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Kate First Public Event as Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets

Sunday, February 7, 2016

This morning, Kate undertook her first official public engagement of 2016! The much anticipated return of the Duchess saw her appearing in her capacity as the Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets at St. Clement Danes Church in the Strand, London.


You probably remember that this is a patronage Kate just took on in December. When she attended the annual Christmas lunch that the Queen hosts at Buckingham Palace every year, Kate sent her children home after the meal and stayed on for a ceremony at which the Duke of Edinburgh passed onto his granddaughter-in-law the position he has held for 63 years. Kate seemed understandably delighted to be taking on this role, which has such patriotic and personal roots.


The Air Cadets were launched during World War II to prepare young Brits to join the RAF. It has continued in a similar capacity, acting as a character building, discipline enhancing organization that exposes young people to the service and--if they so choose--acts as a conduit to the military. For US readers, some of you may be familiar with the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corp. It's the same idea. Military training for high school students, many of whom then  advance to real military service. Kate's grandfather was an RAF pilot and her husband Prince William served in the RAF for a number of years. Kate is "one of the family" and shares the same deep loyalty that comes from a personal connection. 


After the service, Kate attended a reception at the Royal Courts of Justice. This is obviously a point of interest to me. The Royal Courts of Justice is one of the largest courts in Europe and houses the High Court and Court of Appeal. It is a magnificent building:


As a law student, we read some mid-19th century cases from England to gain an understanding of where our American law began and how it has changed on this side of the pond, so seeing Kate at the Royal Courts of Justice is exciting. She looked very in-command of the event in this photo--matching the majestic surroundings. 


The Duchess recycled her bespoke McQueen coat first debuted in New Zealand:


And then worn again to the D-Day commemorations in France:



You might recognize today's hat. It is by Lock & Co. and Kate first wore it on March 26th to a memorial service for Richard Meade at Bath Abbey. (Details here.) 


I like it very much. It is interesting and it has personality, but it is still reserved enough to be very elegant. I thought it was the perfect complement to this coat. 


Kate was wearing new Gianvito Rossi shoes. Kate seems to have a fleet of these pumps (just like her many Muse clutches in different colors) and this is the third color we have seen her wear. (See all her Gianvito Rossi pumps here. )  These navy pumps retailed at a little over $600, but as of right now, they are no longer available on Net-a-Porter: (NB: one of my readers has alerted me that there is disagreement on whether these are GR or Rupert Sanderson. Kate has worn Rupert Sanderson in the past, see here. I will update when I have a chance to look more closely!)



She carried her navy Muse clutch, speaking of the Muse fleet, and she was also carrying her bow gloves, although we never saw her put them on:



Kate chose to wear her mystery drop earrings we saw as early as 2012. They have not been IDed, but they resemble pieces from the Asprey collection. Although Kate does like to mix in fake pieces, it is likely these are quite expensive. (Kate's Clothes page here.)


This coat is an odd one. It is one of those coats that you dislike and then love all in the space of 60 seconds and six pictures...and repeat. I look at it from some angles and it just doesn't get my heart racing, and then I see another shot and I am in love. Ultimately, I think the length of the pockets was a bold try and had the potential to really pay off, but they didn't work. They weigh down the front of the coat and make, what is actually a beautifully structured and fluid piece, look stiff and boxy. When you see the coat from the side and the back, it is just lovely. 



In any event, I think today might be its best wear. I loved Kate's first wear with the sleek ponytail, but given how much personality this coat has, I think she needed to balance it just a bit more with her hair. When she wore it to France, however, I wasn't in love with the hat. Today seemed perfect. With her locks loose, she balanced out the coat a little more, but the shorter length she is sporting also meant that it wasn't too heavy.  This was a great start to February and a great start to the official engagements of this brand new 2016! 



