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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some of you may have noticed that the blog layout and content keeps changing around. I like things simple and uncluttered so I am trying to find a way to neatly fit everything onto the blog.  So far it hasn't been entirely successful, but I guess a blog is always a work in progress.  Thank you for your patience!

Lots of Whispering at Wimbledon!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kate Whispers to William at Wimbledon

To all the people who crossed their fingers, and perhaps their toes, congratulations!  Seven is a lucky number, and today on Wimbledon's day seven, as you must already know, Kate turned up to catch some of the action and even brought along her husband for extra fun.  The best part about this Kate appearance was how fun it was to look through the pictures of the couple interacting!

This wasn't any kind of official event, they were relaxing together at a tennis game, and if you didn't know before, you know now: Kate has an incredibly expressive face!  So many cute and funny shots.  The two are so clearly happy and having a great time.  It was a fun and fairly intimate look into their relationship as they whispered, teased, and laughed throughout the match.

Her tennis inspired dress was lovely and a little brave, as she again pulls off a style that most woman should avoid, even if many don't.  The whole tiered skirt look can really backfire on you if you haven't been hitting the gym with a significant amount of regularity, but Kate's slender frame handled the dress with aplomb.

Ella Kay pointed out on Twitter that the bracelet that Kate wore today and at the ceremony on Armed Forces day is a gift from...Camilla!  BUT, here is the thing.  It has a C on both sides, but one side is Catherine's emblem and the other side is Camilla's.  When I only saw Kate's side, and knew it was a gift from Camilla, I thought it was a really sweet gesture on the Duchess of Cornwall's part.  I have to say, though, I was a little thrown off by Camilla's on there as well.  It is one thing to give a gift, but to leave your stamp on it?  I suppose it symbolizes how close Camilla and Kate must be.  If anyone has thoughts on this, I would love to hear them!  Maybe I am too reserved, but it isn't sitting super well with me.  It just seems odd! Anyway...

Here are some of the fun faces and cute moments at Wimbledon today!

These two would clearly be a riot over drinks.

The smile of triumph! Did Kate just win a bet?
"Yes, we are still in the honeymoon stage." :-)

Always with the tie...
And the hair.

Could the Cambridges Get to be TOO Common?

Queen Elizabeth II.

Several news outlets are reporting another instance of the relaxed style of the young royals.  Will and Kate are telling people that titles are not essential in their up-coming tour.  I haven't seen any official statement and perhaps it was a more unofficial discussion of their interaction with crowd--which frankly can't be that regulated anyway, so the relevancy is debatable, but brings up an interesting discussion.  Obviously, this rather avant-garde attitude has both proponents and dissenters.  There are clearly advantages to be gained from the down to earth attitude that the new Duke and Duchess are displaying, people see them as more approachable, and more normal.  Although a genuine expression of their obvious kindness, and goodwill, being seen as more "regular" royals may improve their stock amongst us "plebeians" but I think there can be a negative backfire. 

Prince Charles

As mentioned before in this blog, the royal stamp sets William, Catherine, and the entire family apart from other celebrities.  In the Middle Ages many things contributed to the royals' strength and stability.  Among other things, a king ruled by divine right, personal strength, and the strength of the army in war.  Today one of the key factors of the monarch's strength is carrying on the age old traditions that remind us all of the history that sets them apart.  The fact that William is the grandson x 27 of William the Conqueror is a big deal.  That his ancestors for a thousand years have been hailed as sovereigns and kings, princes and princesses whose family tree has spread throughout almost every royal household in Europe is a big deal.  This establishment is built on many things, but a major aspect is the tradition of respect. William isn't like you or me, he was born a prince, and although we understand this concept less and less in our modern and democratic world, for the monarchy to survive this idea must be preserved. 

William in robes for the Garter Ceremony, an Order originating in 1348.

Don't get me wrong, looking toward the future, Will and Kate are the best asset the British monarchy has, but I just don't want to see them overdo the common man thing.  They aren't common, that is the whole point.  And frankly, as the new Duke and Duchess are still a whiles away from the throne a little relaxation is healthy for their image and the occasion.  Kate's High Street choices, the cozy farm house in Anglesey, we love it all.  As long as they hold up the pomp and ceremony, the tradition and history, when they should it all could be the perfect balance. 

