31 December 2011

2011 in Review: Crown Princess Mette-Marit

Best of the Year
I like it when she gets saucy on us. This is the only Mette-Marit appearance that truly made my jaw drop this year. What can I say? Sometimes you have to wait a while between stunners from her, but she's got some serious game when she feels like playing it.

Runners Up
I just love it when she puts those little caps on the back of her head. Probably would hate it on anyone else, but with her nearly white hair and striking features, it just works. I also like it when she gets her LBD on, and also her purple on, and her perfect princess on, with a special mention for getting her national costume on. Gorgeous.

Worst of the Year
I fully expect her oddly colorful, slightly Oompa Loompa schoolgirl look to garner many mentions here, but for me, the worst was the height of something that brings her whole look down for me: such casually thrown together combos. What was with the business coat thrown over the frilly dress? She usually restricts her odd combos and too-basic business wear to her everyday dealings, but this one stuck out for being included in a state visit.

Which outfits make your best and worst lists for Mette-Marit in 2011?

Photos: FVN/Getty Images/Daylife/Aftenposten/AVB

Best of 2011: Crown Princess Victoria

Best of the Year
Well, let's be honest here: our V's had a rough sartorial year, particularly since the baby's come on board. Poor love. The best of that tough time, then, must make my best list: the Nobel Prize ceremony. Blingy, fitted, and blingy again. Done and done.

Runners Up
Runners up include things that fit well (the black with the waist, perfect), explosions of color (red the night before William and Kate's weddinghot pink, and an early maternity turn in aqua) and a little bit of a sexy take on your standard royal wedding attire (also because you know I had to have some Elie Saab up in here).

Worst of the Year
The tent dresses. The tents and the SHOOTIES. This is by far the worst tent/shower curtain/muumuu she wore, because it is just so comically huge (and again, it's not maternity wear! This bad boy is made for people that don't have a bump to conceal!). If she'd put the shooties on with it, she'd've killed me. Killed me dead. I also have to throw out (dis-)honorable mentions for a double dose of snakeskin...at the Holocaust Memorial, and her odd showing at the Monaco wedding. I should state though, all grousing aside, I still heart her and I will miss her next year, as we're bound to see her disappear for maternity leave and other assorted baby business.

Which outfits make your best and worst lists for Victoria in 2011?

Photos: Daylife/Getty Images/Svenskdam

30 December 2011

Flashback Friday: My Favorite 2011 Things

It's been a good royal year, hasn't it? What fun we've had {insert contented sigh here}. It's time for some (more) nostalgia, this time about our favorite things. Not necessarily sartorial, for once. These are a few of my favorite things:

My favorite royal of the year...drumroll please...is Princess Isabella of Denmark. Awww yeah. From Isabella's entertaining antics to the grouchy stylings of Grace van Cutsem, this year seemed to bring an extra dose of moments when important grown-up royal happenings were paused for a dose of cuteness. I'm all for anyone that doesn't take everything so freaking seriously all. the. time.

My favorite royal trend of the year...has to be all the love for the not-so-popular royals. The Windsors have, for a very long time, been the best-known and most popular royal family, internationally speaking. But this year, some of that extra attention thrown their way seems to have spilled over to some of the other royal families on the block. My inbox fills more and more with requests to feature non-European royals here on this site (I'll be working on that in the new year, I promise). As someone who has always needed more bling and action than the British royal family alone can provide, I give this movement a big ol' round of jumpy claps.

My favorite royal couple of the year...is definitely Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. There were lots of wonderful tours this year: the Cambridges in North America, a whole bunch of visits from the Dutch royals, the Danes in Australia. But I think my favorites have been those undertaken by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. They received a warm welcome in Australia and made a truly historic stop in Ireland that seemed to reaffirm just why the Queen is the best in the run up to her diamond jubilee year. And sartorially speaking, it's always nice to feature her here. We debate so much, and people take such strong stands on the other royals; the warmth that her lifetime pass brings out is wonderful to see. More, please, in the Year of the Diamond Jubilee - and a big sigh of relief that Prince Philip's doing okay and will be right there with her. There's no better dynamic duo around.

