Cathy Cambridge and the Case of the Recycled Frock

Posted on August 05, 2014

Like all sensible Duchesses, Cathy knows a good deal when she sees one. And since this dress worked so well for her once before, she sees no reason to take it out of circulation. We called it a great “working dress” the last time and it’s clear that’s exactly how she sees it. It’s like it’s her Duchess uniform.


Catherine-Duchess-Cambridge-Prince-Henry-Prince-Harry-L-K-Bennett-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO-(1B)Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry visit The Tower of London’s ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ ceramic poppy installation by artist Paul Cummins, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of First World War in London, England. Catherine is wearing a L.K. Bennett ‘Detroit’ dress paired with Jimmy Choo pumps and a Russell & Bromley ‘Muse’ clutch.

Catherine-Duchess-Cambridge-Prince-Henry-Prince-Harry-L-K-Bennett-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (2)

Catherine-Duchess-Cambridge-Prince-Henry-Prince-Harry-L-K-Bennett-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (3)

Catherine-Duchess-Cambridge-Prince-Henry-Prince-Harry-L-K-Bennett-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (4)

Catherine-Duchess-Cambridge-Prince-Henry-Prince-Harry-L-K-Bennett-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (5)

Catherine-Duchess-Cambridge-Prince-Henry-Prince-Harry-L-K-Bennett-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (6)

L.K. Bennett ‘Detroit’ Dress

Catherine-Duchess-Cambridge-Prince-Henry-Prince-Harry-L-K-Bennett-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (7)

It’s not great style, but it works really well and it suits the occasion. She must have figured it would photograph spectacularly against all that red.

Dear God, the men in that family do not know how to get a suit fitted, do they? Harry’s jacket is too long and both it and the pants are too full. Will’s jacket is a skosh too short and it gives him ladyhips. No wonder Cathy doesn’t overdo it on the style front. With these two as her co-stars, she only needs to show up in something that fits correctly and she’s won the day.





[Phoot Credit: Xclusive/PacificCoastNews, i-Images/PacificCoastNews, KP Pictures/PacificCoastNews,]

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  • Sporting, as always, the world’s most perfect head of hair.

    • Sam Smith

      She’s got to make up for her Prince and, it looks like his brother too these days. I think the blue looks great against the red, really pops.

    • kerryev

      And the unfathomable ability to walk on grass in heels without aerating it.

      • Beardslee

        I know! I am so impressed. I’m not even good in wedges.

    • I thought you meant Harry. Easy mistake to make…

  • Flavia Pantoja

    I like her a lot (and let’s not get started on her amazing hair!) but this is really a boring dress, with boring shoes and a boring purse.

    • Grumpy Girl

      The color of the dress is so fabulous, though. And if it looks boring, it’s only because it fits her so well–makes it all seem so smoothly understated.

    • TRSTL

      Less “boring” and more “venue/event appropriate”. It is a perfect color for her and against the red, demure enough for commemorating the death of thousands of men and women but with just enough style to be current. Really, a flawless choice for the day.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        Exactly. She’s wearing a dress that is understated and appropriate for the occasion.

  • Beardslee

    And those are made to measure suits, right? I can’t imagine they don’t have bespoke suits. So, why????
    I loathe clutches but my new theory is that carrying one gives her something to do with her hands.
    Those poppies are amazing and very moving.

    • Sam Smith

      She has a thing about clutching at the clutches, but there must be all sorts of rules about where she can or cannot put her hands.

    • Bridget Smith

      If I were in her place, I would almost certainly be handed clutches just to keep me from incessantly fidgeting.

      But the other thing is that a shoulder or crossbody bag looks so utilitarian. This is exactly why I prefer them in my everyday life – I need to carry things AND have my hands free, thank you! – but I think that it would be out of place here.

    • LadyVimes

      This is why I carry a clutch. I always have something to occupy my hands.

      • Tapetum

        That’s why I knit. It’s my socially-acceptable fidget. But I am a mid-western housewife and can get away with wandering the streets of town knitting a sock. I suspect people would disapprove if Kate tried it amidst the poppies.

        • You can walk and knit at the same time?! Witchcraft!

