It is, I think, the belief that Big Occasions require us to step up with a Big Outfit that causes so many sartorial challenges for women. Of course, if your daughter or son (or grand-daughter or grandson or, indeed, stepdaughter/stepson) is the bride or groom, you do feel an obligation to make a big effort to look fabulous and not to let the side down in the photographs.
But, as we witnessed on Friday at the wedding of Kate and William, so many women seem to go into some kind of style frenzy, abandoning all their usual style sense and walking trance-like into style no-man’s land as a result.
There have been the obvious disasters like the Princess Royal (as predicted here) looking as if she had done a “Gone with the Wind” and had an outfit made from the curtains, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie (see previous blog), Sally Bercow sporting Liverpool barmaid chic, Ed Milliband’s partner Justine Thornton, who looked like Little Bo Peep who had fallen in the sheep dip. That navy satin outfit was, possibly, the worst there, even out-nastying the Princess Royal’s Harvey’s number.
But there were also some so-called successes, praised by the fashion press over the weekend, whom I felt had got it seriously wrong: Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, in on-trend cobalt from head to toe, looked like some frightful parody of a 1960s air stewardess. Has no-one mentioned to her that matchy-matchy is not currently a good look. And those sleeves, and the blue gloves and the hat. Next time, Tara, just say no.
Victoria Beckham almost looked chic and appropriate if a little funeral, but the hat was – again – unflatteringly awful.
What is it with so many terrible and terribly unflattering hats? For me, the first duty of a hat (apart from allowing the wearer to adhere to tradition or religious requirement) is to make the wearer look stylish and attractive. Not one or the other, but both. A hat goes on your head, for goodness sake, it is in extremely close proximity to your face, so it is going to have a real impact on HOW YOU LOOK. So it needs to suit you in every detail – the colour and the fabric need to suit your hair colour and your skin tone; the shape and height of the crown needs to suit your face shape and the proportions needs to be right for your overall build.
Tell us what you thought about the royal wedding outfits.