49 comments:

  1. Jane I think you have nailed what is wrong with the pockets. I am not fond of the coat and it was always the pockets, but you are right from the side it looks so much better. It is the large bottom rectangle pocket piece which is all wrong. The pocket flap over and invisible inside pocket would work. The color is hard to judge from photos. Might be great in person. Love the pumps and color, like the hat, the hair needs to be a bit longer. The hair style needed mor vole with the hat or some other styling. She looked happy and animated, and while was not a huge fan of the look at looked great for the occasion.

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    1. Agree, agree! Great hat choice & styling. The oversize pockets deliver an unnecessary heaviness. Side, back, color of the coat, perfect. Excellent choice for the occasion. I too await longer hair.

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    2. Oh my gosh it is the pockets. I could never figure out why this coat looked "off." For me it's the flaps. They don't seem to lay right, even from the side.

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    3. I love the pockets! They give a military feeling. Lovely coat

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    4. Hee hee. Love all the different thoughts on the pockets. How fun to hear different reactions:) ali

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  2. Love the coat but it didn't look like she styled her hair

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  3. I like the pockets and the way they play off the belt. I think the coat looks beautiful from every angle, and every time she's worn it - it's such a crisp, clean, sharp silhouette but in such a soft color. The only thing I don't love is the length, but I don't hate it, it's just a hair too long in my opinion, I think a lot of the hemlines have been just an inch or even less to long, so they cover her knees too much and look a tad matronly. But really, I shouldn't say anything about it because it's so nit-picky. She is just perfection! :) LOVE the hat, and glad she's growing her hair! #kateisgreat

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  4. First off, so happy to see the Duchess out today! I think this is a wonderful patronage for her considering PW's career in and her family's history with the RAF.

    I guess I will be in the minority in loving this coat. Actually, I like the big pockets and boxy aspects of the piece. To me, it is an exaggerated military-esque design that is meant to be a little over the top. The structure on the top and in the back is gorgeous. I like that its details distinguish it from many of her other coats which can all blend together in their uniformity. and the color is fantastic. Can I just say I'm thrilled that the fringe seems to be gone?

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  5. I think this coat was a perfect choice for this event. It has a crisp, clean line that gives a nod to military uniforms but doesn't copy them. I'm glad she didn't wear one of the coats with the double rows of buttons. In one of her future interactions with the cadets, I would love it if she wore a pair of those awesome lace up shoes that the girls in line are wearing!

    Also, I know I'm in a minority here, but I think her hair is a good length and could even go shorter. I would love to see it just brushing her shoulders. She is so gorgeous that she would look good bald, but shoulder length would still let her do all kinds of styles without the weight of those long tresses. But, in the end, I don't care what length her beautiful hair is... I'm a fan, regardless. :-)

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  6. I'm glad the fringe is gone too, but wish she'd try a shorter, more flattering length. Her hair is too straight here, it just drags her down. Take the plunge, Kate! #QueenofSpainbobplease

    Has her hair really grown out this fast, or is she sporting extensions?

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  7. Love the coat, hat, hair, and especially the shoes! So glad to see with her with some new navy suede pumps (about time!) and the Gianvitto Rossi silhouette is sophisticated and sharp. I would die for a pair!

    This is out of her control...but is that brooch incredibly tacky? It's like a huge Christmas ornament! I've seen other military organizations do tasteful, understated, and symbolic brooches but that one looks like rhinestones on plastic! Yuck!

    Yay for starting 2016!

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    Replies
    1. diamonds and rubies!

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    2. That brooch (badge?) will be a challenge indeed.

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  8. Jane...What Kate Wore suggests the shoes are actually Rupert Sanderson.

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  9. The provenance of the Dacre Brooch is explained in this Daily Mail article. I do agree that it is not exactly the most understated or elegant of designs.

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  10. And I forgot to link the article! Doh! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3435752/Kate-s-flying-high-Duchess-Cambridge-steps-pale-blue-Alexander-McQueen-marks-75th-anniversary-RAF-Air-Cadets.html

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  11. The coat itself is fine(I personally really like the color of it),but it's rather shapeless on the Duchess's trim physique.
    Maybe the Duchess should ditch the super tall heels(just checked Kate's Clothes,those pumps are 4.5 inches tall).I say this because she slouches and it looks unattractive.