          • Tapetum

            Nah. Walking and knitting doesn’t make people think I’m a witch – playing DnD and knitting at the same time, however is a dicier proposition.

  • Karen Belgrad

    A ceramic poppy installation? Was she off to see the ceramic wonderful wizard?

    • SewingSiren

      To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI . In Flanders fields the poppies bloom….

    • Mbourn

      No. It’s to pay respects to the dead of World War I.

      • Beardslee

        One for each of the British fallen.

        • meganknight

          One for each of the commonwealth fallen

      • Karen Belgrad

        Ack. So sorry for the disrespectful comment. I need to learn to read the photo caption, not just the blog post. Apologies to all.

        • Beardslee

          You just didn’t know, that’s all. No worries.

    • J.W.

      It’s quite a stunning installation, particularly if you can find an overhead photo of it pouring out of the Tower of London. One poppy for each person killed in WWI I believe.

      • Fanny_Trollope

        When it’s finished, there will be 888,246 poppies. One for each soldier from Britain and its colonies who died in WWI.

        • Michael Spencer

          When these photos were taken, there were only about 100,000 of the poppies in place. They’re continuing to install them, with the final one to be placed on November 11, in honor of Armistice Day. In the end, they will completely surround the Tower of London.

          It’s a brilliant idea and brilliantly done. And fwiw there are photos of Kate moved to tears at the installation.

      • sk8tfan

        I saw one photo where they are spilling out of a window from the tower, looking like a river of blood going down the side of the building. Haunting.

        • J.W.

          I think it’s really moving.

      • ankali

        Brilliant installation. I think I’d have trouble staying composed.

  • Awesome – Cathy and I have something in common – we’re both Poppy Princesses. Of course, I was seven and had to dress like a poppy and not in LK Bennet dresses with itchy dyed green tights…

  • Of COURSE it’s out of stock in every size and color! Cathy, you are the world’s Jackie O.

    • geans

      I didn’t even check…I remember being disappointed I couldn’t get it the last time she was featured in it!

  • Jessica O’Connell

    Royals – they’re just like us! They have to wear dresses twice!

  • TM

    Whoa, the poppies exhibition looks pretty spectacular. I must find wider photos…

    • TRSTL

      It is amazing, a friend in London posted some pics and it is really moving and dramatic.

      • TM

        Oh it definitely seems that way. I would love to visit/be in London.

    • MilaXX

      There’s lost of pictures circulating online. It’s visually very stunning.

  • crash1212

    Great choice for the day. That Poppy Installation is stunning.

  • random_poster

    That dress is perfect working-princess wear. I know it’s cheesy, but I am always charmed when the three of them are in pictures together.

    • scoobynacks

      She’s a modern day Dorothy on her way to Oz among the field of flowers. 🙂

      • DuBey2

        If only they had held hands and started skipping together…….

  • SewingSiren

    Harry looks like he slept in his suit.

    • Daisy Walker

      He is wearing the same tie he wore yesterday, maybe he indulged in a few Belgian brews before heading home from the event last night.

      • sisterb67

        And I daresay from that third photo, it appears that Harry is wearing – GASP – *pleated* pants. Which are always a bad idea.

        • Daisy Walker

          ALWAYS! I wouldn’t be surprised if Williams wore pleats, but Harry should know better.

  • Kent Roby

    With the first shot, I thought that the royals had signed on to pitch Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice!

  • Adrianna Grężak

    I love this dress. I think the faux blazer detail is a perfect and witty reference for business attire.

  • MilaXX

    Fit issues aside I think they all dressed very consciously for this photo shoot. It’s like royal stylist told them the blue would contrast well again the red poppies and the red in the gents ties would link them to the flowers in a visually pleasing way.

    • Juliette Wojciechowski

      I wonder if the fit issues are deliberate? If simply too much fabulousness would be considered in poor taste, so they provide something for the commoners to mock?

  • Imasewsure

    I’m guessing that the royal tailor is a myopic 1000 year old man that no one has the heart to fire….

    • sk8tfan

      I read once they have a guy on staff whose job it is to change the time on every clock in Buckingham Palace twice a year when the time changes. He probably falls into the same category.

  • Gatto Nero

    The dress is fine. The shots of her smiling and laughing seem a little out of place in this setting, given the occasion.

