Mar 202013

Kate joined the Queen and Prince Philip today for a visit to London’s famous Underground.

PA Wire

The occasion was part of the events celebrating the Underground’s 150th Anniversary.

Transport for London

The anniversary was officially marked on January 9, but events commemorating the milestone will go on all year.

Transport for London

It was good to see HM out and about, although most accounts noted that she looked pale. It was the first time she carried out public engagement in almost ten days, she continues to recover from “symptoms of gastroenteritis”.

Rebecca English, The Daily Mail, Mail Online

The Queen was wearing a Karl Ludwig tweed dress with an Angela Kelly hat.  As one might anticipate, everyday Tube riders were surprised to encounter members of the Royal family at an Underground station.

Transport for London Twitter

They were given a tour of Baker Street station, below we see Kate being welcomed with some lovely flowers.

Transport for London

Richard Palmer of the Express explains how Kate came to be involved in today’s function.

She and Philip were joined by Kate, who had scheduled a series of official engagements this week and asked if she could be part of the visit to the historic Tube station after their two offices compared diaries and the Queen formally invited her. “She just fancied it. She asked if she could come along,” a senior royal aide said.

Kate was given a new ‘accessory’ during the visit, one of the famous Baby on Board buttons.

For those unfamiliar with the buttons, here is more from the Daily Mail:

The lapel badges are available free to expectant mothers using public transport as a gentle hint to fellow travellers to offer them their seat and behave, well, in a slightly more courteous manner.

PA Wire

The Duchess did not put the button on but instead commented she would wear it at home. The group also toured a new train and HM unveiled a plaque naming that train ‘Queen Elizabeth II’.

Kate wore a teal blue By Malene Birger coat for today’s engagement. Laure Laura from Kate Middleton Style discovered this posting on a fashion selling/swapping/trading site.

The piece is 100% wool with elaborate trim at the neckline and down the front. There are large tabs at the cuffs and on the outer front pockets, accented by oversized buttons. The piece is closed with concealed hook & eye fastenings, if you look closely at the image of the coat back above you will see the additional fabric gathered at the waist.

When our friends at Grazia asked a Malene Birger representative about Kate’s coat they were told it was not one of their designs. But looking at details closely reveals the piece is identical (except for color) as the Malene Birger. Wire

The soutache style trim is topped with black beads, those beads are set on individual sequins.

The dual signatures on the inside of the garment confirm the listed piece is by Ms. Birger. You can see the interior pockets and polka dot fabric referenced on the Vide Dressing listing.

One FYI, if reading the VideDressing description (which is in French), it may appear the coat style or name was ‘manteau,’ that is merely because manteau is French for coat.

Denmark’s Princess Mary has also worn this piece, it dates back to at least November of 2006.  Coincidentally, Princess Mary was also pregnant when seen in the coat. Many thanks to the WKW Facebook friends who shared this information, as well as those messaging and emailing.

This is not the first time we have seen the Duchess in a coat with the Birger name on it, she wore a piece by Day Birger et Mikkelsen several times, although Ms. Birger left this company to start her eponymous label. We show Kate wearing it to the 2006 wedding of Laura Parker Bowles to Harry Lopes (below left), then again in 2010 for another wedding (Mel Nicholson and Oli Baker at St. Andrews) and once more for the wedding of Zara Phillips (below center) and then July of 2012 for the London Paralympics Opening Ceremonies.

Splash News/Splash News/Paralympic Sport TV

Kate accessorized with a hat we have seen previously, the elegant Whiteley beret-styled piece worn in January of 2011 to the wedding of Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Louise Stourton.

PA Wire/Splash News

We also saw Kate’s Episode ‘Angel’ pumps again, along with her Cornelia James Wool Gloves with Bow, and sapphire earrings.

House of Fraser/Cornelia James

We have included links below to a few sites, including the London Transport Museum’s Gift Shop. It has all manner of London Underground 150 items, including mugs and books like these.

