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Diet Like The Duchess: The Beginnings

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Law school does terrible things to you. First of all, it instills in you an awareness of liability--liability everywhere. Every action has risk and everything is a potential lawsuit. If nothing else, law school makes you an insufferable Christmas companion, as you point out the possible causes of action throughout the holiday festivities. The other thing that law school does to you is it steals your body. Maybe not for everyone, but I just stopped working out second semester of my 1L year. I remember the morning I woke up and realized my abs were gone. Not just taking it easy, but gone. Kate inspires me in so many areas, and certainly she has always inspired me to be fit.  So, as I kick myself back into fitness gear here in 2L year, I thought we'd talk about Dieting like the Duchess.  

Kate first inspired me to pursue fitness more seriously in 2007 when she transformed herself after her break-up with William. Up to that point she had been carrying a little weight left over from university, youth, and likely high calorie cocktails from the hot spots she frequented in London. She was young and beautiful, no doubt, but she was about to transform her image even more radically.  

In April of 2007, when William broke her heart, Kate threw herself into very public clubbing. The gorgeous brunette was plastered across every glossy in town as she partied her way through multiple evening watering holes.  This was Kate's PR offensive. It was her public, albeit silent, statement to William that he had made a crucial error in letting her slip away. It was ultimately a very successful campaign, and one for which I certainly applaud her.  Every now and again, a girl's gotta show her grit. ;)  

In private, however, Kate sought healing via a more organic outlet. She joined a group of women training to row across the English Channel for charity.  While frost still covered the grass and the morning mist hung heavy in the summer air, Kate would make her way to a dawn rowing exercise on the Thames. When the pink and golden fingers of the rising sun poked the horizon, painting the river with gold and orange hues, Kate was already churning the dark water with her team. 

Physical activity is a remarkable therapy. The French taught me to love physical activity. Years ago I spent a very solitary summer in France after an excruciatingly difficult break-up. I passed hours walking Paris by myself. Up to that point I hated walking. It bored and exhausted me, and as an American I felt a car was always far superior transportation, but that summer transformed me. Even today when I go back to Paris I like to spend at least a little time alone walking her streets. My feet find that solitary rhythm and I connect with the soul of the city, with her cobblestones, with the familiar smell, with the quiet nods of the locals. I am in love with walking. Some summers later I visited a new boyfriend's family in Brittany. They planned an entire day hiking a popular island near their summer home. The Jane of five years before would have died, but I relished it. We walked all day exploring the island and ate lunch under the cover of fir trees as a summer shower poured around us. I never walk or hike or run without thinking of France and the French, and being grateful for the gift they gave me: to unplug and connect with nature, to walk and breathe and see and really truly live life.  I think Kate was learning that in 2007:

Those mornings, the sun could have peeked into Kate's flat and found her  bleary eyed and with a buzzing head. Instead, Kate greeted the morning with joy and anticipation.

Kate sought the river to find peace, calm, and the soothing power that the reality of nature always gives to the grieving, but it had a secondary effect. The princess-to-be found a whole new level of fitness. 

I think long-time royal watchers universally agree that this was the summer that Kate's image shifted. She switched up her fashion, but "inside sources" were also quoted as saying that Kate found the increased activity and resulting shift in her body to be a welcome change. The veracity of these reports seems to be borne out in the fact that Kate has never gone back. It was a real turning point for her.

Kate's campaign worked and William wooed his beautiful girlfriend back. Because of the media pressure, Miss Middleton dropped out of the rowing competition, but she didn't give up on her work-out regimen. Next time on Dieting Like the Duchess, we'll explore where she went next. 

Kate in Red for YoungMinds in London

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This morning, William and Kate were out and about again on a visit to YoungMinds in London. The event was embargoed, likely because of the sensitive nature of the charity's work. YoungMinds runs a helpline for young people suffering from mental health issues. The organization is one of the charities that has partnered with William, Kate, and Harry's Heads Together initiative. 

