Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tour de Force: American Vogue on Kate Middleton's Style Icon Status

We recently read an article on Vogue.com by Alexandra Macon about the Duchess of Cambridge's royal tour fashions and the impact that Kate Middleton's fashions are having on the world. Because a lot of what Ms. Macon wrote echoes what we also believe we thought we'd excerpt some parts here and discuss.

Because that's what we like to do here. Present. Breakdown. Analyze. Discuss.

"In a time when most public figures are trying to push the envelope and shock and awe with their outrageousness when it comes to fashion, the Duchess of Cambridge is bringing an understated elegance (not sexy) back, while still managing to dress in a way that men clearly appreciate. She never wears pieces that befuddle the boys, like gladiator sandals, rompers, or platforms. Instead, she’s the rare creature whose look appeals to men, women, and the fashion industry alike," Macon writes. "She shops where regular girls shop—Topshop, Reiss, Whistles, and L.K. Bennett—and wears looks that regular girls wear—wrap dresses, shifts, and J Brand skinny jeans. She’s pretty—but not intimidating; she looks like someone we could be friends with. Of course, she also wears Alexander McQueen and Erdem, but even when it’s “designer” it looks like “her”—the shape, the length [ABK Note: Check out the article on skirt lengths, it's an interesting one!], the neckline, the sleeves (she’s a one-woman endorsement for the comeback of sleeves!)...She repeats looks, too, which is both endearing and, in the midst of a difficult financial landscape, respectable."

And this is exactly true, isn't it? Kate Middleton might not be a fashion icon per se, especially not for those who think that anyone worthy of the title has to be completely out there. Rather, she's something of a style icon. A woman who knows her station in life, what's appropriate, what suits her, what she likes, and goes with that, mostly turning up in pretty outfits, even if they're sometimes admittedly boring. Sure, we'd all like to see the Duchess take some fashion chances, but we can't fault her for staying on the straight and narrow. Not with the British press and the way they bare their teeth at any opportunity.

Macon's also right that Kate Middleton is pretty much the antithesis of a Man Repeller. Rather, let's-call-her-Catherine-now has been pretty consistent through the years when it comes to dressing like, well, a woman. Even in jeans and t-shirts you can see what the appeal was for Prince William. And, no, she's not especially confusing or complicated in her choice of clothing, which probably helps when what you're wearing is analyzed by so many people around the world.

"Above all, she understands that flirty, feminine frocks are always pretty and never fail. She keeps her accessories simple and pulls off a look that’s straightforward yet somewhat normal. Not normal in a banal way, but normal in a way that it’s empirically attractive and universally appealing. Sure it’s safe, but stylishly refined: exactly the right way for her to dress. She’s not alienating anyone—and no one is going to misunderstand her look. Her approach sends a powerful message that is stylish, thought-out, and position-appropriate—suggesting the best about British public life and decorum. There’s no subtext or hidden agenda when it comes to the Duchess of Cambridge’s style, and it’s refreshing that an aesthetic like this is finally having a well-deserved moment in the limelight."

Well said, Ms. Macon, we couldn't agree more. Although we still would like to see Kate in some neon Christopher Kane. Pretty please? For us?

We'd love to know what you think of Kate's style!

Photos: Wahl/Vanity Fair

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