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Kate Recycles Christopher Kane For Order of the Garter at Windsor

Monday, June 16, 2014

There is good news and bad news today. Let's start with the good news. Kate and William were at Windsor Castle for the annual Most Noble Order of the Garter service. This the heart of the British Monarchy to my mind. William the Conqueror built Windsor in the 11th century and it has been a central residence for the British Royal family ever since. The Order of the Garter was created by that most awesome king of England's Golden Age, Edward III. When the French get worked up about the British (which, be honest, happens with fair regularity;)) this guy is really the crux of the issue, whether they are consciously aware or not. He was the English king who claimed France as his birthright and set out to conquer it for England, kicking off the Hundred Years War. Edward had significant military prowess and, with his undaunted son the Black Prince, pummeled the French in a number of crushing defeats across France, e.g. Crécy, Poitiers, etc.  Anywhoo, he who laughs last, laughs longest. England did not conquer France--permanently, that is--and now France has the Eiffel Tower and Pierre Hermé, so... a pretty solid come-back. But, certainly the medieval roots of this fabulous day are felt strongly, from the historic location to the ornate robes, and the pomp and circumstance for which the British Monarchy is so well know...






I really like the robes, the velvet, the feathers, but it can be a little hot for June:




Thankfully, there was impressive cloud coverage, although the sky did provide some probably less than welcome showers midway through the procession.


Ok, so that was the good news. Awesome event dating back to the best period of history ever, sweet castle, cool clothes. What is the bad news? I suspect you already know. Indeed, it is Kate's Christopher Kane coat. (Ha, she knew that was coming.)



Yep, this is not a win; not at all. Kate first wore this coat in 2012 to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London. It was a let down then, it is a disappointment now.  It looks so heavy and I really do not like the sheen of the fabric. I think glossy fabrics are very tricky and can easily go wrong. In general, they should be relegated to sexy evening wear...or pajamas, which may also be classified as sexy evening wear, but in such cases certainly the kind the rest of us don't see. You can make it work outside of these parameters, but a lot of other elements need to be perfect. Fact: this bodice is boring. It isn't streamlined or simple, it is boring. The collar could not be more generic and the entire piece looks heavy enough to do double duty as a saddle pad. I feel suffocated. A more feminine or whimsical collar might have saved this, but this is far too aging on the youthful Duchess.  




Are there redeeming qualities? Yes, Kate is gorgeous. Score 1(,000,000,000). Unlike the first wear when we only had cramped pictures of Kate through crowds, we got some full frames today and it does improve the overall look. The coat is tapered in a light a-line and if there is a saving grace here, it is the very flattering silhouette. Score 2. I love the color. Score 3. Do these overcome that boring bodice? Nope. It's a miss kids, sorry.




One piece of this ensemble did, however, show up to play ball and so full kudos go to Kate for debuting this huge home run of a hat. Her blue Lock & Co. topper is such a win for me. I love the bold lines and unusual design. It kind of reminds me of an open oyster.

Her hair was fantastic and the colors and lines were all spot on. This is not her best Order of the Garter look, but it could have been worse. Kate's first two appearances at the Order of the Garter as the Duchess of Cambridge were both stellar fashion wins, in 2011 shortly after her marriage:



And in 2012:
Even before her marriage, Kate didn't fluff a pretty significant appearance for a royal girlfriend. Her presence at William's investiture into the Order of the Garter in 2008 signaled that the couple's romance was solidly back on track after their 2007 split and that Kate was going to be royalty sooner rather than later. She looked the part of a princess even then:



Both of Kate's past two successes at the Order of the Garter were soft. Today's coat is rigid. While I like structured, something about this coat overwhelms Kate's beautiful figure. As I say, several elements are going wrong for me here, but it certainly shows that magic doesn't make these pieces perfection. So many parts should have made this lovely: color, cut, etc, but it just fizzled. Lock & Co. really saved the day. Hopefully this is a coat we don't see again. (I will say the gentleman in the center of the photo below seems pretty happy with the sartorial situation. ;))

