There was a time when I didn’t even like Kate Middleton much. I even preferred Prince Harry’s spunkier beau, Chelsea Davy, because she actually seemed to be doing something with her life, as opposed to just hanging around with immaculate hair waiting for her boyfriend to pop the question.
How times have changed.
Now I can’t get enough of Princess Kate. Thankfully, the media can’t either, so I have been happily gorging on photos of her daily thanks to Wills & Kate’s Great North American Adventure. And now I don’t just want her hair… I want her wardrobe too!
Kate’s style has been criticised as ‘boring’, but I can’t remember the last time I didn’t think she looked lovely. Isn’t it refreshing to see a young woman in the public eye who isn’t slavishly following every trend going or trying to reveal as much boob as possible? Kate’s style is elegant, refined and obviously, totally her own. No stylist required.
Obviously, being a royal means there’s some element of conservatism to her look – yes, wah wah wah, she has to wear skin-coloured tights but frankly, she wears them so well that I’m considering buying some! Yet she still looks young and fresh, un-stuffy and gorgeous – and I suppose being in love with the future King of England helps too.
My favourite looks from the North American tour are numerous… so this post is as much for my personal squee-ing viewing pleasure as for yours.
I knew it was going to be a good few weeks when Kate’s first look was this navy lace shift dress from Erdem. Subconsciously, I’d been longing for Kate to wear Erdem since… well, forever. Erdem does lacy florals in a way that is so far away from grannie’s doilies and cushion covers that you’ll forget chintz even existed; instead, they’re contemporary, chic and oh-so-breathtakingly pretty dresses every time. I LOVE this dress. I want it. You’ll hear this phrase a lot this post.
The marriage made in heaven (and I’m talking Kate & Erdem, not Kate & Wills!) continued with this second Erdem dress. This time it’s a more vibrant shade of royal blue, a colour we’ve seen Kate wear a lot recently, obviously purely coincidentally setting off that engagement ring. Again, I love it. I want it less than the navy one though. The navy was just SO effortlessly classy yet still a little bit sexy. This is beautiful though. See what I mean? Modern yet conservative and still young and fresh. Delightful.
Another designer that Kate should wear more of is Jenny Packham. Packham is actually British-born, yet has so far received more attention from young American starlet types who are drawn magpie-esque to her sparkly feminine designs (see Emma Roberts, Ashley Tisdale, Miley Cyrus, Jayma Mays and Sandra Bullock). This is also an excuse for me to shoehorn in my second-favourite Princess Kate look of all time (second to THE wedding dress, obvs) courtesy of Ms Packham from the ARK Gala – delicate blush colour, shimmering silver sequins, a floating romantic princess dream topped off with ribbons on her shoes. She looked stunning in every single photo, from every single angle – the power of a totally magical dress.
But back to the dresses from the tour. They’re just such a perfect fit for Kate. Delightful, charming and pretty, simple yet with an easy sophistication. She got a bit windswept in the primrose yellow frock so I’m hoping this will get another Reiss engagement dress re-run because it’s utterly gorgeous. Easy and breezy without a Covergirl advert in sight. It’s a shame Kate tends towards nudes and neutrals as colours like this really light her up. She looks years younger. Adorable.
Similarly, she should totally wear more prints. She can carry them off – and so easily too! Ideally, she needs to amalgamate these two looks and do *quelle horreur* a bright print! Baby steps, I know… This is yet another effortlessly gorgeous outfit and the print, in an array of pale neutral hues, is just beautiful, light and chic. I love the way those butterfly-like sleeves fall too. It’s the little details!
Onto the Alexander McQueens, forever destined to be overshadowed by THE wedding dress. Part of her duty as a royal is to champion British fashion so well done Kate for finding McQueen pieces that work with her sensibilities – and not only work, but weeerk (you know, said with a Tyra hip thrust or Mr Jay finger wag). This vaguely nautical-themed cream cable-knit dress is just that little bit quirkier than Kate’s usual choices; it was worn for her visit to the place where Anne Of Green Gables was set and she just looks… delightful. What’s the word count for that adjective already? Classic but cute. Hair up looks good too, huh?!
The biggie of the tour was this full-length lavender ball-gown with a crystallised waistband worn for the Baftas Brits To Watch event. If this isn’t a princess dress, I’m not sure what is. It looks like it was designed by Disney artists for that final romantic waltz in the clouds accompanied by the Disney choir reaching crescendo. The sparkly waist reminds me of the after-wedding McQueen gown, whilst accessories are strictly from the school of sparkly princess stuff too. It’s so soft and silky and swooning. On a night when Hollywood’s A-List were out strutting their stuff (and, in celeb anecdote gold, J.Lo was apparently shoving Mary Louise Parker out the way), Princess Kate wafted down the red carpet like she’s been doing it for years. Beautiful.
So these dresses are the proof why Kate should give colour a few more spins. Look how much brighter and vibrant and youthful she looks in these bold eye-popping shades. The purple Issa and green Diane Von Furstenberg are both very simple shapes that let the colour do all the talking – but it’s one hell of a conversation! Issa’s speciality is flattering shapes in vivid colours (remember the engagement announcement dress?) and this is no exception. I just wish I could make unforgiving jersey look this easy! Meanwhile, it’s always been one of my aims in life to buy myself a DVF – the designer has a reputation for making flattering, quality clothing for women of any age in all kinds of lively prints and colours. This is just selling the brand to me even more.
One of my other favourites from the tour was rather understated and underrated. I’ve loved Roksanda Ilincic’s designs for a long time now – there’s just something about the way she drapes her fabrics that’s artful, interesting, tactile and feminine; structured but unstructured, if that makes sense. She isn’t afraid of a bright colour either and most of her pieces have an effortless grace to them, yet are still very modern. In short, Kate should be wearing this British designer much more! And also in short, I obviously want this lavender pale blue grey Peridot dress for my own. See that twist at the neckline? The way the material folds so beautifully around the figure? The way it just feels feather-light and delicate and dreamy yet could see you through practically any occasion? LOVE.
I have to mention the Reiss Nanette dress re-run too. It’s always endearing to see celebs wear outfits again – Camilla recently trotted out her entire wedding guest garb! – and it feels a very British thing too. It’s such a high-profile dress to recycle (worn for one of the official engagement photos) yet shows how much new life can be breathed into an outfit through stylish accessorising… and of course there’s the whole Canadian flag, red-and-white theme going on. The Lock & Co red maple leaf fascinator is charmingly quirky, the Lulu Guinness fan clutch is AMAZING and I want one, the maple leaf brooch borrowed from Her Majesty herself is a lovely touch and the ruby heels tie everything together. And the dress is still the very gorgeous clean crisp and modern thing it always was.
Finally, the Catherine Walkers, my least favourite of the favourites. For me, these are a little too mature for Kate yet still have some exquisite features about them. The dress-coat feels a little old-fashioned for Kate (I think it’s that heavy collar) but the shape of that full skirt is rather wonderful and I’m getting a cute Mary Poppins vibe off the whole outfit. Kate’s colouring actually suits red very well and I’d love to see her wear it more often.
The grey pencil dress is a little too formal – it feels too much like work-wear and consequently feels a little uptight. But the collar is very cute on Kate and from the back – well, it’s a whole much nicer, more interesting, more modern dress.
For those that can’t be bothered to traipse through 1500-odd words of fawning, here’s the short version: Princess Kate, I love you, can I have your clothes now please?