Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Kate Christens Boaty McB...oops, the RSS Sir David Attenborough

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Do you remember the birth of Boaty McBoatface? This was several years ago--boats take a while to build, I suppose--but anyway, several years ago I read an article about how the name of this new polar research boat was put to a public vote in the UK. The vote resulted in the name Boaty McBoatface, which made international headlines, as you can imagine. I remember reading about it from a news report and thinking, well they brought that name upon themselves. Apparently, the will of the people was over-ridden, though, because today the Duchess of Cambridge officially christened the erstwhile-almost-RSS Boaty McBoatface the RRS Sir David Attenborough. 

As a consolation prize to the will of the people, the company named (what I believe is) a small research submarine on the boat Boaty McBoatface. 


Kate recycled her "geometric" McQueen coat, which she debuted on tour Down Under in 2014. I am surprised this coat has gotten so many rewears. It is bespoke, and when she first wore it I certainly thought it would be one of those more unusual ensembles that are made with a touch of pizazz for a tour, but are never seen again in the ordinary day-to-day of her royal engagements.  But, Kate recycled the coat to the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, where it worked well, and again to the 75th Anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets, which was a very, very successful rewear, possibly it's best. And, of course, she wore it today. 

It's not my favorite coat, because the pockets are so unusually large and boxy, and because the collar feels a little uptight to me. Those features, along with the pleated back, though, are what make it so great for military-themed events. It looked fabulous with the RAF Air Cadets, and was very good at Normandy, too. 

I suppose I don't have a strong feeling about today's wear. It isn't my favorite coat, but although it wasn't particularly exciting to see it again, I wasn't disappointed. She looks very nice in it, and I do love the pleats. Clearly Kate really likes it, since although four wears it not unprecedented, it is not the norm. The color is stunning on her and the details--the pleats, the pockets, the belt--all give it a little more interest than the run-of-the-mill coat. I imagine she reaches for it when she wants just a touch more flair. 

Kate paired the coat with her Empress pendant earrings and a new Asprey clutch that looks very sharp, and she wore her "Josie" block heels from Emmy London. Those shoes are structurally very strange. Something about the curved, block heel and the pointed toe... maybe too creative? Finally, Kate didn't wear a hat, which has drawn quite a bit of comment. I am not sure why she didn't, since it is the type of event you'd expect a hat. Maybe she didn't find one that suited her fancy, or perhaps they wore hard hats to tour the boat and she didn't want to remove her hat? I don't know the answer. :) 

Although it wasn't a super exciting day for fashion, that blue is particularly good with Kate's coloring, and she looked fabulous. Plus, it is just nice to see our favorite princess out and about, and Mr. Security keeping a watchful eye out... :) 

Recycles & No Ring: What's Gone Wrong With Meghan's Tour Wardrobe?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Duke & Duchess of Sussex in Morocco
Meghan and Harry completed the second day of their trip to South Africa. It has been going well, but after two days I have a complaint to lodge about the fashion. In just forty-eight hours, Meghan has already recycled twice, three times if you count the Madewell jean jacket. (I don’t think you need to count the jacket, because she hasn’t worn it publicly, although she has been photographed in it, but you can.) Whether you count the jean jacket or not, she has had two major recycles--the blue Veronica Beard she wore in Tonga last year and the striped maxi she debuted on the beach in Australia. Meghan is also not wearing her engagement ring or her diamond circled eternity band. Instead she is wearing her gold wedding band with another thin gold band with a small turquoise, which apparently cost about £200. 

I have heard that her recycles and the absence of her sparkler might be meant to be symbols of her sensitivity to the economic gulf between her and the majority of those she is meeting and to “keep the focus on the issues,” and some have speculated that it is also damage control after her summer of private-jet headlines. It could be a mixture of both, but regardless, it is most certainly rubbing me the wrong way. 

Meghan is a princess. She is not Meghan Markle, the actress of yesteryear, visiting Africa as part of her charity development. She is a royal duchess representing the Queen and the British monarchy. Royalty is not celebrity. Royals are supposed to be a little different, they should have an aura of mystery, and a hint of old-world sophistication. Do-gooding, globe-trotting celebrities out and about on their humanitarian missions are, to be very frank, a dime a dozen. Royalty is unique. That’s why fashion isimportant. We expect royals, despite the culture around them, to have a certain timelessness and glamour--a wow factor.  

What Meghan wears—how she presents herself—is important. I think about all the sweet little girls who waited to see “Princess Kate” in some of those early tours the Cambridges undertook (that’s when I noticed—I am sure they wait for her still on each new tour), and there are little girls (and big girls!) excited to see Princess Meghan. Trying to be as ordinary and common impossible is not part of Meghan’s job description. 

