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Kate Loses in the Fashion Stakes, But Wins Hearts at Shooting Star House Hospice

Friday, December 6, 2013


Ugh. Groan. There are no words. Except with me, there always are. It has been an incredible week, and she has gone from strength to strength. Until today.  I love Kate, as always, and I love her necklace and hair today, but... After wracking my brain I have come to the conclusion this is the absolute worst outfit I have ever seen Kate in at any time in her life. This is a complete disaster for me. Every element. And it isn't as if alone any one of these pieces could be saved. I know some will disagree, but I am implacable on this point. It's bad, folks, so I am going to make this short and concise. 



The coat. This Reiss creation is too drab for words. Ok, maybe if she paired this with matching suit trousers, but even then, it is waaay too old for her. This kind of silhouette is made for a more mature figure needing to streamline a few extra curves. It is horribly plain in all the wrong ways and does absolutely nothing for this beautiful woman.

The jeans. Am I the only one who thinks these have a velvet look to them? They aren't, they are corduroy. If they were velvet they might match the tone of the outfit a little more, but even then, this could not have worked. They aren't hugging her legs properly, either, possibly because of the boots, which brings us to the third element.



The boots. I don't like wedge booties. I don't care much for wedge full length boots, either. Wedges are meant to contrast the chunky heaviness of the wedge with the delicacy of a woman's feet and legs. As such, wedges should be a summer shoe when you are baring the tops of your feet and your legs. I will say that if Kate wore these with stockings and a cute little skirt they could work (so yes, I am taking back my earlier statement) but I still wouldn't love them. Wedges = sexy summer. They don't translate to fall/winter well. 

All together it looked like she got dressed in the dark. Mixing a suit-like top with jeans, doing the whole casual work look can be great, but as we have learned today it can go majorly awry. I can't say more. This was a train wreck for me. Thankfully, though, there is a positive side. Although Kate will not be making a best dressed list for this ensemble, she is making everyone's "favorite princess" list for her time with these kids. This was a truly touching afternoon, and I want to focus on that to end positively. 



Kate was visiting the Shooting Star House Hospice for a tea party. I can think of few sweeter things. She was absolutely glowing with these kids. It is so obvious that she loves children and that she genuinely cares about the suffering here. She played puppets for them and sang songs like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.


One little girl in particular made the news for her initial rejection of Kate's attention. I will turn to the Daily Mail to tell the tale:
Demi-Leigh Armstrong, 5, from Ashford, Middlesex, complained that her friend was short of a musical instrument during a sing-song, Kate offered her a rattle. 'Do you want to give him this one?' she asked Demi-Leigh, who replied emphatically: 'No,' before turning her back on the Duchess.By the end of the visit, however, Kate had won around the little girl, who is recovering from a kidney transplant operation after contracting a rare condition, HUS, that attacked her vital organs.
Demi-Leigh, helped give her a posy of roses and the Duchess wished her happy Christmas. 'But it's not Christmas yet,' said Demi-Leigh.
'Bye then,' said Kate.
'Oh give me a hug first,' said the little girl, grabbing her leg, and the pair exchanged a thumbs up.





Anytime adorable little kids are hugging Kate it is too, too cute. This was no exception. Read more about Demi-Leigh on the DM's article here. Kate toured the facilities and met with families. She mentioned that George has been introduced to "messy play." I had to Google that, but I will save you the time. It is just what it sounds like, playing with spaghetti and such. Most kids work that in pretty naturally, but I remember my mom bought special wheat that she'd pour on a cookie sheet and we'd draw our letters. 

Well, in terms of fashion we weren't winners, but happy Kate, happy kids. In the end, that's what matters.





61 comments:

  1. I think train wreck is taking it a bit too far. I think this outfit is appropriate for the venue, and obviously was put together to let the kids shine- not her.

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    1. I can see the reasons why she thought it would work, so in that sense perhaps it is a little less than a train wreck, ;) but I just have a very negative reaction. Not her best day. She was such a lovely presence with the children so thankfully she never fails in what matters most...

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  2. I completely agree with the above comment. As a school teacher I feel what Catherine wore was very appropriate for the venue. She was not there to be a fashion plate.

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    1. While Kate wasn't there as a fashion plate, like any woman she aims to be nicely and appropriately dressed for whatever occasion she is attending. My problem was not that she wore pants, or tried to bridge the casual/dressy gap, but that the combo did not work. Different pieces at the same point on the "appropriate scale" would have been better. In my opinion. :) My problem was not with the casual vibe, it was with the ensemble itself.

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  3. And I think it's really cute.I like boots and jeans, even the coat.It's simple, elegant and appropriate.