London Transport Museum Gift Shop

The teal was perfect for Kate’s coloring and the accessories worked well. She truly looks happy and very centered these last few weeks. Today’s coat looked a trifle short though, hopefully the Duchess isn’t planning to stick with the shorter lengths.

I apologize for the tardy post, we’ve encountered significant technical issues throughout the day. We’ll see you Friday for coverage of Kate’s time with the Scouts.


  • You can visit the Underground’s website here, or the Transport Museum here, the Transport Museum Gift Shop may be found here
  • The Daily Mail’s photo-laden story is here
  • Watch ITV’s video here, there is also a short video at that link of Kate being given the Baby on Board button
  • Visit the Malene Birger website to see its spring collection, the a/w 2013 collection can be viewed here here at Fashionising’s site, those interested in Copenhagen Fashion Week might enjoy visiting that site

  63 Responses to “It’s Malene Birger & ‘Baby on Board’ for Underground Visit With Queen & Prince Philip”

  1. Love this look. The color is wonderful and I love the beading.

    Honestly, I’m loving the shorter hemlines on the Duchess. As another poster mentioned, I find the opaque tights with the above knee hems very mod, and in keeping with the slightly boxier lines she’s favoring with her bump growing a bit. I think its a fresh spin that allows her to draw focus to her legs, which remain relatively unchanged in pregnancy, at least until later in the game!

    And I adore that hat!

    • Totally agree–the hat is one of my favorites—so glad she re-wore it. Also, the hemlines comment you made is spot on. I think it is a great look and it is entirely appropriate–for both the occassion and her age.

  2. I love this coat on Kate as it is particularly flattering, especially the back. The color is lovely and it echos the design of the Queen’s coat as well. I really like the fact Kate is attentive to the details of her clothing choices. The fine detail of this coat such as the back design and the buttoned flaps is what makes it. :)

  3. A note to our usually spot on administrator; Kate has worn that Day Birger and Mikkelsen gold coat four times, not three. She wore it when she accompanied William to a wedding in Scotland before they were married. She accented it with a black hat and shoes.

    To me the pocket detailing on the coat Kate wore and the one Mary wore looks identical to me.

    For what my opinion is worth, the coat would look better a little longer. Knee length is particularly flattering on Kate and this length looks out of porportion. Love the design of the coat, though.

  4. Maybe Princess Mary gave Kate the coat and it was custom made for Princess Mary. This might explain why the company said it was not theirs.

  5. Short coat again. Heels too high. Kate will not give up her high heels at all for flats. That’s a pity.

    • Not sure why it is a pity? When my sister was pregnant, her doctor said that flats were harder on her uterus than heels—and I am sure she is doing what she feels comfortable with.

  6. I find this to be a very polished outfit. The Duchess really pulls out all
    the stops when she fulfills engagements with the Queen. The color of the coat is exquisite on her, and I’ve been waiting for this hat to make a reappearance.

    I love the suggested idea that Princess Mary sent her the coat. We may never know for sure, but what a sweet possibility!

  7. This is my favorite of her recent outfits…Perfect to a t!

  8. The Queen and Kate’s coats look remarkably alike. Perhaps the Queen’s designer made Kate’s coat as well and was inspired by Malene Birger. Note that the pocket and waist details of Mary’s and the Malene Birger coat are not the same as Kate’s.

  9. Regarding the length, it doesn’t look all that short to me! It looks like 1.5 or 2 inches above her knee, and it looks that way on Princess Mary, too. I think that is how it is supposed to fit. It doesn’t look nearly as short as the cream coat she wore to the bereavement center. In my opinion, she looks great!
    Maybe Princess Mary shipped the coat to her as a gift, since she wore it pregnant, too!

  10. It is pretty cool that Kate and the Queen wore coats with similar beading. I wonder if they planned it.

  11. This teal shade was THE hot color at the recent fashion shows. I love it and find that it’s really flattering on just about everyone. Leave it to Kate to be exactly on trend in a coat from 2006! :)

    I also love this hat. I’m not a hat person per se, especially if the hat is fussy, but there’s something about that arrow-like feather that I think is just so stylish.