More proximately relating to the coming trip, as an awesome companion for the tour is Canada's official app for your smart-phone from iTunes. It has a useful itinerary option that will keep you up to date on the couples different events (i.e. photo ops!) or if nothing else a great Kate and William icon on your phone homepage, I guess.  I downloaded it to my iPhone and I am excited to have a handy reference.  Supposedly other fun features will be added including photos and videos, so we will see once all the action is underway.

Kate's Military Style at the Irish Guards.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Irish Guards. Photo Zimbio

Well, we have seen the glitz and glam, (although I am still waiting for a State occasion when she will wear another tiara) but William and Kate undertook a much more solemn duty this morning when they met the families of three fallen members of the Irish Guards, a regiment recently returned from Helmand Province in Afghanistan, and then presented medals to men on the parade ground.

Photo Zimbio.

Thankfully, Kate did not recycle an outfit for this important occasion, but wore a well tailored blue military style coat with a blue underskirt or dress.  The coat's double-breasted front was reminiscent of her Trooping coat from McQueen, but the gold buttons against the blue made the military vibe even more prominent.  I love the raised collar and three quarter length sleeves as well.  Actually, with the deep blue that almost looks black, the raised collar, the gold buttons, and the shoulder epaulette, Kate's whole outfit strongly echoes William's, don't you think? (see below)

Drawing Inspiration from One-Another?  Photo from Daily Mail.

I love all the accessories, and especially the hat.  Kate rarely misses on her hats.  I will tell you one thing, after looking through some of the pictures, the wisdom of a this heavier weight material was apparent.  Kate didn't have to worry about anything flying away from where it was supposed to be in the blustery morning weather.

I am ecstatic about this whole outfit.  I think it might be my most recent favorite.  It ticks all my personal boxes: navy blue, flexible material, well tailored, and all those awesome military details, and I love the skirt beneath peaking out now and again.  Well done, Kate!

Kate's Charming Jewelry

The most intriguing part of this morning was the bracelet Kate was wearing.  I would love to know the story! A one-charm charm bracelet, the C for Catherine is her royal monogram.  I wonder if William gave it to her as a wedding gift? 

I had hoped to see Kate at Wimbledon, but that is seeming less and less likely, we'll see.  This morning was Kate at her finest yet again, though, and makes me all the more excited for the upcoming tour.  From the itinerary it seems we will be seeing the full spectrum of fashion from Kate as she navigates the varied events planned. 

Kate's Dress Recreated by David's Bridal.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Before the Royal Wedding, many of my less royal-enthused friends asked why I was so excited about the upcoming wedding.  Sometimes you just can't explain it to the uninitiated, so I took a different and very logical tact, particularly with my single girlfriends.  I pointed out that when Princess Diana stepped out of the carriage in her puffy 80's concoction she sparked a wedding dress frenzy that didn't fizzle out until almost the 90's!  That is crazy!  The style was so prevalent, many women wore the dress without even knowing they were following Diana's lead! Kate's dress should correspondingly show up in bridal boutiques across the globe for some time in proportion to the magnitude of her wedding.

                                              Royal Wedding Gown at David's Bridal

The Real Deal.

Kate and William's wedding was not on the scale of Charles and Diana's, so it seems that her dress will not be as global for as long, but thankfully we have seen plenty of reproductions already.  I was pleased to point out that whether you are a royal lover or not, the likelihood of the royal wedding impacting weddings for the next few years is significant.  Can't scoff at that, and they didn't.  I comforted the worried looks by pointing out that Kate's style is impeccable!

The moment she stepped out of that car I knew that every proximate bride-to-be was a lucky girl.  When I imagined the dream dress in the weeks before the wedding, that was the dress I imagined, only way better.  So, here David's Bridal has issued their recreation of The Dress, and I have to say, it looks pretty realistic, even if it is from David's. They have even made Pippa's dress, but I will be frank, I appreciate that Kate let her sister wear such a stunning dress, and Pippa didn't steal the show in my opinion, but I would not be so generous. So no one the maid-of-honor dress.

