When the royal engagement was announced, amongst the excitement for students that St Andrews was once again in the public eye, there was also controversy caused by the Daily Telegraph blog article “Kate Middleton is a typical St Andrews girl”. This title divided the student body – many agreed with the statement but many took issue with its stereotyping, giving rise to the much debated topic: what is a typical St Andrews girl? According to the article, St Andrews girls are “fresh-faced and wholesome and they typically wear Barbours, pashminas, tailored tweed jackets, padded bodywarmers, pearls and Tiffany hearts.” Whilst there is no denying that St Andrews does play host to girls who adhere to this stereotype, there are plenty of others who are individual and don’t conform to any stereotype instilled by a portion of the student body or the media. Across the board, St Andrews features a diverse range of girls, adding to the beauty of this small town.
Kate’s style has evolved and there is no doubt that she has risen to fame for her style as well as her relationship. Yes, during her time at St Andrews Kate may have been kitted out with a Barbour and Longchamp bag, but her sense of style has developed, transforming her into one of the most influential upcoming style icons of our time. It is not simply what Kate wears, but the sense of self it projects – grace, elegance and intelligence. We should take pride in Kate as our fellow alumnus and be glad that she is representing our University in such a ladylike way -no matter what our personal style.
Kate is certainly making her mark in the fashion world, and is a breath of fresh air compared to British style icons such as Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham who lack the natural, effortless look she possesses. Kate channels a modern approach to classics – fitted jackets, pretty day dresses, just the right amount of jewellery. Ever appropriate, yet not boring, Kate has found the right balance in her dress sense and is quickly on her way to iconic status, the dark blue Issa dress worn for the royal engagement announcement is sure to go down in fashion history. Her outfit choice for the recent Royal visit to St Andrews of a chic red and black skirt suit paired with tights, boots and gloves was a perfect ensemble for the occasion – classic and well put together, yet with individual touches such as the black velvet bow detail on the jacket. Her preference of smaller, lesser-known designers shows that her interest goes beyond the big names of fashion. She has also been commended by the media for recycling her outfits, demonstrating a sensible approach in tough economic times.
Kate faces pressure over the coming months and years to live up to many expectations as Britain’s future Queen, and the image she projects is vital. Although her style has matured to fit into her new role, she has stayed true to herself and her sense of style from her days at St Andrews. We should enjoy the fact that one of our alumni is making her mark in the fashion world, promoting not only aspects of St Andrews life such as the charity fashion shows, but also ourselves, the students. Kate represents the University and we should be proud that she has gained attention for proving herself to be a lovely, polite and graceful woman. Whether or not you admire Kate’s style, it cannot be denied that she has projected a positive image of St Andrews girls through her elegance and poise. She used to be just another one of us, and as she is thrown into the media spotlight we can look on with approval and determine that yes, Kate could be St Andrews’ own style icon. After all, style is not simply what you wear, but how you wear it.
Sarah Louise Feeney
Image: Rosie Steer