Royal Wedding Fashion Scoop

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Royal Wedding Fever has officially hit Britain, and as the nation gears up for the biggest celebration in years, the fashion world is abuzz with effect the lovely Kate Middleton is having on British '?? and worldwide - trends. We've gone straight to the UK for the scoop--Momtrends guest fashion correspondent April J Harris, author of the divine www.21stcenturyhousewife.com

Over the last few years, Kate Middleton has been photographed in some beautiful outfits, many of them off the rack designs that she has sourced from the high street. This has endeared her to British fashionistas because emulating Kate'??s sense of style is '?? for the moment '?? pretty attainable. She chose high street fashion for those wonderful engagement photographs by Mario Testino. The blouse she wore in the more relaxed of the two was from the Whistles 2008 collection and the dress in the more formal portrait from Reiss. Most people would consider their clothes investment pieces, with the blouse retailing at £95 (around $150) and the dress at £155 (around $250) '?? but they are accessible nonetheless. And the fact that both of these pieces have been hanging in Kate'??s wardrobe for some time, and were not bought specially for the photographs, has given us all a sense that this is a woman who loves her clothes and isn'??t concerned about style over substance.

Of course, both Whistles and Reiss are making the most of this, and while Whistles plan to re-release the blouse (renamed the '??Kate'??) early this year, Reiss have already sold out of a second shipment of the '??Nanette'?? dress here in the UK. I am told by a reliable source another shipment of the dress will be arriving Stateside soon. I managed to get hold of one of the coveted dresses (strictly for research purposes you understand!) but I have to say that Reiss'?? statement '??similar to the dress worn by Kate Middleton'?? must be true. The quality of the dress I received really did not seem consistent with the dress she was wearing - the hem didn'??t lie properly to start with. I hope Whistles are more careful when they re-market the blouse!

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I think it is more than fair to say that Kate favours classic styles. Her clothes are usually very tailored and sleek, showing off her trim figure beautifully. She looks great in just about any colour, from jewel brights to soft neutrals, and combines bespoke designer dressing with the high street beautifully. I think the high street do need to be aware of this and not mass market too many of the things she buys as Reiss are doing, as it will encourage her to abandon them in favour of couture designs.

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Of course, it is the wedding dress everyone is really excited about. Kate has been photographed outside many different designers'?? ateliers, but also at more local bridal shops in the British county of Berkshire where her family home is. Back in January, Bruce Oldfield, one of the late Princess Diana'??s favourite designers, was being muted as the chosen one as Kate'??s mother and sister were photographed meeting with him at his boutique in Chelsea (see one of his creations above). Frankly I think the Palace, and Kate, are probably attempting to create some red herrings in order to keep the dress a secret. And what bride wouldn'??t? It would be awful if the design were to be revealed before the big day. Kate may be destined to become a royal, but at her heart she is simply a woman in love '?? and every woman deserves the right to keep her wedding dress a secret.

That doesn'??t stop us from speculating though, and I'??m sure Kate'??s dress will be stunning. I'??m predicting a traditional white ensemble '?? the engagement photos prove Kate looks stunning in white '?? in a classic, elegant style with a long slim line. I suspect the neckline will be demure - it can'??t really be anything else when you are getting married in Westminster Abbey '?? although I think she may go for a scoop shape as it would really flatter her. While the skirt of the dress will almost certainly be slim and tailored, I am sure the train will be elegantly spectacular. With an aisle the length of Westminster Abbey'??s one could get away with quite a train indeed '?? but I don'??t think Kate'??s will be anywhere near as long as Princess Diana'??s was.

As for designer, I'??m not sure Oldfield is the man. I think it is pretty safe to assume Kate'??s choice will be British though '?? so I wonder if Stella McCartney might be a possibility? Having said that, I do wonder if she might not choose a younger, lesser-known designer.

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One thing is for sure - Kate'??s wonderful sense of fashion and her confidence in her own style have marked her out as a woman of substance reminiscent of the late Princess Diana and Princess Grace. There is no doubt Kate is a fashion icon in the making and that all eyes will be on her, not just on her wedding day, but for a long time to come.

For more of April's take on fashion and style, be sure to visit www.21stcenturyhousewife.com and don't forget to mark your calendars April 29th is the big event. (Wedding portrait by Mario Testin0)

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