Friday, 8 January 2016

The Cambridges to Visit Bhutan & It's Time to Vote for Kate's Best Gown & Dress!

We're back with exciting news regarding royal tour spring 2016 and continuing with our polls asking you to select Kate's best gown and dress from 2015!

Wikipedia

Earlier today, Kensington Palace announced the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Bhutan this spring. The trip will coincide with their tour of India, and it us understood the visit will take place in April. The couple will be welcomed by the country’s Dragon King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema, known as the “William and Kate” of the Himalayas.


Gordon Rayner notes there are a number of similarities between the 25-year-old queen who is expecting her first child and the Duchess in his piece for the Telegraph:

'Queen Jetsun Pema is expecting a baby in the spring and may be nursing a newborn when the Duke and Duchess arrive, providing the perfect ice-breaker. The queen also studied art history - in which the Duchess has a degree - as part of her degree level studies at the private Regent's University in London. The couple married in 2011, the same year as the Duke and Duchess, and have a keen interest in conservation, like the Duke.
 Like the Duchess, the queen is considered a fashion icon, as well as being sporty: she captained her school basketball team, while the Duchess was a keen hockey player. The queen, like her husband, is fluent in English.'

There is already excitement brewing in Bhutan, which means 'Land of the Thunder Dragon'. The tiny kingdom is nestled in the Himalayas between China and India. A royal aide said William and Kate are very much looking forward to the trip. Bhutan was almost entirely cut off from the outside world for centuries, and refused to allow outside influences such as television, because they felt it would undermine their culture. Television and the internet were finally allowed in 1999.

His Majesty the King of Bhutan Facebook Page

Back to the Telegraph's article:

'Slavery was only abolished in 1958, the first foreign tourists were allowed in 1974, and the country only became a two-party democracy in 2008, having previously been an absolute monarchy.' 

An interesting titbit about the country: rather than measuring success through GDP, it is measured through 'Gross National Happiness'. With a population of  750,000  (with one third under the age of 14) it is considered one of the most content nations in the world.


Following some research on the kingdom, I was fascinated to learn the constitution dictates that at least sixty percent of the country must be covered by forests. While it may be one of the smallest countries in the world, it's dedication to conservation is bigger than most. Indeed, conservation is one of the four pillars of Bhutan's 'Gross National Happiness' philosophy.


The commitment to conservation is evident in its wildlife - including endangered royal Bengal tigers, snow leopards, black cranes and elephants to name a few. All roam freely in the country's five million acres of protected areas. In terms of world benefits, Bhutan is a region that provides water for one-fifth of the world's population. I imagine the conservation aspects will be one of the primary reasons the Cambridges wish to visit, and I expect we'll see William and Kate exploring the outdoors and hoping to see the amazing wildlife.

Wikipedia

According to reports, George and Charlotte will not be accompanying their parents on the tour. With that in mind, I expect the Cambridges will be away ten days or so with perhaps the last couple of days spent in Bhutan. It's shaping up to be a memorable tour. We look forward to seeing the full itinerary!

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Continuing on with our polls, we're turning our attention to gowns this evening. The Duchess publicly wore four gowns for royal engagements last year, and interestingly they proved to be her most polarizing looks. First up, we have the glittering bespoke red Jenny Packham gown with cap sleeves and a full skirt she wore for her first state banquet in October.


It was another bespoke Jenny Packham for the premiere of the latest Bond movie, Spectre. The duck egg blue gown featured sheer sleeves and overlay, a glittering belt and it was partially backless. This was very much a love it or hate it piece with a range of diverse opinions expressed on the night.


If we had an "unexpected look of the year" category the award would unquestionably go to the floral-print Erdem 'Alouette' gown Kate wore for the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Gala Dinner. Considering the conversation it generated, it will be interesting to see how many votes it garners.


Our final option is the bespoke lace Alexander McQueen gown the Duchess repeated for the annual Diplomatic Reception. We are yet to see the gown in its entirety, however, given it's popularity it seemed prudent to include it in the poll.