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    1. There are a fair number of people who really liked this, Maja. I do appreciate hearing from everyone on both sides of the "(friendly) debate." Thankfully, I think we can all agree that the day was a success in any case!

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  4. Echo the above comments. Squatting down to be with kids has to be a pants choice and those jeans were perfect. Not velvet so she looks like she is from a fairytale book and with the wedges it dresses jeans up so much better than a flat. Many boots do not comfortably allow one to crouch down to be with children on their level. I love what seems to be her priority to wear functional outfits for the occasion. Her tailored coat jacket with the casual cords and wedges I think made her look like a stylish young professional.

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    1. Well, again, my problem was not that she chose to be functional or casual but that the actual pieces she chose did nothing for her. She has dressed up quite casually with great, great success. This was not one of those times. It seems to a dividing opinion, which I enjoy, but frankly I do not expect to see this combo again. Thank you for weighing in, I do enjoy the various perspectives!

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  5. I liked everything about her outfit. It all seemed to go together perfectly. To me she has an eye for picking out clothing that doesn't look stellar on the hanger, but once Catherine puts the pieces together they always look amazing.

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    1. Hey Courtney, she does have that talent. I certainly can think of instances where she has worked magic on things I would have never looked twice at. I knew some people would disagree with this post, but I have to say I am surprised by how many people like this combo. I still can't stand it, but it has been very interesting to hear from those who liked it. Thanks for stopping in!

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  6. I liked the coat and the boots. The problem for me was the material of her pants and the fact that they didn't flow smoothly into the top of the boots. I was just thrilled she did something a bit edgy/funky by wearing wedge ankle boots. She is usually pretty staid about her fashion choices and I am ready for her to be va-va-voom. Of course, she could have no inclination toward that in the slightest. Haha. I wouldn't call this outfit the worst I've every seen her in mainly because I've seen her in far worse, but the pants were not the first thing I would have reached for.

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    1. That was a major problem for me, too. But for me, the bunching at the boots was a contributing factor in this fashion fail. The coat came long and the boots and bunching came up. It stunted her usually long legs. I am actually really interested to know what you think her worst is, just out of curiosity. I just came across this from the Telegraph, it is kind of fun: (I didn't get through them all. I am surprised by the ones I disagreed with...) http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/galleries/TMG8797247/1/Kate-Middletons-fashion-hits-and-misses-in-pictures.html

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  7. I think if she wore her tall boots with this, different pair, or maybe skirt and dark hose, I don't think this outfit really did anything for her, but it was about the kids, and she got the point across, she is wonderful with them. She's showing us all her characteristics that by the time she's queen, she's down to earth.

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    1. I agree it was about the kids, and they were all glowing. She is a natural! I can't think of how to fix this outfit except to start over. I think if she wears the coat again she should belt it. It was too big on her...

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  8. Little observation......

    Kate when approaching the mother and the child, the conversation should start like...

    "Hello do you mind if I sit here beside you. And what what is your name ".... mother responds. Amd then enquire about the child while gently holding his hand. Diana was very good at this I noticed frin old films. Kate has to get right in the mix. She still had her coat on all the time. Was this a flying visit.???.

    After she must sit down with the parents at the end and fund out how everything is going. Do they're families enjoy the facilities. Can she help in anyway morr. Etc.

    Heer outfit I don't think it was that bad. She looked elegant. Nice jacket. She's looking beautiful and healthy. Nice complexion. Colour like a pesch. She's a beautiful woman.

    I think she wears heels a lot because she's sversge height. Maybe around 5"6.and William is tall. Subtle things like that shows she's in love with her man. And wedges are comfortable snd practcal too.

    Ive just seen the video. The little girl is so funny. Hope Kate tries for another baby next year.

    All that best

    Sam London.

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    1. Hey Sam! Well, I didn't report that much on the actual visit, since I usually just stay on the style here. I think she did sit with the families, etc, or at least so I read. Often I think these coats are worn as the actual outfit. I sometimes don't know if I should call something a coat or a dress and go with coat dress. I feel like this was more of a suit jacket, so I think it was ok that she left it on. I just couldn't like this outfit. She felt smothered to me. But, she did look beautiful in every other respect, so that was good.:)

      The video is so sweet!

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. Actually your right Jane. It is a coat dress.

      Looking at Kate closer, she's looking much better. Healthy beautiful. I want to give her a big hug. I miss her when she's not around. Can't wait for her next appearances.

      She's a beautiful angel.

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  9. Tall boots would've looked a lot better. I love seeing her interacting with children though, she's a natural with them.

