The Kate Effect



Anna Murphy focused on Yasmin Le Bon in the Winser London Tweed Dress on the cover of The Times’ T2 section on 27th May to show how dressing up for a smart event is easy – the “new rules” she refers to are simple and fun.

I agree. Any young woman wondering what to wear for a wedding, to Royal Ascot or to another event during the Summer Season, can’t fail to get it right if she follows the Duchess of Cambridge’s dress code. Choose one colour from head to toe. Not just solid black or white, but black and white (or navy and white) for a dress and jacket is fine. Other colours to love are pink, raspberry, blue and neutrals. Red and royal blue are showstoppers, and we often see lime, lemon and lavender at Ascot. Designer dresses and jackets are always a good bet. The jacket can come off for drinks and dinner; arms are better off covered in church.

A dress and coat is another Kate favourite. As to shape, styling and tailoring, Kate rings the changes. She likes lightly-fit and flare coats, and her dresses range from floaty, flirty, to sexy. Quite short is OK if the legs are fabulous, but hovering around the knee works best for this look and it always works with heels. Longer skirts are very on-trend at the moment, but the knee-length is usually right, proportion wise, to complement the cut and design of these more formal occasion outfits.

When dressing in this style, enjoy the moment of smart dress-up and think about the fact that Jackie Kennedy was only 31 when she took over at the White House as First Lady. No harm to do something completely different to the usual diet of jeans.

Hats are always worn at Royal Ascot, and usually (but not always) at weddings these days. Fun is good, silly is not. Cartier Polo warrants a straw hat of the Panama sort, and lower heels or flats work for flattening or stomping the divots between chukkas.

Wimbledon is quite casual, but my goodness dress up if you are in the Royal Box, or are famous and likely to be photographed. Anna Wintour is usually seen in a pretty silk print frock. Something simple and smart is fine too, but why waste an opportunity to look special? These days there are so few occasions when we can. Back in the day, we wore little black cocktail frocks to the opera at Covent Garden!

The Kate Effect