The Royal Family has provided us with many style icons, and the Duchess of Cambridge is up there with the best of them. Kate Middleton's dresses, in particular, have gained an immense following, with her sartorial choices often selling out within hours.
Every royal family member is known for their own signature fashion staples. From the Queen and her neat skirt suits and Balmoral attire (the latter of which has often provided catwalk inspiration for designers) to Princess Diana's myriad looks. But there's one royal who reigns as everyone's favorite style icon: The Duchess of Cambridge. Interest in her fashion choices ramped up since marrying Prince William in 2011, when Kate Middleton's wedding dress thrust her into the spotlight, and since then she has served up non-stop stylish looks.
As much as we love her trusty off-duty jeans, best gilet, and boots combo, it's her dresses that are always knock-out. From Alexander McQueen gowns to the electric blue Issa wrap she wore for her engagement announcement, the Duchess of Cambridge's dresses have become synonymous with chic, feminine polish.
Coined “the Kate effect,” her immense selling power means an endorsement of any brand—whether it’s high-end or affordable brands—see it catapulted into the fashion conscience, creating sell-out styles.
9 places to shop Kate Middleton's dresses
If you've ever found yourself wondering, 'Where does Kate Middleton buy her clothes?' From designer to thrifty, Kate Middleton's favorite dresses span a wide range of labels. Here are her nine go-to dress brands, with look-a-like styles and our editor's top picks from each.
1. Alexander McQueen
Reasons to buy
Though a keen supporter of more affordable fashion options, Kate does have a penchant for the odd designer dress. One of her favorite labels is, of course, Alexander McQueen, which has become one of the most famous British clothing brands for good reason.
RRP: $1,990 / £1,450 | The fit and flare silhouette is super flattering and a shape Kate always leans towards. The bold cloud print on this gives it that unique, designer look that’s worthy of any special occasion.
RRP: $3,390 / £2,250 | Just like the Queen, we know Kate loves a pop of color and this gorgeous hot pink dress pulls out all the stops. The silk fabric adds a luxe touch whilst the matching belt offers a flattering silhouette.
RRP: $3,970 / £2,590 | A more lowkey silhouette, this can easily be dressed down with boots or the best white trainers ensuring you get plenty of wear out of it. It features a William Blake Dante print on crepe de chine.
- View all Alexander McQueen dresses (opens in new tab)
What to buy from Alexander McQueen...
Take a leaf out of the Duchess’ book and look for dresses that you’ll want to reach for time and time again. McQueen’s ready-to-wear collection features a lot of waist-cinching designs that are flattering and feminine and will be the answer to what to wear to a wedding and what to wear to a christening, every time. In fact Kate wore McQueen to Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank back in 2018 and she also chose the designer for her youngest child, Prince Louis’s christening.
When the Duchess of Cambridge has worn Alexander McQueen...
Kate has worn Alexandra McQueen countless times, often recycling her gowns and wearing them more than once.
Her most famous McQueen moment has got to be the stunning ivory gown she wore for her marriage to Prince William in 2011, designed by McQueen's then-new creative director Sarah Burton. The plunge-front lace gown with a nine-foot train sent shock waves (of the best kind) down Westminster Abbey. It's arguably the most iconic of Kate Middleton's dresses too. Since then, McQueen has become a go-to for myriad occasions.
2. Beulah London
Reasons to buy
As well as championing a sustainable approach to fashion via recycling her wardrobe, the Duchess supports lots of ethical and sustainable clothing brands, including Beulah London. The British-based brand, founded in 2009, offers employment to vulnerable women and promotes sustainable artisan handicrafts.
RRP: $937.35 / £695 | With a flattering belted design and sweeping skirt, it's refined and polished. Finish off with tan accessories for an oh-so-chic look.
RRP: $741.78 / £550 | The contrasting collar on this frock really gives it the edge. The floral design is instantly wearable and the balloon sleeves offers a modern touch.
- View all Beulah London dresses (opens in new tab)
What to buy from Beulah…
Much like Kate’s signature style, the dress collection is effortless and ladylike, full of sweet pastel hues and pretty floral prints. Perfect for dressing up or down.
