Is there such a thing as “Parliament Casual”?

After the General Election in the United Kingdom ended in a hung parliament, it made the public wonder what would happen in regard to the Opening of Parliament this year.  Not only was it delayed by two days, but the Queen eschewed the traditional pomp.

Ascot opened the same week, but after only one day in attendance, Prince Philip fell ill and had to pass on Parliament. It fell to Prince Charles to accompany the Queen. It was surreal – Charles next to the Queen on the throne, and the Queen herself was dressed only in her typical queenly attire (avec sturdy shoes and purse, of course). I know Charles will be there from now on since Philip has officially stepped down from public duties, but after so many years seeing the Duke of Edinburgh there, it reminds you of how much things are changing.

The crown was still present, regardless. It rested on a cushion near the queen.

Some people have posed the theory that the Queen was using her powers of subtlety to show her support for the European Union with her outfit. Strangely enough, her all-blue hat features flowers containing yellow centers, all somewhat arranged in a circle like the yellow stars on the blue flag of the EU. Interesting, but unlikely.

Book Review – Kate’s Style: Smart, Chic Fashion from a Royal Role Model

kate-style-caroline-jonesBook Review:
Kate’s Style: Smart, Chic Fashion from a Royal Role Model by Caroline Jones, published by Carlton Books and available on Amazon!

Like many people, I have been struck by how exceptionally classy Kate’s clothes and accessories are put together. I truly like her understated elegance.

Calling the Duchess of Cambridge a “royal role model” for style, author Caroline Jones has compiled this book for our viewing pleasure, full of great photos of Kate’s best looks with well-written commentary and history on the pieces.

While the Duchess does have access to major designer labels, her look is distinctly her own as proven by the photos from before her life as a royal wife. She is always elegant, whether she’s dressed for a formal event or a casual shopping excursion.

Most of Kate’s sartorial tastes aren’t obscenely out of reach either, which is appealing. The Duchess of Cambridge has made certain retail chain store clothes extremely popular due to their decent price tag and classic elegance. Any lady can embrace the Duchess’ style and her against-the-grain “the tighter, the better” of popular culture. So I’m loving the Kate’s Style book. While I’m not a major Duchess expert a la What Kate Wore (go see this site; it is seriously amazing), I admit that I do enjoy seeing what she’s wearing and I especially appreciate how she inspires women to dress appropriately.

Kate is also adept at pairing her delightful pieces with accessories that really make the outfit pop. Below, three of my personal favorites featured in the book:

Kate-white-canada Kate-jubilee kate-red-portrait
L to R: The new Duchess of Cambridge during her first royal tour of Canada in 2011; during the Jubilee service of Thanksgiving in June 2012; attending the unveiling of her first official portrait as a mom-to-be.

The Duchess of Cambridge proves that being classy is sexy and timeless pieces are the way to go. Just look at these outfits! A beautiful white dress (L) with a hint of ruffle. It can be worn forever, changed completely on each outing with new accessories. What about the glorious, neutral colors of her lace dress (C ) or the deep burgundy (R ) that compliments her light skin tone?

Things that Diana, Princess of Wales wore in the 1980s are seen as hopelessly out of style today, but look at Kate in about 25 years and I guarantee that she could still wear many of her clothes of today without looking dated.

Those little accessories are so charming and go a long way. Jones makes note of the Duchess’s simple but lovely earrings and necklaces. The pieces are always small, never gaudy and never detract from an outfit. In fact, Kate hasn’t even worn a big tiara yet. The only sparkly headgear she’s worn has been the Cartier Scroll tiara lent by the Queen for her wedding to Prince William. Other than that, Kate keeps it light.

What often threatens to detract from the outfits is Kate’s hair. It is way too long and fussy. When her hair is pulled back or up, the outfit really comes alive. You can focus instead on the clothes or jewelry instead of being distracted by a massive mane.

The other issue centers on those hems! I advise Kate to take a page from the Queen’s book and put weights in those puppies! Let’s face it: that elegant, knee length dress is made null and void if it’s blowing up around your head. It’s not old-fashioned to have weights in your hems, it’s insurance that there will be no embarrassing faux pas to haunt you forever.

Overall, the Duchess of Cambridge rarely puts a foot wrong style-wise, and this book proves it. If you love classic fashion, I highly recommend Kate’s Style.

Royal Wedding Style: The Duchess of Cambridge

Miss Catherine Middleton has officially become the newest Princess in the House of Windsor.

Known from this day forward as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine was swathed in antique lace that gently wrapped her arms and bodice. The train of the ivory and white gown spread out 2 meters behind her, a small train in comparison to other royal brides.

The gown was created by Sarah Burton, the long-time assistant to the late British designer Alexander McQueen.

Catherine’s tiara, the Halo Scroll tiara, was loaned from the Queen. Her mother, sister, and daughter all wore this particular tiara, and it is a well-chosen delicate piece to compliment Catherine’s demure and elegant look. The tiara was complimented by the bride’s earrings, a wedding gift from her parents, Carole and Michael. The earrings were designed and created by London jeweler Robinson Pelham and featured diamond oak leaves and a pavé set diamond acorn suspended in the center.

After the ceremony, the Scottish State Coach transported Her Majesty, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Mr. and Mrs. Middleton back to the Palace. The new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge traveled back to the Palace in the 1902 State Landau.

Catherine’s petite bouquet was made of sweet William, as well as myrtle, lily-of-the-valley and hyacinth.

Middleton Makeover

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Kate has the greatest skin and her eyes are beautiful. At the engagement press conference, however, I noted that her right eyebrow seemed to be a little off and her eyeliner was extremely heavy. It inspired me to play with a new look for her.

Like Kate, I love my eyeliner. My eyes disappear in photos without some sort of color or definition, but Kate’s coloring is much darker than mine so she can definitely carry off lighter makeup. Below, I altered her photo slightly with interesting results.

Kate (original) on the left; with a makeover on the right, using Queen Rania’s brows:

Kohls Department Stores Inc

UPDATE: Some people said that the arch of the new brows is too severe. Here is Kate with gentler eyebrow curves (via Princess Marie of Denmark). I agree, Kate looks better here:

Kohls Department Stores Inc

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