As both a Brit and a Royal, the Duchess of Cambridge has more opportunities than most to wear hats. And most would agree that she wears them very well. So it comes as little surprise that The Headwear Association has named her its 'Hat Person of the Year'.
Ninety-one per cent of the California-based organisation's members voted for her in an online poll, placing her ahead of U.S. celebrities Rachel Zoe and Ne-Yo.
She has raised the profile, not only of established names like Philip Treacy and Sylvia Fletcher of Lock & Co, but also little-known designers such as Rose Cory and Vivien Sheriff.
And though the engagements for which she chooses to wear hats are not unusual - church services, weddings and Royal Ascot - her sartorial influence has inspired many people to sport formal headwear for all manner of special occasions.
Summer social season, from left: At the Order of the Garter Service at St George's Chapel in Windsor
At the Derby festival, all in June
The style set in the U.S. has perhaps been most heavily-inspired. While British women, like Catherine, expect to wear hats from time to time, it was, for a long time, seen as outdated in America. Now though, milliners are enjoying a boom thanks to 'the Kate effect'. Jenny Pfanenstiel, of Forme Millinery in Chicago said: 'Kate has allowed American women to know what fascinators are and to feel more comfortable and confident about wearing hats in public.' A post on The Headwear Association's blog, announcing the news today, described Catherine's style as 'impeccable',
The Headwear Association was founded in 1908 and claims to be the oldest fashion trade association in the industry.
Its mission is to promote hat wearing and the headwear industry throughout the world and foster goodwill and fellowship among those engaged in the headwear industry.
This is the third annual Hat Person of the Year award: previous winners include Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt.
Earlier this year, it inducted Victoria Beckham and Lady Gaga into its Hall of Fame. They joined the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Aretha Franklin, Fred Astaire and Marlene Dietrich.
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