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In Defense of Kate's Florals at Stutthof

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Cambridges began their second day of the tour today with a visit to Stutthof, a former Nazi concentration camp in what was occupied Poland. For me, this was the event for which I was most excited when the royals initially released their itinerary. It is deeply important for public figures to return to these erstwhile places of horror and draw with them the spotlight of media attention so that as a society and as individuals we don't forget the suffering of the past, nor the depravity to which humanity can fall if unchecked.


The Cambridges had a very special day planned, because they had the opportunity to meet with several individuals who were imprisoned at the camp during its time of operation, and survived. 

KP Twitter

The single blight on the event was the unhappy chatter of royal watchers faulting Kate for wearing a floral pattern rather than...black or grey, I assume? I don't know what the preferred ensemble was, but apparently this floral didn't pass muster. I don't know when a muted floral became an inappropriate ensemble for a significant occasion. When did flowers become incompatible with gravity?

KP Twitter

When someone dies, what do you send to bereaved family members? Flowers. When you arrive at the funeral home or church, what is the coffin covered in? Flowers. When you visit a loved one at a cemetery, what do you bring to leave at the grave? Flowers. There is absolutely nothing incompatible between mourning or gravity and flowers.



What was that memorial to WWI dead that we all loved so much several years ago? A veritable sea of poppy flowers! Kate wore a bright blue on that occasion and no one complained. What's more, one of the women accompanying the royals today was wearing a cheerful blue, which looked professional and respectful on her. 


Like anything else, flowers and floral patterns come in different shapes, sizes, and "flavors" that vary for the occasion. I thought Kate chose a really fantastic ensemble today. This is not a girlish, summer picnic floral like the one she wore to Wimbledon. It is true to Erdem's often brooding and quirky style, and features a busy, but subdued floral print that actually reminded me of the style popular in the 1940s. 



Kate is supposed to look her best when on a public engagement, even more so when on such an important stop. This was a visit, it was not a commemorative service or specific event like Remembrance Sunday or a centenary. You don't downplay your clothes, you look your best as is appropriate, to pay your highest respects. She hit the nail on the head. 

Later in the day (not the camp) via Twitter

I don't even think I would have liked this pattern in another scenario, but the vintage charm and the way it stood out against the green of the grass and the shadows of the buildings, was perfect. If you still think Kate was an insensitive wretch, though, justice requires you apply your standard uniformly. In which case, I give you Her Majesty the Queen at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City...wearing a brighter floral dress than Kate debuted today. (Thanks to Cepe for alerting me to this. ;))


The pictures today were stunning, and the contrast between her beauty and the echoes of evil that linger at such a horrible place, created a powerful juxtaposition of light and darkness. It's the lesson we have to draw from these terrible events of the past, too, that darkness is always followed by light. Well done, Kate. 




123 comments:

  1. I didn't find anything wrong with this ensemble either. One solution however would have been to wear burgundy closed toe heels and then change to the open toe for the rest of the day.

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    1. Alejandra CamposJuly 18, 2017 at 9:11 PM

      Agree with the shoes!

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    2. Well said Jane, I think Kate was totally appropriate for this occasion & it was a smart/clever choice of style & fabric uplifting the situation and giving a nod to human hope for the future. I think Kate has a lot of sensitivity in this area and I think her choice was perfect and respectful.

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    3. Jane, thank you for letting us know about your crunch right now. Hope all goes well for you this week as that work and this forum continue to bring excellent pieces our way. I agree with and have enjoyed all you've said about the symbolism of Kate's outfit; its light, her beauty vs darkness, flowers in grieving, including the information about roses, thorns from Twitter. Still, I have to read your comments as an opinion of her fashion and stay with my feeling that all this is fine, but too subtle. She looks great, but she looks more like a tourist than a senior royal, a dignitary at the very site of such horror. HM was indeed in a print, but she has hat, gloves, pearls, bag and shoes that remain trademarks of her esteemed position, that provide distinction of a visit by the sovereign. These aren't exclusive of each other. I'd vote for being overdressed during the afternoon when Kate had a vastly different audience after the concentration camp. It is vital that William and Kate visit here. Theirs was a greatly successful meeting with survivors. I'm personally not a fan of this floral outfit and open-toed shoes. I prefer Kate's fashion express her status that lends to the importance of her appearance there as a dignitary. Solid white Wickstead, pale pink Lela Rose and court shoes would have been my preference. Katherine USA

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  2. You have a stunning gift with words Jane, a talent that will parlay well into a law career. You eloquently conveyed why HRH chose a perfect outfit for an entire day of appearances. She looked elegant and tasteful.

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    1. Alejandra CamposJuly 18, 2017 at 9:14 PM

      Agree! I wanted to say Jane, Thank you for such amazing words!
      When I saw the ensemble I really fell in love with the print.
      I was thinking on something white, but she nailed it with the print!
      It wasn´t somber as to show pain but it wasn´t lively as to say: party up
      It was the perfect ensemble for the day!
      It represented a touch of life from a harsh moment in history and that is great!

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    2. Thank you Jane...you do adequately and with your gift of words expressed that Kate indeed shined as a light of hope.

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  3. I agree. She was respectful and appropriate. Flowers are for remembrance.

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  4. I agree Jane. I thought she was dressed appropriately. What an emotional event for them. We must never forget the absolute horror of those times. Meeting with the survivors must have had a tremendous impact on them.
    The rest of the day, in Gdańsk was thrilling. The people showered them with love, and seemed thrilled to see them. They are great ambassadors for their country.

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  5. I wholeheartedly agree with you Jane - there was absolutely nothing wrong with this outfit, as you said she looked her best and it was therefore the perfect thing to wear on such a significant visit.

