Opinion: Kate Middleton and the return of demure
Princess Catherine has come a long way in the style stakes. Somewhere in the transition from scruffy student to polished princess, Kate has secured her status as a style icon, providing a refreshing antidote to the WAG generation.
After enduring a nineties of flash and trash, followed by a Sex and the City-induced experimental noughties, it is encouraging to see style role models channelling 1940s and 50s glamour.
Kate’s demure style has provided a boost to occasion wear in major brands across the country. Her abundance of stylish fascinators and statement hats have placed millenary back in vogue, while her stylish dresses have left the high street awash with replicas.
The popularity of Kate’s royal blue Issa dress, worn at her engagement party in November, was quickly capitalised on by retailers such as Florence & Fred at Tesco and Coast, who experienced high volumes of sales thanks to her influence.
It would appear that in some stores, Kate’s dress sense has directly impacted on sales, with customers recreating specific outfits.
Sarah Collins, manager at Karen Millen, Leeds, said: “We got a phone call from a gentleman the other day asking for a trench coat, but it wasn’t until he referenced Kate Middleton that I knew which one he meant. Her style is similar to British Burberry – very simple and classic.”
And it’s not just her fashion choices that have come under the media spotlight. Kate’s glossy hairstyle has inspired a number of copycats, her influence reminiscent of the ‘Jennifer Aniston bob’ of the nineties.
Catherine Prichard, a stylist at Horsforth salon Auriole, said that Kate’s rise to fame has seen many a stylist reaching for the big-barrelled brushes in an attempt to recreate her soft and feminine waves.
She said: “She has a tried and tested look – very Liz Hurley and it’s certainly popular.”
It is fair to say that Kate’s keen sense of style is one that has developed during her time in the public eye – those pictures of her sporting a see-through gown in her student days prove that the princess look is one that can take some honing.
But, even through our leading lady has come an awfully long way since her student days, Kate’s fashion choices are still sometimes subject to negative scrutiny.
Her first public appearance in a bold red suit prompted critics to take a negative view on her traditional outfit, suggesting that Kate is subverting the familiar adage as “lamb dressed as mutton”.
However, despite that she may suffer some flack for her conservative style, there is no arguing with the fact that Kate is becoming a pioneer for middle-aged chic. And, as a princess-in-training, it is only appropriate that one pays homage to tradition.
Expect the abundance of posh Macs, kitten heels and classic twin sets to reign supreme throughout the upcoming seasons.
Image credit: heruni.com