But I say let’s go easy on poor Kate. The Diana comparisons must be exhausting enough as it is and then her every sartorial move is dissected by a pack of fashionable vultures whose critiques go global. Not to mention, her royal association has meant adopting their conservative ideals, ipso facto – a seriously restricted wardrobe. Under these circumstances, I’d be playing it safe too!
While she may not be breaking any fashion ground, she certainly has a knack for effortless elegance. Her look is modern yet classic, and distinctly aristocratic. She favours black and white, neutral tones, and muted or primary colours. She is never over-accessorised or fussy. Her hair is never over-styled; her makeup is always minimal to allow glowing skin to take the focus. Kate’s beauty may not be of the va-va-voom variety, but she has a healthy, girl-next-door appeal and she works it. The cornerstone of every outfit is her tanned and toned body, miniscule waist, beautiful smile and healthy, long hair. The garments themselves usually blend into the background. Nothing ever wears her; the focus is always her natural beauty.
Her approach to fashion is formulaic. When she finds something that works, she sticks to it. Which makes her a dream for ‘Get the Look’ chain store outfit matches around the world. Her approachable beauty and signature style is very easy to decipher and imitate, because she follows such a formula. This is why Kate is being touted as a fashion icon, despite not choosing standout pieces or setting avant-garde trends. Sifting through images of her this week for a photo shoot for Westfield, I think I have cracked the Kate Middleton code to achieving understated, comfortable elegance.
For Kate a pea coat or trench in royal red or beige is a mainstay. Coats are an instant outfit. When buttoned up they become the single focal point of any look; her accessories are black and unobtrusive. A thin belt, sleek clutch, black hosiery and sensible shoes let the coat do all the talking. Her leather gloves add a slight edge to her red looks, while a taupe trench never goes out of style.
When in doubt, Kate goes for the classic combo of black and white. Whether it’s a striking geometric stripe, or a delicate girly print, she knows that this chic look will never date. Keeping her accessories within the same colour scheme is classy and understated, and she always ensures her tiny waist is nipped in.
DRESS, BLAZER, FASCINATOR
A demure knee-length frock is the perfect choice for her daytime events, but Kate gives her feminine look some structure with a cropped blazer, to ensure she is taken seriously. Smart tailoring and beautiful dress – check. All that’s missing is a fascinator to inject some fun – one of Kate’s favourite three-step fashion formulas.
Plunging neckline, Grecian draping, emphasised waist, block colour, silk jersey; this is Kate’s checklist when dressing to impress. She chooses simple dresses that fall beautifully and play off her figure to perfection. Issa is a favourite, and the London label’s sapphire-hued engagement dress was an ingenious opportunity to showcase ‘that’ ring.
OFF DUTY GREEN
Kate knows her olive skin and dark hair is well suited to a touch of green. Along with electric blue and red it appears to be one of her favourite colours, although she tends to save it for her off-duty looks. Always subtle and muted, she wears green in block, teamed with neutral tonal accessories, or she lets her olive bag pick up the hue in her printed dress.
So for those who want to get a touch of Kate’s royal elegance in the lead up to the wedding of the century, just follow the formula – her effortless, accessible style is easy to emulate. Keep an eye out in the Gold Coast Bulletin in the week leading up to the wedding for a Westfield Helensvale-styled princess fashion shoot that will show you where you can get the look for less. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the gym to whittle my waist down to a more ‘Middleton’ measurement.