"Can I tell you how grateful I am to Kate Middleton?" Anne Hathaway said in an interview last year. "Because she is such an advocate for dressing like a lady. I think for a few years that kind of slightly dirty look was adopted by Hollywood - you know, the stringy hair, homeless thing... I'm just very grateful to Kate Middleton for making looking appropriate really fun again."
So maybe Kate hasn't quite caught on as a style icon in the eyes of the blogosphere. If she attended New York Fashion Week, she'd likely dart inside unnoticed by the phalanx of street style photographers awaiting more adventurous ensembles.
But, I'd argue that the duchess' approach to style is much more realistic than most of the fashionistas getting snapped at Lincoln Center. The average girl can't wear sparkly Miu Miu heels to her job or spend three hours getting ready in the morning. She has to put together an outfit to go to work or go to school, and let's face it, chasing novel fashion trends is a luxury for those with money and time.
Kate is influential. Her fondness for high street (British for main street) wear has kicked off a myriad of fashion crazes: She made long-sleeved wedding dresses cool in a sea of strapless cupcake gowns. She popularized the kitten heel again. Heck, she even brought back pantyhose. Pantyhose! In 2012! Proverbially, she kind of made it hip to be square.
And that's what most makes the duchess a style icon: she's been copied over and over and over. Kate ignited fashion trends that women of every income level and body shape could adopt. She just recently wore those coral-colored jeans, a perfect trend for spring that you can get at both Target AND Bergdorf. If you're a teacher or a doctor (or a princess), you probably can't waltz into a work meeting in a metallic crop top and neon oxfords; a simple pair of colored denim can totally perk up the average woman's wardrobe without raising eyebrows from her boss.
Kate's fashion is aspirational yet attainable. After all, Jackie Kennedy's Chanel suits and Cassini dresses weren't super innovative, but she had an immeasurable impact on fashion in the 1960's. We can't all be Lady Gaga.
In a world of stuffy couture and steep price tags, I also love that HRH doesn't take fashion too seriously -- maple leaf fascinator, anyone?
Perhaps that's what I admire most about Catherine -- she has all the money and stylist hiring-power in the world, but she'll wear something from a secondhand store and not give a crap. A bona fide princess who still shops at Zara? Now that's a reality I can get on board with.
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