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  12. Love this coat, particularly the pleats at the back. I had wondered whether she would wear uniform, but the Queen Mother never did and neither has the Queen, except during the war and a rather stylized uniform, when she used to ride at Trooping the Colour. This outfit today seems perfect for the occasion.
    The earrings appear to have a sapphire in the centre.
    The badge is huge but in the past was given to the best female cadet---the males got a sword. However now decided that the award will be the sword for both male and female, so I suspect the badge will be on loan to Catherine whilst she remains Hon. Commandant.

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    1. I am with you Jean....on the previous wearings I am not sure we got a good view of the back...and I too love the pleats!! Absolutely makes the coat for me!

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    2. Jean or Jane-or anyone- isn't HM still the official patron?

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    3. The earrings look to me like an aquamarine stone. They are a mystery for certain!

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    4. HM is still patron---but then she is the head of all things military!

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    5. Thank-you, Jean.Is it proper to call Catherine patron then?
      anon 7:39

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    6. I believe the earrings are featured here, just below her gold leaf earrings.

      http://www.dianasjewels.net/earringscatherine.htm

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  13. Sonja from BavariaFebruary 7, 2016 at 1:19 PM

    You really nailed my feelings about this coat. In some photos, I love it and in others, I don't care for it. Sometimes, it just looks too heavy and boxy, but in other pics, I love the military style, belt and collar in the front and those pleats in the back.

    My favourite outing was either this one or the first one bc I loved her ponytail! But probably this one... and I also love the brooch!

    It must be such an honour for both Kate and the Air Cadets and it's great that she is becoming patron of organizations like this one.

    Jane, do you think they didn't go to Mustique or did they go for a short period and we just didn't find out? For some reason, I assume that they will go skiing/sledding with the kids in march. What do the others think?

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  14. Maybe she is wearing this dress underneath? http://www.katesclothes.com/dress/black-dress-with-pleated-sleeve/
    From the pictures I would guess that she is wearing a black dress with very short sleeves (second picture).

    Jane, please let me know your opinion! :)

    Lisi from Austria

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  15. Well as another reader said....Just so glad to have the Kate back out and about.

    I thought she looked great today and in particular...this seemed to work very well for the occasion. I can take or leave the pockets. I understand why a lot of people don't like them but I do think it adds to the military theme of the look. As I said above...love the pleats at the back. The hat works very very well.

    The brooch....oh dear. I quite like the colors but the challenge with it ....is the size. I thought it was well styled today but Kate is going to be very challenged over the next 25 years to find outfits that that brooch works with. It is awfully large.

    All in all...loved the look today and am so glad to have her back on the scene!!

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  16. Agree about the oddity of the pockets ... they give the garment personality though!
    My favourite wear is the first one: the ponytail made the overall look so fresh and joyous!
    On another note, I am not fond of the same colour for bottom and top (= shoes and hat), I think it is a major rule for looking chic!
    But, as always, K. looked gorgeous.

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  17. Not in love with this look, but not against it either. Think it worked well for the occasion, and quite liked her shoes, altho suede.

    Regarding Kates hair, the length is good, IMO. Any longer tho would drag her down. As for those who think it didn't look its best, I agree; to me, at least, it didn't look recently styled, i.e., it wasn't styled that day. However, can you imagine the logistics involved in getting a hairdresser on a Sunday morning--unlike the Queen and Camilla, I doubt that Kate has a hairdresser on call. And then, there is the matter of her two kids--who would look after them whilst Kate was having her hair done? Who knows where William might've been, quite possibly, in Cambridge working, or possibly on a shoot--tis the pheasant shooting season. And this would've been one of Nanny's scheduled days off. Chances are, IMO, that Kate and the kids spent Saturday in Bucklebury, then she left the kids with her parents, and drove into London this morning for her engagement. Seems perfectly logical to me, and it explains why her hair did not look freshly done.

