She might be the new duchess of hearts, but Kate Middleton still needs to win my heart in the style stakes

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in Sydney, April, 2014. Picture: Pinterest
(As a section editor on Australias number one selling newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, and in a week when all eyes of the media were trained on the 2014 Royal Tour of  the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, my editor asked me to write a piece about whether I thought Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, is dressing too old for her years. This is a longer version of the piece that appeared in the weekend paper.)

THERES no denying it, the royal tour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been a huge success. The crowds, the accessibility and the fashions.

Quite simply, Kate and William have been an absolute hit. So much so that Kate has been dubbed the Duchess of hearts. Many will remember with great fondness, a similar tour of the Prince and Princess of Wales, Diana and Charles, in 1983. I do ... Diana and I share the same birth month and year.

Kate, like Diana, has won the hearts of the Kiwis and now Australia cant get enough of her. Wills and Kate truly are a couple very much in love – a breath of fresh air for a family built on old and largely out-of-date traditions.

But its Kates phenomenal influence on fashion that has many in the industry scratching their collective heads. The Kate Effect – as its being called – is having a huge impact on retail sales globally as outfit after outfit she wears sells out in minutes.

Picture: Pinterest

Whether its a Zimmermann lace dress,  DVF wrap dress, Roksanda Ilincic design, or a simple floral shift from L.K. Bennett, whatever Kate wears is destined for instant stardom. Unlike the Queen or Diana, Kate often wears clothes that are off the rack and therefore available online or in store, meaning we can copy Kate immediately. Little wonder designers the world over hope that her royal appointment will catapult their label – and future – into a virtual fashionable orbit.

However, regardless of her power and new-found status, I feel the influence of the palace weighs greatly on her sartorial choices

Granted she has been “groomed for public life, but that is no excuse for her not to have some fun with fashion. And before royalists hurl the sceptre at me, I am very much aware of the parameters bestowed upon her as the future queen of England. But she’s not queen yet, and has decades to grow into the matching pink, purple, yellow and green dress, coat and hat ensembles. 

She is a gorgeous 32-year-old 
woman so she should ... 
think sexy and sensual, 
not safe and sensible.

This honeymoon period should be a time for her to enjoy the spotlight, to embrace her youth and exploit (within reason) her station. It is also the perfect time to experiment and wear more fashion-forward and on-trend pieces. But I’m not suggesting she goes normcore or urban warrior on us, nor should she dress more haute couture than high street. 

She is a gorgeous 32-year-old woman so she should dress like one, not a matronly or middle class version of herself dressing too old for her years. She should think sexy and sensual, not safe and sensible. Theres plenty of time for that in her twilight years. Were only young once, so she should make the most of this time and enjoy it.

With access to the worlds greatest fashion designers, Kate should take more risks, albeit those befitting a modern princess, and wear styles as they were designed, not as they have been altered or modified to meet palace protocols.

Kate has now had years of being “educated” into the ways of the palace. However, as she matures and gains more confidence, I can only hope she develops her own style and becomes a true style icon; a leader not a follower. What every woman needs is confidence, and Kate is no exception. She’s definitely got the body and can clearly wear anything with grace and elegance.

What do you think? Do you like the way Kate dresses or do you, too, think she is dressing too matronly? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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