It was all anyone could talk about April 29, or so it seemed: the dress that Catherine Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, wore when she wed Prince William at Westminster Abbey in London. “Perfect” and “flawless” were among the adjectives used to describe the gown. Another more welcome adjective was “modest.” 

The ivory dress, with a V-shaped neckline and long lace sleeves, has some pundits hoping for a return to modesty and decorum, not just for brides, who have favored strapless and/or sleeveless dresses in recent years, but for young women in general. 

Simon Doonan, creative ambassador for Barneys New York and a columnist at Slate.com, told National Public Radio the following day: “I was struck by the modesty of the dress. I thought it was really gorgeous, appropriate, beautiful. But what you have to realize is that there’s a whole generation who’s ... never had a Jackie O. or an Audrey Hepburn or a Grace Kelly. And this is like a role model for a bunch of gals that have never had that sort of model of modesty and restraint, combined with glamour and excitement and elegance.” 

Only time will tell if the royal bride’s celebrated style will change bridal fashion in the long run, but there are some hopeful signs. “I thought it was very chic and conservative. It was very flattering. The V-neck was flattering, and the corset detail stood out amazingly,” Dan Rentillo, vice president of design for David’s Bridal, one of the largest wedding dress retailers in the country, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “This is the beginning of a much more understated look in bridal.”