Fashion-forward Kate sends retailers scrambling


The white Nanette dress Kate Middleton wore in the official engagement photos is no longer in stock.

She may have stylists galore at her disposal, but if her fashion is any guide, Kate Middleton lives up to her reputation as a regular girl.

In the official engagement photographs released over the past weekend, Prince William’s fiancee is pictured wearing what’s known locally as high-street fashion – basically, clothing from stores found in any U.K. shopping area or mall. Hardly the designer digs one would expect from a princess-to-be.

The white Nanette gown she wore in the formal photo, for example, comes from British retailer Reiss, and is said to have sold last season for about $250, while the white “vintage-inspired” silk top she wore while wrapped in Prince William’s embrace sells for about $150, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Kate also did her own makeup for her engagement portraits. "Kate had already done most of her makeup the way she wanted – she wanted to look very natural," a source tells

Since the engagement was announced, Kate has become the woman to watch on Britain’s style scene: Anything she’s pictured in is almost guaranteed to send sales soaring. For Reiss, this has meant a real uptick in traffic since the photos were splashed across the front page of nearly every U.K. newspaper last Sunday.


The white Nanette dress Kate Middleton wore in the official engagement photos has sold out, but British retailer Reiss will have a new version available next month.

But in what’s sure to be considered a stroke of bad luck, the Nanette dress is no longer available in stores. The retailer, which has nine stores in the U.S., is scrambling to meet the newfound demand, and will have a new version of the dress available in January 2011. Whistles also plans to re-release its white silk blouse in early 2011.

“Kate has been a customer of Reiss for some time now and we are absolutely delighted that she chose to wear one of our dresses for such a wonderful occassion” said David Reiss, founder and managing director. “We wish both Prince William and Kate Middleton all the best for the future.” And for those who can’t wait another month for the future, a recent listing on eBay featured the dress, with tags still on, selling for about $715.

Last month, retailers saw a run on the royal blue Issa dress Kate wore to announce her engagement. At about $715, the dress sold out and instantly. Within days, it spurred knockoffs from value retailers, like Tesco, which is selling its “Kate dress” for about $25.

For more about Kate's style, watch the video:

For her royal engagement portrait, the future bride of Prince William didn't turn to designers, but instead went to her closet, wearing off-the-rack finds that she has owned for years. NBC's Stephanie Gosk reports.

Discuss this post

It seems that the only problem with "Wills and Kate," um, I mean HRH Prince William and his fiancee Katherine... is that they've turned the realm of the "normal people's wedding" on its ear! Not the planned excess, but the "beautiful simplicity" that they exude. The style they have is very tasteful yet financially realistic, and their demeanor is splendidly "normal." (Well, at least much better than his dad and stepmom's.)

I can't wish them anymore happiness and best wishes than they already have, but I DO wish them the best.

  • 1 vote
Reply#1 - Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:39 PM EST

Kate Middleton is one very smart cookie.

  • 2 votes
Reply#2 - Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:29 PM EST

...about to enter into a family of fruitcakes.....

  • 1 vote
#2.1 - Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:58 PM EST

They look so at ease with each other, such a wonderful contrast to the stiff and formal photos of his mother and father that we now know in retrospect hid a much darker story. Yes, all the best to them. We already had one fairytale princess, Diana, here's hoping that the press and the general public leave these two some space to let them live their life together as normal as possible.

    Reply#3 - Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:22 AM EST

    These are still expensive items by most regular folks' standards.

    • 2 votes
    Reply#4 - Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:26 PM EST

    Oh, for goodness sake, give it a rest, hot-in-Miami!

    • 1 vote
    #4.1 - Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:11 PM EST

    Oh,for goodness sake, give it a rest hot-in-Miami!

      Reply#5 - Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:18 PM EST

      How pathetic do these people have to be to need some celebrity to tell them how to dress themselves in the morning? This is what's wrong with the human race. It's made up of a small sprinkling of functioning homo sapiens and the other 98% are simply drooling, helpless lemmings.

      People, that spongy grey stuff within your skull is a BRAIN. It actually WILL function if you just start giving it some exercise.

        Reply#6 - Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:19 PM EST

        I can't wait to see my first tranny or cross dresser wearing Kate's affordable togs! Hope they have facial hair. LOL. Hope it's not Prince Charles or Camilla. Camilla is a man, right????????

        • 3 votes
        Reply#7 - Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:54 PM EST

        Had Prince Charles remained married to Princess Diana, he would have been King by now!

        Prince William would make a wonderful King with a very beautiful Queen by his side!

          Reply#8 - Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:23 AM EST

          Prince William is very lucky to have Kate who showed him he was worth waiting for (eight years). Methinks

          thats a smart future Queen right there.l 

          • 1 vote
          Reply#9 - Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:55 PM EST

          Kate looks hideous in that black hat in the picture above.

            Reply#10 - Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:03 PM EST

            I met PW and admire Kate she is so elegant and to wait so long to marry a Prince and lead a simple life like others is truely a life style good luck u awesome two lov u forever

              Reply#11 - Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:22 AM EST
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