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    1. Agree, she looks entirely in her element at these types of things. yes, tall boots may have helped, that would have smoothed out some of the bunching...

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  10. I think it's just one too many colors, the black, grey, and navy blue. I do like the way the jacket falls when she sits down.

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    1. I like these colors together, but not in this ratio, so I agree, although these could be nice together, they are actually part of the problem here.

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  11. I loved her in this outfit. The jeans was practical and I liked the fact that it was something different that the usual skinnies she so often wears, and the boots were funky and the jacket made it elegant and professional. I like it a lot!
    Lize, South Africa

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    1. Hi Lize: I just reread the post and I was pretty scathing. I was not joking when I said I had violent adverse reaction to this outfit. I just can't like it, but a lot of you have jumped in to say the opposite, so it has been very interesting to hear that side. Thank you for commenting--all the way from South Africa!

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  12. I actually agree with you, Jane, that it certainly is not a winner. A different coat would have been better and maybe also a pair of boots instead of these wedges. But I really liked her hair. Luckily it's back to being glossy! Can you tell me who her stylist is, or does she put her outfits together all by herself? That's just a question on the side... :)

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    1. Oh Esra, good, people who agree with me. ;)Hair stylist or clothes? Her hair stylist is currently someone over at Rossano Ferretti, but she has no official clothes stylist. People say she takes a lot of cues from a longtime girlfriend, and of course we know how close she is to her sister and mother. I think she is like the average girl who reads magazines, watches trends, shops, and does her own thing.

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  13. Jane - you are so right about her outfit. When I saw the first pictures released last night I couldn't believe my eyes. The coat is something I would never, ever wear. I agree with your every word about her clothes today. The only piece I liked were her earrings - one of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery in her collection.
    Dorothy

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    1. That was my reaction, Dorothy. Disbelief. I really don't like that jacket. It will be interesting to see if she is able to recycle it well in the future. Maybe with a belt...
      Those earrings are soo gorgeous. It is hard for me to decide between those and the sapphire earrings.

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  14. When I first saw this outfit I must admit I thought it was a little strange that she was jeans to an official visit. I am not in love with this outfit, however I think Kate chose to wear those pieces becuase she thought they sutied the tone of the visit. I think Kate enjoys fashion and likes to look stylish but first and foremost she wants to look appropriate and I strongly believe that when she chooses outfits for events like this that is what dominates her descion. The relaxed nature of the outfit allowed her to bedn down and talk to the children at thier level and therefore make them feel comfrotable. From the pictures it looked like she had a wonderful time and really enjoys her work with children, on that account alone for me this one of her best visits yet. On this occasion the outfit is secondary.

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    1. A lot have made this point, so I think I was unclear in the blog post, which is my fault. I didn't have a problem with her going casual. Kate does casual to perfection, I just thought this was a disaster in itself, not because she should have been wearing Jimmy Choo and McQueen or anything. I agree that the kids and families were happy, and Kate was natural and relaxed. This outfit did not ruin the day in any way. Just the blog for 24 hours... ;) Thanks for commenting, Simmy!

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  15. Jane, I couldn't agree more. Appropriate yes, but too many colours; trousers, yes, but not these (enough with the skinnies!); love Reiss wool jackets, but not this one; and those boots--ugh, wedges may be comfortable (for her, not me), but they weren't right with the skinnies; jewelry--blah, except the earrings. Having said all that, she was her smile, the most imortant part of her outfit.

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    1. Hazel. All I can say is, Thank you. You could have written the post much faster. :) Thanks for weighing in!!

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  16. Hi Jane, I was really surprised by this outfit and not in a good way. I like the jacket, the jeans and the boots, just not together. Three differant colors gray, blue and black and then three differant textures, there wasn't anything pulling this look together. The jacket is nice and professional looking but would have looked better paired with a pair of slacks or maybe even black jeans. The jeans were a nice color but a little too long and bunched up in the lower leg. I love the booties but they just don't fit with this professional looking jacket. I have been guilty of putting together outfits like this as well, in theory the colors should work together well but the differant textures and styles just don't. Thank goodness my outfit blunders are not seen worldwide. :)

    But, it was wonderful seeing her interaction with the children, especially the little girl with the flowers!!! Kate made a new best friend today with that little girl. She is such a natural with children and her caring nature really shined through today so what she wore was secondary.

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    1. Hey Lauri! Glad we agree! I actually thought that too. I definitely have days where I put something together that I might think works or is even quite clever and then hallways through the day I see myself in a mirror and realize, no way. Thankfully, I can just scurry home after work and change. No picture evidence. Kate's job is tough. Thankfully, she never ever misses in the most important part: her warm and genuine empathy for others!