Kate usually stands with Camilla at this event, but the Duchess of Cornwall was notable by her absence. Apparently, she is suffering from a severe head cold. Perhaps it is making the rounds in the Royal Family, because Kate was snapped sneezing several times during Trooping on Saturday. Maybe she was just at the tail end:



Bad news aside, it is hard to get too down on Garter Day. William and Kate always throw each other this cute little smile as he passes the viewing pavilion, and the photographers always snap an artsy shot with Kate in the background. We were not cheated this year:





Well, this post is late and I have to get back to life, so we will wrap it up on that cute note and call it a day. Kate is out again on Wednesday, so take a short break and we will be back together soon!

41 comments:

  1. Jane, I loved the coat, hat, color, et al. I agree the bodice could have used a beautiful necklace or brooch, but otherwise I thought she looked gorgeous.

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    1. I agree absolutely! I thought she looked wonderful.

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    2. I agree! Loved the coat too. Am a little surprised it was such a miss for you, Jane, but to each their own. Thanks for the article.

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    3. It is funny, because sometimes when she wears something I don't like, i often like it on the recycle, especially if she pairs it with an accessory that I love, like this hat. But, I just did not warm to it. I think I really very much dislike the collar and the heavy, heavy feel to the bodice. I can't say for certain why, but yes, I just really don't like it. :(
      But, certainly plenty of people do like it. I don't think it is a miss that demands universal agreement---like that Reiss coat. ;)

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    4. I thought the coat was really elegant.

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  2. Sorry Jane, but I disagree with you here. This is a huge win for me. Also, with the fuss about skirts blowing in the wind, etc, and with this being such a formal royal event, I'm not surprised she went a little conservative. I would expect she will dress conservatively for some time to come. Pencil skirts and coats for a while since the media can't be trusted to be human! I actually didn't like two of the three other ensembles she wore for Garter, except the McQueen one, but even that just looks fussy and a little young to me now. It was great then though. Sophie's outfit was the big miss for me. My goodness, a hot mess! And she usually looks quite nice...

    Thanks for the great post.... as usual.

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    1. If it was a hit for someone, I am happy! :) I agree with you about the conservative dressing, there does seem to have been a shift and I am sure she has been feeling the pressure after the windy skirt moments. I am very interested to see what she does over, say, the next six months...
      Oh gosh, Sophie. I was going to make a comment, but I thought the post had enough snark for the day. But, i am glad that others agreed with me, and that I wasn't just being a grumpy-pants. :)

      Thanks for reading, Jane! Always good to hear from you. :)

      Xoxo, Jane

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  3. I am with you Jane. This is not a win. Kate looked gorgeous, how does she do it? but the coat is not working. The hat really saved the entire outfit I think. Thanks for great blog, I read it all the time and very much enjoy your humorous voice. Keep it up, we all love you.

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  4. I am French Jane, and I love your many reference to us. You make me sound special even when you are teasing. Please come visit, you will love it here. xx, Catherine.

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    1. And you know I am teasing. I love France. :) Thanks for reading! I hope to come over soon... I always miss Paris. xoxo, Jane

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  5. I actually quite like this coat, but the problem I have is the fit. The bodice doesn't fit her well... which it should for a bespoke piece. Agree a lovey piece of jewelry and more modern collar would have been a great help. I missed seeing the Duchess of Cornwall whose last several outfits and hats have been big wins in my eye. Loved the hat. Would anyone else like to see some fun shoe choices? Like colors? I would! But love seeing her any which way.

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    1. I don't even know what incredible transformations could have been brought about by a different collar. I think it would have been a game changer... :( I have loved it when she has branched out with the shoes...

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  6. I think this was a solid win for the Duchess. Is it her best look? NO! However, the addition of the gorgeous hat (Kate needs to wear more hats like this one) and the beautiful earrings I think she looked simply beautiful and effortless - definitely better than the first outing in 2012. I wish she would experiment a little more with her accessories which would help to liven up her more conservative appearances.