    • karonf

      There are other shots where she looks like she is wiping away tears.

  • Yolanda

    Cathy Cambridge knew exactly what she was doing when she pulled this from her wardrobe. That blue is stunning against the red of the poppies.

  • As a WWI History junkie, I wish I could see that installation in person–I read it’s supposed to represent the number of British dead in the “War to End All Wars” (sad LOL here). She looks great and the guys look passable.

    • schadenfreudelicious

      Me too, you are actually able to purchase the ceramic poppies from the installation once it is over on November 11th, the proceeds going to various charities, I just bought one online.

      • Beardslee

        I’m thinking I will as well, though as an American the exchange rate will probably be awful. But I would like to have one. That war fascinates me. I live to visit the Imperial War Museum sometime over the next four years.

        • schadenfreudelicious

          As a Canadian WW1 is very significant to us, we all wear the poppy on Novemeber 11th, so I really wanted to have a piece of this installation.

          • Beardslee

            Yes, here in the US it is very minor so my interest is unusual. However, I do have my grandfather’s entire kit, including his gas mask and an amazing pair of boots, maps, first aid kit, etc etc.

          • makeityourself

            It’s comforting to know that other BKs share more than a passing interest in WWI. Sometimes I feel like such an oddball.

            My grandfather was a doughboy and was shot the face while serving in France. He survived but it was his ticket home. His brother was gassed on the battlefield and never recovered. He spent his days wandering the downtown streets, unable to think clearly or hold a job. Ever since I heard these stories as a child, I’ve been fascinated by this period in history.

        • jabes

          It’s about $75 including shipping to the US.

          • Beardslee

            I just ordered one…knew I’d regret it if I didn’t.

        • Anita Karenin

          The Imperial War Museum is the best. Churchill’s bunker is cool too.

    • sugarkane105

      I looked up just how many ceramic poppies were installed – 888,246! Wow. Must look amazing in person.

      • jabes

        They’re not finished yet — the installation continues until the last poppy is placed on November 11th. Right now, it’s something over 100,000 installed. I can only imagine that it will move beyond stunning, into the range of harrowing, by the time they’re all laid. All that blood spilt.

    • Loramir

      I’ve been learning a lot about WWI history lately. It’s woefully under-taught in the US, or at least at my high school. Even my British history class in college pretty much glossed over it. They touch on the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and then just kind of go “and then there was a war” and move on to the Great Depression. With the centennial approaching I realized I knew pretty much nothing about it, not even the cause, apart from Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Wilhelm and trenches being involved somewhere.

      The Atlantic magazine has had a 10-part photo series on different aspects of the war on their website (and there are some extremely well-informed history buffs in the comments on the galleries that are interesting to read as well) and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast has been doing a Blueprint for Armageddon series about the war that’s truly fascinating (seriously, I would never have thought a THREE HOUR episode about the political buildup to the war would hold my interest, but he really brings it to life). I knew it was a bloody war but never realized what a massive turning point it was in so many ways.

      Thanks for pointing out that you can actually buy the ceramic poppies – I love poppies anyway and would love to have one so beautiful and significant. (Though the site to buy one seems to be down for me right now.)

      • Good for you for educating yourself! I will have to look up the Hardcore History podcast. If you ever want to read something, I recommend “The Guns of August”, by Barbara Tuchman. It starts with the funeral of Edward VII in 1910 and ends as August 1914 draws to a close, the sides are entrenched, and the body count is rising. Fascinating and informative and interesting reading!

  • Emily Brehob

    I figure she tends to repeat outfits so as not to upstage whatever event is being commemorated or organization is being supported.

    • cocohall

      That, and the British public pays for the royals, so if they are too ostentatious, it looks bad. In fact, I read that some of the lesser royals have been kicked off the pay roll (I believe this may have happened to Beatrice and Eugenie – maybe they were spared). It’s hard for us Yanks to remember, but the royals in the Commonwealth are not celebrities in the same sense that movie/tv/music stars are celebrities.

