I’ll be reciting the same old line to myself:
What Would Charlotte Wear?