Great Kate: Her Engagement Photos Show Thrift Is the New Chic

Kate has always been one to buy off-the rack from popular retailers, but wearing an off-the rack dress from two years ago ushers in a new era of royal fashion accessibility.
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Readers, have you seen the amazing new engagement photos of Kate Middleton with Prince William? The photos are by Mario Testino, who took the beautiful photos of Princess Diana for Vanity Fair. In the more formal portrait (above) commoner Kate looks uncommonly chic in a dress that she has owned for 2 years from her very own closet. The dress is a rich looking winter white by UK store Reiss. I think the savvy marketing people at Reiss just hit the style jackpot. According to their blog, they will be reissuing the dress soon.

"The Nannette dress that Kate is wearing comes as part of our core dress offering that we are renowned for," says Reiss via their blog. "While this particular style is not currently available, there will be a version coming out mid January as part of our SS11 collection." I predict a wait list and a sell-out of the upcoming Nannette dress.

I've written before about Kate's style essentials. She has always been one to buy off-the rack from popular retailers (the High Street), but wearing an off-the rack dress from two years ago ushers in a new era of royal fashion accessibility. When Diana Spencer was still Lady Diana she also choose an off the rack garment for her engagement photo. Remember the charmingly demure blue suit she wore from Harrod's with the blouse with the little tie bow at the neck? Reiss is surely upscale but it is not couture priced and they do have sales. If you haven't heard of Reiss, you can check them out online. They have stores in the US, the UK, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Russia, China and the UAE. I'm sure Reiss retail sales are skyrocketing as we speak.

Another item that is now in high demand is the blouse Kate wore in the more casual engagement photo. Pictured below, the blouse is from UK store Whistles. In the second engagement photo, Kate is wearing a cream blouse from Whistles. Whistles will also be reissuing the blouse, two years after it first went on sale. Jane Shepherdson, chief executive officer of Whistles, said: "We are delighted that Katherine has chosen to wear Whistles in her engagement photographs. Due to a surge of customer interest, we will be re-releasing the 'Kate' blouse as a limited edition in early 2011."

Despite being offered highly priced designer wear, Kate chooses her own style essentials from her own closet, with pieces from Whistles and Reiss. She also reportedly did her own makeup. I love her style confidence! In the US, we have a recessionista in the White House in Michelle Obama, who shops the Gap, White House Black Market, J. Crew, Talbot's, H&M and other retailers. Now it looks like a recessionista may just step into the Palace... although Kate's style may change when she becomes Princess of Wales, as did Diana's. Stay tuned as the evolution of style continues.