Let’s call it style protocol—the need to tame a tendency toward adventurous looks when we are around strict grandmothers, business clients, and interviewers. Even the most carefree of us have followed such rules at some point in our lives. And Kate Middleton, who, in her younger years, rocked a sheer negligee in public, has become quite the expert.
The Duchess of Cambridge shows us how her style protocol is more commanding than prissy.
A cinched waist is a sexy but prim alternative to miles of exposed skin.
You will rarely catch the Duchess in a baggy number. Her dresses are contoured to flaunt her waist.(A good compromise for women who still want to embrace their curves while looking mightily respectable.)
Still, the Duchess doesn’t wrap herself in yards and yards of fabric just to look proper.
Kate Middleton’s style rests somewhere between Princess Diana’s more daring tendencies and the young Queen Elizabeth’s pristine-as-pearls allure. Most of her dresses are trimmed above the knee. This bit of leg exposure makes her look current.
Think of coats as dresses and not just as fabric for the cold.
Kate Middleton’s coats look like the main event. They are slim at the waist, sometimes belted for a coordinated effect, and funnel out at the bottom, much like a circle skirt. The coat is called outerwear for a reason. It is the first thing you’ll be seen in when wintry winds strike.
Jewelry must not steal attention away from what you have to say.
The Duchess does a lot of handshaking and small talk in the course of a day. Imagine if she wore jewelry that shines brighter than the sun—too distracting and garish. Even her drop earrings are never conspicuous; her face is always the star.
Denim is not just for the dressed-down layman.
Even Kate Middleton doesn’t shy away from a good pair of skinny jeans. She teams her denim with a blazer in the same shade—this look recalls the formal sophistication of her on-duty ensembles.
The neckline should always look good.
Take a cue from a woman who spends a lot of time at formal lunches and dinners: The neckline is the most visible part of your dress and should always have visual interest. An asymmetrical or bejeweled top does the trick.