We are back with your feedback and reviews of Kate-related items you have purchased, and some of the retailers selling that merchandise. First, a very fast glance at Kate’s time at Houghton Hall with George and Charlotte over the weekend.
— Daily Mail Femail (@Femail) May 31, 2016
The threesome went to watch the Houghton Hall Horse Trials, officially called the Houghton International Horse Trials. Only about a half-hour’s drive from Anmer Hall, the Hall, stables, church and other outbuildings are surrounded by 1000+ acres of land; the estate is also adjacent to Sandringham, the Queen’s private residence. It is an extraordinary country home built in the 1700s for Sir Robert Walpole, a country squire who served as Britain’s Prime minister for more than 20 years. Its collection of art, furniture, textiles, and other items was showcased last year at Nashville’s Frist Center, in an exhibition titled Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House.
It is an excellent location for events like the Horse Trials and other functions. This is where Kate is rumored to be hosting a black tie fundraiser for EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices) on the 22nd of this month. Below, Kate with Charlotte.
A closer look at Charlotte, who looked just darling.
Here we see Kate and George with family friend James Meade shown on the right.
Prince William joined Kate, the children, and friends for lunch on Saturday before leaving to play in a charity polo tournament with Prince Harry. The Duchess wore her Tori Breton stripe top by Ralph Lauren, skinny jeans that look much like the UFO pair worn in India, and her Le Chameau Vierzon boots. The boot style is also available at Harrods.
Kate wore a headband, aka an “Alice Band’, that is prompting all manner of discussion. From a Daily Mail piece:
…surely not even the lovely Kate can bring back the wretched Alice band after she was pictured wearing one at the Houghton horse trials in Norfolk last weekend?
And from a Telegraph column:
Why the aversion to this one adornment? It’s because no other accessory or garment screamed “Sloane Ranger” as loudly as this tribal headdress.
Who knew there was such debate about this accessory? On Sunday it was not an issue, Kate wore her hair up.
At Houghton International Horse Trials, Kate and beautiful Prince George! pic.twitter.com/FhNdsUdwg3
— Lou Grey Cashmere (@grey_lou) May 31, 2016
The Duchess wore her Barbour Belford jacket, skinny jeans and Le Chameau boots. The Belford was long ago discontinued; below, a better look at some of the garment’s details.
One recommendation for a similar Barbour look comes from Kate Johnson on the WKW Facebook page; she owns Barbour’s Cotterdale style and is very pleased with it. We show it at Ladds, where it is on sale for £305.
For all of the specifics on what George and Charlotte were wearing, visit sister site What Kate’s Kids Wore.
It was a treat seeing the Cambridges out and about last weekend. Tomorrow (Saturday, June 4) is the Epsom Derby. There has been some chatter that Kate and William might attend in recognition of the Queen’s 90th birthday. In honor of that milestone, this year the Derby’s Coronation Cup has been renamed The Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup. The only time we have seen the Duke and Duchess at the Derby was 2011, when Kate wore her Peacock dress by Reiss; the Nessie tweed jacket by Joseph; and the Natalie clutch and Sledge heels, both by LK Bennett.
I consider myself fortunate to be part of such a wonderful community here, the information and background and support WKWers share is phenomenal. While we enjoy a fair amount of input on products and purchases on the Facebook page, and even on Twitter, not everyone uses those forums. That is why I asked for feedback recently from those who purchased items from retailers offering Kate-related merchandise; your input was outstanding. We’ll begin with an item the majority of shoppers have been thrilled with, the Anita Dongre Gulrukh Tunic dress worn the first day of the India/Bhutan tour.
Most who purchased the dress shared very favorable input about Anita Dongre’s customer service. The following comes via “Love to Shop Kim”:
I want to mention the communication with Anita Dongre was stellar!!! My initial contact was with the Manager Merchandise E-Commerce at 8:00pm their time!! I went back and forth with the size several times. I ordered one size and ended up changing the size. All communication was handled extremely professional and courteous–even with the size changes.
