Arguably the most-watched fashion icon – certainly the most closely followed expectant mother – in the world, the Duchess of Cambridge has been placed under the microscope of U.K. Vogue for its February issue.
Before determining the key to her "feminine and traditional" style (at least, before her baby bump), the publication first categorizes Kate's look as "International Sleekness."
Just how close is the mag's inspection? Close enough to note exactly how often and the manner in which Kate, who turns 31 Jan. 9, holds her clutch bags: hands together, 48% of the time; one-handed, 31%. Not to mention, post blowout her royal ringlets measure one inch.
As for when the Kate phenomenon actually started, the article's author, Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor of the Daily Telegraph, turns to Reiss's brand director, Andy Rogers. He pinpoints the moment to "when Kate wore that nude-pink Shola dress to meet the Obamas at Buckingham Palace in May 2011."
Comparing the two women's styles, Rogers says, "Michelle wore a beautiful blue silk dress and fuchsia jacket, very bold, and probably bang-on trend – but whoa, it clashed with the [gaudy] decor." As a result, "Kate," he insists, "dominates the picture."
She also helped put the fashion brand on the map. "In the past 18 months, thanks to the Kate Effect, Reiss's reputation has grown globally," Armstrong writes. "Before Kate, Reiss had eight stores in America. Now it has 14 more concessions, all in Bloomingdale's."
By Vogue's calculation, Kate also helped boost sales of hosiery at the British supermarket chain Asda by a staggering 500%.
Apparently, too, Kate is strictly hands-on when it comes to her appearance. "She's got someone who organizes appointments with designers," a fashion-industry fixer tells Vogue. "Obviously there are ladies-in-waiting who do the packing. But she had to work out her look herself."
Other vitals: she works out "all the time, apparently"; necklines are "usually curved"; she wears blue 24% of the time and cream or yellow only 5%; she positions her hats "to the right of the royal 'do at a 50-degree angle, thus emphasizing her cheekbones"; and she prefers three-quarter-length sleeves, the better to reveal her wrist bling and confirm the fact that her arms are not too thin.
So, what's ahead? "Diverting looks," writes Armstrong, "and a fair few raised waists that accommodate, rather than flaunt, the royal belly." But wait, there's more: "And even more luxuriant hair."