I did a double-take when I first saw Kate’s outfit today since I had thought she had recycled this very suit when I saw the initial images of her stepping out in her Oscar de la Renta ensemble two weeks ago. Granted, the color was off in the photo, but the two skirts do seem similar.
Anyway, back to today: Kate undertook two engagements in Wales on behalf of Action for Children, a patronage she inherited from the Queen this past December. At the end of last year the Queen offloaded 25 charities to various members of her family in an effort to lighten her workload. This particular organization made sense given Kate’s focus on children and child development.
Today’s first visit was to MIST, a mental health project for children and adolescents focused on recognizing when a minor is at risk for being institutionalized and working to help address their needs so as to keep them in their homes. The second event was centered around the Caerphilly Family Intervention Team (FIT), which works with children with emotional and behavioral problems, as well as supporting troubled family dynamics.
From the MIST visit, per the Daily Mail:
Kate was welcomed to MIST in Torfaen, South Wales, a child and adolescent mental health project, by service user 15-year-old Craig Davies, who also became her team-mate in the impromptu game of pool.
Unfortunately for Craig, who was playing with the Duchess against fellow service user Connor Goodacre, also 15, she missed her shot. Asked what he thought of Kate’s pool skills he pulled a face and said: ‘She was dreadful.’
Craig said he was initially nervous about meeting Kate but lost his nerves, especially after chatting with her about Prince George and Princess Charlotte. He said they also discussed their pets including Kate’s dog Lupo and hamster Marvin and his Jack Russell dog Wilf. He said: ‘She was talking about how MIST helps us and stuff with life and school. She was really interested in what we were talking about.’
These were Kate’s first engagements on behalf of Action for Children and speaks to a trend alluded to by Kensington Palace earlier this year when it confirmed that she and William would be transitioning their family to London full-time and taking on an increasing number of royal duties. The announcement came after over a year of increasing criticism that William and Kate weren’t pulling their weight in comparison to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as the Princes of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Princess Royal (Princess Anne).
In fairness, the couple are neither the monarch and their spouse, nor the heir apparent and their spouse. William has also maintained a part-time job outside the scope of royal life with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, while they have had two children in the last three and a half years. Even so, all signs point to this year being a turning point in both of their public careers as they pivot to take on a heavier workload. William and Kate have been carrying out engagement at a more frequent clip, while the couple are expected to conduct a “mini-tour” of Paris in mid-March that will be akin to their brief visit to New York in December 2014.
Now the fashion: We were due for another recycle, but this one is quite the throwback with Kate not having worn this outfit (or this designer, for that matter) since 2012. The silhouette is a callback to one Kate favored in her 20s, and still nods to from time to time, which is that of a fitted bodice and jacket over a “floaty” or shorter skirt. This look paired with the tall suede boots is classic Kate Middleton.
But this outfit also speaks to something that Kate does often. One is wear items or trends in spurts, which is to say that she goes through phases where she heavily favors a particular style, garment or color. This is now the fourth time that Kate has worn a red and black color scheme, the fourth time she has worn a black turtleneck and the second time she has worn these Stuart Weitzman boots alone. I think that all of us tend to do that with our closets, but I do find in remarkable in Kate’s case simply because she knows that she will be photographed.
To me, it speaks to either purposefully disregarding the clothes-horse aspect of her public persona or using this practice the same way, I think, she occasionally uses a “recycle.” The less there is to say about the clothes, the more there is to say about the charity.
As for the outfit itself, I like this suit fine. I actually much prefer how she’s styled it this time than to how she did back in 2012 where it felt slightly too girlish with the opaque tights and black heels. The contrast of the boots, stockings and turtleneck complemented the suit’s rich color and I also think the overall effect was strengthened by her pulling her back from her face and away from the suit’s neckline.
The only issue with the outfit, in my mind, was that it appeared to wrinkle over the course of the day, but I’m not a big stickler for that as can be evidenced by the state of literally anything I wear to work ever (unless it is literally fresh from the dry cleaning hanger).
One clear thing that really jumps out at me, though, is how much Kate really has reduced the amount of eyeliner she’s been wearing. Comparing pictures of her from the last couple of engagements with those from a few years ago and you’ll find that she’s ditched the thick black rims on her lower eyelid and is instead focusing on her upper lid – probably a good move now that she’s solidly in her mid-30s.
An improved recycle is a “win” in my book and it was great to see Kate out and about with a new charity so soon after taking them on.
Next up we’ll see the Duchess on Monday, Feb. 27 when she joins William, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to mark the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture, no doubt a nod to the couple’s tour of India last April.
See all the looks from Kate’s engagements so far this year here.