Safety first?

Pay attention, all you fashion naysayers! I have an urgent request – Can you please stop ripping Kate Middleton apart at the seams?

Her clothes are too ‘safe’; you claim, which is just another way of saying boring. Or, as a Sunday Times columnist claimed last weekend, her style is ‘dangerously close to Boden-land.’

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Vivienne Westwood, with whom I did her first national newspaper interview when she was Queen of the King’s Road, was even worse. “I would love to have dressed Kate Middleton,’ she sniped, “But I have to wait until she kind of catches up a bit somewhere with style.”

Ouch!

Even a report that Kate has chosen Sarah Burton, creative director of avant garde fashion house Alexander McQueen, to design her wedding dress, hasn’t stopped the comments.

Apparently the fashion industry is extremely disappointed in our Kate. Editors at  Paris Fashion Week are said to be holding their heads in their hands at the thought of Kate as an ambassador for British fashion.

Simply because, she studiously ignores the cool and edgy (some would say freaky) clothes that appear on the catwalks and sticks to classic styles.

They argue that image is everything and Kate is letting the side down. How little they know her.

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, 29, is one very clever cookie. She must surely be aware that Princess Diana was for many years regarded as a mere clotheshorse. The wonderful work she did was often overlooked because the media reported only what she was wearing, not what she was doing. Often Diana didn’t wear her clothes, they wore her! It took years before she was taken seriously, managed to change her shallow image and win support for AIDs sufferers and the victims of landmines.

Kate also knows that to swan around like a fashion victim in expensive designer creations would not go down well at a time when everyone else is tightening their M&S belts. So she recycles outfits, switching jackets, shortening coats and constantly wearing her favourite black suede boots, while still managing to look simply stunning.

Many years ago when I was just starting out on my royal reporting career, a wise old mentor told me one reason the Queen was such a crowd-pleaser was her wardrobe.

My friend said, “All her clothes are couture, made from the finest fabrics, but they look like she could have bought them on the High Street. They don’t look extravagant and they don’t incite envy.”

Whether this is by accident or design really doesn’t matter. It simply means that the Queen has always avoided the Marie Antoinette tag. I have since learned that she often digs out fabrics given to her more than 40 years ago and has new outfits made. She is famously frugal when it comes to spending tax payers’ money on her official life.

At this early stage of her royal career Kate must also be careful not to overshadow her more important other half. Princess Diana did and look what happened to her marriage. I seem to remember that Kate can rock the frocks when she wants to, especially in the evening.

Remember that slinky, peach halter-neck gown she wore to the Boodles Boxing Ball in 2008? Or the elegant grey one she wore to the Starlight charity evening at the Saatchi Gallery?

Leave the poor girl alone and let her create her own special look. So, sheath those long claws at least until we see what she dazzles us with on her wedding day.

12 comments

  1. It is so nice to see somebody write something in defense of Miss Middleton. The young lady is new to all this and, to-date, is doing a remarkable job. With more experience will come a little flourish, but I suspect she is very reserved, just as the Queen is. I wish Prince William and Miss Middleton all the very best for the future.

  2. If she used designer clothes and edgy styles, comments were that she already thinks more of herself than she is, it’s bad news for the tax payers, she overshadows the other royals, etc….
    Now that there’s no biggie to gossip about her life overall, the envy & spite have to be expressed as referring to clothes…
    So far she’s proven herself smart enough to ignore such comments and I pray she remains the same forever.
    And personally I find her very elegant. It is also in our sun sign by the way…!!!

  3. THANK YOU! I totally agree with you and have been getting irritated with all the people saying she needs to take more risks. Miss Middleton is not a normal celebrity, she is a representative, and shouldn’t take the risks other celebrities and fashion-forwards can.

  4. Agreed! I think she has her own style and if she did spend a fortune on high fashion you can be sure the critics would have a field day with that too. Good article!

  5. Megan-In-Minnesota

    I would only be so lucky to have a wardrobe like Kate Middleton! I’m considering traveling across the pond just to shop in London.

  6. Go, Judy! Kate Middleton is a lovely, tall, slender, peach of a girl who would look gorgeous in a cheesecloth bag – oh, wait, she’s done that already…
    As privileged as these people are, their lot is not, cannot be easy to carry. I can’t really imagine it but I do think we should be positive and kind. She’s a natural beauty, seems intelligent, decent, and hasn’t really put a foot wrong in all the years she’s been associated with the prince.
    If it does turn out to be Sarah Burton – what a coup for the house of McQueen – and she will be lovely on her wedding as are all brides.

  7. I think Kate has been doing a fabulous job since the past 8 or 9 years since she has known William. Having to afford a wardrobe to be going out with a prince is not a joke and that she has managed to look good (even if people think it is conservative) over the years and never over do it is quite remarkable. She has managed to strike a balance in her look and as pointed out in the article above excess of anything, fashion icon in the case of Diana is not something particularly inspiring. Kate is going to join the royal family, not the catwalk and her wardrobe clearly shows it.

  8. Boy! I must be out of fashion too! I love her clothes! I have always thought Kate looked great — classic, never boring and age appropriate. I’m sure as she grows and matures she will continue to showcase her wonderful fasion sense and it will be appropriate for each phase of her life….not everyone likes the clothes on the catwalk…the rest of us get our fashion ideas from the car pool lane or grabbing lunch with the girls….

  9. Jelousy makes you nasty. Leave Catherine alone. She is elegant, very attractive and intelligent. And she got her Prince. Like to see photos of you and your dress code.

  10. BRAVO! Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking. If Catherine Middleton is smart enough not to fall prey to the fashionistas, she will have a successful life representing her country, not just one particular industry, known for its fickleness. The fashion world is ANGRY that Catherine looks absolutely LOVELY without their “help.” She is showing all of their seasonal silliness for what it is: shallow nonsense unnecessary to living a satisfying life.

  11. SM Azane - Kodwo

    My wife is a wondefull seamstress. We have agreed to sew the Royal Couple an African Dress as our gift for the wedding of the century.
    They should try and get the measurements to us, and it will be ready before the ‘D- “or should it be the ‘W-’” DAY’.

  12. I think she is doing marvelously well and all the critics who claim she is not fashionable “enough” should realize that they’re talking about a future queen too, and a modern day princess, unlike in the days of Marie Antoinette, would know not to spend taxpayers money extravagantly. She is definitely on- trend but prefers to keep things low key. She does not need to prove anything to anyone and does not see the need to push herself as a fashion icon of sorts. It shows how secure a person she really is. And that’s what is so attractive about her too! I like Catherine. She will make a wonderful princess!

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