Kate Middleton
Kate MiddletonReuters

Kate Middleton's sense of style is not what it's made to be, and women in the U.S. and UK feel that the Duchess of Cambridge's fashion influence is equal to that of Snooki, Kate Beckinsale, and Paris Hilton.

The study by Jeetendr Sehdev, a celebrity branding expert and University of Southern California marketing professor, found that women are gravitating towards figures they see as more independent, such as First Lady Michelle Obama and pop star Taylor Swift, reported Women's Wear Daily.

"Her influence is not what it's being made to be and, in the eyes of the modern woman in both the U.S. and the U.K., she's not heralded in that way," Sehdev noted, adding: "Does she even deserve the title of style icon? The answer is no, because she doesn't measure on the criteria of the style icon."

However, a recent Vanity Fair article is filled with praises for the Duchess' recent looks, calling it "more red-carpet glam than mumsy." The article credited Middleton's personal assistant turned stylist, Natasha Archer, for putting together sophisticated yet edgy looks that the Duchess has been sporting since resuming royal duties late last month.

Middleton, who is around 14-weeks pregnant with her second baby, had taken a break from public engagements soon after the palace announced her pregnancy in September, owing to a serious case of morning sickness.

"Initially Kate was a reluctant fashion icon, but now she enjoys it. Tash [Natasha Archer] helps source some of the clothes. She shops a lot for Kate online, and calls in hundreds of dresses for Kate to try on," a source close to Archer told Vanity Fair's Royal Watch. "She has persuaded Kate to take some more risks. The hemlines are shorter and Kate's really pushing the boat out in the fashion stakes."

Although Middleton has always been praised for her impeccable fashion sense, it is believed that she recently expressed a desire to look fashion forward, as she does not want to seem older than her age. Middleton will turn 33 next year.

Meanwhile, a Grazia report stated that Archer has been styling Middleton's looks since last summer, and although the former's role is that of a personal assistant, she has now become the Duchess' style guru.

"Natasha and Kate get on very well. She has always supported and advised Kate – and the duchess loves Natasha's style, so it seemed like an obvious appointment. Natasha has been helping Kate pick outfits for the [New Zealand ]tour," a source told the outlet.