My favorite royal thing of the year...is royal weddings. Just all of them, anything to do with them, I'm not picky. I won't try to name any particular moment of any particular royal wedding this year as a favorite, but I'll just say that the wealth of wedded bliss this year has been fantastic. For all the goodies its brought us to discuss, yes; but also for the numbers of you that have joined the party here because of one royal wedding or another. It really is so much more fun with all of you here, chiming in, making sure I don't feel like a crazy person, talking to myself. I hope you know that each and every comment and email makes my day, even when we don't agree. Anyway, I fear we're going to go into withdrawal in 2012...let's all wish hard we get one or two big ones to delight in.

What were your favorite royal things for the year?
(And be sure to save your least favorite royal things for next week!)

Photos: Purepeople/Abaca/Svenskdam/Daylife/Getty Images

2011 in Review: Crown Princess Mary

Best of the Year
In a year ruled by navy and beige and blergh, there's no way the most aggressive use of color all year wasn't getting a special mention from me, the eternal color cheerleader. This is a stunning shape on Mary, and slyly interesting in its color combo. A+.

Runners Up
We didn't get very much Mary this year, comparatively speaking, what with the babies and all. But the perfectly simple christening outfit, the rest of her outfits from Monaco (easy and breezy in white on arrival and a perfect ocean teal at the wedding), the intriguing blue tweed, the perfect print, and the reworked Swedish wedding gown all stood out. That last one was a close runner up to the ultimate winner for me. So, so elegant.

Worst of the Year
The curious run of mismatched pieces in New York paired with the accidentally va-va-voom gold number nearly did me in, but in the end this droopy Prada gets the "prize". I know some of you like it, but I. Do. Not.

Which outfits make your best and worst lists for Mary in 2011?

Photos: Purepeople/Abaca/Hello/Daylife

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mette-Marit, 18-24 December

Here's what Mette-Marit wore from 18-24 December:

  1. The annual Christmas photoshoot, 19 December. Oh, you know she rocks the bunad (that's the traditional costume), and this beautiful blue number might just be my favorite one yet.
  2. Christmas Eve church service, 24 December.
Photos: Vidar Ruud/ANB

29 December 2011

Week in Review: Princess Mathilde, 18-24 December

Here's what Mathilde wore from 18-24 December:

  1. At memorial for the victims of the attack in Liege, 20 December.
  2. Visiting the Queen Fabiola Children's Hospital on its 25th anniversary, 21 December.
Photos: Deredactie

Tiara Thursday: Your Favorite Tiara Appearance of 2011

Oh yes, the nostalgia's rolling on as the year wraps up. It's time for a very Thursday sort of question...

Which tiara appearance was your favorite this year?

I'll round up the tiara appearances of the ladies that we regularly feature in Week in Review posts for you to vote on, but feel free to throw out other nominations in the comments.

Princess Charlene of Monaco
Maybe it's not a tiara, technically, but I'm counting it because I can do what I want: borrowed floral ornaments from Caroline for her wedding day kick off the year in tiaras for Charlene, followed by the sparkly microphone known as the Diamond Foam Tiara at her wedding ball. And then her streak of not just going for it with the tiara wearing began with the Ocean Tiara around her neck at the Red Cross Ball.

The Duchess of Cambridge
This is the part where you tell me it's unfair to include this appearance - but too bad kittens, a tiara appearance is a tiara appearance. You can omit it from your own personal voting criteria if you like. Thus, Kate makes her lone entry in our game wearing the Halo Scroll Tiara while doing the laundry (was that not it?).