Vote for Kate's Best Gown of 2015
 
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In our next poll, we're asking you to vote for your favourite dress. The Duchess debuted a selection of memorable new pieces throughout 2015 from both favoured and new designers. The first option is the Madderson London 'Naomi' dress.


Kate brought back her Hobbs London Animal shirtdress for an engagement in Islington. If I recall correctly, it was one of the least popular dresses in last year's polls. I wonder how it will fare this year?


Kate was stylish in the Seraphine 'Florrie' printed dress for a day of engagements in Kensington. The dress comes in "stunning marine ocean shades" and is made in soft woven fabric. The Duchess wore it again a month later for engagements in Stoke-on-Trent.


In keeping with the sailing theme of her visit to the home of Ben Ainslie Racing, Kate wore a boat print dress from Somerset by Alice Temperley. The red and black print dress from the designer's diffusion collection retailed for £99.


Kate donned Jaeger's £250 silk tie print Aquifer dress in a video message for Children's Mental Health Week. The collared shirtdress is patterned with a tile print inspired by the architecture in Florence and Porto. It is cut from fluid silk and comes with an optional belt.


To mark the Goring Hotel's 105th birthday celebrations, the Duchess cut a stylish figure in the purple and pink print Erdem 'Darla' dress from the designer's Resort 2013 Collection.


The Duchess has a fondness for print and polka dot dresses. She debuted a very pretty new Spot Print dress by ASOS during a visit to Brookhill Children's Centre in March.


To introduce Princess Charlotte to the world Kate wore a very pretty bespoke Jenny Packham dress in a white and yellow floral print. The three-quarter length sleeve frock was a lovely choice for a very special occasion.


For the Wimbledon quarter-finals Kate opted for a change of pace from her usual choice of neutral colours at sporting events and chose the striking cardinal red L.K. Bennett 'Cayla' dress. It features a full skirt which falls below the knee, artfully placed seams and elbow-length sleeves.


Kate wore the Ralph Lauren silk 'Austin' shirtdress for a visit to the Anna Freud Centre in September. Described as "the quintessential shirtdress", the houndstooth-patterned silk style flares at the skirt for a flattering fit.


Kate chose a new British label The Fold London for her visit to HMP Send. The 'Eaton' dress in winter white tweed is a stellar garment featuring a structured silhouette, v-neckline and flattering peplum detail at the waist. The 'Eaton' is described as the "ultimate power dress" with long fitted sleeves, a pencil skirt and signature gold zip at the back.


Kate brought back her Tory Burch 'Paulina' open-knit dress first worn during the New Zealand-Australia tour for World Mental Health Day.


Next, we take a look at the Dolce & Gabbana Guipure lace dress the Duchess wore for a creative industry event with President Xi of China and his wife. It marked the first time we had seen Kate in the label, and I suspect we may see several pieces from the brand throughout the year.


For a fun day at BAFTA London, Kate sported the Tabitha Webb 'Meg - Space' dress for the event. The £375 garment features 3/4 length sleeves, a fitted top and an A-line skirt that falls below the knee with large pockets. The side panels on the silk dress are described as "ideal for slimming the waist and adding a touch of edge to a classic design".


Kate brought back her much-loved grey and black Orla Kiely dress for an engagement with Chance UK. I much preferred the dress on its second outing as Kate's stylish ponytail showed off the neckline of the garment.


It was another Dolce & Gabbana lace dress for the Festival of Remembrance.


For the Fostering Awards the Duchess chose the cobalt blue Martine crinkle-effect dress by Saloni. It is crafted from lightweight fabric in cobalt blue, and cut with cropped sleeves, a nipped-in waist, an elegant v back, and full skirt.


A look at Kate's dove grey Matthew Williamson with peplum detailing and turquoise and gold encrusted detailing.


The Duchess repeated her bespoke teal Emilia Wickstead dress for her visit to Action on Addiction's Centre for Addiction Studies.


Finally, Kate was festive in her popular red Alexander McQueen dress for a Christmas party at the Anna Freud Centre's Family School. An excellent choice for the nature of the engagement.