There has been disappointment with Meghan’s wardrobe, and I think what people are struggling to put their finger on, and why Meghan seems to stumble so badly in her tour wardrobes, is this missing element. Meghan is dressing like she moved from Toronto to Rodeo Drive, but of course that isn’t what happened. She didn’t make a stratospheric leap up the celebrity food chain, she changed genres entirely. Hollywood cool doesn’t cut it in the monarchy, and while celebrities are very right to dress down when they visit Africa on their goodwill missions, it is the opposite for royals. Royals need to keep up the standard, because unlike celebrities, when a royal touches down he or she isn’t visiting to burnish the resume. It’s about far more than just an individual royal as a person, or about his or her own track record of do-gooding—it is about the institution. It’s about royalty

This is certainly not to say that Meghan should not dress for the event. I am not suggesting she should show up to casual events dressed in ball gowns, or choose outrageously flashy ensembles when visiting people in extreme poverty, but she does have a different dress code. While she should not be ostentatious, she has a broader range to choose from in terms of formality, and she should be mindful of not using too many recycles, or using them at the right times. One of Kate’s best tours for recycles was the visit to India and Bhutan. Kate wore recycles to arrive and depart. It was exciting to see old favorites and to see how she stretched her budget and added a touch of thrift, but she accomplished that without detracting from the main events where she stunned in a variety of theme-appropriate and regal ensembles. 

If people find this idea archaic, I can understand that. Royalty done right is increasingly difficult to maintain in our ever-modernizing world, but if royalty can’t maintain the standard, then they are just rich people with fancy houses, and increasingly you would have to wonder…why is the public paying to keep them up? It is possible for the royals to modernize themselves out of existence—the pomp and the circumstance are what help maintain the magic and that allows royalty to hold its value. 

The second reason that Meghan should wear her ring and not shy away from a sparkling wardrobe is that although I am certain she is trying to be sensitive, it comes across as condescending. Like Marie-Antoinette* dressing in her peasant clothes and playing the part of shepherdess at her meticulous curated little play village, radically shifting your usual style to a much lower price point and even eschewing your engagement ring that is, literally, world famous, just feels absurd. It is such a stark contrast it almost highlights that she is descending the ladder to mix with mere mortals for a brief time. Cringe. Again, she is a princess, the people of her host country know she has a different lifestyle from their own, presumably everyone who came out to see her is excited to see a princess, a member of the royal family, to see “the fairytale” in real life. 

I hope she puts her engagement ring back on and that she steps up her style. People have a sense of proportion and a natural sense of dignity—a thoughtful, royal wardrobe that suits her position as a princess is not just appropriate, it is expected and a sign of respect to others. She shouldn’t slip into a different gear, as if she is changing roles in a play. If she wears mega designers in Britain, we should see some big designers in Africa. If she wears fresh evening ensembles while on tour elsewhere, as she did in Morocco and Australia, we should see fresh styles in Africa. The issues are important, but her position is, too. The world’s media isn’t following her around Africa solely because she is a very caring person who wants to do good in the world. They are following her because she is HRH the Duchess of Sussex, married to the son of the late Princess of Wales, and a member of the most prestigious surviving monarchy in the world. Saying the trappings of that position are frivolous is not a good look.

*I love Marie-Antoinette. I think she matured, deepened, and died a holy woman. A topic for another day... ;)

Kate in Culottes for Evelina Event

Saturday, September 21, 2019

On Thursday, Kate made a surprise appearance at Sunshine House Children and Young People's Development Centre where she learned more about a program (managed by Kate's patronage Evelina London) that helps first-time parents. The Duchess now does a fair number of her engagements without any advance notice. Obviously the charity plans for her visit and the press are notified, but the general public don't get a heads up. I imagine this eases at least some of the security concerns that arise when Kate (or any royal) attends a public event, and it eases the burden a little on the charity, too.

Kate's visit comes in the midst of a number of reports of her "away from the camera" schedule. In the past fortnight, Kate has had a number of engagements reported on the court circular, that suggest she is staying very busy. Additionally, KP just posted this photo of the Duchess (wearing the L.K. Bennett dress she wore to polo) helping to choose the winner of Blue Peter's garden competition.

Quite apart from her royal duties, Kate is busy being a hands-on-mom, and you may have seen the report that she attends meetings at her Thomas's Battersea, including sitting in on a three-hour parents' meeting addressing mental health. 

Let's talk about the fashion...This won't be a popular opinion, but although Kate herself looked fabulous Thursday--trim and fit with bouncing beautiful hair--I just really did not like this ensemble. She was wearing a blouse from Equipment and black "culottes" from Zara. I know that culottes were en vogue this summer, but I dislike the style intensely. I say that knowing many of you certainly love the look. I have a number of friends, all of whom I consider beautiful women with keen senses of style, who have embraced the culotte trend whole-heartedly. But, to me, these are a miss. I have never seen a friend on whom I thought they looked good, and not even Kate can pull it off for me. I hope this trend, along with rompers, disappears with the fall and never returns.

