Monday, October 3, 2011

Much ado about Kate's shrug

Wedding stylist Clare Mukherjee writes in the Huffington Post today that her most oft requested bridal garments lately aren't panties that give brides a Pippa Middleton derrière, but Angora boleros or shrugs like the one the Duchess of Cambridge wore to her wedding reception (above).

Mukherjee writes about her search, "I tentatively Googled 'angora white bolero' with my fingers/legs/arms/toes crossed. I was met with a plethora of links to eBay and other auction sites screaming various self-selling headlines, such as 'Kate Middleton hand knit angora bolero' and 'Be a princess in your own knit wedding shrug-100% ANGRORA' (sic). Clicking on these links led me to photographs of middle aged women proudly sporting their carefully hand knitted 'princess shrugs'. I sighed, I appreciated these women's efforts and they had clearly put a lot of time and love into their creations, but they were undeniably hand-made and did not have a sleek enough appearance for a bride on her big day."

I haven't seen the pictures of these middle-aged women who proudly sport their hand-knitted  "princess shrugs," but I sense a bit of snobbery with the "middle-aged" and  "undeniably hand-made." The author, panicked that her Googling has gone for naught, finally finds what she's looking for: "A dear stylist friend back in London provided me with a web link to a British store called Monsoon that shipped internationally (phew) and had the most perfect, affordable ($100) simple, neat, tidy, polished, slick and sleek little white 100 percent angora bolero that any stylist or bride could possible dream of! I was in bolero heaven and the relief I felt was indescribable."

Now the simple sleek $100 white bolero is very pretty and a stylist probably doesn't have the kind of budget for hand-knit, but really? An angora sweater serged together in a factory Lord-knows-where is the winner? (Last year the Guardian called out Monsoon for its child labor and low-wage practices, despite the company's fair trade claims .) That's kind of amusing since Kate's certainly didn't come from a High Street chain, but was probably hand-knit by a craftsperson on the Alexander McQueen team.

Here, some sleek hand-knit boleros that are Kate -- and young bride -- worthy.

Bolero/Shrug #1

Bolero/Shrug #2 (not angora)

Bolero/Shrug #3 (Vogue Knitting)



  1. Funny really, when you consider that Monsoon is a national (international?) chain store. Hardly worth being snobby about.

  2. Thank you for this informative post! I really can't believe the constant hype over Catherine's wardrobe.

    And what's wrong with handmade, anyway?

  3. Just discovered you - very nice blog! I think that I may be an anglophile! I KNOW that I am a knitter. AND I once lived in Bedford!

  4. Abigail, exactly. I'd rather have a hand-knitted sweater any day than one that's been mass produced in a factory somewhere in China. Plus, who wants to look like a lemming?

  5. Thank you, Jody! That's cool you once lived in Bedford. If you haven't been back recently, they're torn down the row of shops in the center of town on Great Rd. Don't know what's going in there next.

  6. p.s. And you're a sock knitter! :-)


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