Style Lessons from Kate Middleton
Lately I’ve been very impressed by the sartorial savvy displayed by Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton. For a girl who isn’t short of money or designer connections, she refreshingly refuses to become a show pony for couture fashion, and is instead remaining true to her own style sensibilities. By keeping her feet firmly rooted to the ground, she is becoming a style inspiration to women all over the world.
In my opinion, her style success can be summarised as follows:
Kate’s Lesson in Style #1: Find a Fantastic Fit
Kate’s penchant for crisp tailoring is clever. Not only do clean lines flatter her body shape, such simplicity evokes a sense of sophistication, glamour and timeless style. Remember, “tailoring” doesn’t equate to “boring”. Tailoring is all about fit – the idea being that the better your clothes hang, the better you will look. When shopping, look out for garments that are cut to flatter your best features. For example, if you have a neat waist, look out for jackets and tops that are sculpted at the waist. If you have broad hips, avoid trousers that are tight on the thighs. If you have slim legs, opt for trousers with a flattering straight leg cut.
Kate’s Lesson in Style #2: Build your Basics
Kate is canny when it comes to creating her outfits. You’ll notice that she tends to wear lots of ‘wardrobe staples’ that are easily mixed and matched e.g. tailored dresses, smart coats and jackets, crisp shirts, smart fitted jeans, court shoes and pumps etc. Typically her basics are in fairly neutral colours but she creates visual interest with attractive accessories, flattering make-up and truly magnificent hair! The lesson here is to spend your money on a good-quality wardrobe staples that you will get lots of wear out of, rather than frittering your hard-earned cash on ‘wear-once-then-bin’ garments.
Kate’s Lesson in Style #3: High-Five for the High-Street
Kate Middleton is fast becoming an ambassador for high-street shopping. She is regularly photographed wearing and re-wearing brands such as Reiss, Urban Outfitters, Whistles and Zara, proving that true style need not cost a fortune. When shopping on the high-street, make sure that you examine the quality of the fabric, stitching and cut, plus check the care label to see whether the garment can be easily washed/ironed (if it’s not, you won’t wear it).
Kate’s Lesson in Style #4: Rework Old Outfits
To the seeming astonishment of the media, Kate has no problem re-wearing her clothes. You’ll often see her at formal engagements wearing dresses that have been worn previously, but with different accessories. The reason that this works so successfully for her is rule #2 above – she invests in garments that can can be easily integrated with the rest of her wardrobe.
Kate’s Lesson in Style #5: Accessorise with Panache
Kate is adept at understated yet effective accessorising. Her style isn’t strictly ‘matchy matchy’ but her jewellery, bag, coat, headwear and footwear are always keenly coordinated. It is through clever accessorising that she livens up her basic attire. You don’t have to spend a fortune on accessories – customisation often works just as well if not better than buying direct from the shelf. Kate is no stranger to customisation as demonstrated by the Pringle headpiece that she wore to the recent wedding of Zara Philips; she simply added a large silk corsage to the underside of the rim, to great effect.
Kate’s Lesson in Style #6: Good Grooming
Kate always looks immaculately polished. Her hair always looks glossy and bouncy, her skin dewy and radiant, her make-up fresh and natural, her brows neat and tidy and her nails perfectly polished. I’ve no doubt that a lot of effort goes into looking this ‘natural’ but the cumulative effect is of a polished, classy, approachable young woman. While most people don’t have a coterie of hair-stylists, make-up artists and nail technicians at their disposal, one can go a long way towards achieving a groomed look by investing in quality hair-care tools and products, minding their skin and learning simple make-up techniques. And my top tip for looking polished? Always make sure that your clothes are ironed properly.