David's Bridal is reporting more lace in gowns, surprise, and I see more lacy royal wedding inspired sleeves on the different dresses.  It actually looks like a decent recreation. A shorter train, obviously, and it has a little more sheen than I like and the bustle doesn't seem to come off quite as well as Kate's did, who knows how the actual material feels.  Perhaps a field-trip is in order. I should probably get on the stick and find someone to commit to before this wedding fashion fades...

Many thanks to @WhatKateWore for bringing the David's Bridal recreation to attention on Twitter!

Less than 10 Days to TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's North American Tour!

The only Kate news recently is that along with the official itinerary for the North American tour a new picture of William and Kate was also released.  Kate is wearing the lovely blue suit from the Darwen Academy visit before her wedding although the differences between this look and the way she was styled at Darwen are readily apparent, different hairstyle, earrings, and shirt.

TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

This is too funny not to share with all my readers and fashion lovers.  I noticed on my stats that an odd demographic had been coming to the blog in strangely high numbers.  My blog had been posted on a Greek website for bicyclists.  My Greek is rusty, haha, but I was dying to know if they were positive or negative comments.  Google Translator, however, let me down.  Although they were commenting on Pippa, the blog, and fashion--with an exclamation mark--I couldn't make out if they were positive or negative remarks.  Ah well, it could have been either, I suppose.  I kind of imagine them all offended by the fashion blogs commenting only on how attractive Pippa is, but I duly noted how impressive the trek was!  I'm a runner, I got it!

Back to Kate, it is being reported that she is pretty busy these days studying up on all the local areas she will be visiting as well as brushing up on her French!  Hopefully, it will go over as well as her Welsh did on her engagement in Anglesey. Considering the shopping and studying she has to get done, she must be swamped.  Hopefully she will slip in a relaxing visit to Wimbledon.

Anyway, it is the countdown, ladies (and gentlemen?) to Kate's North American appearance. Less than 10 days.  It will be quite the busy blogging time, but super fun!  Let us all keep up... ;-)

Pippa Tackles the Highlands of Scotland

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pippa arrives in at the Highland Cross via Helicopter.  Photo Zimbio

Well, while we have been eating up Kate's fabulous foray into post wedding royal engagements, where has the charming Pippa been?  Some weeks ago I commented that something was far wrong in her relationship with Alex Loudon.  A girl might hang out with guy pals now and again, but when even after you return from your sun-drenched holiday you are still spotted out and about with the guy friend and no boyfriend, it gets suspicious.  When Pippa and George turned up at the French Open toute ensemble, the game was up and it wasn't long before several sources confirmed the split.  As is typical with the Middleton girls after a break-up you would never know it from looking at them.  Pippa has been spotted all over looking happy and fabulous.
Pippa Running Smiles Straight at Camera. Photo Zimbio

Most impressively Pippa took part in the Highland Cross, a coast to coast duathlon consisting of 20 miles by foot and 30 miles by bike.  She looked great, and is an inspiration to all of us who are guiltily skipping the gym these days. 

Pippa by Bike.  Photo Zimbio

Everyone has already seen these photos of Pippa in Chelsea on June 9th.  I will probably alienate a lot of readers by saying I am not a jean jacket fan, but this dress is so cute!  I absolutely love it, even the jean jacket seems to come off very well.  I am a fan all around.

Even Kate Isn't Perfect.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kate at Order of the Garter 2011.  Photo from Zimbio

Start with the good news, shall we?  Lovely, lovely choices all around from Kate at the Garter Ceremony at Windsor Castle.  I am crazy about all the neutral colors she has been wearing and this soft grey was stunning on her.  The hat was structurally perfect and right in keeping with many of her early successes.  It has everything yesterday's limper cousin lacked.  I have to say, the suede shoes gave it a lightly wintry look, but the Katherine Walker jacket was from the summer collection and all together she looked the perfect princess.
Kate at the private birthday dinner.  Disaster.