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  17. I think Kate missed a beat here too. She looks out of place because she is too casual - cords are not okay for an indoor appearance - if it was scouting or sports outside - that is a different type of event. Everyone else, including the kids dressed up for the pictures - which is how Kate supports these organizations - raising the profile through pictures. She needs to come up with an appropriate indoor pant outfit style where she can bend easily to interact with the kids - but then look professional for the photos with the adults. The other European princesses have perfected this. She needs a shoe between trainers and a high heel as well. I've never seen anything like that in her collection.

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    1. I would love to see Kate in some really beautiful flats!! Business flats have been raging into style from the runway to the street. She would look great and it would work so well in many of these situations!

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    2. Anon, Yes! Thanks for writing exactly what I was thinking. Even this outfit could have looked a little better by wearing some kind of beautiful flats. I don't understand wearing wedges in winter. The wedge boots look like something great-grannies wear. : )
      Nina US

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  18. This clearly isn't her best look but I don't think it's her worst. I think that prize is taken by the ensemble she wore to the Nelson Mandela film premiere. I could live with the Zara necklace but the addition of the black accessories and the ponytail that looked ready for the gym was just too much. If she had paired it with silver accessories to go with the necklace and a dressy up-do it would have been a success. In my opinion, this outfit looked slightly more pulled together, but it is true that there are are too many different colors and textures in the mix. However, I think she seemed really lovely and genuine in her interaction with the children and is doing a good job.

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    1. Aaahhh, I LOVED the Mandela outfit. It is amazing how opinions differ. Actually, several other people have weighed in with the same complaint about her accessories...
      Yes, the core part of her job, interacting with people, is always a win!

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  19. I think it was a nice touch to try to play down her outfit so the emphasis would be on the kids; and that jacket, which fits her so perfectly, would be a stunner with a dark pencil skirt. But you're right about the wedges, they didn't look nice with those tired trousers, which she should keep for really casual outings ! Bah, who doesn't love her anyway ? xx

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    1. That was my ultimate conclusion. I would rather see Kate in this, than not see her at all! ;)

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  20. I agree with you, it was her worst choice ever.Suprisingly I have seen the coat in blue which looked better. I hate these skinnies she should buy a proper pair of trousers which work with children and on a windy day too. Wedges omg she is a wedgei person, no matter it is summer or winter she finds one, hate them. I cannot accept that she dressed down because she wants us to focuson the charity, next time she visits homeless people then what she is going to wear. Also I remember her going to a homeless charity in Mcqueen clothes,which if it is the dress down case, could backfire here. So instead of finding a good excuse for this fashion horror, lets go with it and forget quickly. I must say she should be more involved with children charities because shw can relate to them wholeheartedly bless her for that!!! A.

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    1. I agree with every single word.I am glad you addressed the fact that she doesn't necessarily dress down based on the visit. Some situations, playing field hockey with the Olympic team, demand a certain dress code. Others just that she use her judgement and look lovely and put together. Deciding to dress down was fine, although she could have just as easily come really dressed up and have been fine, too. She is a Duchess--to these kids a princess--and a flirty skirt ensemble would have been fine. But it was not that she was casual, but that the pieces weren't good. Thank you for commenting, this was great!

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  21. I agree. When I saw how she was dressed, I thought he missed the mark totally. The coat is all wrong for the pants. If she really wanted to wear these pants, a shorter more casual coat would have looked better. It looks like she just grabbed something and threw it on; perhaps she usually has help pulling together her ensembles and did not this day. The good news is that it appears the objectives of the day exceeded expectations.
    Always lovely no matter what.

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    1. I don't think she has anyone who pulls together her looks. I think she has an excellent eye for beauty and so a great style sense. I think this was just a mistake, rare, but they happen. I think your analysis is spot on. I also thought a shorter coat might have helped.
      Thanks for commenting!

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  22. I think Kate looked wonderful. I think people are very judgemental about everything she wears. She wants to look appropiately dressed yet able to interact with the kids. I believe she does this very well.

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    1. The purpose of this blog is to follow what she wears and discuss it. I do judge every outfit she wears, but almost always it is with enthusiasm and pleasure. We only follow Kate because she is so exceptionally lovely, both in terms of her warm personality and her almost unerring eye for beautiful fashion. That being said, I like to analyze these clothes honestly, and sometimes it just isn't good--to me. Thankfully, Kate is pretty flawless and so the blog stays positive. I am not here to write a blog that is negative and full of criticism, aka a mean spirited judgement. If the balance ever tipped to the point that I felt like I was hating Kate's clothes even 40% of the time, I think I would stop blogging. I hope regular readers are aware of how much I admire Kate in every way.

