White and Navy, The Middy Up-dated

It’s not often that I comment on what a celebrity is wearing, just because I feel that why bother when Tom and Lorenzo are in the world.  But I just have to say a few words about this fabulous dress that Duchess Catherine wore in Canada yesterday.

The fashion press lost no time in calling forth the vintage inspiration, saying it was 1920s inspired.  Well, yes, but to me it speaks more of the 1970s, when designers like Sonia Rykiel and Jean Muir took looks from the 20s and 30s and transformed them by making them in knits.  But no matter, because whatever the era it evokes, I cannot resist a dress that so beautifully transforms a sportswear staple from the 1910s and 20s, the middy.

The middy dress, or sailor dress has come and gone over the years.  They were big during World War II as a way to show one’s patriotism.  They were also popular in the mid 60s.  I can remember that I had one that was culottes that I wore in junior high, around 1968.  And then they had another big moment in the 1980s, when Laura Ashley began making a version in navy.

What is interesting is that it was first reported that Catherine’s dress was Sarah Burton for McQueen, but some people who pay close attention to what celebrities wear remembered seeing this one in 2006, being worn by Sarah Jessica Parker.  So the dress is actually by Alexander McQueen.  I wonder if they remade the dress for Catherine, or if it has been carefully folded up (never hang a knit dress!) on a shelf for the past five years.

There are several websites where one can go and vote for who wore it the best, but I think the dress suits them both.  It was surprising to see the dress on Parker, as when I saw the original dress my thoughts were, “Only on a tall woman.”  But Parker’s version is navy, which made it much more wearable for a shorter woman.  Trust me, I’m short and I’d have tried on both colors, loved the white and chosen the navy.

Photo of Duchess Catherine via dailymail.co.uk

Photo of Sarah Jessica Parker, Getty Photos, via Huffington Post

6 Comments

Filed under Designers, Viewpoint

6 responses to “White and Navy, The Middy Up-dated

  1. Thanks for the post!
    I really in love with white&navy combo, especially with marine references. In my childhood dresses for girl with square collars with stripes were everyday staples, I had at least 2 which I remember.

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  2. KeLLy Ann

    Both lovely dresses. I do like the White better.
    Either is a great excuse to get up, dress up, and go out!

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  3. Great post Lizzie. I think Catherine looks amazing in everything! My preference is for the navy and white knitted dress, and I love the way Sarah has accessorized hers with those fabulous red pom-pom shoes. That girl knows how to work it! 🙂

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  4. Em

    Great post–agree that it’s more 70s does 20s-30s.

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  5. I like Catherine better, the silly little pom-pom on SJP’s dress kind of make me gag. Also, there’s a little whiff of mutton dressed as lamb….

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  6. Pingback: Lombard Middy Blouses for the College Girl | The Vintage Traveler

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