Taking a peek at today's style, Kate certainly hit a home run. Red is one of Kate's colors; it always pops with her tan and dark hair. I particularly love the length on the dress today. The Duchess has been sporting the midi length for a while now, which is both elegant and flattering, but I do like to see her in this shorter style still. It's young and flirty, the perfect vibe for a visit of this kind.

This is LK Bennett's Eugenia dress in red. Notice the beautiful tailoring along the shoulders, waist, and skirt.  The dress has sold out, but retailed for £130.

Kate's hair tracked the style of the dress and she accessorized with suede heels, her Signature 105 in Praline, I believe, her Nina clutch, and her Lauren leaf earrings from Kiki McDonough.

According to released reports, William and Kate watched a training session and even participated in phone calls.  Apparently, William asked for "an easy one" alluding to his job which already demands significant emotional expenditure as he deals with crises, the injured, and distressed families.

vis Kensington Palace Twitter

It is unclear whether any photographers were invited. I saw a discussion online that photographers were tipped off and scrambled over to get images of the couple. Embargoes are odd things these days. It reduces, but rarely eliminates coverage.

This was such a fun surprise to start the morning. Kate looked particularly great today, in my mind even better than yesterday. This event bodes well for a busy fall as we move toward their September tour. And, hey! William's trousers have the right break today. ;) 

Duchess Kate Recycles Lasa in Luton

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

This has been the year of royal change, hasn't it? The Duke and Duchess have shifted their momentum these past eight months and royal fans are reaping the rewards. Their year had a busier start than usual and they kept the schedule booked even after their trip to India. As soon as the couple returned from tour, they threw themselves into a whirlwind week of engagements with perhaps the longest run of consecutive public outings outside a tour. Now, they have cut short their usual month of rest to return to the public before September has even knocked at the door. It is safe to there seemed to be a uniform excitement this morning:

Today, the Cambridges traveled to Luton in Bedfordshire for a series of engagements. They started their day visiting with Youthscape, continuing the royal couple's campaign to highlight mental health and promote more discussion on a topic from which many shy. The duo's arrival looked like it could double for a Range Rover commercial. Sparkling luxury car pulls up and a glamazon crests the hill accompanied by a handsome mystery man. It's just missing the music. And I guess we all know who William is, but since he's a prince, losing the mystery doesn't dull his appeal.

Kate has really learned on the job these past five years and that has been evident in many areas, but one is that Kate now eats when she is offered food "on the trail." So we've gone from her polite demure to some form of peanut butter paste (although, seriously, who can blame her?) in 2011:

To this enthusiastic consumption of homemade brownies today. Maybe becoming a mom helped Kate relax on the calories, I don't know. She told those gathered that when she makes brownies with George the sticky ingredients end up everywhere. In this photo William looks like he is weighing the final product: George v. Youthscape? Kate is thinking: This is all being photographed, but I. will. eat. it. anyway!

Kate also said she has been reading The Girl on the Train, which is about to be released in a feature film starring Emily Blunt. This is where my faith in Kate is really put to the test. She says the book is "really, really great" but I watched the trailer for the movie and it looks like Gone Girl in a new get-up. If you haven't seen Gone Girl, don't, and if you have...I'm sorry for us both. If someone tests his or her faith and reads the book, let me know. I have a prior date with the Federal Rules of Evidence. Below Kate is giving away the ending of the book.* Everyone looks happy...

The second stop highlighted Kate's investment in hospice work, and William's interest in helping grieving families cope with the loss of loved ones. The two visited Keech Hospice Care where they met with a broad array of people - young to old - who are sick or have lost family members. William, of course, is eminently qualified to empathize given his particularly traumatic and public loss. For him it is quite personal and I think for Kate it takes on a vicarious depth, because she has intimately experienced William's grief.

