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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Why Kate looks great

Decades on, it is unlikely any photos of the Duchess of Cambridge will be met with derision.
The Straits Times - July 8, 2011
By: Tee Hun Ching
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Why Kate looks great

Decades on, it is unlikely any photos of the Duchess of Cambridge will be met with derision.

It is not just because Catherine Middleton seems incapable of taking a bad picture - her of the glossy mane, winsome smile and athletic grace.

Rather, it is the classic style she favours that will save her from fashion victim status, a fate even Princess Diana could not avoid.

How can you go wrong with chic, chaste dresses, subtle jewellery and shoes and bags in neutral tones?

As the hullabaloo around her first royal tour in North America rages on, here are some tips distilled from her fashion sense that I believe will work for anyone:

1. Showcase your strengths

Her lissome figure - honed from years of skiing, rowing, running and playing tennis and hockey, among other sports - is always shown off to great effect. Dresses with hemlines that end above the knees draw the eye to her long, lean legs with high heels elongating them further, and the slim cuts accentuate her slender frame. The only quibble is that she needs more curves to fill out some of her dresses properly. But that's nothing a Wonderbra can't fix easily.

2. Do flirty, not flashy

It might be royal protocol, but she is clearly not from the flaunt-it-if-you-have-it camp. Her dresses are fitted but never clingy. Hemlines are often within kissing distance of her knees, while necklines rarely dip beyond a point that offers more than a hint of cleavage. Yet, she manages to exude an allure that is womanly rather than matronly.

The key lies in striking the right balance. For instance, the blue Issa wrap dress she wore when announcing her engagement featured long sleeves but a deep V-neck. Meanwhile, a navy blue Erdem frock she debuted in Ottawa last week kept her assets covered, but the peek-a-boo lace sleeves lent a flirty touch. Tasteful just about sums up her wardrobe.

3. Go for value buys

Her penchant for mid-priced labels is yet another example of how you don?t need very deep pockets to look good. But she doesn't go for just any cheap and cheerful brand. Good tailoring (a strong suit of Reiss), hard-working designs (cue the LK Bennett nude pumps and clutch) and understated charm (she is fond of dainty jewellery from Links Of London) are among the qualities she prizes.

This is a sensible woman who has a discerning eye for quality brands that give more bang for the buck.

4. Wear only what you are comfortable in

This sounds like a no-brainer, but too many of us try too hard too often. When shopping online, for instance, I'm often tempted to throw good sense - and money - out of the window for something just because the model carries it off with such aplomb.

Fashion critics have taken issue with the Duchess' safe, even boring dressing. But she has obviously hit on a winning fashion formula, always oozing enviable poise and confidence. The cliche stands: If you don?t feel comfortable, you won't look good no matter how exquisite the design.

Now that she has got the basics down pat, I'm hoping to see more character - and colour - in her dressing. It's time to up your game, Kate.



AHA! The thrill of web shopping