A proud Canadian family -- with a passion for fashion to boot -- my aunt and I celebrated this Canada Day up north in our annual cottage tradition.
We were excited to watch the Ottawa festivities from afar, to cheer on our prime minister, and of course to find out what that stunning Kate Middleton would wear.
We hadn't given much thought to our "First Lady" Laureen Harper, unfortunately. We were concerned she'd miss the the proverbial fashion boat, or should we say canoe -- a shame for such an elegant woman. Led by that sophisticated fleet of mounties, who clearly weren't policing her fashion, although they themselves looked smart and patriotic, Mrs. Harper committed some serious fashion faux pas.
While Princess Kate could have been on a catwalk July 1, Mrs. Harper was hardly fit for the sidewalk of Parliament Hill. We felt strongly that Mrs. Harper, or more precisely her stylist, could have represented our country in a far more avant-garde way. The walk-about was a perfect opportunity to display the many talented Canadian designers whom we so proudly adore: D Squared, Lucian Matis, Marie Saint Pierre, Lida Baday, etc. Instead Mrs. Harper donned a circa 1960s outfit reminiscent of an Air Canada stewardess or an Eatons' catalogue summer special.
The rule of thumb is to wear the colours of the maple leaf, our national flag, though the combination of red and white is a tricky one, particularly for the wife of a Conservative prime minister.
Mrs. Harper's attire conjured up images of candy stripers/Mrs. Claus/Valentine's Day cards etc, and don't forget those shoes, eh? Ron White's red heels pale in comparison to Louboutin's famous footwear.
In fact, upon first glance at our "First Lady's" outfit, my dear aunt and I exchanged our mutual disappointment for her secretary-like suit. I even turned to my aunt and huffed "Why wouldn't she wear a white dress and a red hat, something with a little sophistication!"
To my utter delight, this is precisely what our dear Kate did. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, got it all right. A stunning white dress accented by an extraordinary red fascinator adorned with a stylized maple leaf. She incorporated the mandatory red and white theme in a most elegant and sophisticated manner. And oh those shoes! No matchy-matchy faux pas here. Instead she wore a subtle nude patent platform, the perfect accessory to her already fabulous outfit.
We get it Canada; our "First Lady" needs to find a balance to ensure her image isn't one of lavish luxury, contrary to that of a princess. But does that mean she needs to tell the world Canadians are mundane or boring? Just because you support the Conservative party, it doesn't mean you can't be a little more "liberal" in your sense of style, non? Montreal's known for its fashionistas, do we need to give Quebec even more reason to separate?
In conclusion, kudos to Catherine's stylist, for his/her fine taste in what to wear to our nation's birthday party and we ask Mrs. Harper to either fire hers (if she has one) or hire one if she doesn't.
Written by Catherine Haber and Aimee Savard.