Kate finished her look off with her Piper heels from Gianvito Rossi and earrings she debuted at RHS Wisley. Those earrings have left the royal fashionistas in various positions of disagreement. From what I can glean, some think these are by Accessorize and others think not...and due to a dearth of high-resolution photos from all the right angles, the jury is still out. I suspect the ID will be ferreted out eventually. 

Kate's Back to Nature Garden at Wisley

Friday, September 13, 2019

On Tuesday, Kate was out and about debuting her final "Back to Nature" design. The Duchess gathered people associated with the charities she has worked with in her Early Years initiative at RHS Garden Wisley to launch her third garden. According to royal reporter Emily Andrews, Kate has incorporated elements from both her Chelsea garden and her Hampton Court garden at Wisley.  Kate arrived by tractor with Mary Berry, which made for fabulous photos.

I just recently started watching the Great British Bake Off, and I love it. I love Prue and the new team (probably the most), but I have enjoyed going back to some of the earlier seasons when Mary was still on the show. She is delightful. Kate is known to be a huge Mary Berry fan and has been one for many years. There are times when I think that Kate must really love the perks royalty has brought her--Wimbledon is close to the top of that list, but these kinds of collabs are also doubtless pretty high up there, too.

Kate wore the "Aurora" dress from Emilia Wickstead, which is a debut to her closet. It exclusive to Net-a-Porter, but you will note the pattern is quite similar to one of Sophie's Ascot Aurora dresses:

Kate's dress made me chuckle a little when I saw it, because it has little flaps on the bust, just like the ones on Kate's white Wickstead she wore in India. You will notice they are placed higher than the flaps on the India dress. It's like Emilia read your feedback and thought, no more nipple flaps in future. Better placement, EW--keep it up. ;)

I really like this new dress. I love the busy floral print, and if she is going to go with a midi, I like that this one has a super fitted bust and belt. It looks feminine and fun, but it is also interesting. There is a  elasticity in the fabric which gives the top an almost smocked look, and the print not only is floral, but also incorporates a swiss dot. It's a busy, busy dress, and gets two thumbs up from me.

First Day of School: Shy Charlotte & Kate's New Cut

Sunday, September 8, 2019

You never know what will strike people on Kate's public engagements. At Charlotte's first day of school at Thomas's Battersea, the Duchess new "do" stole the show. I received a deluge of comments on the cut, color, and possible message of a change up in her style! So, we'll chat about that this morning, among other things.

As you all know, when George began school two years ago Kate was still sick with hyperemesis gravidarum. She was gutted to miss out on the milestone, and of course, fans were pretty disappointed, too. That made Charlotte's big day even more exciting. The Cambridge family--sans Louis--made quite a pretty picture arriving in the morning sunshine at Thomas's Battersea.

I was struck by how obviously shy Charlotte was feeling. Certainly she knew the day was about her and that she was starting a new school, etc. I am also sure that William and Kate would have discussed with her the media presence and attention. Hiding behind Kate and then twisting her ponytail at a furious speed are both signs of nervousness we haven't seen from the usually spunky Charlotte, but she still stared down the photographers as she entered the building. It was interesting to see her channel her nervous energy outward and into action, while George seems to choose the more introverted path.

Kate appears to have gotten a trim since we saw her last, although this honey-colored brown is a color she has had for a while now. She may have lightened it up just a tad, but she was pretty honey-brown at the King's Cup, it just wasn't as obvious because her hair was curlier and up in a pony. Straightening her hair, as she did for this morning, can also make the light color stand out more. It also gives hair the beautiful movement so many noted as she walked and the wind played with it. I definitely don't want Kate to slide into blond, but I don't mind when she lightens her color up on occasion. I think it worked beautiful with her still dark summer tan and she looked absolutely glowing. 

Some people wonder if this change signals another little Cambridge will soon be on the way. I believe this thinking stems from the general agreement that women change hairstyles around the time they make big changes in their personal lives, and more particularly because Kate made her first major hairstyle move in 2012 right before she announced she was pregnant with George (see below). Kate has switched up her hair a number of times since, and with increasing regularity, but in 2012 making a move from her signature style was very unexpected, so I think the memory stuck for royal-watchers.  For myself, I don't think Kate's cut is linked to an impending announcement, or if there is a forthcoming announcement, it is pure coincidence. Of course, I'd be thrilled to be wrong, and I do think that I have more hope/expectation for a fourth Cambridge than many. We shall see. 