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  6. She looked lovely and respectable. When I die, I want people to celebrate my life. I want flowers and music, laughter and stories. What happened during WW2 was unspeakable and we need to remember. But why not remember and pay homage by celebrating life? Mel in NOnt.

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  7. So glad I don't follow very many royal watchers. It was a lovely and appropriate choice for a somber day.

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  8. Well I think you're a little carried away with the Kate's a wretch comment. I don't think it was the best choice, so did some others, what's wrong with that?
    Florals and open sandals to a concentration camp? No that's not an ideal choice to me. Navy blue, any deeper solid, even a solid white for hope and resurrection.
    That's just my opinion. Then I moved on and went for lunch. But no need to go after people, just as I dont feel the need to go after anyone who loved it.
    The thought I agree with most today is that the fact it's so polarizing meansnit probably was not the best choice.

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    1. I don't think this a polarizing issue beyond the small demographic of blog commenters.

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    2. Then why do they do polls based on only a few thousand people and claim it represents millions? Like in a presidential election? Reactions found in small settings are usually a microcosm of larger reaction as well.

      I agree with you that no ones losing sleep over this- but I think people who see it probably will have love it or hate it reactions , as we've seen here.

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    3. I agree anon 8:50. I only saw negative comments on blogs. Mostly Americans. No Poles as far as I could tell.

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    4. But flowers represent hope and resurrection. On Flanders Field poppies were the first thing to grow after the fighting had finished.

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    5. Just like all those pills recently that have been wildly unsuccessful at accurately predicting major votes Anon 9:13? The majority opinion of a small group is only a "microcosm" if it's a properly selected group.

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    6. "Representative sample." Kate blogs may not represent the spectrum of the public.
      Her outfit may have been polarizing in the Kate blog world, but then so were her heavy eyebrows in the Vogue shoot.
      A little perspective helps. anon1

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    7. Maybe. But I'm not sure comparing Kate's eyebrows in a magazine spread is on par with discussing whether an outfit was appropriate at a death camp.

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    8. Exactly.
      anon1

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  9. I agree it's a lovely dress and I don't think there's anything wrong with her wearing it today.She was beautiful as always.

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  10. I actually would have preferred a solid blue by the way. And I don't think you can compare the poppy installation in London to a concentration camp, where men women and children were murdered because of their religion. The gold fillings even collected from their teeth to fund the Nazi war chest. There is no more somber place.

    So I ask - would you all be ok with this dress worn on Remembrance Day in November? With the same accessories? So just take a breath and stop being so critical of people who simply think she could have done better. That's all anyone is trying to say. It doesn't make Kate a wretch or a bad person it's just an opinion.

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    1. Agree and well said.

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    2. I disagree that it is incompatible to hold a place in somber respect while also acknowledging that time guarantees that some healing and hope for a better tomorrow will creep in. Left alone a battle field will eventually be covered again in flowers. So while I see how some people might expect her to dress for a funeral, given the diplomatic nature of this tour in the context of Brexit I am not surprised in the least bit (and think it is entirely appropriate) that a choice of a floral dress might have been deployed as a subtle reminder that the wounds the ripped Europe apart during WWII need not be eternal.

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    3. You are downplaying the degree of criticism of Kate about this issue. There have been some viscious attacks about her. Kate did not violate any tradition or custom with her attire. I am sure there was much discussion with others, including her hosts about what attire was appropriate. The tour guides wore bright blue and someone else wore pink.

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    4. I would tell everyone to never pay attention to the extremes on either side. The bulk of the "criticism" was just people saying they thought it out of place. There's always going to be hyped reactions but they're generally minor in either direction. I say - Focus on the tone of the majority. Ignore the noise on the fringes.

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    5. I think the two events are not comparable anon 7:30. One is a memorial service while this has been a visit/ tour. As anon 8:45 says, you can be sure Kate does not randomly select her tour outfits in her own little vacuum without extensive consultation regarding protocol. Guaranteed this choice waa fine for her diplomatic role there today.

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    6. Royal fashion blogs provide perspective as well as the opportunity to share opinions. I originally posted the paragraph below on another blog, so apologies to anyone who's already read it.

      Combat photography was one of my father's roles in World War II. He photographed another concentration camp as it was liberated. Then he shared his pictures with other veterans for decades after. He always mentioned his admiration for resistance fighters, and said some of them used flowers (forget-me-not and edelweiss come to mind) as symbols of their determination that their sacrifice would defeat the enemy.
      Never forget and life goes on are not incompatible beliefs.

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    7. Anon 1:23-thank-you for your thoughtful comment.

      As I was looking at that photo of William and Catherine emerging from the museum, I was drawn to the differing expressions on their faces that may represent their individual responses to war, hate, suffering. William looked nearly overcome- his head was down-in fact, I think he was overcome, for awhile. Another photo showed him lagging behind while Kate carried on talking with their guides. The expression on her face after viewing what was in that building I interpreted as almost anger and belligerence. Her chin was up. She did not seem defeated in that moment but ready for action. She was briefly overcome at one point, in tears, but I felt her wearing of flowers might be a symbol of how she approaches that part of life.
      Not looking back, but forward with determination and hope.
      It is the attitude the two survivors seemed to display. They are working for a future without anti-Semitism. One man had not even revisited Stutthof, apparently the scene of some of his worst memories. Ironically, also an environment where he forged a life-long friend.
      Thank-you for those thousand-word pictures, Jane, as well as the one with the Queen in flowers at the WTC Memorial site. (and thank-you Cece) I think Kate may have the spirit of a survivor, as well, and we are just beginning to see the Catherine that William and those close to her have seen. I would so love to see her in full bloom. And Charlotte! My goodness, what a pistol. She would have brought balloons.

