Kate the great
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gets in the western spirit at the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alta. on July 7 2011. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
Between the royal wedding at the end of April and the tour that has consumed Canada for the past nine days, it might seem like the lenses have not left Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for months - but get used to it.
As she proved with each outfit worn - and analyzed - during the royal couple's Canadian tour, Catherine has a flair for fashion, for wearing clothing that is not only flattering, but attainable as well. It's been estimated that her choices could be the basis for a $2 billion industry, as women flock to stores to discover whether they too can pull off these sweetly feminine, somewhat conservative, but always elegant looks. Even her final looks of the tour - a casual ensemble of dark jeans paired with a white Temperley blouse (appropriately named "Rodeo") for the Stampede Parade, and a red coat-dress composed of satin and wool by Catherine Walker for a stop at the zoo - had fresh, clean feels to them, a nod to the revelry without getting too down and dirty.
From sheaths to full skirts, nautical looks to conservative coats, Catherine's style never ranged too far from the simply pretty track. Even accessories stayed on course - a maple leaf-shaped diamond brooch borrowed from the Queen made two appearances, white gold and diamond Kiki McDonough studs kept a relatively low profile, turquoise earrings to match the Calgary belt buckle added a touch of colour, and hanging earrings that seemed to match that world-famous engagement ring were the only jewelled adornments seen throughout. LK Bennett pumps were the feet's mainstay, with Prada stilettos and Pied a Tierre espadrilles breaking up the monotony. While she didn't wear as many Canadian designers as may have been expected, the Smythe blazer and Erdem lacy dresses the sole representatives, she did showcase a sense of occasion, and - love or hate that maple leaf fascinator - a sense of fun.
As William and Catherine travel to Los Angeles, where galas and celebrities await, it's possible that the Duchess may start showcasing a more glamourous appeal (an image of a ballgown carried by a soldier to their plane definitely points in that direction). But for this first official overseas visit, Canadians are left with a new member of the royal family who dresses, well, not all that differently than the rest of us. We just don't all have the great hair to accompany every outfit.