By Jess Beech
Every time we see a paparazzi shot of the Duchess of Cambridge, we ask ourselves the same question – just how does she do it?
Surely looking so effortlessly polished must be exhausting. But instead of complicated styling, it’s simplicity that’s key to The Duchess of Cambridge's signature look.
For most royal occasions, you can almost predict what Catherine will be wearing – a gorgeous dress, a simple heel and an understated clutch. Finished off of course, with her signature Kate Middleton bouncy hair and often a statement earring. By relying on these wardrobe staples, you too can add a little royal flourish to your outfit…
How do I dress like Kate Middleton?
The royalty-approved styling tips the Duchess of Cambridge relies on
The fit-and-flare shape is a classic Catherine comes back to time and time again. Fluting out at the waist, it helps accentuate the curves of her slim frame, as well as drawing attention to her tiny waist.
While Kate tends to favour thick, substantial fabrics for her royal engagements, there’s no reason you can’t switch those for lightweight cloths like cotton and satin.
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a custom made Emilia Wickstead gown (oh to be a princess for the day!) then we’ve found a brilliant budget alternative from H&M.
The on-trend square neck shows a hint of skin, while softly draped frills cover your shoulders. Perfectly emulating Catherine’s look, it even has a bow at the back.
Putting a modern twist on traditional tailoring, Kate’s pinky-purple skirt suit from Oscar de la Renta has plenty of personality. By teaming it with dark tights and black accessories, the bold colour takes centre-stage.
Treat yourself to a pop of colour with this alternative skater dress from John Lewis, in a beautiful plum shade. Made with asoft Italian wool mix, it cinches in at the waist for a flattering fit.
From big blooms to ditsy patterns, there’s no denying the Duchess of Cambridge has a fondness for floral dresses. A ready-made outfit in one swoop, all she needs are neutral or co-ordinating accessories to finish off the look.
While Catherine’s evening outfits tend to be custom made, the Duchess does tend to wear more affordable, high-street pieces for her daytime engagements. Unsurprisingly, the Faithful The Brand Dress she wore during a trip to Norfolk in June sold out almost immediately.
If you didn’t manage to get your hands on it, Boden’s Cassia dress boasts a lovely floral print and the same flattering V-neck. Even better, it’s now down to £58.80 in the sale.
Catherine’s shirt dress by Emilia Wickstead is a lovely way to make a typically formal style feel more relaxed. The belted waist and cuffed sleeves stop the print from overwhelming her frame too.
Get her look with this Emilia Wickstead Helen dress, which has extra details such as puffed sleeves, a collar and a contrast trim waist.
We love the rare occasions Catherine gets to dress down, giving us a sneaky peek into the sort of thing she might wear on her day off.
A country-girl at heart, there’s always a big smile on the Duchess of Cambridge’s face when she trades her dress and courts combo for a gilet and wellies.
Lucky for us, this look is nice and easy to copy. Start off with a pair of form-fitting leggings or jeans in classic black or brown, and a crisp cotton shirt in white or blue. After that the choice of gilet or jacket, wellies or trainers is all yours.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of welly boots, you can’t go wrong with Hunter. Their Original Tall Wellington Boots are fully waterproof, comfortably lined and come with a 2-year warranty. Not bad for £95, eh?
Perfect for in-between days when you don’t quite need a coat, Joules' Furlton Gilet will keep you nice and cosy. The dark green shade is just like Catherine’s too.
Easy-to-walk in wedges
For long days on your feet, you just can’t beat the comfort of a wedge. Something Catherine knows all about. A wardrobe staple for the Duchess of Cambridge year after year, a wedge espadrille is her go-to shoe as soon as the weather warms up.
Pick a pair in a neutral shade like taupe, nude or tan to guarantee yourself plenty of wear.
If you need a little extra ankle support, LK Bennet’s Sarah Wedge Espadrille’s feature super-soft lace-up straps.
If you’re worried about marking a light fabric, Dune’s camel-toned beauties are a more durable option. Complete with an adjustable sling back strap, buy now for £70.
When you’re the Duchess of Cambridge, there’s not much need for a big handbag. It’s no surprise then that we tend to see Catherine carrying lipstick-sized clutches over roomy totes.
As a general rule, she co-ordinates both her bag and her shoes in the same hue – tying her outfit together in a neat sartorial bow.
If you’re on the hunt for matchy-matchy accessories for your next big event, look to occasionwear brands like Hobbs, LK Bennett and Monsoon.
Combining slinky silk with an embellished clasp, Dune’s Besotted Bag, £60, is an almost identical dupe of Catherine’s statement clutch.
As a member of the royal family, the Duchess of Cambridge has access to some pretty impressive heirloom jewels - especially if her sapphire engagement ring is anything to go by.
Peek beneath the bouncy blow-dry and Catherine is normally wearing a statement pair of earrings. While she tends to keep the colours simple, with neutral stones set into gold or silver, she does experiment with different shapes and cuts.
Copy the floral style of her statement studs with a pair of your very own from Swarovski at John Lewis. They’re chic and sparkly all at once.
Floating her way down the red carpet in Alexander McQueen for the 2020 BAFTAS, we couldn’t help but notice Catherine’s jewellery. Designed by luxe French brand Van Cleef & Arpels, you can shop a similar layered version at Oliver Bonas.
Reducing the risk of a wardrobe malfunction, Catherine tends to favour ladylike midis to shorter styles. In fact, it’s rumoured she even has weights sewn into the hemlines of her dresses to keep them perfectly in place.
Finishing as the name suggests, in the middle of your calf, midi dresses draw attention to the smallest part of your leg. Not forgetting they help show off your shoes too.
Dresses by Alessandra Rich, the designer behind the patterned green dress Kate wore during her 2020 tour of Ireland, start at around £1000, placing them way out of our budget.
Luckily, Whistles’ Animal Wrap Dress is now £99.
The Duchess of Cambridge is a fan of a high-neck too, beautifully illustrated by the blue and white shirt dress she wore in July. Crafted by Beulah London, one of Kate’s favourite ethical brands, it costs £525. Hobbs’ Magda Spot Shirt Dress is a gorgeous alternative.
Smart separates are well-worth investing in – especially if they fit as well as Catherine’s tailored two-piece.
A neutral blazer can be layered over everything from jeans to dresses, adding structure to your shape.
Steal her style in Jaeger’s Fine Stripe Linen Blazer, £160. The turned-up cuffs and deep pockets add a relaxed feel.
Struggling a blazer that fits like a glove? One of the many reason’s why Catherine manages to make high-street pieces look so expensive is that she has them expertly tailored to her shape. Most local dry cleaners will offer an alterations service, so chat to yours to see what they can do.
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