Leech Hospice Care

Speaking of William, let's pause to address his sporty ensemble. The coat that caused the kerfuffle at Wimbledon is back and generating the same positive headlines it did on its initial debut. I am a big fan. He is also wearing his Frenchman pants, which aren't as popular amongst the general public, but are also a hit with me. That being said, let's talk about the break on William's pants. I was just chatting with my brother about this this weekend, so I am warmed up.

In his blog post about different lengths for men's trousers, Brian Sacawa of He Spoke Style lays out four primary lengths. William is sporting the "no break" length which is quite hip right now. My middle brother likes to pull this with some regularity, and does so very successfully. Sacawa hilariously describes the kind of guy who chooses this length, and from my experience, he is spot on:
What It Says About You: I’m modern, hip, care deeply about precise tailoring and aspire to be a fashionable European gentleman.
Looks Best On: slim dudes, short dudes, Italian guyswannabe Italian guys, young bucks, the fashion set.
I myself prefer the more traditional medium break, although for men in my age-range, either of the first two lengths are fine, too. I think the point, which is alluded to, but not stated explicitly, is that Americans remain more traditional when it comes to dress, and our fashion preference is to have a break. The hipster movement has shifted that in the past decade and now many men prefer a smoother line, but we still stay to the "break" end of the spectrum. Europeans, however, have always been a little more cutting edge, and the "no break" is more mainstream. Even so, William might have overdone it a little.

Ultimately, men should wear the length that fits their personal style profile and their body type. I mean really, boys have to pay attention to that, too. My verdict on William: he is just barely getting by with this look. I'd like to see at least the second tier break in the future. Still, he is obviously working on upping his style game. He has updated his shoes (awesome) and these trousers are a step in the right direction. Certainly they are better than the same baggy trousers we saw in Australia. It's all positive change in my book.

The couple's third stop was to Hayward Tyler, a company that manufactures industrial grade motors and pumps. The company received the Queen's Award for Enterprise and the Cambridges paid the call to present the award and to open the corporation's new facility. Today's visits really ran the spectrum of usual royal engagements, didn't it?

Kate was absolutely radiant today. The Duchess has recently returned from a long holiday in France, which might explain it. The princess was really on point, from her luscious locks to her pointed toes. This hair is almost circa 2011. It has a little more wave throughout, but it certainly is matching the overall glam impact we had back in those days. I love it.

Kate recycled her Lasa poppy dress. Every time I have broached the topic of Royal recycles on the blog I have been surprised that this dress always makes the list. You all are enamored with it. The Duchess debuted the L.K. Bennett shift dress in Brisbane, Australia, during her April tour in 2014.  It was an instant hit and the company has created variations on a theme ever since.

Today, we got some better close ups of the dress and I have to say that I was reminded what a lovely dress it really is. The fabric has an interesting texture that was thrown into relief by the bright sunshine, and the deep blue poppies against the crisp white make for a fresh and flattering frock.

In 2014, Kate paired the dress with blue accessories, but today she indulged her penchant for taupe and tapped her Nina clutch and Fern pumps in "trench" neutral.

This was a fabulous return of the royal season. The dress was the perfect choice for what was, be all accounts, a blistering British day. Plus, it was smart of Kate to recycle since she is about to expend quite a bit for her second tour of the year!

Finally, several weeks ago I was interviewed by Erika Adams who is a reporter with We chatted for some time about Kate-blogging and my time following the Duchess of Cambridge. Erika was doing a piece on royal bloggers and interviewed several of my Kate-colleagues as she put together what is a really great article on the varying perspectives among the royal watching set. You can read the article, These Kate Middleton Style Bloggers Are The Hardest Working Women on the Internet, here. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

*Not factually accurate. 

Canada 2016 Itinerary + Zara Lawsuit

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Good morning to all my royal watchers! The summer is still with us, but fading nonetheless, and with the promise of fall comes the return of the royals. This autumn we have even more excitement than usual because the Cambridges' second tour of Canada is just around the corner. The royal couple kicked off their married life together in 2011 with a blockbuster tour of North America and as they celebrate five years of superstardom marriage, it seems appropriate they return. 

