Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Wardrobe questions for Kate and Letizia

Being a fashion icon can be hard work.  Kate of Cambridge and Letizia of Asturias are both known for liking their clothes and for their clothes liking them but that sense of style could be sailing both of them into choppy waters. The duchess has apparently been asked by the Queen to make her skirts longer, her frocks less flouncy and to don a few more diamonds in an attempt to make her look more regal.  Meanwhile, Letizia's fashion choices - already controversial for some of her critics - are under the financial spotlight with one Spanish media source totting up exactly how much the princess has spent on her official wardrobe in the last year.  Can being a future queen and a queen of fashion mix any more?

Letizia's latest look - the Princess of Asturias at the reception for the Spanish Diplomatic Corps at the Royal Palace in Madrid on February 5th 2014

All of Europe's leading royal ladies face pressure to look good - a big part of their image depends on what they wear.  But while both Kate and Letizia have won praise for their fashion forward senses of style both have been criticised.  The future queen of Spain has faced attacks for inappropriate outfits - trousers where dresses or skirts suits are expected or outfits that have been singled out by some for being too casual and modern for her royal role.  Kate, having been on the royal scene for a lot less time, has seen her fashion choices mostly praised but has faced criticism for skirts that get caught by the breeze on more than one occasion.  Both women's love of clothes has put how they look even more centre stage in their royal image and both are under the spotlight for breaking royal dress code rules.  

A good nine inches difference between their hemlines - can we expect to see Kate in mid calf length coats before the year is out?

And how much each princess spends on clothes is always on the agenda.  Kate has had the costs of her wardrobe poured over in detail before and no doubt it will happen again after her trip to Australia where the Queen has asked her to don more haute couture and drop the High Street looks she loves.  Letizia's official outfits for 2013 came to a total of 30,000 euros according to the latest estimates with around 11,000 of the total being spent on clothes in October.  

Letizia of Asturias with Prince Felipe on their visit to Florida in November 2013 - the princess wore several new outfits as well as several recycled dresses on her trip

It's a criticism that princes aren't likely to face. The suit that Prince William or Prince Felipe dons to appear next to his fashion leader of a wife might cost a huge amount more than the new dress that everyone's taking photos of but it will be the princesses' price tags that come under scrutiny.  And suits are a much easier call and much less likely to lead a royal into controversial comments.  The style of Kate and Letizia has brought a lot of publicity to their respective royal families but it remains to be seen whether they will have to become slightly less inclined to follow fashion as extra royal responsibilities follow them.

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