Vote for Kate's Best Dress of 2015
 
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Poll Notes: As several readers had issues with our last poll, we're using another poll host. Due to reader requests and the number of options in our dress polls you can vote for more than one option (I know I'm finding it tough to choose just one :)). For the gowns the red Jenny Packham is a stand out, however, for the dresses there're several up there for me including The Fold's and the Packham dress Kate wore when she left the hospital with Charlotte. Which pieces won your vote?  If you're just joining us you can find our Polls page here.

Kate celebrates her 34th bithday tomorrow. Wishing the Duchess many happy returns and another great year! She usually opts to spend the day privately, and according to reports, with a nice family dinner. We hope you all have a wonderful weekend! :)

53 comments:

  1. What an interesting post Charlotte!

    I really look forward to this tour, to be honest I had to search Bhutan in google, I suppose not many people can go and visit the country in one lifetime. Their queen is one beautiful lady. And their philosophy is also amazing, even the name of it, Gross National Happiness. I suppose it would be a great idea to adapt this in Europe, especially after the last couple of weeks and months.

    On fashion front, I voted for the red gown, and the new label The Fold. The coats were more difficult to choose from.

    And finally, how time flies, Kate turns 34 tomorrow. I hope she has a joyous day, as well as the readers and Charlotte too.

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    1. Anett, I agree. Bhutan sounds almost like a Shangri-La. Given it's isolationist history I found it interesting that their First Lady attended Regent University in London, captained a women's basketball team and that she and her husband are fluent in English. She is a very beautiful woman.
      Will be lots of fun to find out what both she and Kate choose to wear.

      I also chose the red dress and the London Fold dresses as my favorites.

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  2. "known as the 'William and Kate' of the Himalayas". I'm sorry but that's very patronizing.

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    1. Well, that's the press for you. Little bites that make headlines. Not always related to anything real. That's one of the difficulties with a free press today. The dark side is that the press is free to be trite and irresponsible. The price of democracy.

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    2. Anonymous in Colorado9 January 2016 at 03:08

      The press is always looking to draw similarities like this! Who knows, maybe the Duke & Duchess are known as the Jigme & Jetsun of the UK, in the beautiful kingdom of Bhutan ;-)

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    3. cute, 03:08. :)

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    4. Oh, I don't think it works like that. Of course, you can't avoid comparisons but describing them as 'Himalayan copy of...' is old well known colonialism.

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    5. I think nobody says they are a copy. I'd take such comparison as an honor, given the popularity of the beautiful British royal couple. Zora from Prague

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  3. The trip to Bhutan is very exciting. I bet it will be a memorable trip. Prince Harry is also going to tour Nepal. I wonder if they will link up their trips since essentially they will be in the same region. Maybe traveling to and from London together.

    The dress poll is very hard to chose 1 and I am so glad we have the option to choose more than 1 this time around. I chose one from her maternity wardrobe and one from her after Charlotte wardrobe. I find it very hard to look at them all together and chose 1 so it was easier to break them up in this fashion. I did the same thing for coats in the last poll too.

    Thanks for the great post Charlotte. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden8 January 2016 at 21:57

      I think it's very possible that their tours will be linked. Not at the same time though since they have the same staff and usually don't want to overshadow big tours like that. But I think maybe they will be back to back. Someone on twitter said it might be back to back so the press people wouldn't have to fly back and forth but can hop from the first tour to the other one, which makes sense.

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  4. Tedi in California8 January 2016 at 22:02

    Great post Charlotte. The King and Queen of Bhutan are one gorgeous couple. The tour will be such fun to follow here. Our Duke and Duchess will do us proud, and I can't wait to see what everyone has to say. I picked the Red Jenny Packman gown, and the Fold London, and the Matthew Williamson Dove Grey. So many to choose from. Kate looked her beautiful self in all.

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  5. Tedi in California8 January 2016 at 22:03

    P.S. Happiest of Birthdays dear Duchess Kate. Wishing you joy and happiness always.