Yesterday, Kensington Palace released the itinerary:
Tour Outline
  • September 24: Victoria, British Columbia
  • September 25: Vancouver, British Columbia
  • September 26: Bella Bella and Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia
  • September 27: Kelowna, British Columbia and Whitehorse, Yukon
  • September 28: Whitehorse and Carcross, Yukon
  • September 29: Victoria, British Columbia
  • September 30: Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
  • October 1: Victoria, British Columbia
Many of you ask where you can best see, or even meet, the Duke and Duchess, but generally these questions are better answered once the Palace releases more details on what exactly the royals will be doing at each stop. Once that happens, it is generally pretty easy to spot the events that are crowd friendly. Historically, William and Kate are very generous with their time on walkabouts, so there should be opportunities aplenty for the intrepid fans who are willing to arrive early enough to get a front row place. 

This tour will be Princess Charlotte's debut on the international circuit, publicly, at least. The little princess has already holidayed in France twice. Although the Palace was slow to confirm that the Cambridge tykes would accompany their parents, this was ultimately confirmed. I don't think it was ever in doubt, but royals like to slow the momentum on anything having to do with the kids, which is understandable. 

I received an email from a reader in Canada who says that the press are booking hotels and water taxis in the Great Bear Rainforest and that leave has been restricted for the RCMP. We are galloping up on this tour and it sounds like excitement is rising quickly in the North. :) I will update as details become available. 

In other news, the Duchess of Cambridge has made it into the pleadings of a class action lawsuit in the US. Zara USA is being sued for price tampering, formally unfair business practice, unjust enrichment, and fraud, in addition to the negligence counts. On page 8 of the filing Kate makes her appearance, right next to Kim K. 

I don't really ever shop at Zara, but the suit alleges that Zara boosts the conversion from euros to dollars. You can read more about that here at the Daily Mail.  Nothing like a good lawsuit to start your morning right.  For those who can't wait for Canada, Kate and William have planned a trip to Bedfordshire tomorrow. They have also scheduled a visit to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly on the 1st and 2nd of September. 

5 Years With Jane & Kate: The Other Middleton Girl

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

2016 marks the Duke and Duchess of Cambridges' fifth wedding anniversary. In May, I published a detailed post here that looked back over Kate's five years as a Duchess, charting her sartorial journey from commoner right out of college to international super star. As Kate celebrates 5 years, this blog  is celebrating its fifth anniversary, too, and today I am launching a series of look-back posts. I will highlight some of my best-received for you to remember, and for thousands of you, perhaps your first time reading them. I will also reflect on my memories and mind-sets when I wrote these posts. I am excited to wander down memory lane with you all! So, pop into my time-travel machine and buckle up! 
This was one of my very first posts, written just before Kate and William married. Today we are very used to designers acknowledging and promoting pieces that Kate has worn, but before Kate married this was, of course, not generally the case. I am far more comfortable today with stores releasing info about Kate's purchases (although I would still probably make a distinction between discussing something she bought privately and hasn't worn, and acknowledging a publicly worn piece) and it is interesting to see how my perspective has shifted in the five years that she has been a public figure rather than a private girlfriend. Pippa was also a relatively new celebrity at the time, since most of the media attention never drifted past Kate. Little did we know that Pippa was about to be launched to even greater attention at the Royal Wedding that would take place just one week. The picture I used of Pippa (from Holly Branson's engagement party) was and remains breathtaking.  I cannot wait to see Pippa as a bride. 