    Especially glad to HM out and about. :)

  12. great post. i love learning more about the tube! and it’s adorable that she got the baby on board button. i think her look here is elegant but appropriate for being underground!

  13. I’m fine with the length of her outfit today since it appears she didn’t have to sit and deal with it riding up while seated. The dark tights work well. Personally, I lowered my heels a little when I was pregnant, but that was sooooo many years ago and I didn’t like the super high heels anyway. Kate isn’t big enough yet for the height to bother her center of balance so it doesn’t seem to be a problem for her. Kate certainly has a expansive coat wardrobe. Wish I had a similar one, but alas, as a retired person, I have few places to wear them. :)

  14. Another day, another Duchess sighting – keep ‘em coming I say! I love the coat, the colour the clean neckline and the A-line shape so much more merciful to the expectant figure. The edging is gorgeous, rich but not overdone. The accessories are great, and it seems we just have to live with the slightly too-short skirt lengths.

    The hat is pure delight and she wears it perfectly – though, despite the claims made by the Duchess – definitely not one you could wear on a crowded commute.

    Can’t believe the clever sleuths who discovered Princess Mary wearing the exact same one six years ago. Now I think I see why Kate’s parents had to move to a bigger home – it must be to store the library of coats and hats their daughter has collected over the years.

  15. I love the shorter skirt lengths on her recently. Combined with the black tights, and the cute monochromatic coats, it feels a little mod but really fresh. If you got it, no harm in flaunting it a little. She still looks tasteful and totally appropriate. She’s a Duchess, not an old-timey school marm.

    • I totally agree!!
      I think the black tights -particularly thicker ones- allow her to wear shorter skirt lengths and to give a fresher/edgier look to the whole outfit. – I love this look, the coat, the colour …the HAT!! She looks gorgeous! She and the Queen look so well together.

  16. If she’s still suffering any of the effects of the hyperemesis gravidarum then it makes sense that she would make last minute plans so that she could participate when she’s feeling well enough to do so. It makes more sense than trying to make plans and then being too ill to follow through.

    That said, it does seem like she’s one of the lucky ones whose symptoms abate after 20 weeks.

  17. I like the shorter lengths on her. She’s young and happy! she is overall modest in every way…I say enjoy your short skirts as long as they’re not micro minis! Better that then that she should start being dowdy at age 30 just because she’s royal now!

    • Well said!

    • Ditto!!

    • Totally agree:) I’m tired of the incessant criticism about her dress/coat lengths. It’s so mean-spirited. I think she looks young and modern. I don’t understand the irrational sexist thought process that as soon as you turn thirty you have to leave your entire youth behind. Why is it that men in their early thirties are in their prime, while women in their early thirties are deemed aging? And why are women so complicit in that double standard?

      • Sigh. I believe that I am repeating what has already been stated on this website, even on this very post I think, but I will articulate this once more. I won’t deny that some opinions about hem lengths are connected to stereotypical and outdated views about age, but there is also an aesthetic component to hem lengths that has nothing to do with how old a woman is, and most (if not all) of the comments that I have read on this blog about hem lengths concern how the outfit looks overall. Quite a few people find the shorter lengths refreshing, which is certainly a valid opinion; some of us think that just above the knee is a more flattering length for the Duchess and delivers a more proportional appearance, reasons that are not related to age at all.

        Assuming that just because an individual finds a longer hemline more appealing therefore he/she is sexist and antifeminist is a bit insulting.

        • Actually, I believe that quite a few comments made regarding her hem lengths have been mentioned in reference to her age and the hem length not being appropriate for a 31 year old woman.

          My comment was not an insult, but was simply an observation, and not just with respect to this blog. Take it as you will.

          • well said, katefan. no need for “sighs” because someone disagrees with you AshleyOlivia. as they say, ‘you can’t please everyone,’ and that appears to be true when it comes to Kate’s wardrobe! as far as an “aesthetic component” goes, i think people disagree about that often, and that bar is stretched all the time as designers push for changes in fashion. luckily at least it appears all of us who are commenting — on either side — are all great *fans* of Kate regardless!