      • Mim McDonald

        The Civil List was ended in 2012, but very few royals were on it. The Queen now gets a percentage of the profits from the Crown Estate (Royal landholdings), currently in the region of £30-£40 million a year, the rest goes to the UK government. (Sounds like a lot, but she’s got some jolly old houses to maintain.) The Prince of Wales gets his income from the Duchy of Cornwall’s holdings. The other Royals get their money from working, or from The Queen/ PoW I believe.

        • cocohall

          Thanks. I knew someone out there in the BK world would know the specifics. I do remember reading somewhere that when Cathy Cambridge first joined up that Charles gave her a substantial amount of money to help get her a suitable wardrobe. Which not many girls can say about their fathers-in-law. Do you know if royals are allowed to accept designer clothes/accessories? I read somewhere else about the folks who dress the queen and keep her in her purses and shoes and I thought that the article said that she paid for these things.

          • Mim McDonald

            The working royals have to pay for everything, no commercial gifts. The only loans I can think of are loaner tiaras – Crown Princess Mary of Denmark’s ‘Midnight Tiara’ springs to mind; it’s still owned by the jeweller but she’s the only person who borrows it. [Edit: and yeah, she’s not British, but it’s the best example I could think of!]

            I did wonder if that was why Kate didn’t go to the Ralph Lauren charity bash William hosted. It would have been rude to show up in another designer’s work, but unlike the actresses etc who went, she’d have had to pay full price for whatever she wore, and she’d already had to buy a load for the Australia/New Zealand trip. Could she justify spending tens of thousands on a RL dress at that point? Especially as Kate’s far from the busiest of ‘working Royals’; compare her schedule to Sophie’s or Anne’s and it’s startling. One of the Swedish princesses – it might even have been Mette-Marit; I can’t recall off the top of my head – did borrow a Valentino dress for a Valentino event at the Met, but I recall that raising a lot of eyebrows.

          • cocohall

            You’ve got to wonder with Kate if the Firm is using a bit of knowledge gleaned from the Diana years and have decided take things more slowly. They really can’t afford to have another beautiful young girl run afoul of the system and start crying her eyes out to journalists and end up with William divorced. I was trying to explain the Diana phenomenon to my teenage girls when we were in London earlier this year, and honestly, when you start recalling all the specifics, it would seem preposterous if you read it in a novel. And yet it all did happen, with a tragic tragic end. And things were starting to go a bit pear-shaped when Kate was in hospital at the beginning of her pregnancy and the radio hosts called pretending to be Charles and the Queen. The nurse involved committed suicide, correct? I can only imagine the Queen thinking “Shit, it is starting AGAIN.” (If the queen swears, of course.) Besides they have adorable baby George waging a very successful PR campaign all on his own. Kate just has to keep him in cute coveralls and release occasional photos of him looking adorable with the dog. I, personally, don’t need much else!

          • Mim McDonald

            Yeah, I should think so – if nothing else, William will have seen first-hand what press intrusion did to his mother. And poor Kate can’t even go to the shops without being trailed everywhere. Though her lack of official engagements is starting to backfire over here, she’s been referred to as the ‘Duchess of Doolittle’ in the press. (The same press that ignores what other members of the BRF are doing…)

            I wish some of her fashion sense would trickle down more. People decry her for being boring, and frequently she is boring (I wish she’d ditch the sunken-sponge hats), but at least she looks like a lady!

          • cocohall

            Oooh, Duchess of Doolittle! Not nice! The speculation in the rag mags here is that she is going to get pregnant again soon. That could buy her some time.

            As for her fashion, I’ve always thought that she is taking the LONG view, meaning that if she does eventually become Queen, every photo ever taken of her will be recycled and recycled for years to come. She has to have a consistent style that works for her now AND as a 40, 50, 60 year old. In that sense, her clothes are a bit more of a uniform really, than fashion. It has to be said that not all of Diana’s frocks aged that well, even though she was considered very fashionable at the time. I’m thinking of the looks with big bows tied at the neck (and I admit I wore those in the 80s too – much to my chagrin.)

          • Mim McDonald

            It’s something a lot of Queens seem to do. Elizabeth has her block-coloured bright suits, big brooches and bucket hats. Beatrix (former Queen of the Netherlands) had wide 3/4 sleeves and a lacquered helmet of hair. The current Queen of the Netherlands, Max, can be relied upon for giant hats, big jewels and a brilliant smile. I guess the important thing about being Queen is to look like the Queen!