I smile when I reread this post--it was such an incredibly exciting spring. I was finishing my senior year in college and blogging away in a quiet corner of my local coffee shop. The posts are relatively short; I was still getting used to the whole idea of writing my thoughts on a public forum and presenting them to people I didn't even know! It was surreal and it was so, so fun. They were happy days. Without further ado, from April 22, 2011: 

The Other...Middleton Girl 

One week left to the wedding! For all the nay-saying articles about people uninterested, the excitement is fever pitch. This week saw the much reported shopping trip on King's Road and most of the stores reported what Kate purchased. It seems a dangerous choice to make for the stores. If they report what she bought, their sales will no doubt sky-rocket on those items, but they risk Kate's displeasure and possibly the royal patronage discontinued. Perhaps they feel safety in numbers, but whether they suffer repercussions or not, it seems very inappropriate. Despite it all, I hope she stills shops at the High Street stores. Part of the magic of Kate Middleton is her normalcy and the fashion accessibility to the average woman. Of course, no one minds the occasional stunning designer item...

Clearly, we all are familiar with Pippa Middleton, but when the Mail reported her at Holly Branson's engagement party complete with stunning photos, I suddenly sat up and took notice. The younger sister of Kate, she was born September 6, 1982. She was educated at the same schools as her sister, but attended the University of Edinburgh, rather than St. Andrews. It has been reported in the past that Pippa outshone Kate since she was the more glamorous sister. Although, this may very well have been true amongst their friends and social group, obviously Kate is a force in her own right now, and not just because of her royal connections. Nevertheless, the two have very, very similar style--all three Middleton women do, as a matter of fact. Apparently, they are the same size and often swap clothes. I do not think it is a disloyalty to look for fashion tips from Pippa as well. ;)

Frankly, over the past year or so, we have seen less and less of Kate; she has kept a fairly low profile and has spent much of her time in Anglesey. Among the many obvious exciting outcomes of the engagement is that we now get official public engagements with Kate, and so can mark the days on our calander when she will hit our news feed in yet another stunning ensemble. Nevertheless, I miss the more impromtu photos and clothes of the pre-engagement days, as wonderful as the more sophisticated princess looks have been.

Pippa, though, is still our girl about town, and I turn to her with excitement to see what she will turn up in and where. So, while we keep Kate Middleton as our favorite fashion guru, let's also keep an eye out for the stunning Pippa!

See the article on the Branson party at the Daily Mail, here. I think that the bangs are an awesome look for her. In the past she has primarily sported the same style as Kate, layered, but no bangs. The swept to the side look is striking.

Princess Beatrice Splits from Dave Clark

Monday, August 8, 2016

All quiet on the Cambridge front, but there has been a surprising development for another royal. For some years now we have been waiting for Princess Beatrice to announce that she is engaged to long-time boyfriend Dave Clark. Today, as she celebrates her 28th birthday, the princess is not sending out save-the-dates, rather she has confirmed her split from Clark after ten years of dating. 

Apparently, the two broke up a month ago, which is when Beatrice left the job he held in Manhattan. From the Telegraph:
Beatrice followed Mr Clark to America as he pursued his career with taxi app Ube, enrolling in a finance course in San Francisco, where Uber has its headquarters, before taking an investment banking job in Manhattan. Last week it was reported Beatrice left the company a month ago - around the time she and Dave parted ways. She has remained in New York and is working for friends at a consultancy.
There have been conflicting reports on whether this is a break or a split. I have read more than one source that claims that Beatrice and Dave had passed the point where any proposal would be forthcoming at all, which is odd. Every site I have read states that the break is due to Beatrice's desire to tie the knot and Clark's reluctancy to do so. Even sources claiming there was no ultimatum leave an obvious disagreement about the couple's future as the root cause. From People's report:
The friend denies there was an ultimatum from Beatrice, who turned 28 today, about settling down. The source suggests that the princess and Clark will be talking about whether they have a future together "once they have had time apart....Her family are both open minded and supportive. They both need space and lets see where it goes from here."
Royal reporter Richard Palmer apparently spoke to friends of the princess and said on Twitter:
It's not impossible that Beatrice and Dave, who have dated for 10 years, may get back together after time apart, according to one friend.
It's nice to never say never, but The Telegraph has a darker view of current affairs:
Sources said the princess and Mr Clark still spoke occasionally but said a reconciliation did not appear likely.
Time will obviously tell. The problem with equating this to William and Kate's 2007 split is that their split was earlier in their relationship. They had been rocky up to that point, but once they reconciled it was strong sailing. I think that Dave and Beatrice have been in that committed and confident groove for some years now, which would seem to indicate that there is a deeper problem in their relationship than just the jitters before fully committing your life to another person. That makes this split far more concerning for those who are hoping for a happily ever after.  

