The Duchess of Cambridge – Let’s give Kate a break.

July 5th, 2011


Well, it had to happen, the knives are already out in the fashion world for Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. The always immaculate Duchess is being criticised online for her choice of wardrobe for the tour of Canada.

I am beginning to feel  really sorry for Kate, it seems that she really can’t please all the people, all the time. When she wears the High Street she is told she should be supporting British Designers by the likes of Vogue’s Alexandra Shulman and Grazia’s Laura Craik. When she recycles outfits there are moans about wearing something new. And now she is being accused of playing it too safe and being boring!

The latest round of comments have been posted on one of my most beloved fashion websites, ‘The red carpet fashion awards’. Looking at the latest Kate outfit yesterday, the beautiful Alexander McQueen wool knit dress that evoked the style of early 1920s Chanel,I was surprised by the vitriolic comments that had been posted. ‘Bored’, ‘so bored of her already’, ‘so basic’, ‘aging by the day’, ‘disappointed’, ‘looks like a grandma’s outfit’, the comments go on and on. So I think it’s about time someone spoke up in Kate’s defence.

I think Kate has done a fabulous job on this tour so far.She has produced a wardrobe,without the aid of a stylist or dresser, that has been able to showcase British High Street (Reiss, LK Bennett), British based designers (McQueen, Issa, Roland Mouret, Catherine Walker), and also Canadian designers- as a tribute to  the host nation (Erdem  on two occasions). She has recycled looks to avoid the tag of spendthrift – the Issa dress and the Reiss Nannette. She has worn her hair in many variations and hasn’t worn too many fascinators. She has worn fashion forward looks – particularly the Erdem, and has also managed to boost sales for Joseph and Anya Hindmarch. She has done all this whilst remaining elegant, smart, stylish, appropriately Duchess like and retaining elements of wardrobe control. What exactly is not to like?

Kate is accused of being boring – but she is a Duchess, she can’t dress sexy like Cheryl Cole or any  other member of Girls Aloud. She has to maintain dignity, but also be comfortable, being on her feet for long  periods of time – hence the low heeled shoes. She also has to promote the British Fashion Industry without appearing overly spendthrift during difficult times. There have been moans about the amount of column  dresses and shift dresses she has worn, with calls to mix it up. But these genuinely suit Kate and her figure, and true style icons don’t mix it up all that much – think Jackie Kennedy and her shift dresses and pill box hats, Kate Moss in her endless wardrobe of skinny jeans and Audrey Hepburn in her Givenchy. When  members of the Royal family do mix it up, they often face ridicule anyway – think Beatrice and Eugenie at the Royal wedding, or Diana in America with her wet look hair and Galliano dress that  was said to look like a nightie – fashion forward but not for Royalty.

Kate is still developing her own royal style and this doesn’t happen overnight,  let any of us try to adapt that suddenly to a wardrobe full of constraints. So what if she loves navy, this is probably her alternative to black, and she looks fab in this strong shade. I hope that the Kate critics take a step back and give her a break. She couldn’t go out looking like Lady Gaga, even if she wanted too!



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