Letizia, Princess of Asturias
Woe is Letizia! Only one wee tiara appearance for the whole year, during the state visit from Chile, in some major hair and the Prussian Diamond Tiara.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
Mette-Marit kicked off the year wearing both of her tiaras in new official portraits and then stuck resolutely to her Diamond Daisy Tiara for the rest of the year: at the state visit from Lithuania, the state visit from Luxembourg, the wedding ball in Monaco, and the state visit from South Africa.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
What's this? A whole year without a single spotting of the Ruby Parure Tiara? I'm counting on Mary to rectify this at the upcoming New Years Court gala and/or during Queen Margrethe's Ruby Jubilee, also in January. To her credit, she did give us some new tiara news when she added pearls to her standard Wedding Tiara during a state visit from Korea and then took them off again for the wedding in Monaco.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands
Look at this: not a single tiara repeat in an entire year. And this is why she's still my girl, no matter how many ill-fitting Natan outfits and disastrous messy hairstyles I must endure. First, she added a 13th tiara to her repetoire by debuting Queen Emma's Diamond Tiara in Qatar, and then she went with the Rose Cut Diamond Bandeau while on a state visit to Germany, the Antique Pearl Tiara for portraits marking her 40th birthday, and aquamarines at the wedding ball of the Prince and Princess of Monaco.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
It's a good thing our friends from Luxembourg turned up at the Nobel festivities this year, otherwise we would have been left with two meager tiara showings from MT: the Belgian Scroll Tiara while state visiting (it should be a verb, don't you think?) Norway, and the Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide Tiara at the wedding ball in Monaco. In Sweden for the Nobel, she brought the Chaumet Emerald Tiara and the pearl and diamond choker tiara. Also, I would like it known that I am still bitter that we never got a glimpse of her tiara and outfit for the National Day gala. Pffft.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Victoria pops in with three Baden Fringe Tiara appearances at a representation dinner, and then another one, and in Monaco, and some pregnancy tiara style wearing the Cut Steel Tiara at the final representation dinner of the year. Finally, the Nobel Prize hoopla brought out the Six Button Tiara and one last showing of the Baden Fringe.

Princess Mathilde of Belgium
Poor Mathilde. No government for nearly the whole year means no incoming state visits, I suppose, and little opportunity to bust out one's bling. Good girl, then, for squeezing in a tiara appearance at the wedding of William and Catherine by sporting her Laurel Wreath Tiara as a necklace, and then as a proper tiara at Albert and Charlene's wedding ball.

UPDATE: The poll is closed! The top 5 winners are:
  1. Máxima's official portrait, 17% of the vote
  2. Catherine's wedding, 11%
  3. Charlene's wedding, 10%
  4. Máxima in Germany, 6%
  5. Mary in Monaco, 5%
Photos: Daylife/Getty Images/AP/Svenskdam/Hello/Belga

2011 in Review: Princess Charlene

Best of the Year
Behold, the gown that gets my personal vote for Best Royal Wedding Gown of 2011. None of her other outfits even came close here...the hair, the hair ornament, the makeup, the veil, the whole thing. Char never looked better.

Runners Up
See what I did there? Are you on to my game? Yeah...I picked out most of the colorful Charlene appearances for the year. She's been such a festival of beige n' black n' gray this year (let's just call this collectively the blergh color family from now on), I had to go for the two luscious greens and the hot pink - which, even though I still think her makeup was tragic, was the best in color for her all year. Color! It's essential for the blondes, these are things I know first hand! Also making my runners up are kicky prints and youthful stripes. And I made two exceptions from the blergh color family for her princess perfect appearance at Westminster Abbey and her chic National Day day outfit. See, when you do it right, all is well...just don't do it exclusively, is all I'm saying.

Worst of the Year
Coulda put all the beiges and blacks here, grumble grumble grumble. But - with great restraint - I have picked but one: a peek-a-boob (and tummy) jumpsuit (yeah, I think it was a jumpsuit) with some of the worst royal hair we saw all year. Thankfully she's got a handle on the hair these days (though not always...).

What makes your best and worst lists for Charlene in 2011?

Photos: Getty Images/Daylife/Zimbio/Palais Princier

Week in Review: Crown Princess Mary, 18-24 December

Here's what Mary wore from 18-24 December:

  1. a) Doing some shopping, 20 December, in b) a coat from Prada.
  2. Christmas Eve church service, 24 December.
Photos: bt.dk

28 December 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Your Favorite Bridal Gown of 2011

As we wind down and look back upon what really has been the Year of the Royal Wedding, it's only natural to ask...

Which is your favorite 2011 royal wedding gown?

UPDATE: The poll is closed are in! With 1752 votes, the results are:
  1. Catherine Middleton, 44% of the votes
  2. Charlene Wittstock, 23%
  3. Jetsun Pema 18%
  4. Zeina Shaban 7%
  5. Everybody Else 3% Each

2011 in Review: The Duchess of Cambridge

Best of the Year
Boom! The late entry wins the game at the buzzer! Yeah, I lurve it. The dress is just divine, I think this is the most flattering thing she wore the whole year. Like so many of you noted, I have some reservations about the necklace (I'd take the ruby flower deals off, that's too wee and twee for my tastes), but: she wore it. And what did I say about that? Step 1: put the diamonds on. Step 2: do other things. Here's hoping for a blingy new year!

