From the start of her royal romance eight years ago Kate Middleton has been thrust into the spotlight. And, with every aspect of her style and manner becoming a matter of intense public scrutiny, one has to hand it to her for holding her fashion ground with unfaltering poise and conviction.
Kate leaving the Palace…
On her first day as Prince William’s wife the Duchess of Cambridge showed she is more than up to the job, dressed in a pleated cornflower blue dress, dark cropped jacket and wedge shoes. A skinny black belt added a fashionable nod while keeping the look chic and sophisticated.
Blue pleat dress, £26, at Dorothy Perkins
Petite Black asymmetric front jacket,
£159, NOW ONLY £109 at Debenhams
Black suede wedges,
£60, NOW ONLY £30 at Office Shoes
Kate does city chic…
The Duchess of Cambridge oozes effortless city style in this easy-to-wear coverup teamed with signature skinnies, classic black ballets and a super-long pearl necklace.
CC long twill jean, £22, at House of Fraser
Cream long pearl necklace,
£7, NOW ONLY £2 at Dorothy Perkins
Grey pointelle bow cardigan,
£21, NOW ONLY £15 at Dorothy Perkins
Black pointed pumps,
£56, NOW ONLY £22, at Office Shoes
At the races…
The Duchess looks every bit the princess at the races in a cream-coloured jacket, cream layered skirt, tan heels and statement-making hat.
White single button blazer,
£31.50, NOW ONLY £10 at Dorothy Perkins
Cotton-blend panel mini skirt by Opening Ceremony,
£445, NOW ONLY £220 at Browns
Foldover clutch bag, £6, at Marks and Spencer
Barratts ivory patent round toe court shoe, £30, at Debenhams
Forsaking a handful of wardrobe malfunctions (case in point; that ghastly 80s-disco fancy dress outfit), our Kate has pulled it off, remaining discreetly stylish without drawing unnecessary attention to herself (a quality much revered by those in the highest of royal places). In fashion terms the middle-class commoner-turned royal bride-to-be has evolved from safe and sloaney to still pretty safe and sloaney, but also resolutely chic, sophisticated, grown-up and elegant. And when one considers the heady style echelons of the house of Windsor – into which she is set to enter come April 2011 – playing it safe and ever so slightly conservatively is actually bang on the royal mint.
Here we take a pictorial tour the evolution of Kate’s style and reveal how to copy her coveted look with just a few wardrobe staples:
Since Kate first caught Prince William’s eye taking part in a university charity fashion show – she was dressed in a black see-through number – the princess-in-the-making has had her fashion choices keenly watched. From polo matches and friends’ weddings to roller discos and party nights out, Kate’s every style move has a gazillion critical eyes intent on picking apart each and every seam.
At St Andrews University she followed the firmly crafted fashion formula of many other nicely brought-up former boarding school girls – for which wardrobe staples include boot-cut jeans, neutral cashmeres, Puffa jackets and the glossiest of hair dos.
Comparisons between Kate’s outfits and Princess Diana’s have already been drawn. Somewhat spookily both their first media-published photographs revealed ‘transparency’ – Diana in a see-through skirt and Kate in sheer black lace. Red jackets identified both on the ski slopes; red and black made a mark at weddings; and, more recently, Virgin Mary blue engagement get-ups became stylish documentations of momentous historical events.
The blue number Kate wore at a friend’s wedding in 2009 was designed by Jane Troughton – a former student at Edinburgh University who has also dressed Jodie Kidd and Laura Bailey.
Wearing a somewhat school-marmish brown Windsor tweed suit at Cheltenham races in March 2007, Kate prompted comparisons with older royals more than twice her age. A second appearance at the races – on Gold Cup Day – saw her wearing a slightly younger egg-shell blue Harris tweed jacket designed by Katherine Hooker and a beret by Philip Treacy.
Although Kate generally seems to favour designer brands such as Issa and Mulberry, she has been known to dabble in the high street. She famously wore a Topshop dress for her 25th birthday party in January 2007. The black and white patterned dress sold out soon afterwards.
Those infamous yellow hotpants, sequinned turquoise halter-neck and florescent pink legwarmers – worn to a charity Day-Glo Midnight Roller Disco – will no doubt be back to haunt Princess Catherine on a regular basis throughout her fashion life.
How to steal Kate’s style:
Bulk out your Kate-wardrobe with classic style staples such as boot-cut jeans and neutrally hued cashmeres.
Make sure your hair is as glossy as possible at all times – carry a Mason and Pearson hairbrush to whip out and give your mane a quick tidy up as required.
No Kate-style wardrobe is worth its weight in handsome Prince Charmings without an impeccably tailored jacket. It’s a birthright.
Need help stealing a Kate Middleton-style wedding outfit? Easy peasy. Go for a wide-brimmed hat decorated with feathers, a tailored jacket and skirt or dress, and then team with a pair of toweringly high heels and the simplest of jewellery – a neat pendant, watch and a ring on each of your middle fingers.
Travelling chic the Kate way is pared down but elegant. On a recent trip to Mustique with Prince William, Kate flew out alone in British Airways economy class (she surely won’t be doing that now she’s a blue-blooded royal fiance) in a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, linen jacket, flat white leather LK Bennett ballet pumps, and a green Brics leather bag.
Kate Middleton’s ‘style credentials’ have won her numerous awards including:
Vanity Fair’s international best-dressed list 2008
The Daily Telegraph‘s Most Promising Newcomer in 2006 list of style winners and losers
Tatler’s annual top-ten style icon list 2007 (she came 8th)
People Magazine‘s best-dressed list 2007 and 2010
Richard Blackwell‘s ten Fabulous Fashion Independents, 2007
Monthly beauty icon in Style.com June 2008 issue