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Kate Wears McQueen For Surprise Afternoon at Buckingham Palace Garden Party

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Nothing like a little royal head-fake to keep life super exciting. Kate left her engagement in Greenwich only to pop up at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party in the afternoon. I do apologize this post is a little late, but really, there is only so much a girl can do on such short notice, even for a princess. 


Of course, our favorite glamazon garnered plenty of attention with her surprise appearance:

Kate has attended a BP garden party every summer and she didn't disappoint this year in her wardrobe selections. You no doubt recognize this exquisite McQueen from its debut in 2012 during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Beautiful then, pretty fantabulous now. This was an exciting rewear for me, because although Kate tweaked the look, I can't choose one over the other. Obviously, on the first wear for the Diamond Jubilee service, she had a ribbon belt that highlighted her petite frame:


This afternoon, she did away with the belt, which gave the dress a very streamlined look that was equally flattering. I can't say I prefer one over the other, both wears were stellar.



As usual with a recycle, Kate wore a different hat, but today was special because the hat was custom made by Jane Corbett for this dress. Jane Corbett certainly is hatmaker extraordinaire. While I hesitate slightly to make an entirely sweeping statement, Jane Corbett's hats rank among the best Kate wears. After a very unscientific thought process that consisted of approximately fifteen seconds of thought I can say that she really does hold a solid majority. Par exemple:

Corbett on Remembrance Sunday 2012. Aaah, so perfect. 


I don't know about the rest of you, but I was a fan of this maroon topper for Kate's first Christmas as a member of the Firm:


This fun home-run from the Order of the Garter:





This most coveted of creations, first worn at a BP garden party...



Today's hat seems to be the Pink 2.0. Similar design inspiration on a smaller scale. Slight saucer-style with detailing under the brim on the higher side, lace overlaid on the top... 




There is so much to love here. I like it--really like it. It has great elements, but a few angles make me nervous we are drifting toward the dreaded floppy pancake zone--let's have none of that. It is a beautiful hat and I am a fan, but it isn't the pink hat, which had not an unflattering angle to its shapely self.




I do wonder why we had such a sudden change. The garden party she was scheduled to attend was in conjunction with the Red Cross, an organization of which her family, and purportedly Kate herself, are strong supporters. Although today was Prince Philip's 93rd birthday, I hardly think this prompted her shift in plans. I mean, at 93 years it isn't as if Philip's annual celebration comes as a surprise on anyone's calendar. I do wonder if this was a security measure. Hard to say, and perhaps better not to speculate. It could have been a family commitment that came up unexpectedly...


Kate was wearing new, slightly more conservative LK Bennets with a lower heel than the sledges and a more pointed toe. Her Annoushka pearl drops and Russell and Bromley clutch, all of which complemented the neutral color palette. This is the fanciest we have seen Kate at a garden party yet, and she pulled it off with aplomb. Sleek and sophisticated, she closed a beautiful day with a fabulous high.

Coverage of Kate's morning brunch in Greenwich here. 


30 comments:

  1. This is a gorgeous dress. I like it, but like it better with the ribbon belt. I, however, do not like the dress for this occasion. To me, it seems a little too "heavy" for this time of year. The color and long sleeves seem early spring or fall-ish to me. Earlier in the day she was stunning with a navy and white short sleeved dress that was perfect for this time of year. Just my opinion. Regardless, she is stunningly beautiful in anything. Joan M.

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    1. Dear Anony,

      I agree with you 100%. This dress has long been my favorite, the one I compare all other dress too, but today, without the belt, it fell short. The last time she wore this dress is was overcast and grey so the long sleeves and hem worked better than they did today, especially next to Princess Eugenie in a sleeveless dress. But you're right she is still beautiful.

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    2. Coming from a place where summers are quite humid and sticky, I am always amazed by the way that Kate can wear long sleeves, jackets, and sometimes coats seemingly throughout the summer, Britain must be particularly blessed with lovely weather. I should move there. :) But, I do see your point. To me it worked because it was lacy and I associate lace and tea and garden parties, but I can see why you might feel it was heavy. I am interested to hear that people prefer it with the ribbon belt. I am amazed that I can't choose between the two. :)

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    3. I agree, this dress is one of my very favorites, but I think it needs the belt. And, although I love the Corbett hats (especially the Christmas one), I liked the Jubilee hat better too. It really shows what a huge difference styling makes in an outfit, doesn't it?

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  2. Agreed!:) These hats are stellar! The maroon Christmas hat=perfection:)

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    1. That one was so great. :) Jane Corbett is always interesting and often unusual. I just love her designs!

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  3. Jane corbett sure knows how to make beautiful hats. Kate looked so elegant over all. However, I too prefer it with a belt, gives her more definition. Im not ok with that hat colour, I think is washes her out a bit.

    KiwiNic

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    1. I can't tell if the lighting was bad or if the hat's color wasn't ideal, as you say. Usually, I think Kate looks quite nice in neutral and pale colors. There weren't a ton of pictures to choose from, though, so it was hard to tell. :(

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    2. Today's hat so lovely in so many ways, but the angle bothered me too, as you noted: Beware of the floppy pancake. Jane Corbett is fantastic! The lace, the features on the "back" of the disc are very flattering and beautiful with this hat. I'm thinking as has been mentioned that the lack of many pictures makes the use of that one closeup unfortunate with its bad angle. I wonder about the color washing Kate out. The dove gray hat in Australia was perfect; the light beige hat at Zara Philip's wedding seemed too pale for Kate. As usual, though, with every hat, no matter its color, Kate looks spectacular.