Well, both as Kate Middleton and now HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, she has made few fashion choices at which I pursed my lips.  But last night she emerged from a private dinner to celebrate Prince Philip's 90th birthday in a dress that made my jaw drop--not in a good way.  I thought it was ghastly. At first it struck me as a cheap nightgown, and then I realized it was a dress.  I love Kate, I love her clothes, I tried every possible way to soften this, to make the bad go away.  I can't, this dress just does not make the cut.  Perhaps I have been swept up in the bliss of the engagement period and these past weeks of her married fashion glamour, because my initial reaction was that this dress was the first outfit I had disliked on Kate.  After some thought, though, I realized this is far from the case.  After watching Kate closely since she first emerged as William's college interest at St. Andrews she has rarely set a foot fully wrong.  Kate has certainly worn some things I cringed at, though.  My top three Kate dislikes are:

In 2007, during her split from William, I believe, Kate went clubbing in tight white jeans, her signature boots, a red top that grazed her midrift, and a black blazer.  Something just didn't come together for me and I wasn't a fan. 
Kate in 2007.  Photo JustJared

This black and white striped dress didn't do anything for her, either.  I don't know if it was just the dress or the flats with the dress, I didn't find it terribly flattering. 

Kate Middleton

And lastly during her working days, this turtle neck, long skirt, boot combo was much too frumpy for my tastes, or Kate's either I would imagine.
Not my favorite look all around.

These are the only full outfits she has worn that I thought were not ideal and frankly, they are debatable at that!  All of these are sightings of Kate in private and plenty of us put things together and realize when it is all over that that combo can never see the light of day again. I don't like everything Kate wears, but I can always find my way to seeing why or in what way it can be lovely or flattering.  Not the case with this birthday dinner dress.  It just is bad all around.

It is a mix on the public engagement/private life scale. Although a private dinner you assume she put her mind to looking nice since it was to celebrate the Duke's 90th with her new family, but it was a distinct miss. To start with, it looks cheap at the bottom, and then simply stylistically I don't like it.  The color is in the category of Pippa's pea green on Sunday, too--wear with caution.

Thankfully, we can easily sweep this under the rug since it is surrounded by such a fantastically successful weekend.  And today kicks off Royal Ascot, so fingers are crossed for an appearance from HRH Kate at some point during the week and I have every faith she will be back in top form! 

THAT Blue Coat at St. George's!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

This morning, with the rain pouring generously from the sky, the Windsors gathered at St. George's Chapel to celebrate Prince Philip's 90th birthday.  Again, we had a repeat from the Duchess, and it was one of my all time favorites!  I know I say that a lot, but this time I mean it!  The cut, the color, I love it all.  Last time she wore this coat -- at Nicholas van Cutsem's wedding-- she paired it with a white fascinator and an ivory frock underneath.  Today, she wore what appears to be the blue Zara dress from the day after her wedding, and a blue fascinator.  The white that she put together last time made for a crisper look, but the Zara dress and hat work very well together today and I love both mixes.

Duchess of Cambridge June 12, 2011
Kate Middleton in August of 2009.

Very excited for the Garter Ceremony tomorrow at Windsor Castle!  Stay tuned...

The Queen's Official Birthday Day. Fashion hits and misses...

Setting: Buckingham Palace balcony, William in his red uniform, Kate wearing white Alexander McQueen--sounds like April 29th, but it was Trooping of the Colour 2011!  You have to wonder if Kate was giving a teasing nod to her nuptial day, since the McQueen coat was fitted and had flare at the waist just as the wedding dress had, and particularly from the back was very reminiscent of the bridal gown. I have to say, the coat wasn't a big hit with me.  It isn't that she didn't pull it off, or didn't look fantastic, if anything it highlighted how slim she is, after all, how many woman can wear all that extra flounce right around the hips and still come off looking trim.  The hat was fun, the white and black very Kate, I just didn't like the coat. I am certainly not one to compare Kate to Diana, but this outfit reminded just a little of the coat Diana wore once.  That coat was quite fashion forward, but ultimately was judged as a bit much.  Kate didn't stray anywhere near that line, but there is a hint of resemblance to me.  Let us just say this is not in my top ten favorites..although it grows on me.  Everything Kate wears is a smash hit or grows on me!

