‘I Wish You’d Dress More Like Kate Middleton:’ Fashion Advice From My Mother

My mother's always had an opinion on my wardrobe, so it's time to finally give her the soap box platform she's been after for years

'I Wish You'd Dress More Like Kate Middleton:' Fashion Advice From My Mother

by Madeleine Knight |
Published on

Last Saturday I went into John Lewis to look at the women's clothes section. No one made me. It was my own decision. I wandered around feeling the quality of the material and then tootled into the shoe section to buy some practical work shoes.

And while I sat having a hot cross bun and a cup of tea in the department store cafe, I suddenly realised with great horror that I had turned into my mother.

I choked on my tea, marched across the road to H&M and spent £100 on complete tat in an act of defiant rebellion.

Later, sitting in my bedroom, staring at my pile of £9.99 synthetic dresses in diverse, vibrant colours that were destined to run into each other in the first wash, I wondered why I was so adverse to accepting maternal advice. After all, it made all made perfect sense to me now.

It makes sense to buy clothes that are slightly more expensive but an investment for the future. It makes sense to wear a thin thermal layer in minus temperatures rather than just a denim jacket. It makes sense to steer clear of turtle-necks because I have a short neck and it creates the illusion that my chin grows directly from my cleavage.

My mum warned me about all these things, but now I cringe as I remember my reply: 'Oh Mother, you just don't get it.' Ironically, I was about to leave for a night out in nothing but fishnets and Batik at the time, so evidently, neither did I.

The following interview was conducted by means of apology, allowing her the soap box platform she had been yearning for for years (verbatim as she was watching television, eating dinner and trying to catch up on the news.)

What is your opinion of my wardrobe?

Full of crushed, unironed, unfolded clothes that are basically all the same colour. With holes in them. I know for a FACT it contains the odd good thing, because I've bought you them myself… but I never see them. I just see old things that are usually someone else's cast-offs.

What could I do to improve it?

Planning and weeding out. It's the classic thing of having a little think about what you need in your wardrobe, like what the colour palette is so you don't have every colour under the sun. So, for example, everything could be cappuccino with the occasional bit of turquoise splashed in, which would be lovely.

What is your colour palette?

Black. It's all black, which is exactly the same as yours because I haven't done any bloody planning either. It's also full of old mistakes that I can't throw away because in my generation you only throw things away when they are threadbare. So because I don't like things, I don't wear them and I can't throw them away.

What was my most questionable fashion stage?

When you used to wear those enormous jeans with tiny little tops. The whole outfit could not have been any less flattering but you weren't to be told. Oh and those choker necklaces that made you look like you didn't have a neck.

Why didn't you tell me more obviously at the time?

As a mother, sometimes you have to let your children make their own mistakes. Plus it was wildly entertaining for your father and I to keep quiet because you thought you were achingly cool.

If you could dress me like anyone who would it be?

Kate Middleton.


Because she's a similar age to you (NB... this is a LIE... she is at least 4 years older than I am) and she dresses with elegance and sophistication but inexpensively. And she is well groomed... and we've talked about that… I know you think she's boring but I think she's fun.

How would you have fun with Kate Middleton?

Probably go for a nice walk on a Norfolk beach.

If you could dress like anyone who would it be?

That woman who is the head of IMF - Christine Lagarde… you know… googles 'Christine Lagarde' mixes high-street chic with high-end fashion HER! shows phone She looks smart and sexy.

How would you have fun with her?

I'm not playing this game any more. Let me watch the news.

SORRY! OK so: What is the one piece of clothing advice you wish I had taken?

To stop wearing those silly tall thin shoes (stilettos) because you'll get bunions and then you'll be one of those old ladies hobbling around looking older than you are. And even if those ladies wanted to wear flat shoes they wouldn't be able to because they have damaged their feet so much. Your great grandmother had that problem. She was a raver in the '20s and she lived to regret it!!

Why do you always buy me a size larger than I am for Christmas presents?

If you wear small clothes you bust out of them but if you have a size larger, you look thin. It looks like you've lost weight since you've bought the clothes.

Looking back, what would you say about your style at my age?

Rubbish. Still is. Jeans and jumpers when I wasn't at work was all I wore.

Who is better dressed age 29? You or me?

Well I was pregnant with you! I was limited to maternity wear.

....The alarm bells rang, I realised I was swimming into dangerous conversational waters and so ended the interview.

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Follow Madeleine on Twitter @missmadeleinek

Picture: Maggy Van Ejik

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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