Kate Middleton might be revered for her elegant and pristine style, but that style still comes at a steep cost.
Marie Claire UK reports that the Duchess of Cambridge's wardrobe has cost a whopping $54,000 (£35,000) this year alone. The threads, which run the gamut from economically-sensible high street options to out-of-this-world couture designs, have been paid for by Prince Charles.
According to the Daily Mail, Prince Charles has agreed to pay for Middleton's work-related wardrobe. This means he foots the bill for anything she wears to official engagements or out with the Royal Family. Marie Claire notes that some have speculated Prince Charles pays for Middleton's designer dresses with money from his official Household budget.
Middleton is not a style glutton. She has tried to keep her clothing budget down by recycling dresses and shopping at lower-cost clothing stores like Zara, H&M, French Connection and TopShop. She returns all free samples sent to her and always pays full price, according to the fashion magazine. She even refuses to hire a stylist to keep costs down.
The Duchess has barely put a foot wrong since she got married so why does she need anyone to do it for her? Catherine has an innate sense of style and, almost as importantly, knows what is appropriate for the occasion, a source told the Daily Mail. She might not choose the most cutting edge designers, but she know what looks good on her and that's what counts. Plus she is acutely conscious that she is not yet a full-time working royal and feels it is pretty pointless, as well as extravagant, to have her own dresser.
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However, designers cannot help but flock to the demure damsel.
Sarah Burton worked intimately with Middleton when designing her Alexander McQueen wedding dress.
Roland Mouret also worked closely with Middleton when designing the dress she wore to a private dinner at Claridge's Thirty Club restaurant in early May. The floor-sweeping, cream gown had a sexy, thigh-high split in the front that showed off the Duchess' toned legs. It was a bold move for Middleton, who typically opts for more buttoned-up ensembles.
I think it was quite fantastic that there was a split up the front, the French designer told the Telegraph. That picture of a woman when you catch a little of the leg, that's what you want to see. It's that notion of privacy. It's something that should be for her husband and she just show a glimpse of it and I think that is one of the more amazing moments of life. You feel happy when you see that. It was not too much. It was with a lot of respect. Yes, I think I did... quite well.
She's a fantastic person to work with, he added. She's a woman of her time. She's very aware of her position and she's a really nice person. She's human. It's really nice to work with someone in her position. It's... historic, yes.
It's a one-to-one relationship with a woman where you help them to communicate something about themselves, he said. As a man I try to put them less in danger because a bad picture sell more than a good picture. But I don't put them in... armor. It is still them. You give power to the person by saying, 'You are a powerful person; the dress is just going to be there, but you are so powerful.'
Steven Parvin, the Queen's beloved couturier, approves of Middleton's fashion metamorphosis.
I think she is looking fabulous, he told the Daily Mail. I understand with the way the economy is at the moment that she feels a needs to be seen in High Street clothes [but] I think people also want to see her in things that are slightly more unattainable. She can't go walking into a function and bump into a woman wearing exactly the thing. People want the Royal Family to be slightly unreachable, it's part of the magic they have.
Princess Diana always wore couture clothes and it will become the norm for Kate as time goes on, he added. The reaction that she has already received should give her the confidence to wear more. Especially in this day and age, people just want to be dazzled.