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    8. Kate Middleton's grandfather was a World War II pilot who repeatedly risked his life knocking German V-1 bombs heading toward London off-course with the wing of his plane. She was reportedly very close to him and delayed the announcement of her engagement when he died. Those of us who grew up hearing veteran's stories from our families often feel a determination to honor their legacy, and visiting memorials is more than history education. That ready for action demeanor and expression is something we learned from our veterans.
      Nice coincidence - her grandfather was Prince Philip's pilot during a two month tour of Africa in 1962. Philip often flew with him as co-pilot.

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    9. Thank-you Cepe, I should have said. anon1

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  11. Absolutely correct. I think it would have been inappropriate for her to wear black as if she were in mourning. The two-piece dress was feminine, classic, and modest. Nice shoes, too, but considering the venue, I would have preferred to see her in pumps.

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  12. I agree with you. It's modest and muted and appropriate, and importantly, people in those huge crowds you can see in some of the photos can see her (which is why most of them came, let's be honest). I'm not sold on the open-toed shoes, but she had to dress for a whole day of fairly diverse engagements.

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    1. Grey and lavender are also colors of mourning, a fact that Kate was surely aware of when making this choice.

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  13. I think there's a big difference between a happy floral and a serious, respectful floral, as you stated, like this one. Kate certainly looks like she is carrying the weight of this place on her heart and mind in these pictures.

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  14. Well said - oh, so well, indeed. Thank you, Jane, for all you do, all the time you invest in this blog, and especially for this exceptional post. Kudos-

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  15. Hi Jane,
    I have been following your blog for quite sometime now, and I would like to tell you that this is perhaps one of the best posts yet. I agree with you! Kate was on point today, and did an excellent job balancing all the different engagements she had to attend. She was in no way trying to overshadow the horrific atrocities that happened at the camp just as the Queen was in no way ignoring the terrible events of 9/11. Kate will make a wonderful Queen one day!

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  16. I saw all the pics initially on the DM site, had not seen the blog. My initial reaction was no problem with the dress, I am not crazy about it but it was neither here nor there for me. The open-toed strappy sandal did keep bugging me though. The occasion and location seemed to call for a plain closed-toe shoe. Don't ask me why....it just kept striking me each time I saw her feet. In the grand scheme of things it's a small, tiny nothing. It did bug me, though.

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    1. I wasn't going to weigh in on this cos whatever, but I agree with that more than anything. The fun summer look of the sandals and toes bugged me too! It's not her norm at all and when you add that in it really seems off.

      And for the record there's just nothing you can compare a concentration camp to IMO, not even a battlefield. It is a unique horror in our history.

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    2. She was also seen smiling whilst there. How dare she! I understand that people will have their opinions but perhaps a bit of perspective might help. Things she did not do - wear black, but also she did not act bored or uninterested, deny what happened there, wear a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt... I could go on. There are many facets and shades of gray to "appropriate".

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    3. I agree about not comparing it to anything else.

      I thought the shoes/toes were OK. Glad they looked good. I don't think toe nail polish always means fun, I think in this case it was dressing up out of respect for the event, being well groomed. Plus she had other functions that day.

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  17. The pieces of clothing worn do not strike me as inappropriate but the shoes do. I would personally never wear open toed sandals and red nail polish to an internment camp to meet survivors, but I support Kate's right to do so none the less. The queen wore gloves, a hat, and closed toed shoes to the 9/11 memorial and is following what she has established as her standard for an event that shows respect for the gravity of a situation. Kate almost never wears open toed sandals or red toe nail polish and simply did not strike me as following the standard she herself has set; this was not the event to experiment with new things. Therefore, I do find this to be in poor taste - and now I'll eat my dinner and move along supporting Kate's right to have the occasional moment of poor taste and still be adorable.

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    1. The Queen always wears gloves, hat and closed toe shoes though, so you can't really use that as a comparison.

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    2. Well said, I absolutely agree, she wears very often formal pumps, why not here

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    3. So very well said!!

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    4. I'll just add that in the summer in Europe you see open toe sandals everywhere. It's standard expected wear even for business. I really doubt any continental Europeans thought anything about it.

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  18. Jane I love how you always have an opinion both good and bad about Kate. It seems most people either see no wrong or see no right.

    Did Kate look beautiful and presentable as always? Yes. Is it extremely difficult to dress for such an occasion knowing the world is watching? Of course. At first, I was a bit surprised by the busyness of the dress and then it grew on me. What I did find inappropriate as other have said was the open toe shoes. I think dressier pumps would have been a bit more formal and showed the seriousness of the tone a place like that has. There really is no excuse for all the people they have traveling with them that she could have not brought a change of shoes in the car.

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  19. I agree with you, I thought she looked great. Thanks for the heads up on your schedule following the tour, I will miss you, mostly because I love your writing style and your sentiments are generally spot on. I check your blog daily, and wasn't going to tonight but habits... Anyway, can't wait for Saturday's full version blog. Thanks again.

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  20. I didn't find her outfit disrespectful. I did, however, find it ill fitting and highly unflattering. Made her appear very boxy.

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  21. Flowers or mourning black; open toed, closed toed shoes---the point is, the focus was taken from the reverence and respect both exuded by words and expression and placed on clothing.
    By the way. besides the woman in bright blue, another in the group wore a pastel pink jacket.
    If I read anywhere of remarks being made by the survivors that they felt Kate showed a lack of respect or sadness by wearing that outfit--then I would take these otherwise petty criticisms seriously. These guys are 91 years old and have literally been through hell. I don't think they give a flip what others would say; if they thought Kate was inappropriate, I have no doubt they would say it. Instead, the two survivors spoke of how moved William and Catherine were; "the pain on their faces," and how much the young royals had helped them and their cause by their presence. anon1
    I'm trying to recall what was said when other BRF royals visited there. If any have.