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    1. Yes, Happiest of Birthdays Kate". I hope William git you some birthday bling. :)

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    2. I also hope he does 03:11, lol. And I hope we get to know about it. And, whether he got her a special piece for the birth of George and for the birth of Charlotte. I also wonder if William gave Kate a special Jewelry gift for their wedding. Maybe that would be intrusive wanting to know that though. :(

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  6. Julia from Leominster8 January 2016 at 22:08

    Very excited about this tour. We had friends who visited Bhutan a few years ago and they said it was the most amazing experience - incredibly beautiful but with the unique and quite wonderful culture too. The queen is simply stunning!

    It should be interesting with Harry in Nepal too. I remember that dreadful murder not so many years ago within the royal family. Not quite sure who is king now -I must read up.

    As to Kate's dresses, it's such a hard choice. Her maternity choices didn't excite me and my least favourite was that Hobbs animal skin affair.

    While Kate looked amazing, I wasn't crazy about her yellow dress after Charlotte was born - it reminded me of a tablecloth. But she looked so wonderful and happy so soon after the birth and gets huge points for wearing courts too that I didn't really care about the dres!
    Post-Charlotte is different. I've loved almost everything she has worn and am spoilt for choices, both new and old favourites. I thought both lace dresses so elegant and she wore several striking business-like dresses. The Williamson is a particular favourite of mine but I saw it as a cocktail dress and somehow couldn't get my mind around it for that engagement. The Tory Burch is another favourite of mine but I decided to go for one of the new ones. So I settled on the Tabitha Webb Meg Space. It may not draw many votes but it is such a fun dress - so lively to wear around children and I thought Kate looked graceful and very pretty in it. The fabric is so unusual. But I could have picked almost any of them and been happy.

    As for the evening dress - I had no trouble choosing the red Packham, just so right for the occasion and dazzling with the tiara and the queen's bracelets. I liked the blue Packham as well - it flowed in such a pretty way and had a subtle glamour. The Erdam was lovely fabric but didn't work for me - I liked that material much better in cocktail form and wish Kate would have it remade and simplified if possible. It would be suitable for a Japanese trip, although since William just went, that doesn't seem too likely soon.
    All in all, it has been a great autumn. Love her new haircut too - so professional looking and carefree - her hair looked very heavy before and hard to control.

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  7. Don't see anything special either about Jenny Packham red or the Fold dress! I went for Erdem and Saloni

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    1. Totally agree! I picked the same two dresses - beautiful and vibrant choices.

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  8. Sarah from Calif.9 January 2016 at 00:26

    My vote is in. Thank you Charlotte!

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  9. I managed to hit the wrong selections on two polls. Favorites are the Packham Spectre Gown and the D&G Plum lace dress. The McQueen Red dress is a close second. ali

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  10. Courtney from NC9 January 2016 at 01:35

    I am probably way too excited about the upcoming tour!

    As far as voting in the poll:

    Evening Gown -- I voted for the red Packham. I also love the gown she wore to the Spectre premiere. I chose the red because the entire look was perfect for the occasion. The hair, jewelry, color, etc. and the way she conducted herself. Charming but serious. I also loved the bracelets loaned from the queen. All in all I think it was a perfect look for the event she was attending.

    Day dresses -

    Maternity - The Seraphine Florrie dress was one of her best maternity outings. I loved it with the Sportsmax coat and loved it was one of her first proper maternity pieces.

    Post Charlotte division - There were two dresses, new to her dresses, that I couldn't choose between and they are oh so different. The Fold dress was perfect for the occasion. People criticize Catherine for not dressing "professionally" enough. This look was elegant, feminine and serious enough for the occasion. The Dolce & Gabbana dress was my other vote. I didn't think it was too fancy for a day event simply due to the way she styled the rest of the look. I loved the color on her, the fit and the high neckline. I am anxiously waiting for another viewing of the D&G dress and cannot decide if I want another day appearance or an evening. I am leaning toward evening. Some amazing shoes, shiny earrings, amazing updo.

    There were repeats I really liked but I kept it to new outfits. The Tory Burch was very nice on Catherine both times she wore it. I don't love the Emilia Wickstead teal dress much at all. Pleats are amazing when done right, as I think they are in the red Alexander McQueen. The McQueen was a lot more adult and fit better than the Wickstead.

