Tara P-T and Justine T need to learn head-to-toe colour is not a good look


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.

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It feels mean being horrid about Beatrice and Eugenie, but they really need help

It feels so mean taking pot-shots at Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie for the outfits they wore to the Royal Wedding – like shooting fish in a barrel. They are so young, so vulnerable and basically so sweet that the horrendous firestorm of fashion vitriol that has come their way for their choice of outfits and hats seems totally unfair.

I have to put my hands up and confess that I was an early critic, condemning their clothes on Friday morning within seconds of first seeing them. The outfits by Vivienne Westwood and Valentino WERE terrible – overdone, overfussy, too old, ill-fitting and unflattering for their body shape. And those hats were beyond a joke.

As has been observed, Beatrice’s hat was simply an abomination – a parody of a fascinator, as if the designer was playing a game to see how many types of trim could be piled on a single hat before someone shouted “the emperor has no clothes”, while Eugenie’s mushroom-colour hat looked like a cross between a scarab beetle on steroids and a small spacecraft.

You just wish fervently that some caring adult in their life would have had the good sense to take a look and say “noooooo”. But sadly both girls seem to have inherited their mother, the Duchess of York’s style DNA (which is, frankly, no style), and been allowed to go along to the designers to splash a great deal of cash while playing dress-up. I have seen girls clothed at Topshop or River Island on one-tenth of their budget, who looked 1,000 times better, because there was some underlying sense of what is age-appropriate and body-appropriate and either an innate sense of style, or someone who could guide them towards what made them look fabulous.

PLEASE someone get the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie a style adviser who can steer them away from these sartorial disasters before Prince Harry decides to walk up the aisle with Chelsy Davy.

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Oh dear, the Princess Royal needs a stylist BADLY!

Oh dear, someone get the Princess Royal – Princess Anne as was – a stylist. The lilac and lemon colour combo is potentially a winner, but the shape is all wrong for her, and that hat looks as if it was dropped from a great height rather than properly placed on her head. Though not sure if it would have worked even if it has been put on properly.
She is a youthful looking 60, she just needs some advice!
Tell us what you think of the clothes.

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Finally, we know. She looks ravishing, but what about those eyebrows

It is a fabulous gown, and not at all “fashion”. It is an exquisite, timeless ivory and white satin gazar gown, lavished with chantilly lace for the bodice. Very low-key, very Grace Kelly, very 1950s.
The proportions are perfect. It is elegant and modest, yet utterly glamorous for the transparency of the shoulders.
Those eyebrows, though – perhaps a little too heavy on the brow line!

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She’s wearing lace… and it’s divinely understated

The moment we have all been waiting for – Kate Middleton’s dress is finally revealed. It’s by Sarah Burton at the House of Alexander McQueen, and it’s lace, with a deep V neckline.

Kate – and Sarah – have got it absolutely right – dead simple, understated, serene, classic and beautiful. She has avoided the much hyped designers, NOT given in to temptation to have an unfamiliar “up” do, but has kept it natural. She looks like herself but better. Which is what a bride should always aim to look like.
The tiny bridesmaids look enchanting in their cream puffball gowns, while big sister Pippa Middleton looks beautiful in a column of cream satin with cowl neck by

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The royals look fab, but what’s with the uniform navy blue

The extended family of duchesses and princesses look, on the whole very chic. Notable among them is the Duchess of Kent who looks divine in pink, possibly by Bellville Sassoon, a favourite of hers. But at least five of them have decided to sport navy, which makes it look a little like it was colour themed.

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, who can always be relied on to look overdressed and trussed up, do not disappoint. They could do with adopting the maxim “less is more”…

The Queen looks perfect in lemon, in another hat by Rachel Trevor Jones and a simply cut coat by Angela Kelly.

The Duchess of Cornwall looks perfect in champagne and duck-egg blue in a stunning outfit with box pleats and a very easy cut, by Anna Valentine, who seems to get it absolutely right every time. The gorgeous hat is by Philip Treacy, again, utterly reliable for the big occasion.

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So, it was a blast from the past, the clever Catherine Walker

For the marriage of her daughter Kate to Prince William, Carol Middleton has chosen a pale grey-blue wool crepe coat and dress by Catherine Walker, a favourite of the late Princess of Wales.
Walker, who tragically died last year, was the queen of understated, serene glamour and the immaculate cut. Walker’s studio, now run by her business partner, produced the pretty, understated outfit. Walker won out over Bruce Oldfield. I have betting on Oldfield all week as the designer of Kate’s dress I am posting this BEFORE the name of the designer is revealed…

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