Quite a coat.  Franky it grows on you. Photo from Zimbio.

Later in the day we got another surprise showing from the Duchess when she attended a wedding with her sister Pippa. Although the repeat outfits don't set off the flurry of excitement that the new pieces do, I still love seeing "old friends" on Kate, and this was a lovely dress from earlier days and suits her well.  Having the Duchess of Cambridge come to your wedding, a woman who presently can move clothes off the rack faster than any other woman in the world, must be a little daunting if you expect to keep the spotlight on your big day.  Kate showed great thoughtfulness in wearing a simple ensemble that was entirely composed of recycled wear. Some may remember the red jersey dress and hat she wore to a wedding several years ago.  The dress was one of my personal favorites, but perhaps a little too exciting to be fair to the bride. Now as an official royal with an even higher profile, I doubt Kate will make that misstep again. Turning to Pippa...Good lord.

Pippa and Kate on June 11, 2011  Photo Daily Mail.
Kate in the same dress 2007.

Pippa, what happened?!  This is a disaster.  The pea green is wholly unappealing in the situation whether it is universally so, or simply by comparison to the paired down Duchess, I am not sure, but it certainly ought to be worn wisely.  Pippa is swimming in the coat, and the hat was a limp disappointment next to Kate's perky head piece. It was a very unusual fashion disaster, but disaster it certainly was. 
Carole Middleton at the Trooping of the Colour.

Also of interest, Michael and Carole Middleton attended the Trooping of the Colour-- many thanks to @nina_lux for sending me these photos!  I love that Kate's parents are getting out there and enjoying these different events, but I look forward to hearing that Kate and William are spending family time with the Middetons as well. It is early yet, though.  All around a lovely and fun day!

ARK Dress Shimmers but Kate Shines.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Duchess Arrives. Photo from Zimbio.

Kate proved she still has plenty of style surprises up her sleeve when she arrived at the ARK party Thursday night in a sparkly and feminine floor length gown from Jenny Packham.  It was encrusted with Swarovski crystals and was, as far as I can remember, the glitziest dress we have ever seen Kate wear. I had mixed feelings about this one and I wasn't sure why.  It was a little out of the ordinary and certainly different from the evening gowns she has worn in the past. I loved the Issa choice she wore for the Starlight evening (see picture below) and the pink dress from the Boodles Boxing Ball in 2008.

Kate at Starlight Charity Dinner in 2009.  Picture Daily Mail

The party had a very Hollywood feeling, which although not bad is a far cry from the usual classic British that I love in Kate.  Kate and William transcend the popular stars of today, they are not just glamorous or wealthy, they are royalty.  The difference was highlighted at the wedding in April where the ceremony was not just lavish but steeped in history and the tradition of the Monarchy that stretches back several thousand years.  Their star status is a duty and a responsibility, not simply a job that is high profile and pays well.

Kate effortlessly blends royalty and Hollywood. Photo from Daily Mail.

I am happier to see Kate wearing her usual £200 frocks and the less ostentatious and more subdued but classy brands of her particularly aristocratic set than I would be to see her switch to prêt-à-porter of the haute couture.  It is not that I don't love the many fabulous fashions of the highest price clothing, but when Kate wears High Street and keeps to her style she shows that she herself generates the star power and needs no help from a label.

Perhaps in truest Kate fashion, she chose the dress that was appropriate for the occasion, which is one of her significant strong suits.  It was the Hollywood flavor of the night that gave me unease, but in the above photo Kate took the entire situation well into hand.  The minute the Mail printed this picture I was struck by Kate's posture.  The stance is red carpet Hollywood, but Kate softens it just enough to take all the advantages to be had from the pose and none of the kitsch. The diva look is softened to highlight only her loveliness. Her shoulders are squared but not overpoweringly so, she is almost imperceptibly angled toward the camera, and her smile is radiating warmth and genuine happiness. She stunned in a dress that was glitzy, glamorous, and attention grabbing, while still incorporating the floaty sleeves, simple shape, and subdued color palette which are often hallmarks of her style, and with her poise and and discretion carried off the entire evening royally.  I am sure Her Majesty was proud.