Kate's dress, as you know, is Michael Kors. We first got a little peak at in in 2018 when Kate was pictured in a car on her way to Windsor Castle for Harry and Meghan's wedding reception. We never got a full length shot of her in the dress, and based just on the shot of her in the car, I wasn't enthusiastic about how I'd like it on her if I ever saw the "full picture." So, I was very surprised on Thursday to find that I absolutely loved it. The small print, which was one of the drawbacks for me, is so small that it almost blends, and the feminine sleeves with the slight balloon are one of my favorite current trends, and one that is also a favorite of many of Kate's favorite labels, like Beulah London and L.K. Bennett. 

Kate accessorized with her Asprey London oak leaf earrings and wore her blue suede Prada heels. The belt she is wearing has still not been IDed, it may be custom, as some have speculated. It was such fun to see Kate's first "first day of school" photo. Can you imagine the fun when Louis is up to bat and all five of them troop in? 

I am hoping to get a post up with thoughts on Meghan soon. I am traveling this coming week and will probably write it on the plane, so look for it Friday or over the weekend. 

The Cambridges' Scottish Holiday

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Last weekend, the Cambridges traveled to Scotland for their annual visit with the Queen. They flew on a budget airline from Norwich to Aberdeen and were photographed deplaning and walking across the tarmac by a fellow passenger from the plane. The picture and video made headlines...

The timing of the Cambridges' trip was a little unfortunate for Harry and Meghan, because the two were being excoriated by the press and public alike for having just jetted to and from Ibiza for holiday, and then just days later flying south again to Nice, France--all by private jet.  That topic is probably better left to a different post, but the key for our chat about the Balmoral trip is that this was not a change of plans on the part of the Cambridges to deliberately cast the Sussexes in a bad light. 

William and Kate have occasionally flown to Scotland by private jet, most notably when George was a relative newborn. The couple took him by private plan to Scotland that year, probably to avoid the intense media interest and the germs of a commercial flight. When he was alive, the Duke of Westminster would loan the Cambridges his private plane and they seemed to use that most to travel to France. The Luberon, Biarritz, etc. I think they do like private when they are headed out of the country to a vacation in a nation where they have less control over the security. When traveling outside the U.K., it is more important to keep their whereabouts under wraps for as long as possible to achieve a modicum of privacy at their destination, and it probably simplifies customs, too. But, the Cambridges otherwise generally fly commercial to Scotland. This was not a deviation. 

The Queen holidays at Balmoral throughout August, September, and into October! It is a long stretch of time, during which various family members trickle up to see her. It is not an annual gathering at which all members visit at the same time. Andrew and Fergie were up very early on in the Queen's stay. When William and Kate were up last week, Anne and her husband were there along with Autumn and Peter Philips and their family. We expect the Sussexes will visit, as well. It is not unusual for them to come at separate times. 

It was reported that Kate, William, and their little ones stayed at a separate cottage on the estate. Before the trip, Vanity Fair reported that the family was planning to stay at Tam-na-Ghar. If you are a long-time follower, you might remember that this three-bedroom cottage on the estate was reportedly given to William by the late Queen Mother. When William and Kate were dating, we'd hear reports that he'd taken her there for various weekend getaways when the two needed privacy. Now, with three children of their own, it wouldn't be surprising if they did indeed stay at the little house rather than at the castle, but it certainly was not because of a feud with the Sussexes, as was the story on some outlets. 

Whenever the Cambridges visit the Queen, we are sure to get photos of them going to Crathie Kirk on Sunday morning, but we only occasionally get snaps of the royals in their down-time on the estate. This year was a real treat, because we did get a few pictures of the family dressed down. William and Kate joined other family members at a lodge on the estate near Loch Muick. Kate was wearing jeans and blouse with her Fjallraven sweater she wears so often.

Right on schedule Sunday, William and Kate were pictured accompanying the Queen to church. Kate debuted a new label to her closet. She was wearing a navy, Herringbone trench from Guinea London. I already was familiar with Guinea London and have browsed their stunning selection of coats in the past and thought it was a great label for Kate. It's very exciting to see her add a new label. A number of you remarked on the weather, but I checked the weather for Balmoral on Sunday morning, and although it was undoubtedly unseasonably warm, it was still in the vey low fifties overnight, which means when they went to church in the morning, it was still crisp enough for a coat.

Kate was wearing her peacock printed dress from Michael Kors (which she also wore to fly home a few days later), and a Lock & Co. percher. I think she was wearing her Asprey oak leaf earrings she loves so much.

On Tuesday, the family flew back to the U.K. They took the budget flight to Norwich, which strongly suggests they were headed to Anmer Hall, which is less than an hour from the Norwich airport, to eek out the last bits of summer.

George and Charlotte head back to school on Thursday. Charlotte will be starting at Thomas's Battersea, and William and Kate will drop both children off. You likely remember that Kate missed George's first day due to HG with Louis, so this will count for both for us.