    Gotta agree with Laura in Canada re the brooch. As brooches go, its huge, and will be difficult to wear, with style, altho it worked well today with the McQueen coat.

    The best thing about today--Ive been browsing--is how much Kate appeared to be enjoying the occasion, and how welcoming the Air Cadets were--they seemed to enjoy the day too. A good fit.

    JC

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  18. I love the back of this coat but have never favored those large pockets. I thought the color made it a very nice choice for today with just enough contrast to make her easy to spot amidst the sea of blue. Great to have her back in circulation.

    Have better pictures been published yet of Kate boarding the helicopter back to Anmer?

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  19. This is not my favorite coat (I don't care for the pockets), but it was a good choice for today. Most importantly, Kate looked happy and appeared to enjoy the engagement.

    The more I look at the photos, I think the belt loops also throw it off; they're not on the side as one would expect with a dressy coat. If I could twitch my nose and make an adjustment or two, lol, I would remove the pockets, put the belt loops on the side where they (IMO!) belong, and perhaps add a larger belt buckle. As it is, the pockets give the coat a 70's feel.

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    1. That's exactly the feeling this coat has. I'm sure it's not polyester but it does have that 70s "leisure suit" feeling. I've never cared for this coat because of the pockets but you're right about the belt and belt loops. The pleats in the back are lovely but combined with the giant pockets and pocket flaps, strange belt loops, and the buckle it's just kind of a mess.

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    2. Leisure suits, lol. Yes! Also, the size of the pockets is not in proportion with her build.

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  20. I don't love the navy accessories with this coat. I think black shoes and a black clutch would have looked better with this shade of blue. Also, is the hat black? When Kate mixes black and navy, it just doesn't look right to me. I was always told that black patent leather works with navy, but otherwise one shouldn't pair black with navy. Otherwise, I think the coat is a good choice for this event. As others said, it evokes a little bit of a military feel without being customey.

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  21. I love seeing her! She makes me smile. The Ladies in uniform look especially smart too.
    Theresa
    Queensland, Australia

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  22. Love the coat, shoes and hat but her hair styled like this (or unstyled as someone suggested) really distracts from the entire outfit. The detailing of the back of the coat is wonderful. I wonder how long it is going to be before Kate realizes she must do something more with her hair in the public outings. She has beautiful hair, but hanging down like this just isn't regal or professional looking.

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  23. The people in the Royal Courts of Justice look like ants. Is that the idea?
    I thought it was a cathedral. Just awe-inspiring.

    I wonder if through the magic of Photoshop the pockets on the coat could be removed so we could see how
    that would change the look. I do think, for this function, her outfit was spot-on.
    I thought her hat resembled the female officer's cap somewhat.I don't think any of her
    other military type outfits would have worked with that badge. I thought it was a
    political campaign button. lol

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  24. Late to the show here because we've been a bit caught up with our little community hosting the Superbowl this weekend. I will not miss the extra traffic and the constant drone of helicopters in our skies now that it's over.

    Nice to see Kate out and about today and actually first found out about it because a friend, who is living temporarily in London, saw Kate up close and personal today and sent a photo. She said Kate waved at her! My first thought when I saw the photo was "Not that coat!" I think the color looks great on her but, even after three wearings, do not like it at all. Those pockets and pocket flaps are the worst. I'm hoping that now it will be permanently retired. The shoes, hat, gloves, look great. The most stunning thing today was that big RAF brooch (patch?) on the coat. Any info on that? I love how her confidence has grown. She looks completely comfortable in her role and that makes the photos even better!