Couple in Love.

Kate Shops earlier in the day in London.
Just a quick note to say how much I love the color combo here.  Fuchsia pink and black is a guilty pleasure of my wardrobe and I was thrilled to see the Duchess of Cambridge also succumbs to the wild side now and again. :-)

Kate Shops in London June 9, 2011. Photo Pop Sugar

The Mystique of Mustique

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The old saying it never rains, but it pours seems particularly true about royal news.  The Mail reports that Pippa and her parents attended a party at The Goring that highlighted the opening of a bar that is a twist on the famous Basil's Bar on Mustique that the Middletons frequent when they vacation on that island in the West Indies.  The original Basil's Bar  is "perched on stilts over the Caribbean Sea" and has been around since 1976.  The Bar prides itself on it's fantastic tropical cocktails, impressive wine collection, and the sweeping mix of people that makes the flavor of the party life more interesting.  The bar is named after the barman, Basil, whose story is fairly fascinating.

Basil Charles grew up on the island of St. Vincent, next to Mustique, and was injured in a motorcycle accident when he was young that left him in recovery for over a year.  When he finally was up and around again he moved over to the newly developing island of Mustique to see what opportunities might await.  Basil met Colin Tennant, the recently deceased Lord Glenconner, who was developing the land.  Tennant gave Basil the job of barman in the only hotel on the island, Cotton House, where Basil was a tremendous success.  Eventually Tennant opened a stand alone bar right on the ocean in which Basil could work his magic and named the bar in honor of its proprieter, Basil's.  Basil's personal life would probably be a book on its own, but to stay to the story of the bar, in 1981 several patrons, including Princess Margaret's son, tried to buy the bar and convert it to a private club to keep the riffraff out.  Basil won out and now owns the establishment keeping the the friendly doors open to all.  (When the time came in 2011 to decide who would receive a coveted invitation to Kate and William's royal wedding, Basil Charles made the cut.)

Basil Charles

The interesting post script to this story is that in 2009 it was widely reported that Basil was planning to write a memoir of the island and her many famous visitors that he promised would be sensational.  Mustique is privately owned and paparazzi are not allowed which enables visitors to fully relax away from the eyes of the world.  Given the extreme privacy of the island, the idea of a tell-all book was fairly revolutionary.  As of today, though, I cannot find any news on a book whatsoever.  I wonder if he is still writing the many antics, or if his idea was squashed by the powers that be.  All together, the potent concoction of West Indies natural beauty, the extreme privacy and peace of this particular island, and the stories of the people who live there, give Mustique the extra edge of mystique over other tropical islands.

Basil also lists a branch on St. Vincent as well, so the fun isn't limited to Mustique and now it is crossing the Atlantic to spice up the London night life.  The Goring Hotel has now opened what they term "The Beach Bar" and flew Basil Charles in for several weeks to have him personally teach the bartenders at the hotel how to make his famous concoctions.  The bar is in the garden of the hotel and will close in September.

The Middletons attended the party where the theme was appropriately beach, but Pippa didn't dress down too much.  She wore a beige based dress with colored stitching of tropical flowers and added a pop of color with her light purple sweater.  Both Middleton women were wearing nude heels that bore a striking resemblance to those worn by the Duchess of Cambridge at Saturday's derby.  Since the Middleton girls often shop together, and all three have very similar tastes, it wouldn't surprise me at all if they were the same!

Pippa at the Goring.  Photo from Daily Mail.

The photo of Carole Middleton reminds me of an article I once read that pointed out knees and elbows are the two areas that show a woman's age, no matter how perfectly in shape she is, nevertheless, these photos just highlight how fit Carole remains.  She looked fabulous as is almost always usual.  Well done, Middletons!