When the Duchess of Cambridge has worn Beulah…
Kate wore the pale blue Sabitri dress back in 2012 when she visited a mosque during a tour of Malaysia with Prince William. Since then she has worn the brand several times including in May 2020, when she wore the raspberry-red Calla Rose floral silk dress with contrasting white collar during the Mental Health Minute television broadcast.
In true Kate style, she then confirmed her love for the dress in September 2020 when she re-wore it on a day of royal duties including a visit to the London Bridge Job Centre and the Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery with Prince William.
More recently she wore the blush pink Ahana dress to the men’s singles final at Wimbledon in July 2021.
3. Emilia Wickstead
Reasons to buy
Much to the delight of fashion fans, the last few years have seen the Duchess introduce a handful of on-the-pulse designers into her wardrobe, one of which is Emilia Wickstead. A mainstay at London Fashion Week, the Newzealand-born designer is known for interpreting the latest clothing trends 2022 into ladylike silhouettes, romantic prints, and feminine color palettes.
RRP: $2,249 / £1,630 | With a romantic floral print and a feminine 1950’s silhouette, this would be perfect for a summer wedding or special occasion. Team with delicate jewellery and simple court shoes for an elegant look.
RRP: $1,890 / £1,380 | If you’re after a more fitted silhouette this svelte design is a front-runner. Perfectly tailored to fit your figure, the zingy green hue lifts your look and the modern square neckline flatters the bust.
- View all Emilia Wickstead dresses (opens in new tab)
What to buy from Emilia Wickstead…
If you invest in one thing from the New Zealand designer, then make sure it’s colorful. Asides from the floral number, Kate tends to lean towards vibrant dresses from sweet lavender to emerald green. The designs are perfectly tailored to Kate’s style, with a fitted bodice and an a-line skirt.
When the Duchess of Cambridge has worn Emilia Wickstead
Nicknamed the 'Kate’ dress, the Duchess has worn three versions of the long-sleeved wool dress—in lavender, forest green in May 2019 and royal blue in November 2019.
Though Kate has reached for Wickstead’s dresses on numerous occasions, it’s the powder blue and pink floral Aurora dress that proves the most stylish. First worn at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show, the Duchess re-wore the piece in August 2020 during a trip to Wales with her husband William. She teamed the midi dress with her favorite Castana wedge espadrilles and floral face mask. And it’s not just the dresses Kate has a penchant for. In September 2021, the Duchess wore an incredibly chic purple suit for a tour of the Ulster University Magee Campus in Derry, Northern Ireland.
4. Eponine London
Reasons to buy
A relatively new brand on the Duchess’ radar, Eponine London was launched back in 2011. Another one with eco-credentials, the British brand produces its designs in its London-based studio using locally sourced wool and vintage materials.
RRP: From £2,600 | Cut from a wool boucle with a silk satin lining, this dress oozes opulence. It has a structured fit that highlights the waist with flattering pleating and a deep v neckline. A chic and understated day to night dress.
RRP: £570 | The Duchess often wears a burgundy hue and the pompom detailing on this design adds a playful touch. Cut from faux suede, it's perfect for winter and would look stylish teamed with boots. It has pockets too!
- Browse all Eponine London dresses (opens in new tab)
What to buy from Eponine London…
Famous for their coat-dress hybrids, Eponine London will add a plush touch to your wardrobe. Packed full of wintery fabrics such as wool and corduroy, their small ready-to-wear collection is best suited to the colder months. Opt for a color-block dress or a classic coat-dress.
When the Duchess of Cambridge has worn Eponine London...
The Duchess has worn Eponine London a handful of times, most recently in November 2021 at a COP26 evening reception in Glasgow. She chose an elegant blue coat dress from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection. It’s not the first time she’s chosen a royal blue dress. Kate wore a very similar style from the brand back in 2017 whilst visiting a Child Bereavement Centre in Stratford, London. She then re-wore this dress in 2018 on a visit to the McLaren Composites Technology Centre. As well as their dresses, Kate has also twice-worn a red and white tweed skirt suit from the brand. She also wore a red longline coat in May 2021.
5. Jenny Packham
Reasons to buy
Much like Alexander McQueen, Jenny Packham is a designer the Duchess comes back to time and time again for special occasions. Some of Kate's best red carpet moments have centered around Packham's beautiful and elegant gowns
RRP: $4,811 / £2,905 | Roll out the red carpet and channel Kate’s 007 style with this stunning embellished gown. It has a plunging v-neckline and a flattering gathered detail, all topped off with lashings of sequins. A true investment piece, it's guaranteed to never go out of style.