  18. I really love this look on her. Plus, this hat is definitely one of my favorites! For some reason I love the shorter hemlines on her. I think it looks a bit more youthful and she has great legs!

  19. My guess concerning the short hems might be that she’s not used to the bump! That the bump steals more of the fabric, and that the fabric might be “riding up” on it, so that something that was perfectly fine at fitting/at home becomes to short when walking about.

    • I thought likewise — these are skirt and coat lengths the Duchess could get away with pre-bump and the prob with wearing them now is they have to ride up. A longer skirt length under a short coat might ease the problem. By keeping skirt lengths too short she could end up looking like someone unable to leave their younger/slimmer self behind.

  20. Is it possible, that Kate received this coat as a hand-me-down from Princess Mary? If Mary already made some alterations, to fit her baby bump into the coat, this would seem quite sensible, isn’t it?

    • That’s an interesting idea, but somehow I think it’s unlikely she got it from Mary. However, she might well have gotten it from someone in the UK. I have a little trouble imagining that she bought it in 2006 and never wore it before now. A lot of women borrow or are gifted with clothes when they are expecting.

      As for the discussion regarding the length of the coat and the height of her heels, I don’t want her to look “dowdy,” I’m concerned about proportions. The very high heels look out of proportion (to me) with the short skirts. It’s a matter of visual imbalance. Moreover, I happen to think that hem lengths just above the knee or mid-knee are more elegant, more chic, and more adult than the lengths the Duchess has been wearing lately, especially in coats.

      • I agree. Do you have any literature or sites you can suggest about determining proper proportions? I’m only 5’1″, though thankfully not terribly short-waisted; however, I still struggle with proportions at times. I would love some notes so that I would have some idea what to tell tailors. I live in Tulsa, which isn’t cosmopolitan enough of a city that I would feel comfortable just telling the tailor “do what looks good.” (No offense to T-town! We have sensational food, which makes up for any other faults!)

        • Getting the proportions right is a real problem for the petite. They can wear shorter skirts well, but I so often see them in heels that are much too high, and they look like they’re stumbling along on stilts besides looking a bit trashy sometimes. It’s counterintuitive, but if you are small, your heels need to be lower than you might think. You should not wear very high heels in an attempt to boost your height to much greater levels.

          However, one way to avoid the potential dowdiness of a knee-length skirt is to wear rather higher heels than you really should wear with a very short skirt.

          Unfortunately, I don’t know of any websites that will help calculate the proportions for you. It’s just a matter of practice and studying fashion magazines to see what looks right and what doesn’t. With tailors, we just try different lengths until we settle on the right one. I usually take in whatever shoes I plan to wear with the skirt or dress or coat in order to be sure.

          After a while, you develop an instinct, so you can try on clothes with the wrong shoes but still have a good sense of how they’ll look with the right ones and also whether an item is going to need adjustments.

          • I’m sorry to keep pestering you, but what heel heights do you consider too high? I’ve found that I have to wear heels in professional settings, because otherwise I’m below everyone’s eye level and feel like a small child, not a peer. However, I have very few pairs of towering heels; the two pairs I do have are reserved for going out at night.

          • Ashley Olivia–Generally speaking, for day, the longer the skirt, the higher your heels can be, without looking vulgar. The shoe height is very individual though, so the best way to figure it out by trial and error. I am, like Kate, fairly tall but with a longer torso so I wear fairly high heels to balance out my top and bottom halves. Since you are not short waisted, ie. have at least an average length torso you may need shoes in the 3″ range which will balance your bottom half but which wouldn’t be so tall as to make you look like you are overcompensating for your height.

            You may do this already, but if not, take the shoes which you will most frequently be wearing with your outfit with you to your tailor and wear them while you are getting the outfit pinned. Your tailor, hopefully, should have a good sense of proportion and be able to advise you as to hem length. Have him or her pin the clothes where he/she thinks it should be and then take a good long look in a full length mirror. Don’t be afraid to ask them to move the pins up or down–even a 1/4 inch can make a big difference.