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    1. I never agree with you, anon1, literally never. But here I do.

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  22. I love everything about this ensemble (my favorite look of the tour so far), and I'm glad you defended it so eloquently, Jane. I think this outfit straddled the two events (one sombre and one celebratory) on the day's schedule perfectly. And whether or not the public agrees, if it was truly a sin to wear florals or a bright color (as Kate did when visiting the 9/11 memorial) to such places, I'm sure one of the royals advisers would have pointed it out to Kate already. She's not an idiot, and she's certainly not insensitive. She wouldn't wear something if it was actually inappropriate.

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  23. Perfectly argued case for the dress Jane. I agree completely.

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  24. To me negative perceptions of Kate's outfit were hardly surprising. It's not that I necessarily find the skirt and bespoke blouse terribly disrespectful myself (although I will admit it's a little iffy to me) but I can easily see why some would find it disrespectful. For that reason, I do think it was a mistake. It seems especially iffy as the floral outfit was worn with strappy sandals and red nail polish (a look we had not seen Kate sport for years until **last week!** So it is hardly her typical approach to dressing unlike HM's traditional outfit.) Flowered outfits may be seen as sign of hope by some but I think it is completely understandable that not everyone sees a floral or patterned outfit that way. I also think it is unrealistic to expect everyone to see deep symbolism in the particular floral pattern she wore. Of course, it is not possible to please everyone but *usually* diplomatic dressing is geared toward not offending. A solid-colored not super-bright dress with closed-toe shoes obviously would have been a safer choice. I can't imagine had Kate worn that sort of outfit anyone who liked the floral outfit would have thought Kate ought to have worn something "more cheerful" when visiting the camp. At the very least, dark shoes/clutch could have been worn for the camp visit and then easily changed to strappy sandals before later events. Or a dark jacket could have been worn with this outfit and later removed. Or if she had worn a solid-color dress to the camp, she could have added a snazzy jacket for later events. I thought the pepto bismol pink dress at the Trooping was iffy too. But I did realize that outfit was likely planned long before the fire and terrorist attacks. Kate's team had plenty of time to plan her outfits for this trip and I think this was a goof.

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    1. Agreed. I've really liked the majority of Kate's outfits recently, but thought this one was inappropriate. I don't think she's an "insensitive wretch," but something more muted with closed-toe shoes would have been a better choice.

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  25. In seeing the pictures her dress never crossed my mind as being inappropriate. I did, however, think closed toe shoes would have been more appropriate. Even then I wasn't bothered by it. I thought the Erdem was fun, trendy all while still being modest.

    Also, keep in mind this is the girl who wore a bright pink coat to the 9/11 memorial. She may be taking queues from the Queen and in that regard she is following the Queen's lead.

    ~ A

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  26. Completely agree with what you wrote, Jane. People will have different viewpoints on this depending on their culture, their age etc. but from my perspective I thought she was completely appropriate. I must say I'm surprised by the comments about the sandals and toe polish. Since when does wearing those constitute a lack of gravity or respect? Her sandals are neutral and the polish is dark. Nothing garish or frivolous about them.

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  27. Jane, I am in agreement with your view on the dress, and chewed on that throughout the day. Thanks for taking the time to write. The floral is most appropriate for situations with gravity, but as many others, who have the same stance pointed. . .it's not the floral, but the shoes that are the hang-up. Your argument would bring a more well-rounded feel, and also be more grounded in the reality of the general mood, if you also addressed the shoes--whether you thought they were suitable or not.

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    1. Valid point, Sara.
      KC diplomatically addressed the sandal question. Royal Watcher mentioned that sandals in summer in Europe are common and would not be remarkable. My point above was that the focus was side-tracked, as it often is. Two survivors who are working toward a positive outcome were guides for the tour and it is through their eyes that William and Catherine viewed the site. It could have been grieving family members with them who had not personally experienced the camps. Black may have been the diplomatic attire in that case.
      And I, too, am side-tracked. The clothes are a detail of the engagement, but I don't think they should have been the main focus.ano1

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  28. Beautiful post, Jane.

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  29. Ditto with everything you said Jane. Thank you.

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  30. I could not agree more, Jane. The first I saw of the Royal couple today was on Twitter, and I could not believe how many people were saying her flowered dress was inappropriate. Your words in defense of her choice are perfect. Today, I hope the Duchess did NOT read anything written about her; how discouraging to do your best but still be criticized.

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  31. I also agree with her outfit. Like always she looks absolutely beautiful. Now if she had worn something in red, pink, orange or any very bright color. Then maybe I could understand some talk. But she is such a loving and caring person, you know she didn't mean to disrepect anyone.

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  32. Most Jews don't have flowers at funerals, in lieu of flowers requests are made to make donations to charity. So the flowers=funerals doesn't fly here. The majority of those that perished at the camps were Jews, although there were others that died there. Open toed sandals were inappropriate also.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Are you seriously claiming that wearing a floral print dress is an act of anti-senitism? I would appreciate it if the commenters claiming that Kate's ensemble is so inappropriate it apparently borders on hateful would explain what she should have worn.

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    3. Actually, I read on another site that 85,000 people died at this particular camp, 27,000 of whom were Jewish. So the other 68% of the victims were members of other groups targeted by the Nazis (Romani, gay people, people with mental or physical disabilities, members of the resistance, etc). Just some perspective on all of the lives lost at this camp.

