Princess Catherine is *obsessed* with this dress style, and Princess Diana was often spotted wearing it too

We're obsessed with the 'exaggerated neckline' that's so loved by The Princess of Wales

Kate Middleton loves this dress silhouette
(Image credit: Toby Melville - Pool/Getty Images)

Princess Catherine has always been a huge fan of the bardot neckline, a dress style often worn by the late Princess Diana.

The Princess of Wales's style has always been compared to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana's. As well as sharing the same title, Kate also wears Diana's engagement ring and has previously been spotted in her old jewellery pieces like her rare pearl earrings.

The comparisons were perhaps inevitable, but the pair's similar fashion choices have definitely fuelled the fire. Kate's love for Princess Diana's style began way before she met Prince William and her recent obsession with the colour red has even been attributed to the late royal. But there is one style of neckline that both Kate and Diana have often been spotted in and it's clear that Diana was Kate's inspiration behind adopting the style. 

Known for its attractive and elegant off-the-shoulder cut, the bardot neckline is a staple for Kate Middleton. While the style is generally avoided by royal women as they are, more often than not, expected to keep their shoulders covered for royal engagements, that only serves to heighten the impact of Kate's looks when she does step out in the bardot style. 

The style was coined as the 'bardot style' in the 1950s after model, actress, and fashion icon, Brigitte Bardot stepped out in an off-the-shoulder dress for the Cannes Film Festival in 1953.

Kate Middleton - Kate Middleton loves this dress silhouette

(Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images)

As a senior working royal, Catherine now tends to keep the revealing neckline in the closet and only steps out in the silhouette for the most glamorous occasions. One such event was the inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards back in 2022.  

Kate walked the red carpet in a rented green dress by Solace London, which featured a sleek silhouette, waist-cinching design and a tasteful bardot neckline. The brand described the dress, which is called 'The Sabina' as a "floor-length modern gown featuring an exaggerated neckline".

The dress was a memorable statement in its own right but Kate's subtle accessorising with only a simple bejewelled choker necklace elevated the look into one of her best. The necklace is known as the Queen Mary’s Art Deco Emerald Choker and is a royal family heirloom.

The piece was commissioned by Queen Mary in the 1920s and, perhaps more famously, Queen Elizabeth II loaned the piece to Princess Diana when she married Prince Charles in 1981.

But it wasn't just because of the necklace that the look quickly drew comparisons to Princess Diana. Specifically, the entire outfit reminded royal fans of Diana's world-renowned revenge dress which was designed by Christina Stambolian. Diana wore the black figure-hugging dress and subtly drew attention to it's bardot neckline with a stunning sapphire pearl choker necklace.

Princess Diana

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

In 2016, The Guardian’s fashion and lifestyle editor Morwenna Ferrier called one of Kate's off the shoulder dresses her 'best look of the summer, if not year,' and spoke of Kate's ability to keep up with popular fashion trends and reflect the public's likes and dislikes through clothing.

She wrote, "What makes someone like Kate want to wear an off-the shoulder dress? Several reasons: on paper, bare shoulders speak of summer, now but also then, the 1960s, or 1970s if you’re looking at Chloé, hence the “Bardot” moniker; retro is always engaging in a fashion sense. They’re also a great top for tanning, not looking too naked and for showing your arms without showing your arms."

But the top is also a symbol status according to Ferrier as it shows you don't have to do too much hard work. She added, "They’re also wholly impractical and that’s part of the appeal. Because you can’t do much in them. You can’t lift your arm, you can’t carry your shopping and even if you do, over your shoulder, you can’t because you’ll mark your shoulder. The top has become code for the way in which you live your life: tan first, work second."

Prince William and Kate Middleton

(Image credit: DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

More recently, the Princess of Wales stepped out in a reimagined bardot neckline that had a more modern and casual twist than we're used to seeing her wear. The royal was pictured at the Houghton Music Festival in Norfolk wearing a pair of black skinny jeans and a long sleeve bardot top which showed off her shoulders while still covering most of her skin. 

She finished the look off with a pair of her favourite white Veja trainers and some statement gold earrings.

The understated style, while still showing off Kate's trendy fashion sense, was testament to the fact she was trying to fly under the radar but we love that she still managed to put that classic Kate spin onto such a low-key look.  

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Freelance news writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with Good To, BBC Good Food and The Independent.