The girl from Bucklebury has come a long way from anonymity in St. Andrews University to the altar of Westminster Cathedral; in April 2011, Kate Middleton finally achieved her real-life ‘happily ever after’ when she married her prince and became HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. From her draped royal blue Issa engagement dress designed by Daniella Helayel to her Alexander McQueen wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton, Kate became the undisputed style icon of 2011.
Her ascent from middle-class graduate to future queen has been nothing short of extraordinary, but for us as fashion and beauty bloggers, she has become a thoroughly modern star for the British royal family in the digital age. Famous for preferring to do her own styling and make-up, this month’s British Glamour magazine asserted that “Kate is living, breathing proof that you can look like a princess on an everyday budget.”
The Kate Effect
Kate is undoubtedly a beautiful young woman who has innate style and sartorially influential (her reported impact on the British fashion industry is £1 billion), but the most striking effect of her rise to fashion stardom is that ‘do. Not since Jennifer Aniston bounced onto our TV screens in the Nineties has a hairstyle been so emulated. Everyone wants the Middleton mane. So how does she do it?
It has been estimated that the duchess’s hair costs a reported £3000 per year to maintain; a regular client of James Pryce at the Richard Ward salon in the exclusive London district of Chelsea, Kate was reported to have treated her mane to regular trims, treatments and the all-important blow-dries. Kate’s hair is long past her shoulders, using long layers to frame her face and accentuate her bone structure; the secret to the duchess’s hair starts at the salon backwash units.
It’s more than just wash-and-go...
Kate undoubtedly has her hair thoroughly shampooed and conditioned each time she visits the salon for a cut-and-blow. The shampoo and conditioner – despite her favoured brand never having been revealed – is both cleansing and moisturising, as it is important to keep her hair as glossy as possible. A monthly deep-conditioning treatment is absolutely vital to a Middleton mane; these treatments are not purely reserved for the salon, a good-quality deep condition can be achieved at home.
The beauty of Kate’s hair is that it is a classic, English-rose style that can be managed for any occasion; appropriate for business chic at the office, relaxed down-time at home, an elegant event with your partner or chilled-out beach beauty on vacation. Ask for long layers that work with your hair type and texture. Remember to always ask your hairdresser for advice on any hairstyle you’re looking to take on, as only they will know whether that style will work for you and your hair. Never force a style onto your hair; there’s no shame in admitting when it doesn’t and a good stylist will always be honest with you and not attempt the impossible (NB thank you to the hairdresser that talked me out of that Rachel cut when I was 13, you know who you are!)
It always ends with the perfect finish...
If you remember anything from this post, please let it be this: the blow-dry is fundamental to achieving the Middleton mane. So influential is this blow-dry, numerous hair salons in the UK have dedicated an extra special blow-dry to pulling off this style. At home however, simply invest in a good quality hairdryer and a good set of hairbrushes. The bigger, the better. An easy way to achieve this is to buy a set of large hair rollers, use them in the morning and take them out ready to rock in the evening! Don’t forget to finish with a little product, though not too much, as the style will look more greasy than glossy.
Has this article inspired you to get the Middleton mane? Feel free to tweet your thoughts to @stilettojungle
Leyla is a 25-year-old up-and-coming British blogger; a university graduate and self-proclaimed “citizen journalist”, Leyla enjoys writing on fashion, beauty and travel topics. Feel free to tweet her @DigitalLeyla.