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  33. Sandrine (France)July 19, 2017 at 3:53 AM

    Jane, I totally agree with you !!!

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  34. Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinions, I think it is up to the Polish people to voice their opinion as to what is appropriate to wear for a visit tone of their concentration camps. Personally I would imagine that choosing an outfit for this particular outfit had been very well thought through whilst planning Kate's wardrobe. Consensus from the Polish organisers would have been sought, and reflection placed upon this very special visit. I do love this outfit, I think it is lovely in every way. Wearing sandals in summer is very normal in Europe, it would not even be noted. This day is however not about the fashion, it is about remembering the victims of the holocaust. Sometimes it is all too easy for us to sit at our laptops and type yay or nay, when we do not even know the background behind the choice.
    Royal Watcher

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  35. First, and to get this out of the way, I love this outfit and I'm still loving Kate's turn to open-toed shoes: all in all, this is one of my favourite ensembles she has ever worn.

    I will say, I was surprised that she chose the outfit for this visit. Given that Kate so often wears white ensembles, I thought that is what she would go for: I agree with the comments above that black would not have been appropriate but I did think that white, particularly as a symbol of hope, would have been.

    That said, I absolutely did not think what she wore was inappropriate. I agree with Jane's assessment about flowers and hope and there is clearly precedence for Royal women to wear florals to places of horror. I didn't mind the open toed sandals either, although I was also startled given they are a new addition to Kate's wardrobe that she chose to wear them to such a sombre place.

    Could I put out there that perhaps some of the criticism comes from surprise at Kate's choice given that she frequently does wear solid colours (and all-white which for many people would be a natural choice for this setting) and rarely wears open shoes? (Although, let's also acknowledge that there are some people who will criticise her no matter what she does).

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    1. Georgia thanks for saying that I think I didn't even realise it myself, but your last paragraph is spot on. That did bother me.

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  36. I thought the outfit was very clever: in the dark and dreary concentration camp, it looked suitably dark---the flowers on it looked deep purple, considered a mourning colour, whilst in the later party engagement, with the sun shining it looked bright and cheerful.
    It is over 70 years since British troops entered this camp and also Belsen and we were taken from school to the local cinema to watch a film showing what they found-- I wasn't quite 10 at the time. We didn't wear black: we went to learn and remember as William and Catherine did yesterday. I regularly go to my husband's grave, wearing anything I happen to put on.
    The pictures from yesterday will have gone round the world: let us hope and pray that such barbarity never happens again.
    Wearing black will not stop it, but the tears on Catherine's face may make people think

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  37. Bravo Jane! I was so perlplexed yesterday reading some comments about the "inappropriate" dress Kate wore. I also do not agree with the opinions that some have regarding Kate choosing her outfits with no help from the palace. I have to believe that for such a high profile trip, every detail is reviewed by BP including Kate's clothes. As you pointed out, Her Majesty wore a bright floral to the 9/11 Memorial. I really tried to understand other viewpoints but realized my frame of reference was probably so different that I really couldn't understand the backlash. Unfortunately, I believe that for some Kate will never make the right decision. That being said, I believe everyone is entitled to their opinions but I was so happy to see your post because you articulated my feelings exactly.

    Lisa M.

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  38. Say what???? I hadn't heard anyone complain about her outfit's appropriateness (or lack thereof)! It's a somber floral, rather than a happy floral, so totally appropriate for the occasion. It reads from a distance, or in photos, as mostly black and white, which are appropriate colors for mourning.

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  39. She chose a lovely outfit to wear that would carry through the day without the need for a change and it was wonderful. Some people just want to throw stones but that doesn't mean Catherine was wrong in what she chose. The fact is, she was there and she was moved by what she saw and will likely never forget it. People who watch them may have learned, or had brought to the forefront of their thoughts, the horror that was the holocaust. That is far more important than whether or not someone thinks the flowers on her dress or the style of her shoes weren't "appropriate" for the occasion. If one is constantly looking for a way to be offended it will always be found.

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  40. I meant to also include in my previous comment that I don't understand why open toe shoes and nail polish are not appropriate. I don't view a pedicure with red nail polish as offensive or giving an impression of disrespect to the solemnity of the concentration camp. Again, my frame of reference is probably different from some others - I get a pedicure every month so I always have painted toes! The open toe shoe is also not disrespectful in my opinion. She was wearing a conservative sandal with a block heel - something totally appropriate for work. These are not shoes that would be considered sexy in any way or appropriate for evening. They are a perfect conservative day time choice. As others have pointed out, I also noticed women in the background in bright colors. - far brighter than Kate's floral print. I would also guess some of them had on sandals but I couldn't tell from the picture!

    Lisa M.

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    1. I couldn't wear these sandals to my job; for reference I work in US embassies around the world and I have never (and would never wear) such a sandal for professional purposes. I think quite a few women on this blog would not be able to wear these to work, so perhaps that's part of the disagreement - different ideas of what is 'work wear' based on our own standards.

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    2. I agree with you - people have different frames of reference that's why they is really no right or wrong opinion! I work for a large multinational US oil company and I wear sandals, like the ones Kate wore, to work all summer. I work with global car and truck manufacturers and wear sandals to their offices and fit right in with what women wear in their offices. At least in the US in business (excepting Wall Street and other financial type industries and government based on your example), I am finding more and more businesses have moved to business casual attire which has changed my opinions as to what is acceptable. As with anything, people have their own biases which affect how they view things. For some of the commenters ( which I have seen on various sites) to say Kate was knowingly disrespectful is taking it a little too far in my opinion.