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    1. Absolutely agree it was light years better than the first wear. I think she really struggles adding accessories just because she isn't drawn to accessorizing with jewelry. I am also very simple in my jewelry, so I understand where she is coming from, but with her resources I am excited to see her wear more, and I think this is something she will grow into over time. :)

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  7. HATED this the first time, hate it even more the second time. And I really really really wish kate would wear her hair up or .... Shock I know but cut it. It's dreadful at the moment. Sorry kate fans.

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    1. Hi Annicke,

      What kind of hair cut do you imagine for Kate? A long bob like Pippa's or something shorter? I could see her in a shoulder length cut but that would be almost the same as Pippas.

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    2. Annicke...I hope you count yourself among "Kate fans." :)
      Lauri, I think a shorter cut could be interesting, but I have to say that I love Kate's hair. It is so closely associated with her, I would be disappointed were she to cut it shorter than say, Pippa's. I don't think there is any chance, though, so I am not too concerned. It is clear she loves her hair!

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  8. Hello Jane, I wanted to thank you for this wonderful blog. I read several other Kate-related blogs, but always return to this one for the final word. I love to read your take on things. The blog must take a lot of your time, and I hope you know how much your work here is appreciated. Thank you again.

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    1. Oooh, I really appreciate this very sweet note. Thank you! Every now and again this is just the boost a blogger needs. :) It is certainly my pleasure to write this blog, but obviously I wouldn't still be doing it if it weren't for all of you awesome readers being so faithful. Thanks for taking the time to comment! xoxo, Jane

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  9. Great post Jane, so that makes it so hard to completely disagree with you:( I really liked this dress/coat on Kate today, even more so than when she wore it 2012. I am loving the dove grey/blue colors she has been wearing lately, they are my personal favorites so I'm especially glad to see Kate in them. For me this hat really made the outfit, however, I would have preferred a different color shoe and a not so casual clutch but other than that... perfection.

    The little smiles Will and Kate exchanged were adorable. And it's nice to see how well Kate gets along with Charles, they are obviously comfortable with each other and enjoy each other's company. I didn't think Kate looked very comfortable with Camilla when they were riding in the carriage for the Trooping engagement, maybe it was due to the fact that Camilla was feeling awful and Kate was trying not to catch her cold.

    Poor Sophie, what was she thinking?! Sophie has a lovely figure and frequently takes fashion risks but this hot mess fell flat for me. This dress can't seem to decide if it's a summer dress, a winter dress or nest for a wayward bird.

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    1. I loved the look from head to toe. Although she presented herself the same but previously we could hardly see her out and about.
      She looked really cheerful and honestly happy, usually she is not like this.

      I like Sophie's style it was not that bad though.A.

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    2. Lauri, disagreement is allowed, especially when done so charmingly. :) I can honestly say that I agree on the colors. She is stunning in grey and pale blues.
      I think that Kate has always had a very warm relationship with Charles, which I agree is a wonderful thing!
      Yep, Sophie struck out on this one, gosh. Like she cut off a piece of a shag carpet... Had she left that off, I think it would have been a nice, simple piece. I don't follow Sophie closely, but she seems to be 50/50 in the fashion stakes.

      Anonymous 4:45... She did look very ebullient. Always nice to see that from the royals. :)

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  10. I also loved the look and the coat except the bodice could have been tailored differently but all in all I like the look and especially the ice blue she's been wearing. I agree with the comment above she need color in her shoes and my only problem is you would think being a Duchess she could clean her shoes. I have noticed repeatedly they are dirty on several occasions. thank you for a great blog again

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    1. Honestly, I never notice that her shoes are dirty, but you are far from the only one to comment on that, so I think I must just not pay close enough attention. Kate is still a pretty relaxed girl, so perhaps this is something that she will fix with time. ;)

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  11. Totally agree, Jane. Loved the hair, makeup and hat but did not think this coat dress was flattering on either outing.

