Michelle Obama vs. Duchess Kate: Who's the real style icon?

Maria Puente | USA Today

Shocking news for the fashion tribe: First lady Michelle Obama is way more — five times more — daring, confident, independent and provocative in terms of global style influence than Duchess Kate of Cambridge, according to a new study.

Cue the gasps.

Some of us are not that surprised. A royal duchess, princess of the British royal family and future queen is not supposed to be daring, edgy or provocative, she’s supposed to be safe. Duh.

But now it seems there’s actual scientific proof, according to a study of the matter by Jeetendr Sehdev, a marketing professor and expert on celebrity branding at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

His research is attracting notice in the fashion mags, such as WWD, Elle and Glamour, because it suggests that the much-talked about “Kate effect,” said in the U.K. to be worth about $1.6 billion, might be wildly exaggerated.

He surveyed attitudes among 3,500 women in the U.S. and 1,500 in the U.K., and concluded that a true style icon has five key attributes: A definitive sense of style; confidence; timelessness; independence; and a wee bit of provocativeness.

Admired and envied as she is, Kate really only meets the timelessness standard, according to the women he surveyed. Obama is seen as five times more daring in her fashion sense, with 75% of those surveyed saying they admired FLOTUS for her sartorial risk-taking.

“First and foremost, she seems to be dressing for herself,” Sehdev told WWD. “She’s seen taking far more risks. She seems to have a much stronger sense of independence. She’s nobody’s right hand, she’s a person unto herself and that really scores highly when it comes to how that translates to fashion.”

Way to go, Mrs. O.

But compare for yourself, in this picture, possibly the only time the two were snapped together, when the Obamas met the Cambridges at Buckingham Palace 

Jeetendr was interviewed by USA Today on the fashion influence of Kate Middleton and Michelle O'Bama. View the original article here