It’s called “The Kate Middleton Effect”: Within an hour of Kate stepping out in a frock, coat or hat, there’s a spike in on-line and in-store shopping leaving that coveted item completely sold out. Designers are falling over themselves to dress the Duchess of Cambridge and there’s no question why. This girl’s got style and she knows exactly how to dress the part: Classic silhouettes, dresses to the knee (never a centimeter too short or too long) that show off legs-for-miles, nude or black court shoes and the occasional subtle print (polka dots or small florals) thrown into the mix for good measure. Kate’s look is very much high-end meets high-street. Although fond of designers like Alexander McQueen and Issa, she’s seldom in them head-to-toe. This is a girl who wore a $60 dress from Zara when she left on her honeymoon, a Reiss number to the White House and a Gap shirt on a Royal Tour of Australia. Better still, she often recycles outfits for different events, making her even more accessible to us adoring commoners.
If you want to emulate the classic-modern look of our favourite Duchess, start by choosing colours that flatter. Catherine’s slightly bronzed skin looks lovely in pastels like powder blue and yellow, but she’s not afraid to break out the jewel tones on special occasions (remember how radiant she looked at the engagement announcement in that royal blue wrap dress? Swoon). Next, elongate your legs (not that Kate ever needs to) with neutral heels or tall boots. Finally, the best way to look royally gorgeous is to flash a big smile. Kate is one lucky gal and she knows it.
Here are a few more ways to dress like the Duchess:
What to buy
A Structured Dress: Just about any event can be elevated by the perfect frock and since officially joining the royals, our lady has worn almost nothing but. This pastel-pink tulip sheath dress is oh-so-Kate with capped sleeves, a little bit of drape and a modest hemline. Choose a structured fabric (it will hide all your unmentionables) and pair with simple stilettos in a complementary neutral colour. Tulip Skirt Sheath Dress, $128 (USD), available at The Limited Outlet at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara
Classic Jewelry: Kate takes an unfussy, less-is-more approach when it comes to bling. Nothing will ever overshadow her most important arm candy (and we’re not talking about William): that stunning sapphire and diamond engagement ring. That being said, she’s a big fan of drop earrings, which go with just about any hairstyle. If your earrings are sparkly, you may want to forgo the necklace (Kate often does) and instead, choose a cocktail ring paired with an impeccable manicure. Kiss Kiss Chandelier Earrings, Banana Republic $55; Big Diamond Ring, Ardene $6
A Chic Clutch Bag: With all the waving they do, duchesses can’t carry much. The most you’ll see Catherine holding is a simple clutch from Prada or McQueen. To hold some lipstick and maybe some blotting papers, go with a little box clutch that matches your dress. Open Rectangle Clasp Clutch Bag, ASOS $53.42
A Sleek Pair of Pumps: Shoes are another accessory our Kate keeps simple and streamlined. Our girl likes comfortable wedges and high heels with a teeny bit of a platform. Her L.K.Bennett patent leather pumps go with everything she owns and have seen more mileage than your local postman. Neutral colors (like nude and grey) will go a long way in your own closet so invest in something well made, keep them polished and in good shape so you’ll always be ready to step in them and go. Azara Pumps, Aldo $110
A Simple Smoky Eye: Will’s better half is rarely seen without eye makeup and she’s a big fan of the daytime smoky eye. It’s a look that suits any occasion and is pretty easy to achieve: softly smudged charcoal shadow, liquid liner and a few coats of black mascara. Pair this with strong brows and you can start practicing your royal wave. bareMineralsBare Tutorials Smoky Eyes, Sephora $36