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  41. Thank you Jane. I couldn't agree more. Kate as respectful and impeccable.

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  42. I am from Poland and have visited several concentration camps. I have been a silent but avid reader of this blog for about five years. I have never posted a comment before but just felt I had to on this one. One of the things that has always fascinated me about Kate is that she is ceaselessly appropriate. One of her main jobs is to dress diplomatically, and she usually nails it. Why she chose to toe the line between appropriate/perhaps insensitive for this event is beyond me.

    As you can imagine, concentration camps are some of the most somber places on earth. We can discuss the symbolism of flowers in the context of death and funerals, and one can argue that her dark, “not summery” print is appropriate, but the fact that we are even sitting here debating whether a floral dress/open toed sandals/red nail polish is appropriate means that they were not. I know a lot of thought goes into her outfits and she often tries to not steal the spotlight (for example, she often recycles when alongside the queen), but the fact of the matter is this print and those sandals and the resulting discussion are taking the spotlight away from the place she visited. That she would risk doing that at such a uniquely horrible and sensitive place, is perplexing.

    Jane, although I disagree with you on this one I do want to say thank you for all the work you put into this lovely blog.

    - Anonymous from Poland

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    1. Anonymous from Poland,
      You have hit the nail on the head!

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    2. Anon from Poland-I agree the spotlight was shifted, at least in blogs, tabloids, and social media. Any time Kate is involved, she will be given a major slice of the media attention. If she weren't, she would be useless in drawing attention to a cause-this time the fact that anti-Semitism is alive and thriving in some factions. Drawing attention is one of the reasons the survivors appreciated the royal couple's visit. Even with that shift in focus, we heard stories and saw sights that some had never seen and others were reminded of on the same blogs whose comment sections focused on Kate's outfit.
      To paraphrase a popular slogan: clothes don't steal the spotlight-people do. Each person who commented on blogs and social media had a choice. They could have over-looked personal opinions and concentrated on what Catherine, William, and the survivors did and said, not on what Kate wore. Just about every event of Kate's that blogs/tabloid media cover has the focus and purpose distorted in some way-no matter what she wears or does. anon1
      You did not mention if you still live in Poland or if you were present and observed W&C at the camp.

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    3. But she was insensitive to dress in this inappropriate dress. I lost many of my family in the camps and the last thing i would wear to visit would be that inappropriate outfit.
      All these comments in favour could not have lost family in that way and if you did shame on you. Respect costs nothing.

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    4. You have a right to your feelings-I can't judge your sincerity from the vantage point of a blog.
      However, I don't feel the right to express one's feelings permits one to judge another's sensitivity, caring, and respect. Those are harsh judgments of another's feelings and values without a true understanding of what all was involved in the decision. You stated your opinion as a fact and a value judgement.
      However, I understand better where your feelings are coming from since you shared a part of the context for your opinion.
      I also feel, as I have stated here, that the choice to focus on her outfit distracted some from the true demonstration of the couple's sincerity and caring beyond what they wore-their actions in prayer and placing the stones as well as tears and stricken facial expressions.anon1

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    5. I think we can safely say she meant no disrespect. I think people should focus on the fact that they chose to visit the site.

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    6. For the record, my "adopted" grandmother (I say this because we were not related, but I think of her as such to this day) was a survivor of a Polish concentration camp. Over the years, she shared incredible stories about her experience and I was in awe of her courage, strength, and amazing generosity of spirit. She appreciated every day of her 72 years and had the most positive and generous outlook on life that I have ever witnessed. I believe in my heart that she would have been happy to see W&K highlight this chapter in history. THAT is what would have mattered to her.

      As Anon1 stated, WE can choose to focus on an outfit...or not...

      5:05, I do agree.

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    7. Well I am a daughter of holocaust survivors and have no problem with her outfit. In fact it is rather refreshing and reporter Richard Palmer spoke to a number of Poles and British Jews and they said dark colours are not expected. Each is entitled to their own opinion, but the Palace would have been briefed on dress code

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    8. @royalfan 8:35pm

      It's very important to note that your adopted grandmother didn't survive a Polish concentration camp, but rather a Nazi concentration camp in Poland. The Poles neither built nor run the camps, so calling it a Polish concentration camp is misleading. I'm sure you didn't mean anything by it and even international news agencies sometimes make that mistake, but it is an extremely important distinction.

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    9. Anon 6:31, thank you. It was a reference to the location of the concentration camp, but you are absolutely correct. Thank you.

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  43. I guess you could make the flower connection (but if you thought about it, not immediately).

    Still think dark closed-toe shoes and maybe a dark, pillbox-size hat would've added some gravity. She was a bit too garden party-esque for me.

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  44. I don't think the public at large is concerned about her outfit, so it's not taking anything away from her visit. It's only us "commenters" who are choosing to make it an issue. We can all choose what we focus on.

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  45. I thought more about this outfit today and I thought, how ironic...more often than not, it's been suggested that the floral pieces in Kate's wardrobe look like Granny's curtains and she needs a stylist to keep her from looking frumpy and old before her time. Well, here she wears one of her most subtle (if not Victorian) prints and she is criticized once again.

    I can understand the different opinions, but I truly believe that Kate deserves the benefit of the doubt as far as this being a respectful choice on her part.

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    1. I think she does too. Kate has always been respectful to everyone.

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    2. Royalfan, I completely agree with you.

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  46. Am I imagining things or did Kate's hair get longer than it was at Wimbledon and even since their arrival in Poland?

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    1. Less bounce, more humidity perhaps?

