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Over-30s will worship Princess Kate

Jessica Brown

The Princess Kate effect is already in full swing. Tesco’s £16 interpretation of the oh-so-demure navy Issa dress that the future Queen wore to announce her engagement sold out within an hour of it hitting the retailer’s transactional clothing website.

The Princess Kate effect is already in full swing. Tesco’s £16 interpretation of the oh-so-demure navy Issa dress that the future Queen wore to announce her engagement sold out within an hour of it hitting the retailer’s transactional clothing website. The actual £399 Issa dress was also gone from Harvey Nichols and London mini-chain Matches within a day. Meanwhile, Kurt Geiger’s buying team is already tinkering with next year’s buy to ensure it has plenty of “ladylike” footwear styles in next year’s range in anticipation of women everywhere swapping their towering heels for closed-toe courts and kitten heels.

Unlike Princess Diana, though, Middleton is no fashion icon and I can’t see anyone under 30 truly following her high-neck and hemline rules - the bouncy brunette hair layers may be a different story, but it’s a down and dirty Kate of the Moss variety that is more relevant to this age group.

For the average woman over 30, though, Middleton is a godsend. Follow her style to the letter and, although you’ll never turn heads, you won’t make mistakes either. It’s retailers in this space that should be looking to capitalise on Middleton’s style as she becomes one of the most photographed women in the world. John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Hobbs and contemporary womenswear indies all have a massive opportunity here.

There has been a slow build to a more elegant, feminine way of dressing for some time, and Middleton’s sudden catapult into the consumer psyche will only accelerate this movement. I’ve mentioned Céline in this column before - it looks even more relevant now.

2011 still has big question marks overhead, but the feel-good “Middleton effect” can only be a positive one. One request: please let’s not bring back the stretch-fabric knee boot.

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