Michael and Carole Middleton. Photo from The Daily Mail.

In other Pippa news, she apparently lost out on the "Rear of the Year" award.  As far as I am concerned she dodged a bullet.  In the list of awards that one could potentially hold as the sister-in-law of the future King of England, that award would certainly place as one grossly lacking in taste.

Also creating much hubbub, is the story that William and Kate are looking for staff afterall.  None of this comes as any surprise.  For one, there will be no staff at their home in Anglesey, where they can continue the life of any normal couple, and secondly, it stands to reason that they will need help in their London base.  The reports are at times quite conflicting, but as of this moment it seems they are only advertising for a housekeeper type position and certainly not a dresser who would pick what the Duchess wears for any given occasion.  Kate's style sense is so strong, I cannot imagine there ever being a time when she does not make the wardrobe call. 

Links for today's stories:
Middleton's at the Goring.  Daily Mail
Kate Hacked?!  Daily Mail
Pippa At Lunch on June 8th. Celebrity Gossip

Is The Grass Always Greener?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Anyone who watched the ups and downs of Kate and William's relationship for as long as I did will understand the feeling I had when I switched open my news last November 16 to find that the pair had finally announced their engagement.  One of the thoughts that crossed my mind later that day was that we would be seeing more and more of Kate now, more dresses, hats, heels, everything.  It was a very exciting thought, AND I continued to myself she would have all her engagements announced before hand so we would know when she was due to hit the papers.  Finally, advanced warning, the build-up and excitement, and of course a significantly greater number of appearances and better pictures.  My mind was literally reeling with the fashion that was soon to be lavished on us all.
Kate smiles directly into the camera on June 4th. Picture Daily Mail.

In the run up to the wedding, as they toured the United Kingdom, I loved every minute of every engagement, however, I realized that a little bit of me missed the un-engaged Kate.  The candid shots in the street, never knowing if one morning I would wake up to a surprise sighting and outfit. Because of this, I think that Saturday's appearance at the Epsom Derby was so much fun!  The news on twitter began to suggest that Kate and William might indeed attend, and then there she was radiant in her light and floaty ensemble!  Such a fun surprise on a beautiful June day!  I was in New York City for a wedding and it certainly set the festive tone for me!

I still love the fact that Kate is at last the Duchess of Cambridge, that her striking sapphire ring is constantly proclaiming to the world that she is-- at last-- an solid member of the royal family, and I love that I can get excited by the events she will attend marked on the royal calendar.  Nevertheless, the unforeseen showing here or there reminds me of the excitement and drama of past days.  I wouldn't trade any of today's current situation for anything, but I like now and again to be unexpectedly wowed by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge.

So here is our lovely Duchess at the races on Saturday.
Kate at Epsom Derby.  Picture Daily Mail.
Kate is the Queen of pairing these floaty skirts with a structured top.  Think back to several weddings she attended over the years she and William dated, and many of her more casual work pieces highlight this look as well.  In the photo below is a prime example of the floaty/structered classic Kate from several years ago.  Although, this is a great examle there are many others.  Kate really graviates toward this look.
Kate's style staple look from a wedding several years ago.

At the Derby, I think Kate scored across the board.  Nude shoes are still trending this year for summer's best shade, and neutral hat and shoes with the white made her tanned skin and sparkling white smile absolutely pop. Her hair was up, and she was wearing a stunning fascinator.  I love her hair up here, it lends the perfect sophistication for a day mingling with her new family and yet a further twist since she so rarely wears her hair up.
Picture Daily Mail

Her mother Carole was also at the Derby, although in the stands, and she was also wearing muted tones with just a hint of brownish pink.  As usual mother and daughter looked fabulous.  Pippa spent the day at a race as well, but she was the one running!
Carole Middleton on June 4, 2011.  Picture Daily Mail.

Again, the Daily Mail outdid itself in the picture department.  I just chose my favorite few photos for this post, but the rest are not to be missed, so definitely follow the link to this article on the Derby to see more great photos of Kate and the royal family.  For more pictures click here.