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    2. Curls tend to shorten the look, straight styles, lengthen. Also, I would be surprised if she did not use hair support, especially with engagements over a period of hours and/or outdoors in varying humidity, wind etc.
      I have no problem with Kate's using hair pieces...but I am so glad William does not. Ha! anon1

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    3. For the love of God, Kate doesn't use hair pieces. Look at her parents. In their 60s, and full heads of thick hair.

      My whole family has thick hair. And it amazes me that some people don't understand that thick hair (with proper product and styling) can actually be REAL.

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    4. Anon 5:37. She does use a fall or wiglet. It was super evident on this tour especially her arrival in Poland. Go back and look at the photos especially the ones showing her from the back and top of her head. The piece was not well blended and you can clearly see wear it is attached to the crown of her head. It is a different color and texture than her own hair.

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    5. Faith,

      I have looked at many, many pics. Even those where she is coming out of Pip's house and her hair looks flat, thin, blah.

      Guess what? My hair does the same. With the right products and technique, my hair becomes full on glam. No exaggeration, some people don't recognize me when my hair is like that.

      What you are seeing is different hair colors (high/low lights) that can look like different textures especially in pics. She wears nothing added to her hair.

      In the past, I was a hair model. Kate has the type of hair she could model too.

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    6. Sorry- Where it is attached. One of those days today.

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    7. Not to make a bigger point out of this than it is but she most definitely is wearing a fall in the arrival to Poland pictures. She wore it throughout the trip as well as in the past but it can clearly be seen there. I agree her styled hair volume looks vastly different than when not styled but that's not why I'm saying she uses wiglets. I'm saying it because it can be seen. It has nothing to do with the variable colors and textures of her natural hair. It's obviously a hairpiece attached at the crown falling down the back. One solid block of color with straight pieces sticking out that were not blended. Once you see it, you can't not see it. She can get great volume out of her own hair. I have no idea why see wears them but she does. I'm looking at it.

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  47. Once and for all, no one is questioning William and Kate's sincerity,kindness, nor their empathy. THIS IS A FASHION BLOG and as such, CLOTHING is up for discussion. These visits are part of Kate's JOB and part of that JOB is dressing appropriately. Opinions on the fashion are not judgements of character.......merely opinions on fashion.

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    1. I agree with what you have said. The problem is that some morph the two together, making a fashion mistake into a reflection of her character or adding meaning to it that wasn't there. But if we gently ignore those few comments, it would be better.

      And then, of course, the rah-rah Kate said doesn't want anything negative said about anything, including the clothes!;)

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    2. Jane has stated her main interest in this blog was Kate's fashion. And her attire is a detail of each engagement.
      I think opinions and feelings stated as such are fine; but there is a difference between giving one's opinion on fashion and making judgements or implications relating to a person's character, ability to perform one's job, sensitivity, respect, and commitment to one's work. That requires more information and knowledge of the decision making processes involved-who had input, what was discussed and with whom.
      I'm not saying one should never judge-that is not reality. I am saying I don't think it is appropriate to base our judgements on a few pictures and tabloid/social media blurbs.
      Broken record here. There is a difference between offering an opinion and making a judgement. Jane has explained it.
      Example: Opinion-"I would not choose to wear a flowered dress in a sad place." Judgement-"Kate showed her insensitivity to the environment by wearing...."
      It is simply not true that royals only wear black to sites of tragedy and it is inaccurate to judge her outfit as inappropriate. By whose standard? It depends on the aspect that is chosen to highlight- death or hope, for example.
      Certain events have been a part of tradition, repeated yearly, for example, and have acquired customary dress-Remembrance Day. If Kate were to wear a dress with summer flowers there, it would be inappropriate. A standard has been established. Clearly, there is o uniform standard established for royals visiting the sites of tragic events. And to go beyond stating a personal preference and say she did not take it seriously, was insincere, or proving herself inadequate for the job is unfair, to say the least, in my opinion.anon1
      side note:
      I do think the sandals were only brought up after the flowered versus dark, solid color argument was overcome. Then the criticism moved to sandals. At least it seemed that way to me. It is that sort of approach to Kate discussion that leads some of us to wonder if the point sometimes is really to discuss fashion or to criticize Kate.

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    3. Honestly anon1 I saw the concern about the outfit and footwear as occurring simultaneously. Many posters (like me for one) said the outfit might have been ok (not really the best, but ok) with a dark jacket and closed-toe shoes. For many people, (and I'm working hard not to be too graphic here) sandals are unacceptable when walking in an area where human beings have perished, and the whole place is a kind of grave, right? And even in the responses to this article, the notion that funerals=flowers is a universal notion has been debunked since Jewish funerals typically don't involve flowers. I know many non-Jews lost their lives at this particular camp but still, overall Jewish sensibilities have to matter. I think the outfit + sandals was an unforced error that didn't have to happen. A mistake. Not the end of the world, not something that says Kate is an awful human being but a mistake nonetheless. You obviously don't think that. Won't be the first or last time we disagree on Kate's clothes, I expect!

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    4. Well the Jewish Suthoff survivor Kate spoke to was wearing white and sling-backs so I still believe that some people are searching to find reasons to criticize Kate's outfit.