RRP: $5,292 / £3,196 | From the 007 collection this takes inspo from a piece worn by Maud Adams in the 1973 film Octopussy. It has a timeless wrap silhouette with elegant draping and a high split. The delicate beading gives it that plush finish.
RRP: $6,736 / £4,067 | The feather and bead detailing makes this one a real knockout. In a gorgeous powder pink hue it has a flattering v-neck and wrap silhouette with long drapey sleeves. Minimal styling is needed - just add some shoulder-grazing earrings
- View all Jenny Packham dresses (opens in new tab)
What to buy from Jenny Packham…
Show-stopping evening gowns is what Packham does best. Think sparkly sequins, feathery details and tulle skirts for the ultimate head-turning outfit. Fancy creating that Kate Middleton meets Bond Girl look? Jenny Packham has also created a shoppable 007 capsule collection in honor of James Bond’s 60th anniversary featuring a dazzling gold dress almost identical to the one Kate wore to the premiere.
When the Duchess of Cambridge has worn Jenny Packham...
There are certainly too many times to count but Kate’s most recent appearance in Jenny Packham is worth noting for being the glitziest look yet. The Duchess stunned in a gold sequinned cape gown by the designer as she walked down the red carpet at the UK premiere of the new James Bond film No Time to Die.
Kate clearly trusts the designer to dress her during the most momentous occasions and has worn a Packham dress the first time she has introduced each of her three children to the world. She famously chose a blue polka dot dress by the designer in 2013 when she debuted Prince George to the public. In 2015, she stepped out with a newborn Princess Charlotte wearing a sunny yellow floral Packham dress and for Prince Louis it was a red knee-length number with a cute Peter Pan collar.
6. Kate Spade
Reasons to buy
Both Kate and her sister Pippa Middleton are fans of Kate Spade. This American clothing brand really delivers on feminine pieces with a retro feel. Both Kate and Pippa have been spotted donning everything from dresses to jewelry and with a slightly more affordable price point, it’s one we can certainly introduce into our wardrobes too.
RRP: £325 | The Duchess is partial to a polka dot design and the preppy print is a classic you can reach for time and time again. Easy to dress up or down this frock will work for brunch to cocktails and everything in between.
RRP: £335 | This dress has got us dreaming of warm, sunny days in the park. Florals for spring are a must and this 100% cotton frock will make a chic statement at any garden gathering.
- View all Kate Spade dresses (opens in new tab)
What to buy from Kate Spade…
Royal-approved dresses don’t stick around for long so although you can’t get your hands on Kate’s exact dresses, Kate Spade has heaps of similar feminine and floaty designs that are just as swoon-worthy. Stick to floral prints if you want that Duchess of Cambridge look, and a-line silhouettes for a flattering finish. And while you’re at it, why not snap up one of their best designer bags too.
When the Duchess of Cambridge has worn Kate Spade…
Kate has worn two Kate Spade designs, both with similar ladylike silhouettes that are easy to wear. She was first spotted wearing the designer in 2016 at a World Mental Health Day celebration. The floral frock was unapologetically Kate, with a pussy-bow neckline, romantic floral design and a flattering a-line silhouette. She later wore a Kate Spade number for a visit to The Foundling Museum, London, November 2017.
7. L.K. Bennett
Reasons to buy
L.K. Bennett has long been a go-to for the Duchess. Not only is she a big fan of the brand’s nude courts, but she has also often been spotted in its flattering dresses.
RRP: $500 / £279 | Although this isn't the Madison dress worn by Kate, L.K. Bennett has released a newer version called the Elowen which looks pretty identical. With a soft animal print and flattering cape sleeves, it would be perfect for a wedding or christening.
RRP: $370 / £225 | The Duchess is also a fan of the shift dress design and this pretty pale blue number is a winner. As part of the brand's Royal Ascot collection, it has a cute sweetheart neckline and figure-hugging design that flatters in all the right places.
RRP: $500 / £279 | A LKB fave, this pleated midi is a style that is forever on-trend so will make a worthy addition to your dress collection. Lightweight and feminine, we love the vintage-inspired print. Team with a summery raffia bag and a pair of neutral hued wedges.