More praise for the service from Susan:
I must say this company was wonderful to work with. I ordered a size small,but after thinking about it for a day or two,I emailed customer service to see if I could change to an XS. No problem;they emailed me back to let me know. They also let me know it could be three or four weeks before it was shipped. I ordered it beginning of April. It left New Delhi May 7 and was at my home in Virginia,USA the morning of May 10th. I couldn’t believe how fast it as! And I was able to track its progress.
The feedback wasn’t 100% positive; this is from WKW Reader in London:
…at the time I ordered, the website said the dress would be shipped in two weeks. Three weeks later, having heard nothing, I called the shop and was told everything was on track and I would receive shipping confirmation soon. About a week later, still having not heard anything, I called back and was told the dress had been shipped and that I should have received confirmation, which I hadn’t. The lady I spoke to promised I’d get an email that day, which I didn’t, which prompted me to email the shop, who replied saying I’d receive the shipping confirmation soon and then I got it the next day.I’d really like to stress that everyone I spoke to and emailed were unfailing polite and helpful but it was annoying not having proper shipping confirmation details, as was the fact that the dress didn’t actually ship in two weeks.When it did arrive, the dress was very nicely boxed. I do find the size of the dress a little funny – I ordered it in a size 8 (UK) and it’s very loose but the belt is a bit tight.
Comments on the packaging and product quality were almost all complimentary.
Some were surprised by how sheer the fabric is; there was a discussion on Twitter about the need to wear a camisole and/or slip underneath the dress. This is from Emily Baker.
It fits perfectly, the colors are bright and gorgeous……there’s just one thing: it’s entirely sheer! I found a nude colored cotton dress in the back of my closet to go underneath it and it’s setting new records for “fastest number of compliments in a day”.
One shopper who planned to have her dress lined said that she is sure Kate’s was lined, or made out of material that was heavier. The following is from WKW Reader in London, referenced above;
I’m actually familiar with her line as my family is from Bombay and I own one of her dresses. There is no question that the fabric used in this dress is much more sheer than a typical Anita Dongre dress. My guess is that they went with a fabric that was easy to produce in bulk and at a reasonable price point.
But Susan (also quoted above) was fine with the fabric:
I do not feel the weave or weight of the dress too sheer. It was as I expected. The fit was perfect,however the belt is a snug fit and it is longer on me then on the Duchess,but then I am just a little over 5 feet 3 inches.
Love to Shop Kim thinks the fabric weight is fine:
I did not notice the fabric weight of the Anita Dongre dress. I live in Florida–almost the same climate as India so it is perfect for me.
In talking about how the garment fit most everyone mentioned the belt being snug or tight, but this seems to have been a positive experience for most shoppers.
This input is from Christine Frazier, the artist behind the popular Instagram and Twitter accounts known as The Royal Hamster:
- The packaging was acceptable- arrived in a box
- Ordering process was easy– grabbed my size before they sold out!
- Quality surpasses expectations. Very flattering and comfortable!
- I was surprised at how stretchy the trousers were. I imagined them being colored denim or twill pants, but they are thinner and more body-hugging. The detail at the knees helps with making them comfortable by providing more material where you need it to bend!
- Communication with Zara customer was service was very good. I made a typo in my shipping address which I noticed on the confirmation receipt. I contacted them by the chat feature and they fixed it right away, and the pants arrived on time to the correct address.
Here’s a refresher on the trousers, a blend of 67% cotton/29% polyester/4% elastene. They are priced at $49.90 on the US Zara site and appear to still be available in every size.
The following is via a reader who prefers anonymity:
Speedy delivery, nicely boxed, absolutely perfect. I bought two sizes and sent back the smaller ones, no problem with refund. Fit like a glove, great quality for the price, nice neutral colour so go with loads of different options already in my wardrobe.
And from a WKWer in Ohio:
I wear them all the time! Comfortable and true to size. Again Zara website is great to use. The pants were nicely folded in tissue paper and the box packaging was nice and not damaged.