Runners Up
I love a killer shoe and I love purple - these are not secrets well kept. Therefore, the very first Kate appearance of the year must make my list of runners up. Nods also go to what I found to be two of her most young, fresh, and feminine takes on the old school jacket and dress/skirt combo, the blue and black and the crochet look (which I know some of you will very much disagree with me on). At the time of the big tour, I favored her lilac Roksanda Ilicnic dress, but fickle me has now switched my affections to the twirly purple McQueen. The pink Jenny Packham was actually going to be my #1 until the black velvet slinked in at the buzzer because, well, I love a sparkly "Look at me!" number. I just do. Sue me.

And then there's the wedding gown. The wedding gown is in here simply because I recognize that it would be ludicrous not to include it, though I still agree with my first impressions. Thus, I include my favorite view: the train, which is and was perfection.

Worst of the Year
Nobody has a perfect year, alas. I thought about the Salmon Stella, which is probably the only thing I'd call an actual hot mess for the Duchess' whole year, and I thought about a couple of the entirely oatmeal ones - seriously, contrast is your friend - but I'm giving my title to the Alexander McQueen outfit worn to visit the aftermath of the riots. And that actually has nothing to do with how the thing looks (though I do stand by my initial assessment, which was: work it or go home).

No, this is about public relations. Katemania dictates that everything she wears will be analyzed to death and just a hair beyond that, and there's nothing she can do to stop it. It's a monster, and it's coming for all of us. But the newest Duchess on the block is a careful player in the sartorial game. She's done her best to restrain the debate over her outfits...except for this one. Debuting a pricey ensemble on this particular occasion was a misstep. I don't care if it personally offended you or not (it didn't bother me), but it was a rare PR mistake, and for that, I hereby dub it the Worst of the Year.

Which outfits make your best and worst lists for Catherine in 2011?

Photos: Daylife/Getty Images/Hello/AP

Week in Review: Princess Letizia, 18-24 December

Here's what Letizia wore from 18-24 December:

  1. Audiences at Zarzuela Palace, 20 December.
  2. Attending a Cirque du Soleil performance, 23 December. Purple all around! Banner week by default.
Photos: Zimbio/Hola

27 December 2011

New Year Shenanigans

2011 is almost over, can you believe it? (No.) It's time to glance back at the year behind us and start looking ahead to the next, friends.

2011 in Review
Starting tomorrow, we begin wrapping up the year. Each royal lady that receives a Week in Review post here will also get a 2011 in Review post with my picks for her best and worst outfits. Start racking your brains, I'll be eager to hear your picks as well. Our other features this week will also have a year in review theme to them, because a little nostalgia never hurt anyone.

What's Coming Up in 2012
If 2011 was the Year of the Royal Wedding, 2012 is shaping up to be the Year of the Jubilee. I'm sure we're all looking forward to the events surrounding Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, but Queen Margrethe will go first with the celebrations for her Ruby Jubilee (that's a whopping 40 years on the throne).

Since there are so many jubilee celebrations, I thought it might be somewhat entertaining to take a look back at how some of our favorite sovereigns got there in the first place. Every monarchy handles the ceremony of inducting a new head differently; some are somber, some are glittering, many are a mix. As we hit the anniversaries of some of those accessions, we'll be looking back to where they began. We'll also glance back at how they've celebrated their jubilees to date, to add a little context to this year's various celebrations.

There's just loads going on in the coming royal year, so to help us all keep it straight, I've added a new page to the blog: Upcoming Events. This is a brief listing of the biggest royal events throughout the year (not every individual appearance, mind you, just those that usually get special coverage here in one way or another). Right now it has events we know are coming up, some of the big anniversaries and birthdays coming up, plus those annual shindigs that received a Royal Fashion Awards post from me in 2011. Further events will be added and detailed as the year goes on.

(Psst: Links to the calendar and our other pages can be found right below the header above. If you've never explored those, you'll find a page to help you figure out who's who when you have no idea who we're on about, a page of links to all the wedding themed stuff we've discussed here, a page with links to all the jewels we've talked about, and the site commenting policy.)

It's been ever so much fun chatting with you kids this year, I do hope you'll stick around for the nonsense and sparkle to come!