  21. I do not like the short hem lines on her recently. It feels really juvenile, and not at all appropriate for a Duchess who is pregnant. She has great legs, but it seems as of late, she is all about showing them. However, it seems though she has always liked showing off her body (if you have it flaunt it):). If she was an average girl (not pregnant as well) than it would be fine. But being a Duchess and pregnant means you should dress a little more modestly. Im suprised the Queen has not said something.

  22. I love the detailing of the coat, as well as the color. However, I do not like the length. With her growing bump, I believe the Duchess should take greater care to wear things with a longer hem than she is used to, or all of her outwear/dresses will start to ride up and run the risk of looking too short.

    I believe she should lengthen her hems and simultaneously decrease her heel height. The high heels seemingly exacerbate an already short hem. It killed this look for me. She is taller than the average woman, and now with a bump, the hems will start to ride further up into ‘inappropriate’ territory.

    Phew- I hate criticizing her style because she is just fabulous and I adore her. However, I would like to see some longer hems (at least until the baby is born!) and reduced heel height. She can bring back the sky-high heels in July. :)

    By the way- did anyone else notice how the detailing on her coat was mirrored in the detailing of the Queen’s coat… coincidence or planned? Just wondering! Also, on a positive, I absolutely loved her hat (and also the Dulwich coat she wore with it… at a friend’s wedding I believe… come to think of it, I also adored her purple bow heels).

    Thank you for this fantastic post!!!

  23. Why the snarky comment about the dress length from the writer of the post? How unprofessional and pointless. No wonder you have followers who are mean spirited.

    • I didn’t find the comment snarky, just observational. Many of us have noted that the Duchess’s hemlines have seemed shorter since she announced that she is expecting: some people approve of the look, while others think that it looks unproportional and opens the door for wardrobe malfunctions. This is as it should be, as opinions about fashion are diverse and very subjective; there are no definite verdicts on whether an outfit is successful or not.

      This blog is a place for people to express their opinions, both positive and negative, about outfits that the Duchess chooses to wear (and, at times, a place to discuss more affordable alternatives for those of us who don’t have the Duchess’s wardrobe allowance!). Critiquing an item of clothing doesn’t mean that I respect the Duchess any less. Through reading this blog, expressing my own opinion, and reading the responses of others my own style has improved immensely, as I’ve become more educated about proportions, complimentary colors, and tailoring tricks. None of that would have happened if people’s comments were solely adulatory.

      • I agree with you so much, AshleyOlivia. This website has certainly done me nothing but good in the dress department and educated me in matters of tailoring in a way I would never have predicted. I hugely enjoy the exchange of views and opinions which are generally so thoughtful and considered. My own admiration for the website admin and all its postings remains undimmed!

    • This is a blog on which people express fashion opinions, positive and negative. It is not “snarky” to say that you don’t care for a particular outfit or feature. I think debate about these subjects, between people who are interested in fashion, is both informative and entertaining, but debate requires the statement of opinions. Most of us seem to find that interesting.

  24. Wow! That girl can rock a coat, dark tights, hat, and the highest heels. Kate looks great again today!

  25. she looks sensational from head to toe!

  26. Simply FABULOUS coverage or the event, as always. Thank you!

  27. Her short hemlines recently are Killing Me!

  28. The teal coat she wore is from ‘By Malene Birger’. The cream brocade coat is from ‘Day Birger et Mikkelsen’. These are two different brands. Malene Birger used to work for ‘Day Birger et Mikkelsen’ but she started her own brand ‘By Malene Birger’. She was no longer at that Day company when Kate wore the cream brocade coat. The other Malene Birger outfit she has worn is the Bullet dress seen during the Canadian tour.

  29. Don’t forget she’s also worn the Bullet Dress by Malene Birger during their 2011 North America tour. I love that dress and hope she wears it again post pregnancy.