Within hours of a WKWer identifying the garment the dress sold out. Later that day (April 12th) Glamorous announced the dress would be reissued and started taking pre-orders for another run of dresses, with shipping expected May 12th. Many found the design appealing, as well as the £50 price point; if I recall correctly the US price was around $75. The garment became even more attractive to shoppers when Glamorous ran a promotion offering 20% off the original price, bringing the cost down to about $50. It wasn’t long before the online-only retailer soon learned about The Kate Effect; more from The Mirror:
As soon as the news broke that the Duchess of Cambridge was wearing one of their dresses, the website experienced a huge surge in interest, with an increase of 438% in web traffic and a staggering 1,000 customers per minute browsed the dress online.
Social media has been filled with comments about about communication difficulties many customers say they encountered after ordering. The company was clearly overwhelmed by the volume of orders it received. A number of customers used the Glamorous Twitter account designated for customer service to get in touch about their orders.
A look at the Glamorous Facebook page demonstrates the scope of the customer service issue the company faced. Below, a Glamorous response to a complaint posted on the page.
As of this writing it appears the volume of concerns posted on the page has diminished; to its credit, Glamorous appears to be responding to each and every post.
(Even though these were public posts on Facebook & Twitter I blurred out the names as a courtesy, I don’t believe writing on a company’s wall or tweeting necessarily translate to tacit permission for republication.) Not all input about Glamorous was negative, the following was shared by Erika from Texas.
I was happy with the ordering process for the Glamorous dress, it was easy and they shipped faster than I expected. The dress was back-ordered, but it came within 7 business days of ordering it.
Some ordered the dress from other sites; Long Time Follower purchased her dress at the website for Boem Boutique in North Carolina and says it was “a lovely experience.” Many were quite pleased once they received their dresses. This feedback is via WKWer in Ohio:
I can’t wait to wear it, it’s true to size and extremely comfortable. I was pleasantly surprised with the fit!
Anna of My Small Obsessions ultimately resorted to Facebook to find out the status of her order. She just received her dress this week and likes the product.
The dress is nice, in nice colour and fabric feels nice. I got XS and it’s true to size, it’s very comfortable.
Anna did find the dress quite long; below you can see the fabric puddled at her feet. She is 158cm in height, about 5′ 2″, and reports her dress measures almost 151 in length.
The length was mentioned by almost every shopper who responded here and it featured heavily in conversations about the frock on social media. Erika from Texas also offered this insight:
The Glamorous dress is a nice, light fabric. I think it would breathe even in warmer weather. Even though it’s petite, the dress is a bit long. I plan to look into what I can do to shorten it, which could be tough because it would have to be at the waist (due to the pattern at the bottom of the skirt) and the side zipper. It’s a beautiful red color and pattern, and I am very happy to have purchased it.
Labinota, a Viennese WKWer shortened her dress, but also noted she is much shorter than Kate. She says she absolutely loves it.
Patricia Watts of A Petite Princess is used to checking dress lengths carefully; when seeing the specs for this item she opted for ordering the tunic instead of a dress. Unfortunately she received the dress, not the tunic. She returned the dress, only to receive yet another dress. She says she hasn’t received responses to her email inquiries, and that she’s been unable to connect by phone with someone in person, as opposed to voice mail.
Not everyone ordered directly from Glamorous; Long Time Follower purchased her dress at Boem Boutique in North Carolina and says it was “a lovely experience.” Glamorous is still stocking the dress in regular and also petite sizes, as well as the border print tunic.
Those buying the Petit Bateau striped tee worn in the Vogue photo shoot have been complimentary about that item, although there were mixed comments in terms of customer service, with some readers noting customer service reps were abrupt, or uninformed. When it comes to the actual tee Jane F. reports hers was shipped promptly, arrived quickly and “fit perfectly…it is a nice quality fabric.” Anna, mentioned just above, shared a photo of her top; she is another happy customer. (Hmm…it seems someone is photobombing Anna!)
Comments about the newly reissued Cezanne dress from Great Plains have also been positive.
Trisha at A Petite Princess also bought this dress. She is very pleased with her purchase:
I ordered this dress in a Medium and received an order confirmation … on Tuesday the 24th. I settled in for what I thought would be a 6 business day wait thanks to the information that is so easy to find on the site (have I mentioned that I love Great Plains and their Customer Service? I really, really do!). I knew that with a federal holiday here in the US that it might be the first part of June before I got to add this piece to my closet.
