Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Fashion fans anticipate what Kate will wear during Canadian visit Add to ...

Fashion fans will be fixing their stylish gazes on Kate during her Canadian visit, as many are eager to check out the latest looks from the royal trendsetter.

If her fashion track record holds firm, they can expect a mix of affordable, off-the-rack pieces and higher-end designer wear during her tour with Prince William.

Kate's fashion choices are clearly currying favour among many style watchers who regularly document and dissect her head-to-toe ensembles. The intense scrutiny has also helped create a legion of copy-Kates keen to mirror her look.

A $245 blush-coloured bandage Reiss dress worn by Kate when she and William met the Obamas touched off a fashion frenzy, crashing the U.K. label's website and leading the company to reissue the design.

Susan Kelley is behind the blog WhatKateWore.com that launched in March. The site devoted to chronicling Kate's looks is averaging between 4,000 and 7,000 readers daily, with the Reiss Shola dress being the most popular garment they get searches for, she said.

Ms. Kelley will have a little help during the royals' visit to Canada and California, with arrangements made for guest posts from people in Montreal and Santa Barbara who plan to submit information and photos.

Ms. Kelley says she thinks Kate's conservative and classic style is part of the allure and attraction for people, a decided contrast from the celebrity fashions that typically make headlines.

"I think people are tired of the very blingy, out there, over the top styles that they're seeing where celebrities are practically naked," she said in an interview from Okemos, Mich.

"(Kate) very much seems to know what she wants to wear, who she wants to wear."

Sarah Casselman, senior editor, fashion news for Fashion Magazine, says Kate typically goes for "power pigments" like brick red and bright blue, and that she has always been consistent with her style.

"She definitely knows her figure, she knows what looks great on her body," said Ms. Casselman. "She loves the body-skimming silhouette, she loves a knee-length hemline, and she definitely loves her bright, bright colours."

Despite her royal status, Ms. Casselman said Kate doesn't shy away from stepping out again in some of her earlier looks, a practice that has led her to be dubbed "the royal recycler." Case in point: Kate wore a $70 Zara dress the day after her nuptials and again to attend Prince Phillip's 90th birthday church service.

Barbara Atkin, vice-president of fashion direction at Holt Renfrew, said Kate's embrace of both mass fashion brands and luxury labels is something that makes her style more accessible.

"I think that's the beauty of what Kate is saying to the world: that you can be modern and classic, you don't have to spend a fortune on designer clothes, you don't need to be avant-garde - you just need to be real and elegant."

Ms. Atkin anticipates the duchess will opt for a variety of jackets and some of her go-to style staples like jeans and comfortable wedge shoes for her more casual outfits during the visit.

"We know she's a simple girl that loves great shirts, we see it all the time," said Ms. Atkin. "She's going to have a wardrobe of wonderful shirts (that) she's going to wear casually or elegantly tucked with a jacket."

Kate will also need luncheon-type looks like a printed or coloured dress paired with a cardigan along with more high-fashion attire for gala events, Ms. Atkin noted. And expect to see a topper or two, with Kate sporting a fascinator or wide-brimmed hat to round out her look.

"She really wears (hats) well every day, and that adds a little to that quirky side. That personality that comes out."

Ms. Atkin said if Kate decides to wear a Canadian designer it will give the duchess a chance to make a distinctive style statement.

"Canadian design is kind of under the radar, this great branded designer business that's not explored all over the world yet," she said. "So she's going to be able to wear these pieces and know that she's not going to see herself all over the place. So I think that's the one thing that's going to be really unique."

Ms. Casselman hopes to see Kate go patriotic in red and white for Canada Day on Parliament Hill. In terms of a homegrown designer she feels would complement Kate's style, Ms. Casselman suggests longtime womenswear designer Lida Baday.

"Lida is known for her strict tailoring, very clean lines, and those vibrant solid colours which is classic Kate."

Both Ms. Atkin and Ms. Casselman think jackets from Canadian design duo Smythe would also be a good fit.

"(They) have those fantastic, fitted blazers, and tweed herringbone pieces - again, perfect for that horse and hound set," Ms. Casselman said. "You could just see her strolling on the weekend with her Starbucks wearing skinny jeans and one of Smythe's jackets with the elbow patches on them."

Ms. Atkin recently pulled together a trio of looks she felt would compliment Kate which included two Wayne Clark designs - a printed dress for day or cocktail and an elegant evening gown.

The Alberta Boot Company has crafted pairs of custom kicks for both William and Kate as gifts for the newlyweds. Whether Kate will trade in her fascinator for a cowboy hat while in Calgary remains to be seen.

"A 10-gallon hat would be quite something," said Ms. Casselman.

"I think that she's game for anything and I think she's really going to enjoy her trip here and take in all that Canada has to offer."

Follow us on Twitter: @globeandmail

In the know

Most popular videos »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular