Friday, April 29, 2011

Look for Less: Kate's Bridal Style


The royal wedding this morning was incredibly satisfying and I am so glad that I got up to watch it live. It just would not have been the same to watch it on Youtube later today. Kate Middleton really pulled it off! She was poised, elegant, demure, regal -- just everything she needed to be. Her gown was even a bit sexy! These two really seem to be striking a balance between youthfulness and tradition, between having an intimate family affair and understanding their roles as representatives of the state.

Kate's wedding dress was rich with symbolism. The lace was stitiched by the Royal School of Needlework which is housed at Hampton Court Palace and contains the images of flowers representing all four of the areas of the United Kingdom. This includes English roses (England), thistles (Scotland), shamrocks (Ireland) and daffodils (Wales). The symbolism of flowers also played a big role in the decoration of the royal wedding cake. 
This dress strongly echoes another "commoner": Hollywood actress, Grace Kelly. She became Princess of Monaco in 1956 and wore a lovely gown with a cinched waist and pleated full skirt with long lace sleeves and a veil. ABC interviewed Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame about the comparison and he noted that this is a huge compliment for Kate. He also said that Kate went more modern with a tasteful v-neck and not the high neck that Grace wore. This look shows deep respect for the occasion and recognition that is not merely "your wedding" but also an investiture into the role you are assuming. It hits all the right notes.

In a few hours, dozens of knock off reproductions of Kate's gown will flood the marketplace. However, I think that you need not go with a direct knockoff, you can take notes from Kate's (and Grace's) style but not have to purchase a "Kate-in-a-can" look. To that end, I found a few pieces that could easily re-create the "gown-of-the-century" look.

Here is my interpretation: (Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view.)

Run-Down:
1. Bolero: Long Sleeve Lace Jacket, LSLACE, $129 via David's Bridal
2. Gown: Oleg Cassini, Satin Ball Gown with Dropped Waist Style and Sweetheart Neckline, $750 via David's Bridal 
3. Veil: Two Tiered Pencil Edge Veil by Etsy seller arielj, $75
4. Tiara: Rhinstone Jewelry Corporation, Graduated Tiara, $42
5. Earrings: Rhinstone Jewelry Corporation, Victorian Heart Flip Earrings, $53.52
Total:$1,101.06

This dress from Oleg Cassini is sleeveless and strapless but has a couple of key elements: the full pleated skirt, the cinched waist and the sweetheart neckline, all of which match Kate closely. To add that modest and lovely lacy touch, add a bolero or lace jacket like the one pictured above.

Accesories are delicate and modest. The tiara is simple and feels antique with a simple two layered veil so you can actually wear it and be covered front and back to the fingertips. The earrings are simple and small drop earrings just like Kate's (which were a present from her parents). Shoes are elegant and dressy with a low heel.

I would be sure to pair this with a small round boquet of delicate flowers, like both Grace and Kate did. Nothing flashy to distract from you and your face. I would also take care to wear appropriate hosiery and undergarments as necessary to carry off this look (since we are not all blessed with a gorgeous princess figure like Kate's, right?)

You can do all of this for under $1,500, with the six main pieces totaling just a little over $1,100. Wow! Princess (or rather Duchess) style for less!!

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