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  4. I read that the Queen specifically invited her...I suspect that is one invitation that is impossible to refuse :D I wonder why she is wearing long sleeves (and a coat!) lately, when summer is under way. either way, the dress is beautiful and I love the hat.

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    1. Yes, she certainly was invited by the Queen, but I believe that she will now not be at tomorrow's garden party as previously scheduled on her calendar. That is what has me perplexed.I think it has been only in the mid 20's in London, so cool enough to wear sleeves. It is a beautiful dress! :)

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    2. Great posts, here, Jane! I find your good responses create good thoughts from us all. This dress is one of my favorites. I agree that I can't decide with belt or without. After Angela Kelly's advising and in NZ, I thought this dress was the one used to create the black dress with the sparkle fern leaves on the shoulder. Kelly often uses the same pattern for the Queen with slight changes. And, soon thereafter, we saw the blue copy of an earlier pink dress (can't remember designer of that pink dress that Kate also wore to a garden party). Love the idea of using good designs that work, so I enjoyed the blue number with the fern-topped matching hat. Sarah Burton says that collaborations are just that with Kate, too. Today, the sleeves looked fine for me----kind of like the Queen's always wearing gloves that make her look dressy---making Kate look a bit dressy for the occasion but not terribly so.

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  5. The new hat is darling, and hope she continues to order bespoke from Jane Corbett often!

    I think Kate ought to wear slightly brighter lipstick. What she has probably looks great in person, but almost always looks a bit washed out in photographs.

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    1. The nude lace and pale lipstick were not complementary to her skin tones. She looked gorgeous earlier in the day.

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  6. That dress is beautiful and i have a soft spot for lace! But to me it seems incomplete without the belt...
    I don't know if some pics were photoshopped but her face looked really weird and with too much make up!

    Martina, italy

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  7. Jane, I have read--correct me if I am wrong--that Princess Alexandra is President of the British Red Cross and that the current Prince of Wales is its Royal Patron. Either or both of these parties might have registered an objection to Kate's presence at the Garden Party on the 12th, fearing that she might steal their thunder. Princess Alexandra, whilst she has contributed much to charity, has a record which hints at a deep sense of entitlement--in short, she's a snob--and Charles, also a snob, is, IMO, given to pettiness. What thinkest thou? Interested Canadian

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    1. Hard to say about Kate's taking the attention from Alexandra and Charles who seem to have huge roles associated with Red Cross. Indeed might be a security reason to switch Kate.

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  8. Not to be meant as a criticism, but something about her face looks so different here. Particularly in the photo where she's looking straight into the camera. Her face shape/expression almost looks like a different person to me...maybe a tad older than usual? Perhaps it's the makeup.

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  9. @ Mary E. I also think the face belongs to someone else; it sure doesn't look like Kate.

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    1. I think she looks just like her mother in that image where she's looking straight to the camera.

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    2. She doesn't have the heavy eyeliner on like she usually does. Amazing what toning it down does!

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  10. By that, I mean that the Queen specifically requested her presence at THIS one. I would assume, all of them she is invited by the Queen. I don't agree with others that Charles has a tamper on her but the Queen could most certainly be exercising some discretion with regards to the heir to the throne.... :D

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  11. I actually was disappointed with the dress. I loved, loved, loved it the first time around. But without the ribbon, I felt like it veered into old-fashion looking. Not that Kate is old, but... I did like the new hat and shoes, most of the time. I think the hat can read a bit pancake-y, but liked the lace detailed and the back part of it. Overall, not super horrible, but not the best I've seen Kate in.

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  12. Not sure if my previous post went through or not, so apologies if this ends up as a double post!

    As many of you, I loved the dress the first time around. And I agree that it needs the ribbon belt to break up the lace. I feel that without the ribbon, it starts to veer into old-lady or slightly doily fashion. Not that Kate is old, just how the dress reads to me.

    I am a fan of the new shoes and the hat. The hat can be a bit pancake-y, but I loved the lace touches and how it looked from behind.

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  13. I actually was disappointed with the dress. I loved, loved, loved it the first time around. But without the ribbon, I felt like it veered into old-fashion looking. Not that Kate is old, but... I did like the new hat and shoes, most of the time. I think the hat can read a bit pancake-y, but liked the lace detailed and the back part of it. Overall, not super horrible, but not the best I've seen Kate in.

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  14. She looks gorgeous and that dress is to die for! Both looks are great, but like it a tiny bit better with the belt, but then again I prefer the topper she wore at the garden party.
    The style of her dress and topper reminds me a bit of the wedding invitations we chose and we'll be sending out next month :)

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  15. And again one of my favourite dresses! I like it both with and without the belt. It's just perfect.
    The hat is beautiful. But the pink one is my favourite. It's stunning!

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  16. Had the thought that she chose a slightly longer (below the knee) and stick straight dress for an outdoor event where there's a possibility of wind gusts. Very interesting.

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  17. Hey Jane! I have to say I'm with you in that I can't decide which way I like the dress either! It's amazing how the different light can make the dress look different as well. I know if I was wearing that dress I would most likely be sweating and frizzy! Kate always manages to look cool and collected. Also in that picture from the Order of the Garter it looks like Kate has shoulder length hair and I have to say it doesn't look bad on her! Almost has a Jackie O feel to it. Wasn't sure you had heard about Kate rushing to aid of someone who fainted or not: http://www.mydaily.co.uk/2014/06/13/kate-middleton-proves-shes-just-who-you-need-in-a-crisis/ She has such a kind heart and this just shows it even more!

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  18. Jane. Love your blog and love Kate. However above you referred tom her as having a petite frame. Kate is many things, slender, reef thin, skinny, but she is not petite. She is the opposite, I.e. Kate is tall! J

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