As fashion experts will attest, Kate Middleton regularly makes waves with her clothing selections.

But unlike most celebrities, the Duchess of Cambridge’s style doesn’t usually hit the headlines because it’s scandalous. In true man bites dog fashion, Kate Middleton’s clothing catches eyes more often because it is modest and traditional, rather than sexy and explicit.

According to several recent articles, that taste for the modest and traditional seems to be slowly spreading to fashion designers and the general public. USA Today explains the growing trend of less revealing, but fashionable clothing, by quoting Fashion Institute of Technology historian, Patricia Mears:

“‘If anything it’s gaining more traction (now),’ says Mears. “Many women do not want to walk around in a bandage dress or show their midriff — the Real Housewives look that has permeated the workplace.’”

The article goes on to say that contrary to what many might think, those celebrities who swim upstream against the “bare-it-all” clothing trends are actually embracing female empowerment in a different way than we’ve always been told it must be embraced:

“Besides Duchess Kate, modesty fans admire the street style of actress Olivia Palermo, the chic of Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism after she married an Orthodox Jew, and the always-covered-up designing Olsen twins, Mary Kate and Ashley, and their The Row line which features loose, over-sized clothing and some dresses to ankles.

‘You never see them in body-revealing (attire) and they’re savvy worldly young women,’ says FIT’s [Fashion Institute of Technology] Mears. ‘It’s a sense of strength and empowerment the other way — you can’t objectify them as a sex symbol.’”

Such an observation brings up a couple of interesting questions. In our quest to “empower” women and break them free from the constraints of dress and gender boundaries, have we actually constrained them more? Does the current acceptability of giving women and little girls scores of sexualized clothing options – and in some cases, stripping them completely of all clothing – serve to also strip them of the very dignity that they have been fighting for during the last century?  

Image Credit: Bob Suir