  30. Any word on where to purchase the Episode Angel Pumps?

  31. Don’t forget she’s also worn the Bullet Dress from Malene Birger during their 2011 North America tour. I love that dress. Hopefully she wears it again post pregnancy.

  32. I liked this coat very much — the beaded soutache trim is wonderful — but I would genuinely have loved it if it had been two or three inches longer. It just missed chic and elegance because of its length.

    It seems, as some people suggested yesterday, that the Duchess is trying to deflect attention from her midsection by revealing her legs to a greater extent than usual. I understand the impulse — and she’s got great legs — but she’s going too short, especially if she’s going to wear very high heels.

    You have to pay close attention to proportions, which comprise hem lengths and heel heights. There’s a point at which short skirts and high heels start to look — in bad taste. I had the same feeling about this coat and heels combination that I had when the Duchess wore the otherwise knockout McQueen Samurai coat with the very high-heeled LK Bennett nude pumps and the Reiss Peacock dress, which was very short and totally concealed by the coat. I loved the coat, but there was just too much leg on display.

    Moreover, as we discussed yesterday, short, A-line/full skirts and dresses can look very juvenile.

    However, I can’t complain too much, because the coat really is lovely. I also loved the hat the first time I saw it, with the Libelula Dulwich coat. I wish I could find something just like it.

    This teal and black color combination is precisely what the Duchess wore the last time we saw her on an outing with the Queen and Prince Philip. Another example of how much she likes blue shades.

    • Agree with you entirely about proportions of skirt lengths/heel heights. I confess my own gripe with the McQueen/Reiss combo at the Garter ceremony was that I thought the skirt peeked out under the coat in places.

      Either way, it’s one of the many minor inconsistencies which seem to crop up in the Duchess’s wardrobe and which sometimes leave me wondering if she checks in the mirror before setting out.

      On the other hand, I’m also left wondering if the present intensity of web-fuelled scrutiny doesn’t fall foul of the deluge of airbrushed advertising imagery we all face. I try to tell myself the Duchess can’t get it studio-shot perfect all of the time.

      I try…and then I start “tutting” all over again! I know, though, that what keeps me coming back is the tension I sense between two outcomes – the times the Duchess seems to score a near-miss against, the others when she really hits the mark. There’s no way anyone, including the Duchess, can predict how an outfit will turn out in media terms.

      What I admire in her so much is her sheer humanity and grace at all times, and often it’s the fact that she can slip up in exactly the way any of us can that endears her so much more than if she were ever to become another style-clone.

      My admiration also goes out to this website for making such shared ponderings possible. It’s the website I go to which is like not being on the web at all – it’s so civilised, calm and considered over at WKW. Thanks so much to you, Susan.

  33. Great coat, although I wish it was a bit longer. Otherwise a very good look for Kate today. Glad to see HM out and about again.

  34. I have been consistently disappointed with the DoC’s outfits of late, but this one was great for me. I love the color and her hat. It gives her a vintage look without getting costume-y. I am also just tickled that she wore the pin!

    I just love how she decided on a whim to join the Queen, and that the Queen invited her to come with. I really do think QEII likes Kate.

    On a somewhat related note, I highly recommend the book “Underground London” by Stephen Smith. It has really neat details about some of the Tube stations, too.

  35. Doesn’t it seem Kate always wear Blue/teal when out with HM? Wonder if it’s on purpose or not?

  36. Are the Episode shoes expensive? They don’t appear to be. Just wondering!

  37. Why would the design houee not officially recognize their garment ? Woule they have signed a form of nondisclosure ?

    • Normally, when you e-mail a company to get information, it is the general customer service staff that answers your question. The folks at customer service are there to help people regarding the current collection. Most of the time, they don’t have access to the older collections, in this case from 2006.

      • That’s a good point. I am just surprised they didn’t pass it along to a higher up at the company (a PR person, for instance). Wouldn’t a designer want to be linked to the Duchess, even if she’s wearing an older piece? And then they could say “Yes, she’s wearing something from our 2006 collection. It’s not in stock anymore, but we’re currently offering a similar garment this season, called [name].”

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