Week in Review: The Duchess of Cambridge, 18-24 December

Here's what Catherine wore from 18-24 December:

  1. Arriving for the annual big fat royal Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, 19 December. Anybody up for a round of Caption This? Here's my entry: "I'm in a car, the windows are blurred with rain, you can't see past my shoulders...are you seriously going to try and analyze my outfit? Seriously?"
  2. a) At The Sun Military Awards, 19 December, in a b) a custom Alexander McQueen. Delish, still.
  3. a) Visiting Centrepoint, 21 December, in b) a Ralph Lauren sweater dress. Would've stuck with the brown accessories myself, but I think black is her default. But what's the point of getting all dressed up when you're just going to be out-dorked by your hubs anyway?
While the world awaits a lil' Cambridge announcement, Prince William perfects his embarrassing dad dance moves.
UPDATE: Kate and Harry watched William play football on Christmas Eve in a sweater from Temperley London, a jacket from LK Bennett, and Le Chameau boots.
Photos: Daylife/Getty Images/Net-a-porter/Ralph Lauren/Lynn News

Week in Review: Crown Princess Victoria, 18-24 December

Here's what Victoria wore from 18-24 December:

  1. Attending the annual formal gathering of the Swedish Academy at the Stock Exchange in Stockholm, 20 December. Well, I mean, if you're going to go this far...tiara it up, man! I know, I know, that's the dress code's fault. Anyway, V gets points for adding a little hair bling, and also for wearing a dress that fits! Yay.
Photo: Svenskdam

26 December 2011

Royal Fashion Awards: A Very Royal Christmas 2011

Well ho, ho, ho, friends: Christmas brought some of our favorite royals out to play. With Prince Philip still hospitalized but reportedly in good spirits, the British hit church on Christmas morning at Sandringham; meanwhile, Christmas Eve services were attended by the royal families in Norway and Denmark. It was an understated holiday all around, but that's never stopped us before...

Best Pass
Queen Elizabeth 
 Christmas without your spouse at your side? Pass. Wear whatever you like, QEII. Carry on.

Best in Festive
The Duchess of Cambridge
Left to Right: Princess Eugenie, The Duchess of Cambridge, Zara Phillips. Click to enlarge.
On a low-key holiday, those that made an effort shall be commended. Eugenie is awarded for adding some Christmas-y color in, while Zara gets points for turning in the required amount of hat flair for a British royal event. Only Catherine did both, though, with her gorgeous wine coat and déjà vu hat. She wins the most festive award of the day.

Worst in Mismatched
The Duchess of Cornwall
L to R: The Duchess of Cornwall, The Princess Royal
Oh, the combos. Anne's slightly off hat-to-coat combo (what season are we in again?) is no match to what I am pretty sure are army green boots on Camilla. What a mishmash duo...and somehow, I'd expect no more from either.

Best in Plaid, Tartan, etc., etc.
Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
L to R: Autumn Phillips, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, Queen Margrethe, Crown Princess Mary
I suppose there's a certain festiveness to a good tartan...alas, certain things are never quite as charming past a certain age. Lady Louise was cute as a button, Queen Margrethe was Queen Margrethe, and Autumn and Mary sadly furthered two of my least favorite trends right now: short maternity tents, and anything resembling a SHOOTIE. Sigh.

Best in Miniature Headgear
Margarita Armstrong-Jones
L to R: Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Princess Isabella
This one's the hardest to award, by far. Ingrid's cute bow? Isabella's adorable purple? It's gotta be Margarita with the combo for the win.

Best in Understated
Princess Beatrice
L to R: Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Queen Sonja, Princess Beatrice, Lady Sarah Chatto
Ingrid's bow really was the best part of the whole Christmas appearance from the Norwegian royals, with Mette-Marit and Sonja blending right in. Lady Sarah did the same, but then again, understated is a permanent state for her. Understated is not at all Princess Beatrice's regular mode, but she managed to pull out the best-coordinated look of the non-looks.

Best in Retro
The Countess of Wessex
L to R: The Countess of Wessex, Viscountess Linley
Retro's tricky to do sometimes. Sophie's almost there, just a wee bit bigger on that pill box and we'd've had it, but Serena...well, she overdosed, poor dear. Though I'll say this: that's a hat.

Who made your best- and worst-dressed list this year?

Photos: Chris Jackson/Getty Images/Zimbio/Daylife/Belga/Newspix