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Kate & Meghan in Jewel Colors for Commonwealth Service

Monday, March 9, 2020

Today was the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, but I think most royal watchers were simply focused on the fact that, for good or ill, it was Harry and Meghan's final public appearance as royals.  The afternoon event was fraught with awkwardness as the Cambridges, who have been enjoying stratospheric good press of late, barely interacted with the Sussexes, who have been dividing public opinion and garnering mixed reviews. I think a discussion about the Sussexes' final week will have to wait for another time, but let's quickly run through the fashion tonight, at least. 

Kate recycled the Catherine Walker she debuted for the Christmas walk at Sandringham in 2018.  I know a lot of people loved this. I loved it for the Sandringham Christmas walk, but... I just didn't love it today.  The coat is exquisite in motion, and from the back it is particularly beautiful.  I think I don't love the very buttoned up collar, double-breasted closure, and the velvet at the cuffs. It is too heavy for March (it was also 70 degrees where I am today, so it felt especially incongruous), bust mostly I am tired of this style.  Catherine Walker has gotten really stale for me. There are so many designs that Kate could be wearing (or that CW could be designing) and this fit-n-flare, well, it has become cookie-cutter.  Kate needs to give it a rest for at least a year.  She still has a marvelous figure and she should be debuting flashier ensembles. 

I almost never agree with the theory that Kate chooses an ensemble (for any given event, almost) with the intent to downplay or "not outshine" something or someone. That is often floated in royal-watching discussion circles, and you can bet almost without fail that whether I say it or not, I disagree. Today is an exception. I do think that Kate might have decided to play today low-key and quite traditional knowing that Meghan would be pulling out all the stops, and if that was her thought, it was a smart move. 

Kate did a great job switching the look up, which is something I love to see in a recycle.  On the debut, she wore her hair down with a Jane Taylor hatband (which was gorgeous).  Today, she obviously wore her hair up with a new hat by Sally-Ann Provan that was perfectly coordinated to her gloves, Prada clutch, and Gianvito Rossi pumps. So, she gets major props for a fabulous recycle.  Finally, she wore Mouawad earrings, which added real pizazz and excitement, given the provenance of the pieces.  So, all told, Kate switched the look up and pulled the ensemble together like the master she is at this, but I just am not excited about the coat in this context.  

Meghan continued her succession of smash hits with a custom piece by Emilia Wickstead in a striking emerald green.  I know there have been complaints about the fit, but I loved this ensemble.  I think there is a spectrum of "tightness" when it comes to clothes.  I fall on the tighter end of the spectrum--I like tight. That's why I like almost all of Kate's skinnies, etc.  As the French would say, il y a des limites, which I think we did hit with the Victoria Beckham from the other night (much as I loved it in every other respect), but for me, today's dress was not too tight. It was form fitting, but I thought she looked dramatic and striking.  Meghan wore a matching William Chambers hat, carried a Gabriellla Hurst bag, and was sporting a Aquazurra pumps.