          • cocohall

            Of course! If you are going to have to wear a tiara on the regular, you might as well embrace it! Besides, when it’s a fancy occasion, the boys actually get to wear uniforms covered in medals, and sometimes swords. A girl has to bring it not to be upstaged!

  • MarissaLG

    Listen, I know he’s not going to be the KING OF ENGLAND (King of the andals and the rhoynar and the First Men.. yadda yadda) but can’t Prince Hot Ginge be bothered to run a comb through his hair once in a while?

    • majorbedhead

      I think Hot Prince Ginge (awesome nickname) has kind of curly hair, so it probably needs to be kept quite closely cropped or he’s going to look like a furze bush. As he does here.

  • rainwood1

    I love that she wears outfits more than once. That should be the norm, not the exception. And I love this dress on her and on this occasion. I think it has great style, even though it s not great fashion. To me there’s a difference, and it suits the Duchess’s classic style to a T.

  • Frankie Carter

    She looks like she’s gained some weight! Her face looks a bit fuller, and very pretty. Dress also isn’t hanging on her this time. She looks fantastic.

    • conlakappa

      She hasn’t confirmed expecting a spare to the heirsecond pregnancy?

      • Frankie Carter

        She hasn’t, but I’m hoping it’s just some much-needed weight gain. She was looking haggard for a bit after the baby– I think she overdid it on the post-delivery weight loss

  • World of Sass

    Harry’s hair looks exactly like my husband’s bedhead after he’s worn product in it.

  • trisker

    All I can say for the guys is that at least they ditched their dad’s double-breasted look….baby steps….

  • FibonacciSequins

    They have Savile Row at their disposal. I don’t understand.

  • I hope someday she and Harry have a scorching affair.

    • Ali2044

      I didn’t know I wanted this until now.

  • m3grrl

    They are all very smiley, considering this is a tribute to WWI dead.

    • Sue Shea

      i thought the same thing.

  • LadyVimes

    I love the interesting neckline, and it does photograph beautifully against the poppies. Snaps for the Duchess.

  • Molly

    What a stunning installation.

    • in a pickle

      A poppy for all the UK soldiers killed in the first world war. I think there are over 800,000.

  • Fantastic color, fantastic hair. She’s a peach.

  • She’s lovely. I adore that she’s wearing Princess Diana’s ring.

  • Dan_In_NYC

    Those guys have access to anything on Saville Row and this is how they consistently show up. I’m sure there’s some sort of traditional male dressing bible their people refer to, but I think that bible hasn’t been updated since the 80s.

  • marlie

    Duchess Kate might not win any style awards, but she still has the most enviable real-world wardrobe of any ladystar out there. That is to say, I love this dress and must have it for work.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Blue is my signature color, so I’m predisposed to like this.

  • OffToSeeHim

    Well if you call wearing three inch heels to walk through a feel “appropriately outfitted” then I guess you’re right. It would be a shame to walk over a soft patch and ruin a $500 pair of shoes!

  • Amelia Ross

    Are these people ever allowed to go home? Do they have home? Do they live on plane? Flying from former colony to former colony?

    • Corsetmaker

      An appearance in London is about as home as they can get. 🙂

  • Columbinia

    Somebody has to take eyes off Kate and start critiquing the two guys. Generations of Windsor excellence in tailoring demand it.

  • The art installation is so absolutely stunning, she was correct to not go for anything new or newsworthy. And the choice of color was perfect as well.


  • SistaT

    Harry looks like he’d rather be anywhere else in the entire world.
    I don’t know … I don’t get her. I find her pretty and think she dresses well but she’s just so bland. So uninteresting.

  • queeniethebold

    Minor quibble (I’m a copy editor and can’t help it): The outbreak of WWI did not occur in London, England. Also: “an L.K. Bennett …”

    Pretty dress. Gorgeous color. Pretty boring.

  • Corsetmaker

    Perfect colour choice. Harry looks like he stayed over at a mate’s house and borrowed his suit!

    I’m not keen on this whole commemoration of the OUTBREAK of a war business! But this installation is pretty stunning and the growth of it over the timespan will be effective and thought provoking.