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  23. I think that if the jacket had been in a bright color like red it would have worked better with the outfit. That said, Kate rarely has an "off" dress day. Maybe she's just showing her humanness. Most of us have our poorly dressed days!

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    1. Yes, she is human and she does far better than most. Thankfully, those of us who have more fashion blunders than Kate aren't being photographed!

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  24. I totally disagree Jane. I think Kate looks fabulous. The only thing "off" about the outfit is the blue pants. She should have worn black for a more streamlined look. Wearing skinny jeans with booties is a stylish choice and appropriate for a children's charity. The coat is streamlined and simple/elegant. I understand, although I don't agree, with your opinion on wedges. However, just because you personally don't like an outfit doesn't make it a fail.

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    1. She wrote her opinion as always God bless her for that:-)A.

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    2. Just out of curiosity, Lynn - if a personal opinion doesn't make an outfit a fail, what does? (Seriously - this is a question, I guess I don't get what would constitute a win or a loss if it's not an opinion.) Anyways, I think this outfit is a fail. The jacket is for a 50 year old plus woman and the pieces don't go together at all. However, the visit was a true success and it seems like such an important cause to support. Well done to our Duchess for the point of what she does.

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  25. Kate has a tough job pleasing all of us fashion critics....:) For me, the jacket would have worked better in a brighter color, maybe red. That said, Kate is rarely off style-wise and if she has a day when clothes are less than perfectly put together, then she shows herself to be a member of the human race. The business casual look I find always to be a challenge...easier to be totally dressed up or totally casual.

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    1. I agree that the business casual can be tricky. She usually does quite well with it. I am thinking of several of her looks on the Canadian tour in particular. This was an anomaly.

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  26. Hi Jane I dont' like the jacket very much because maybe it makes her too old and "serious" ! But I have to say that she can't always wear skirts, flattering dresses and heels, especially when she attends this kind of events right?
    She has had worse outifits than this in my opinion! :-)
    Bests,
    Martina

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  27. She should have nothing. Give her rest. She's so cute with children. I hope she'll meet them more often now. Stop this bizarre commenting on her clothes. It starts to be ridiculous. There are too many vain persons commenting not her job but the outfit.

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  28. Thank goodness I do not have comments on everything I do and everything I wear, EVERY RELENTLESS DAY. Hair must be perfect, makeup ditto, clothes shoes bag jewellery commented on by all and sundry. Can you imagine it - some don't like the colour, some don't like the heel height, some say hair should be shorter, eyebrows thinner. I would run for the hills.

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  29. Honestly, I was so pleased by how engaged and connected she was at the visit that I didn't notice her outfit! But it's been a few days and I just looked at the pictures more closely and . . . yeah, I agree fully with Jane. Nothing really about this look (except for her lovely hair and genuinely happy expression) works!

    I have a theory about Kate's styling, I wonder if anyone will agree. Basically, I think she has noticed that the media talks about three features constantly - her hair, her legs, and her height. So, with every public look she puts together, she consciously or unconsciously thinks about accentuating those features. That's why she almost always has the big glossy curly blowout instead of pulling her hair back, why she always has shoes with 3-5 inch heels, and why she always either wears a skirt or skintight pants. I can only think of a handful of examples where she has non-skintight pants on (those khakis that she wore in Borneo, and I'm sure there might be others?) and again, only a handful of times where she's worn flat shoes on a public outing. She's started to pull her hair back slightly more often, so maybe she'll continue to switch it up in other areas as well. Before anyone jumps on me, I'm NOT saying that Kate is vain because she accentuates her best features, I just think it might be an explanation for why she seems like she might be in a style rut. Honestly though, if anyone followed me around all the time with a camera, they'd notice I wear the same J.Crew dress to work at least once every week or two ;-) What can I say, it was expensive (for me) and I want to get my money's worth out of it, style rut be damned! :-)

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    1. Whitney youre funny :)
      Jane I love your blog I check it every day!
      Alexa, Holland

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    2. Hi Whitney,

      I think you might be on to something here! I think we all try to accentuate what we feel are our best features and downplay or hide the parts of our bodies that we don't care for, I know I certainly do! I wouldn't say that Kate is in a style rut but that she wears styles that she knows look good on her and that she is comfortable in.

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  30. Love the outfit. Something different.

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  31. There's a sort of arrogance about the outfit -- like she can pull it off. Given her situation, she doesn't have all that much leeway in putting together outfits. She can't get by with the awful taste of the princesses of the blood.

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