    -Brooke, South Carolina

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    1. haha, Brooke, when I saw this coat I thought, "Oh no!...but, Brooke will get an honest post now, for sure." :) Who would have thought i would have opportunity so quickly. I promise I didn't make this up. I have always disliked this coat. ;)

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  12. Fairly new to your blog and I am enjoying your perspective. I, too, would love to see Kate wear her hair up more and I would love to see a new style. Kate's outfit was neither great nor awful. However, I do love when Kate wears brighter colors as they tend to go well with her complexion. Kate is true to herself and I find that admirable. She cannot please everyone so it's best to please herself. The pictures of Kate and Will are so sweet. Personally, I would love to see a picture of Harry and George. :) Thanks again. Becks, NC

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    1. Welcome!! Glad you found the blog! yes, Kate looks amazing in jewel tones, although I think these "cold" colors are so lovely on her, too. I honestly can't think of much that doesn't flatter her--lucky girl.
      I am looking forward to a Harry/George photo, too. Harry must adore George, and vice versa. Harry is just the kind of wild uncle boys are crazy about. :)

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  13. Hi Jane! I always love your interesting references to the English history! Probably I agree with you about the coat (and the fun way in which you write about it!)..while I was reading your thoughts I felt they were the same reasons why I didn't like this coat too but overall I don't find it so terrible! Surely I like many other coats more than this and I would have never bought something similar (in fabric) but I find the colour, the structure very nice and flattering on her and, in my opinion, the belt helps the total look. After the red coat she wore in Scotland and the green ones during the tour, all the others are nice for me! At least it is not too long or too big! Now in Italy it's very hot so I hope in England it was colder otherwise all that velvet and the fabric of her coat were intolerable!
    The hat matches perfectly with the coat even if I preferred much more the 2011 one and the total outfit of the Trooping engagement!
    Yesterday it was so adorable to see again Prince George in a so informal and unexpected occasion! Useless to say how beautiful he is growing and how advanced he is considering his 10/11 months! My nephew is the same age and it is fun to see how they have similar attitudes! So well they are doing so many appearances these days..I'm really busy with my university exams and it helps me to keep my mind away from nervous during breaks from study! hihi

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    1. The belt definitely helps. I don't despite this coat. This is not the Dreaded Moloh or anything. I think I get worked up about it because it could so easily have been totally lovely had the bodice been different. It is so close to a hit that I am super frustrated to find it a miss. :) I think it has been quite mild in London, but it is hard to keep that perspective as I swelter away here at home. Phew.

      I LOVED the polo photos. The best Sunday surprise you could ask for.

      Good luck on exams! You will be awesome, but I will keep you in my thoughts! Stop by anytime... ;)

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  14. Kate seems to like a very paired down form of elegance that unfortunately can move into boring quite easily as I think it has here. The coat itself I don't mind - but it needs something else, like the statement brooch seen at Trooping, to break the overall expanse of shiny ice blue fabric. Facinators are starting to bored me to death. I'd like to see Kate try a picture hat like the one Camilla wore in 2012 or the style Kate wore in 2008 for a change to shake things up a bit.

    Like Cinzy from Rome - I too am in the middle of Uni exams and just love your posts. They help keep me sane and take a bit of the stress away. Thanks Jane for taking the time to do something we can all enjoy - you do a great job.

    KiwiNic

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    1. She does like simple/simple, but I agree here it was too much. I don't know if jewelry would have saved it, but you could be right! I love all her hats, but bigger would also be fun. I wonder if she worries it will overwhelm her clothes. She wore larger hats when single, but her style has evolved since then...