    I would really like to see Catherine in more Tory Burch, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren and The Fold. Mix it up. I cannot wait to see what new designers she might wear during the tour.

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  11. I too am very excited about this tour. Two young couples with so much to discuss!

    My vote was for the red Packham gown and the red Alexander McQueen dress. The dress, especially, is a favorite of mine. It's a more "formal" dress, if that makes sense.

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  12. Thank you Charlotte. The polls are so much fun. Your research on Bhutan much appreciated.

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  13. What is interesting is that the Bhutan Queen is only 25, almost 10 years younger than Catherine.Those ten years can be huge at younger ages. ali

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    1. So true Ali. I wonder how Kate will feel being the older Royal woman. :)

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  14. looking forward to that trip they will surely enjoy india and Bhutan the duchess 34 birthday im sure she will be quite private thing with her family of four im sure mom and dad are there and plus pippa and james are there returning to vacay as the daily mail reported

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  15. I surprised myself and voted for the Erdem gown. I loved the red Packham, but felt it was safe. Couldn't see enough of the McQueen, and didn't care for the blue Packham. I very much like the fabric of the Erdem and I like the fact that she took a risk, so...that's what I chose!

    I had never heard of Bhutan before today. Looks like a lovely little country. Thank you, Charlotte, for the pictures you shared of the country as well as the King and Queen. Your pictures are different from what I saw in news articles and I prefer your choices!

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  16. Bhutan would be an amazing place to visit. It is on my bucketlist. And it seems that the 2 royal couples will have much to discuss.
    Happy birthday to Kate, my birthday twin. I hope we both have great days!

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    1. Tedi in California9 January 2016 at 19:02

      Happy Birthday Sharyn.

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    2. Thank you! I had a great day. Im currently in England so spent the say before my birthday at kensington palace to see Harry! Hahaha

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  17. The Queen of Bhutan is very beautiful. She actually went to school in London. A little out of character given the country's history. How come no one has ever heard of that country much? I wonder what kind of athletics they will have Kate doing this time? Thank heaven she is such a good sport about it all. I would say no thanks and are you kidding, I'll be by the pool and could you send over lunch please......

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden9 January 2016 at 16:07

      I had actually heard of the country because I had a teacher from there. He said he was related to the former king, but I would take it with a grain of salt. He had a tendency to embellish his stories :P

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    2. ha ha ha Sitting by the pool and ordering lunch. That does sound like such a much better idea than scaling walls or tall trees, etc. Think I would be joining you poolside. Uh, waiter.... lol

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    3. Rebecca, given the small population of Bhutan, it's possible. Perhaps a very distant relation?

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  18. I would love for there to be a British Design contest each year. The winner would work with Kate to design a bespoke wardrobe for her. Each year a new designer. Each year a new wardrobe. Every winner would be catapulted to success and influence fashion for Britain for years. Kate could intersperse a few McQueens or Jenny Peckham, etc. each year also. What a fun thing that would be.

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  19. la la la Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you.
    Happy Birthday dear Kate. Happy Birthday to you. la la la

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  20. Happy birthday, Kate! And thank you Charlotte for your great efforts to make this blog a very special place for exchanging remarks.

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  21. I personally love it when Catherine dresses like the fun, young woman she is...too often she dresses older than her years. Although I do understand, when she wears something fun like the ASUS Spot dress, or the blue pastel wrap gown with hidden short skirt underneath (worn early in her pregnancy with Princess Charlotte & with GREAT shoes!), it seems she is showing a bit more of her true personality.
    She is such an elegant woman with impeccable style, and I do enjoy seeing what she will wear next because they are more often than not, incredible choices. Love, Love, LOVE reading this blog! Thank you for all the information you include. Have a great weekend!

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  22. Aaaaah!!! So many to choose from!!
    Christina

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  23. Kate, Texas, USA9 January 2016 at 15:08

    Happy Birthday, Kate! I hope your day is wonderful and spent doing things you love! Enjoy your precious family on your special day! May the coming year be one full of blessings!