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    5. White is different from a floral with a light background as pure white is a color of mourning. And sling-backs aren't sandals. If Kate had been wearing sandals/painted toenails for daytime royal appearances for years the sandals *might not* have seemed so glaring in this instance as that would have been her usual attire. But we've only seen Kate in sandals for the past few weeks (and we saw her in closed-toe shoes on several other occasions during this 4 1/2 day tour.) Or, if she had been photographed in the same attire visiting as a tourist privately instead of as a representative of the UK, it would have been different. A royal tour isn't just aimed at the people the royals actually interact with after all. Pictures are seen worldwide and that is part of the reason for royal tours. And people directly affected by the camps and their descendants live many places. People with Jewish roots and others with family connections to the Final Solution have posted here and other places they were offended. I tend to believe they were offended rather than "picking on" Kate. So it seems like a diplomatic goof to me even though not everyone was offended. I'm not sure how diplomacy can work if the standard is whether absolutely everyone was offended by a statement, act, appearance, etc. It doesn't make Kate a terrible person but just someone who made a wardrobe mistake.

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    6. But is white the "appropriate" mourning color here? And there have been other posters here with the same connections who were not offended. There will always be someone who is offended by ones choice and those who are eager to be offended.

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    7. Lizzie, we are all having different opinions on this dress issue depending on our backgrounds but I don't think it can be called a diplomatic gaffe. Her office would have extensively researched what w the appropriate dress for the venue. So, I think it's safe to say it was oked by whomever worked with her office at a diplomatic on this point. Might not be ok with some of the public but was certainly fine from an international standpoint.

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    8. diplomatic level

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    9. You are right that Faith that people have had different reactions. Culture, religion, background, age, knowledge of history, and so on may be some of the factors that influence us. But I disagree that everyone who found the outfit inappropriate was "eager to be offended" by whatever Kate wore to the concentration camp as Anon 10:51 seemed to suggest. I also don't believe everyone who questioned the outfit was only interested in "picking on" or "hating on" Kate as several others have suggested. IMO many of the responses objecting to the outfit have sounded quite heartfelt in their explanations. I also wonder exactly what Kate's team asked prior to the visit. If it was something like "Are black clothes required?" of course the answer would be "no." I honestly find it hard to believe the team sent along a picture of her bespoke outfit, sandals, clutch and nail polish to have it all vetted. A more likely question IMO would have been "Is there a dress code for visitors?" We know there is not a formal code and we can all agree ordinary  tourists sometimes wear VERY questionable outfits (which is hardly a defense.) And at SOME level it really wasn't up to the Polish government or the curators at the camp to tell Kate or any other royal visitor what to wear and to be responsible for the success of royal clothing choices. It's not as though Kate's team asked if she could wear a tank top and shorts. To me, effective diplomatic dressing has to be about more than wearing flag colors/national motifs and not violating explicit rules! If her team wanted to know what royal visitors have worn in the past to visit other death camps, that information is readily available. So I think it could have been anticipated some folks would object. While I understand W&K had other appearances that day I don't think it helps to say that. For one thing, for many people the camp visit was more important than everything else that day combined. Making it sound like just one of many events to be checked off for the day isn't good. For another, women change/remove/add jackets and change shoes in cars between events all the time. Kate easily could have done that. Or her team could have requested a break for a complete change. I am NOT suggesting Kate *knew* her outfit would offend some people. But I am suggesting it was possible for her team to anticipate *it might.* If there is say, even a 25% chance of feelings of offense (vs benign "it's not my favorite outfit"), it seems best not to wear when on a tour abroad or in other work contexts. (Of course, no outfit will please everyone but it's hardly been only one person with concerns) I am also suggesting using other events that day to justify wearing this outfit doesn't wash.

      I'm also not sure Kate's team is as on the ball as is sometimes assumed. Or the belief that the team always is expected to be so careful about every single detail is even warranted. It is my understanding the advance team is mainly concerned with logistics and security. Follow up by Kate's staff re: wardrobe details would have to happen later. For example, the area near the War Memorial in India is known to produce high winds. Yet we all know Kate wore a full-skirted dress. Most likely "the team" (advance or follow up)  didn't learn what was well known although they came through with the proper color for the event. More recently, the Prussian blue symbolism in Germany wasn't a "gaffe" in terms of creating an international incident (and neither was the camp outfit or the Marilyn moment in India) but maybe not the desired outcome. And the cornflower symbolism historically (and currently in Austria) is hardly a secret. The blue dress was pretty and fine to wear but the symbolism wasn't a success.


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    10. You make valid points, Lizzie.

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  48. I thought the same thing!

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  49. Commenting on clothing styles,etc., is talking about fashion. Commenting on her "JOB" is something else.

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  50. Someone asked what Poles thought about her outfit. As a Pole I would say Kate should have worn another shoes, not sandals. She usually wears not open toe shoes. Also red nail polish was unappropriate for this occasion. The dress was ok. The tourists in Auschwitz wear clothes and shoes like for a beach trip. There's no need for wearing black or grey. I can remember only Israeli Jews were wearing totally white and they were praying sitting on the parking.

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  51. I felt for Kate wearing the open toe shoes and walking on the gravel pathways. When I do that, bits of gravel always get in my shoes. She showed no signed of discomfort, but I suspect she did have gravel in her shoes and it did no deter her.

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  52. Jane agree with everything you said. Anon 9:02 said the open toe shoe were not appropriate, I do not agree with that view. She looked wonderful and respectful from head to toe. I am not a fan of florals, but thought this ensemble worked wonderfully.

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  53. I totally agree with this posting. Kate wore her bouquet. I thought it a lovely gesture.

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  54. I liked the symbolic freshness and hopefulness of the floral dress however,I feel that it didn't acknowledge the horror and suffering associated with the place or was it respectful standing alongside the survivors.A solid navy or dark grey may have been more dignified on such a significant occasion.Her Orla kiely dress comes to mind.The open toe sandals didn't work on this occasion either,a full shoe would have been more suitable.Kate has so many choices to make regarding outfits,she also has impeccable taste and maybe sometimes she fails to make the appropriate choice,she is human after all!

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