Rio Video + Vacation in Biarritz

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Rio Olympics have gotten underway down Brazil way. Although the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been very involved supporting Britain's competitors in the past, they elected not to travel to Rio this summer. Today, the Royal Trio released a video message of support:

The video certainly keeps the focus on the athletes. William, Harry, and Kate each have only a very brief moment of screen time, with Kate's clip the shortest at barely one second. The Duchess is wearing her BARacing polo and Lauren leaf earrings with her hair in a half and half styling.  

It looks like the Cambridges filmed their comments while in Portsmouth on the 24th. The windy background and BARacing polos are pretty easy giveaways.

I appreciate this is a video supporting the British athletes, but we are all about Kate here, so that is my focus. To be honest, this video fell a little short for me. Whatever artsy filter the design team used washed out Kate's color and made her look far older than her youthful 34. Not good no matter what the subject of the film is. Recording during the America's Cup race was a good call, because it is yet another example of the royals' support for British sport, but I suspect they were also trying to avoid the fashion frenzy that erupted last time they released a film. When the Heads Together video was released it sparked the search for Kate's top which ended at JCrew's Tippi sweater. If that was part of the plan, they avoided the fashion frenzy, but next time they need to enhance the color, not turn Kate into a sepia version of herself. 

Changing gears, last week, the first rumor swirled that Kate and her family had taken a private jet to the south of France. There was a lot of speculation as to where the little royal family had chosen as the final destination, and we still don't know where the lion's share of the vacation was spent, but this week it was revealed the Cambridge family made their way to the coastal resort Biarritz for at least one night at a hotel that was once a palace belonging to Napoleon III. 

Napoleon III is (in)famous for a number of things. His Second Empire style cultivated art and architecture that we still admire today, and of course his glamorous wife Eugenie helped shape the fashion and culture of the period. Most lasting, Napoleon III hired Georges-Eugène Haussmann to transform Paris into the city she is today. Before Napoleon III, Paris was still a medieval city, full of crooked, winding streets crowded with timber structures. Haussmann made a master plan for the city that included large and gracious boulevards that would help move traffic, streamline trade,  provide light and air, and create a visually stunning capital city for the empire. Not all of his plans were fully realized, but enough were. Whole neighborhoods were razed to make way for the roads and plazas that make Paris so magnificent. (If you watch the new Les Mis, they used CGI to recreate the city in the scene where Javart stands above Notre-Dame. If you look, there are houses surrounding Notre Dame, whereas today, there is a large plaza.) As you can imagine, this overhaul was very controversial at the time, and the methods were likely unjust, but there is no getting around the fact that Paris is Paris because of her mix of the sweeping, white thoroughfares and stone alleys of the older parts.  Have we wandered off topic?  

Ok, so that is Napoleon III and William and Kate may have stayed the night in one of his erstwhile palaces in Biarritz. According to The Mirror:
The luxury seafront hotel describes itself on its website as “a hotel rich in memories, style and history” and with “style synonymous with an epoch, the Second Empire, which was to establish the reputation of Biarritz as ‘The Queen of Resorts and The Resort of Kings’". It boasts stunningly decorated rooms including royal suites featuring marble and Italian mosaics and described as seamlessly blending “timeless opulence with state-of-the-art amenities”.
This vacation came right around the time the couple announced they would indeed be returning to Canada this autumn for a tour that will include British Columbia and the Yukon. So, although the couple won't be in Rio, they have a fun fall planned for themselves and for us!