    I am very excited about the coming tour. The country of Bhutan looks amazing and beautiful! I did not know too much about the country, so I read up a bit on it. The king and queen I'm sure are looking forward to the visit. The Queen is stunning! It sounds like they have many things in common with Will and Kate, so it should make for a lovely visit!

    On to fashion....
    I had a VERY hard time choosing between the two Jenny Packham dresses. They were both stunning and Kate looked amazing in both. I went with the duck egg blue she wore to the Spectre premiere. I know many did not care for it, but I thought it was beautiful and sexy. A WOW dress for me! The Erdem was a complete miss for me and I just didn't see enough of the McQueen to vote that one. Jenny Packham gets the gold stars from me!

    Dresses....wow, there are so many lovely ones to choose from! Some of my favorites are the Madderson London Naomi, Jaeger Aquifer, Erdem Darla, Tory Burch Paulina, Dolce & Gabbana black lace, and Alexander McQueen red dress. I'm glad we have the opportunity to vote a couple times!

    I always love the poll posts and checking back to see what is in the lead. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

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  24. I want Catherine's opinion again. Don't tell her, Erika, but let's see if we agree on this one too. I think Kate looks nice but none of them leap out at me. The only one with any real pizzazz is the McQueen red dress and that's an older one. So have haven't voted for any. They all are nice, but they look like dresses I'd wear to work.

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    1. I don't think you will be in sync this time bluhare. Her choices are the red Packham gown (for the color) and the blue Saloni (for the color). She thought the rest of the dresses were "pretty boring".

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    2. Not that far off. I thought it was pretty dull too (ergo, dresses I'd wear to work). Except, color notwithstanding, I thought the packham dress was dull too. Nothing exciting about it other than the color. Catherine's red dress was much more chic than this one. The Soloni dress was probably my favorite (other than I've always liked that red McQueen) but the belt ruined it. That's a dress that would have been best accessorized with jewelry.

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    3. I agree bluhare. Fashion wise, 2015 was unspectacular for Kate. Many of the dresses are very ordinary. Things we could see any woman walking down the street wear . The red McQueen is a great dress but I did prefer the first wear. Here's to a more interesting new year!

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  25. Great post Charlotte 😊 Have you seen the photo posted on Twitter today which was taken last August after a private dinner? Do we know anything about that dress? I think it's lovely,what do you think? 😊

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    1. Hello!

      We do indeed, post coming up within the next hour :)

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    2. Thank you Charlotte! 😊 Your blog is the best! 😊

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  26. Delurking as I couldn't resist to post: I am so excited about this tour! I have a lot of admiration for Buthan and its young royal couple. The King seems very enamored with his Queen, and one can see their love in their pictures throughout the years. The Queen is so beautiful too.

    I believe that the Buthan citizens have a dress code, and that might explain why the royal couple is always seen in very pretty colorful traditional attires. I can't wait to see how both royal couples will dress up for the occasion!

    (Thank you, Charlotte, for this wonderful - as always- blog!)

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  27. Very interesting post on Bhutan, Charlotte, thank you. I am glad they will bring world attention to conservation.
    Kate wore so many great day dresses. I only considered the new ones and finally settled on the yellow and white number, so pretty and cheerful for the occasion. I struggled with the gowns since I am a fan of the daring Erdem. Ultimately chose the red with tiara as it suited her so well and paid subtle homage to the Chinese guests.

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  28. Queen Jetsun Pema is incredibly beautiful. I'm excited to see pictures from the upcoming tour.

    Looking back on all the dress photos, I'm struck by the blandness. It was not Kate's best year for fashion, at all. I voted for the Erdem because it is anything but bland. For best day dress, I voted for the RL shirtdress. I liked that it was a different choice than her usual shift or A line dress. Plus, it moved beautifully with her and showed off those gorgeous legs.

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  29. Why didn't you list Kate's dress that she wore to Charlotte's christening?

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    1. Hello Eileen,

      Thank you for your comment. Kate wore a coat dress to Charlotte's christening so it's in our 'Coats Poll'.

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  30. the queen of bhutan is gorgeous

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