Turns out I would not have to wait long at all. I was shocked to see that they estimated arrival by End of Day on May 26!! Oh my goodness that is fast!
The dress is made of a fabric that makes it silky and light to the touch. I feel like I would wear this everywhere if I wanted to feel dressy.
The feedback for this item was very positive, including the ordering process, communication and shipping time. The following is from a reader named Alise.
The purchase experience was extremely similar to other US-based online shopping I have done. I’ve purchased two other Kate pieces (the grey checked Hobbs dress and the tan Reiss bandage dress) and both came with fancier packaging typically of a higher end establishment. I wasn’t expecting that of J Crew, though I was a little surprised when the packaging was closer to Old Navy orders than anything else; the sweater was folded in a clear plastic bag inside a plastic bag mailer. I got the order quickly and had no problems at all with the company or ordering.
Many were delighted to be able to purchase the product at a substantial savings, although several found the fabric thinner than anticipated. Erika from Texas shared this about the material’s weight:
I was surprised how sheer the shoulders were on the Breton stripe sweater, the Ivory seems a little thin, and it showed the nude bra that I wore with it.
And from our WKW Reader in London:
The quality is great, as per all J Crew clothing, although the weight of this tippi is much lighter than several other tippi sweaters I have.
Alise shared more feedback on the sweater:
It’s a bit thinner than I had expected, but I don’t have to wear something under it. I did pair it with a navy tank top underneath last weekend to ensure my bra wouldn’t be seen under stage lighting for an event, but I’ve also worn it with just a nude bra underneath and it’s been great – not too sheer by any means. It’s a perfect weight for these weeks that fall in between seasons. The best aspect in my mind is the softness. When wearing it, I feel polished and professional while also very comfortable – the perfect combination for my job as a professor.
Beth was very pleased with her purchase and even shared a photo taken when she was wearing the Tippi. (Doesn’t it look great?)
Believe it or not, the sweater remains available in XXSmall & XLarge sizes, it is priced at $59.99, using promo code GETSHOPPING brings the price down to about $42.
The pink and black Topshop dress worn at Kaziranga National Park was also popular.
This feedback is from Shopper in Massachusetts.
I ordered from nordstroms (which is always great). It was shipped in plastic and arrived quickly and fine. It is adorable and looks better than expected. Great buy!
The Zara jacket Kate wore for the Queen’s birthday spectacular brought some interesting comments. A little memory aid for anyone forgetting what the jacket looked like.
The name for the piece used on the Zara website is Blazer with Back Pleat. Love to Shop Kim had some very detailed comments about the garment.
I am a little disappointed in the Zara red cape, but for the price…..
I ordered a small and a medium because I wasn’t quite sure of the sizing. First thing, the Zara website pictures the cape much shorter than it really is–not a problem for me because I am tall. Other tidbits to mention about the cape… the ‘small’ cape does not align properly in the front–one side is longer than the other. The ‘medium’ lining in the back is not sewn correctly so the pleat in the back is a little off. Also, with both jackets it does not really stay closed as worn by HRH. She probably had it tacked down somehow. It opens in the shape of an upside down V. Maybe it needs a snap–not quite sure what can be done.
Another look at the item.
WKWer from Ohio had a different reaction, she is quite happy with her purchase.
The red Zara jacket– great fit. Bought from website and it was a breeze to buy. Packaging was a little beat up (ups shipping) but I love opening items from Zara because it’s always nicely wrapped in tissue paper. Impressed by quality of jacket. It is a short jacket but It will look great with a pair of flared jeans. I love the collar with the two buttons on the jacket.
Emma Avelar was lucky enough to find the Banana Republic skirt for just $35 and says she loves the colors of the skirt, as well as the fabric it is made of. She shared a photo with us on the Facebook page. (Anyone see any other repliKating going on here…?!)
Many thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts about the varying items they purchased. The feedback has been so constructive I have actually considered doing a page with continued input from people about product purchases, with a little tab up in the header like the other tabs. If this seems like a good idea let me know in a comment or an email.