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British women are covering up more, and credit is going to Kate Middleton and Kate Moss. A recent study by Georgede, a Parisian fashion company, revealed that British women cover up more than women in the rest of Europe. In fact, their skirts are an average of 10 centimeters longer than those of the women in other European nations.
Kate Middleton, now officially known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has been dressing demurely since becoming a member of the royal family. Her skirts are often knee-length and she has had longer sleeves added to designer dresses like the Alexander McQueen number she wore to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee barge ride. Kate and her sister Pippa are credited with starting a nude stocking craze, according to The Daily Mail. Hosiery company Asda reported that sales of flesh-toned pantyhose rose by 500% after Kate Middleton started wearing them in public. The Daily Mail claims that only old grandmothers have worn sheer pantyhose since the 1980s, but anyone who has tried to wear a skirt or dress outside of the summer months has either worn them or wished they had. Middleton has made it acceptable for women of all ages to wear pantyhose, making it stylish to cover up a little bit more.
Model Kate Moss recently urged women everywhere to cover up. In an interview with Grazia, a women’s fashion magazine in the U.K., Moss is quoted as saying “put it awaaaaaay.”
Fall 2010 designer shows debuted modest hemlines. Pencil skirts dropped to the knee, tea-length dresses came back, and now we’re in maxi dresses. Super-short trapeze dresses and miniskirts are becoming more rare, though barely-covered crotches are still seen on some red carpets. Fall seems like an appropriate time to offer more coverage, but even summer looks have had longer hemlines, like the aforementioned maxi dresses and skirts. Any fashionable skin being shown lately is in cut-outs in the middle of the back or around the ribs. Even when it looks like starlets are showing skin, many actually have nude fabric covering them. Mad Men, which has been inspiring classic silhouettes in fashion since it debuted, features form-fitting pencil skirts and dresses, usually to the knee.
It might not just be the two Kates and fashion designers making British women cover up; it may be their own insecurities. Georgede’s survey found that 61% of women over 35 were self-conscious about their arms and 54% worried about covering their knees. With obesity rates increasing all over the world, women everywhere are likely getting more self-conscious about their bodies and their outfits.
Whatever the reason, it is nice to have the option to cover up and still be fashionable. While it is unfortunate that so many women feel they have to cover up due to body image issues, at least they can all feel fashionable and comfortable as they rock the demure trend.