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  25. hmm I love the coat too the duchess give the miltsry vibe love the she wore coat and love that she recycle the whole outfit

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  26. Looking great, Kate!
    And I'm glad she's re-growing her hair. It's so thick and such a lovely color. The coat looked smart - not my favorite of coats but great fit for this event. And yeah for the Inns of Court! I got to visit them once for an int'l law course and was awed:)

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  27. Take a look at the fourth picture in the post of Kate at the Royal Courts of Justice. Check out the expression on the gentleman over Kate's right shoulder (not the man in white, the man in uniform)! What's he checking out there???

    Also, do the broaches that Kate and others wear on their coats attach with a pin? I would think pinning a number of these broaches over time on a coat would damage it. Perhaps they are magneticly attached?

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  28. I love this coat but I somehow just cannot get on board with this particular styling of it. I loved how this looked when Kate debuted it and I still think it works best with fresh, sleeked back hair because the pockets are quite overwhelming. I thought the second wear was ok but I basically think this works better without a hat. I would quite like to see this coat with jeans or trousers.

    I also really wish Kate would stop colour-blocking with the jewellery but I think this might just be me :)

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  29. Rupert Sanderson has indicated the shoes are their's (per their instagram). Also, I think you can tell the heel has a bit of gold paint on it (on the sole leather), which is a Rupert signature. x

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  30. I think this coat makes Kate look much older than she is, it looks like something the Queen would wear. Kate needs to dress her age, she's waisting her best years dressing like a granny, she will have many years of that, she should enjoy her 30s while she can.

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  31. I loved this coat from the get go... Kate really prefers to wear some variation on blue and I am sure with the size of the brooch she really had to scrutinize the neckline of her sartorial choice- not a fussy neckline will do! I prefer black accessories with this coat but I do like the hat, just think the navy velvet is a bit meh...

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  32. Put me in with the small group that loves this coat! I think it really suited the event without being too much in "theme" as she sometimes gets. I agree with many that her hair looks messy and undone. If she can't get a proper blow out on a Sunday, what about a sleek ponytail? But my biggest thrill at this look is her makeup! It looks like she's wearing much less than we usually see and it's so flattering; she looks much fresher and younger without all the foundation and liner that she usually sports.

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  33. I really don’t like the coat. I do like the color, I do like the back, but not the front. At first I agreed with royalfan about moving the loops, but then I noticed that there are already loops on the side. (see 2nd pic) It seems that the only purpose to the front loop placement is to hold the extra belt length in place. Personally, I don’t like belted coats much anyway (except for trench-type raincoats) and think this belt looks awfully “chintsy” (agree the coat has a polyester leisure suit aspect to it anyway)


    Some mentioned the coat looks too big on her. I guess… but where I come from, if it cold enough to wear a winter coat, it is cold enough to wear winter clothes! I realize that for Kate, the coat IS the outfit since she apparently never takes her coats off at appearances. So for all we know, she could just wear a slip underneath. (Even the dress she wore under the green coat at Christmas was awful lightweight for winter) So she can wear tight coats whereas the rest of us would look like stuffed sausages if we did that since we’d have to wear our coats over actual winter clothes. I do wonder if PART of the reason so many of her coats (versus her “day wear” dresses) are custom made is so they can be form-fitting because even “high-end” off-the-rack winter coats are often made to wear over thicker clothes.


    Candice mentioned Kate slouches and wondered if it’s because she wears heels that are SO high. I agree her heels are quite high. My guess is that the slouch is due to Kate carrying her purse in front at the level of her lower abdomen. She usually holds it in both hands and it is hard to do that and walk at the same time without one’s shoulders being pulled forward. She would look more confident with her shoulders back and if she doesn’t break the slouch habit, I'm afraid she may have back trouble later on.


    Last, I say “ugh” to the heavy penciled in eyebrows. I know it is a popular look now but I think it is aging on anyone over about 24. I agree though that her eyeliner and shadow seem lighter than usual (and that’s good)


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    1. :)) I'm all for *shaping* eyebrows, but we have gotten to the point where they look glued on. A more natural look is softer, IMO.

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