      Good luck to you on your exams as well! I hope they are not too stressful...or boring. :) I am happy to know you both come here for breaks, it is always nice to hear from you!

      xoxo, Jane

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  15. I agree with you Jane I am also not in love with this look. The same nude coloured shoes are also boring me. But I think it's a mark of just how beautiful she is that even when she wears something that I don't like I still always think she looks beautiful! On the plus side I lived there her hat and earrings! I'm really hoping she wears something new and fabulous tomorrow. Thanks Jane:)

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    1. Ugh, that hat and those earrings. So beautiful!! I hope we see this hat again, and I suspect we will. :)

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  16. I have to disagree with you on this one. I like this coat on her. It's simple, yes, but it's very elegant. I do wish she would have accessorized it differently. The hat is a sure hit! I wish the shoes and the clutch were different. I know those are her "go to" shoes but I just don't like the warm tone of the shoes with the cool tone of the fabric. As a matter of fact, I'm kind of bored with all of her shoes. I also would like to have seen a stunning piece of jewelry - either a necklace or a brooch - to dress up the bodice a bit. Maybe you would have liked it more that way too. Such a formal occasion can handle a great piece of jewelry.

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  17. I have to disagree with you on this one, Jane. I like this coat on her. It is simple but elegant. I love the hat - a big hit - but the shoes and clutch don't thrill me. I know these are her "go to" shoes but I'm bored with them and, quite frankly, the warm hue (neutral or not) does not go with the cool blue of the fabric. Actually, I'm kind of bored with all of her shoes. It seems to be either these or some color version of the suede. Time for something new. I would have liked to see her wear a great necklace or brooch with the coat because it's a formal occasion and she could have pulled it off very well. Maybe one of Diana's sapphires! As a matter of fact sapphire accessories all around would have been wonderful!

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    1. Hi robin! You are not the only one who loved the coat :) and I see the argument. I am glad it was a hit in some circles, i just can't warm to it, although I will say it looked better than the first wear. the silhouette is lovely on her.
      She doesn't get very adventurous wither shoes often, you are right. I think she probably doesn't want a fortune invested in shoes, given how she re-wears the same ones. The more unusual the shoe, the fewer outfits you can pair with it. Still, I think we will continue to see her branch out in this department as well.
      I LOVE sapphires. The more she wears them, the better. :)

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  18. Loved this post because all the fuss about clothing is really kind of comical. Kate is beautiful in anything she wears in my opinion.
    The solution for Sophie is simple... Never stand next to the Duchess!

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    1. Whatever sells tickets, I guess. :) I agree that Kate is always beautiful...

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  19. This is my first time visiting this site. I have been on other Kate sites that feature her appearances and what she is wearing. I have to say, I really enjoy your blog Jane. I like that you have a very honest voice. You are not afraid to give your honest opinion and hear others as well. I also like that fact that you actually comment back in the "comment section". It shows a connection with your readers. Some other sites the author has their favorite commenters and only thinks of them. So thank you for obviously caring. On a side note fashion wise, I agree with you on the coat. I think it is a lovely color, but I did not think the material was appropriate for a day function. Also, I think the bodice around her bosom area makes her look quite large and unnatural. It almost reminds me of some of the bras Madonna use to wear. The whole things just looks off. I saw someone else commented on her shoes. The only really fun pair of shoes I have seen her wear was during the North America tour, she wore them with a grey dress during the day. They looked to be a snakeskin material. I think those shoes with their grey coloring would have contrasted nicely for todays event, though, I don't think the two different materials would have mixed that well. I do think something along those lines would have been a great addition though. Thanks again!

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    1. Hi erin! Welcome, welcome! So happy you found the blog. I am always stoked to hear from new readers. I try to get to comments, sometimes I do get whisked away by life and miss some, and sometimes I can be a little late, as I am on this post, but I try. :)

      Yep, the bodice does look strangely large, like it has a life of its own. Eeek. It was definitely odd.

      Are these the shoes? http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uQdZGGrAzUk/U1h99pl21eI/AAAAAAAAKng/KStmYjxW1bc/s1600/grey+catherine+walker+canada.jpg They were Tabitha Simmons and I loved them, too! I think we will see her wear more interesting shoes now and again, but I think she is still rather frugal and doesn't like to spend a lot on shoes she can't get a lot of use out of. Also, I think we all are sort of comfortable in certain shoes and tend to return, which I bet is also the case with Kate. Still, we shall see. I think she will go through a shoe faze one of these days...

      Thanks again for commenting. Hope you come back often!!

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