- View all LK Bennett dresses (opens in new tab)
What to buy from L.K.Bennett…
Arguably one of the best UK fashion labels, L.K. Bennett was launched back in 1990. Its clothing, shoes and accessories range all work seamlessly together infusing classic styles with a contemporary spin. For Duchess-worthy style, look to their timeless prints such as polka dots and tailored a-line dresses in bright colorways. Finish off with a pair of nude courts, just like Kate herself.
When the Duchess of Cambridge has worn L.K.Bennett...
The most recent was the Cayla, a bold red midi with elbow-length sleeves, which she wore during a video call with veterans to mark VE day in 2020. An advocate of recycling her wardrobe, the Duchess was first seen in the dress in 2015 when she made her Wimbledon debut.
Kate wore the Madison in May 2020, a pretty red midi with delicate floral print, for a video call she made with Prince William to care workers. Just like the Cayla, this is an old favorite that she first wore in 2019 at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day.
Reasons to buy
Another British high street brand the Duchess has reached for time and time again, she became an unofficial ambassador for Reiss during the early 2010s, stepping out in their figure-flattering dresses on numerous occasions.
RRP: $390 / £238 | A classic shirt dress that you’ll be able to wear for work and play—just sling over the best blazer for extra polish. The monochrome palette makes it easy to style, just add one of Kate’s go-to shoes—a pair of nude courts.
RRP: $385 / £238 | Swap your LBD for a cream iteration to see you through the warmer months. Keep it tonal and wear with tan accessories, a pair of strappy sandals and a chic bucket bag will do the trick. Oh and don't forget your sunnies.
- View all Reiss dresses (opens in new tab)
What to buy from Reiss…
The British high street store is pro at crafting timeless classics that help form the backbone of your capsule wardrobe. Think high-end fabrics such as the best cashmere sweaters and wool jumpers, all in a muted color palette of beige, cream and black, making it easy to mix and match. Go for more fitted styles such as a knitted dress or a classic LBD. Finish off with one of their elegant coats.
When the Duchess of Cambridge has worn Reiss...
Kate still regularly wears Reiss—both new and re-wearing previously worn pieces. The most notable, however, was her appearance in the blush-hued Shola dress while meeting the Obama’s in 2011. The dress sold out in hours and the surge in public interest crashed the brand's website.
Kate also wore the brand’s white Nanette dress for her official engagement photographs in 2010 which she then re-wore during a royal visit to Canada in 2011. In September 2020 she recycled her blue belted dress, first worn when opening The Treehouse Children’s Hospice in 2012, during an Instagram video. As well as dresses, Kate has worn a Reiss beige blazer, and outerwear from the Reiss coats collection on numerous outings.
Reasons to buy
It would seem that almost no one is immune to the allure of Zara, even the Duchess of Cambridge. Throughout her tenure, she has been spotted several times in clothes from the high street brand, from the red tweed jacket she wore to a Euro’s 2020 game to the myriad skinny jeans she favors for less formal events.
RRP: $49.90 / £29.99 | Knitted dresses have made quite the comeback and they’re ideal if you want to keep warm whilst looking smart. This has a fitted body and a flared hem for a flirty finish. We love the pop of royal blue too.
RRP: $89.90 / £59.99 | You can never have enough printed midi dresses and we’re sure Kate would approve of this paisley print beauty. Perfect for your holidays, considered details such as the ruffle collar and buttoned detail give it the edge.
- View all Zara dresses (opens in new tab)
What to buy from Zara…
We expect you’re already familiar with Zara’s sought-after styles but if you want to get yourself some Duchess-approved pieces look to their chic blazers as well as their fashion-forward midi dresses.
When the Duchess of Cambridge has worn Zara…
Aside from their jeans and jackets, the Duchess favors the Spanish clothing brand’s dresses too and has been spotted in at least three of their styles. The internet went wild when she rocked a simple striped summer dress from the Spanish brand whilst attending a Charity Polo Trophy in 2018. Of course, the dress sold out almost immediately.
More recently, she opted for a grey checked midi dress with pussy-bow neckline during a visit to the University College London in October 2021. She also wore a green floral midi dress with a lace-trimmed neckline for a video call for the Hold Still portrait project with the National Gallery.