The Duchess of Cambridge is widely admired for her style. From the high street to designer numbers, her huge fanbase can often mean lead to brands selling out of the outfits she has worn in public. And, over the years, Kate’s fashion choices have no doubt changed. But what did her different wardrobes look like – and has she been using her clothing to make statements to the public?
Stylist and fashion expert, Holly Jade O’Leary has shared her thoughts exclusively with Express.co.uk.
It came as the fashion designer, whose client list has previously included fellow royal Princess Eugenie, took a look back at four very different looks that Kate has been seen wearing.
The first snap, taken in 2005, shows her as a student, shortly before her graduation from an MA in History of Art at St Andrews University.
Kate, who was aged 23 and not a member of the Royal Family at the time, sported a spaghetti strap vest top and stone wash straight leg jeans, accessorised with a black belt.
Recalling how the era was that of girl power and Brit pop, Holly said: “Twenty-three year old Kate is dressing in a very relaxed, girl-next-door style which indicates female empowerment, and her classical, comfortable chic look is accessible.”
Fast forward six years, and another shot of Kate in 2011 shows her looking very different.
Just months after her Royal Wedding to Prince William, she was pictured arriving at her first military engagement in Windsor.
“Kate is respectfully dressing to commemorate the dignified occasion and cement herself as a contemporary style icon, wearing a military inspired double-breasted navy Pre A/W 2011 dress by Sarah Burton at Alexander Mcqueen, a navy Rachel Trevor-Morgan hat and a stingray Marano clutch by Anya Hindmarch,” Holly said.
“The choice of dress is indicative of Kate growing a close working relationship with creative director Sarah Burton, who also designed her wedding dress.”
Addressing the Duchess of Cambridge’s prominency in the public eye at the time, Holly continued: “Kate showcases excellent and thoughtful skill in choice of promoting British fashion houses on a global basis, and improving the UK fashion export industry.”
Just a matter of years later, in 2013, the Duchess stepped outside of the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, London, in order to introduce the world to her and Prince William’s newborn son, Prince George.
The new mum donned a sky blue polka dot dress for the occasion, which was designed by Jenny Packham.
“The dress does not attempt to hide her maternal bump, and is an example of Kate’s millennial femininity,” Holly said, before adding: “And it’s also of her mindset of wishing to be accepted, and cement the royal family’s role in contemporary society.”
Most recently, Kate was pictured stepping out in a sophisticated teal blue coat while visiting the St Mary Magdalene church in the Sandringham Estate
It was not the first time she had sported the Catherine Walker coat, and the Duchess is often spotted recycling her outfit choices.
And, Holly is convinced that this have a link with a very important issue.
While Kate has been her designer numbers over the years, Holly considered the growing concern of the impact fast fashion has on the environment.
“At the recent United Nations Climate Change conference COP24 Stella McCartney announced a United Nations fashion industry charter for climate action highlighting sustainability as one of the leading drivers where fashion houses have to act to prove accountability and improve their environmental responsibility, as the global textile industry is identified to be the world’s second largest polluter,” she said.
“Through making repeat appearances of her favourite coat in public, Kate indicates a mature public statement against fast fashion, and perhaps sensitive reflection on social issues of today. She is a mother of three and she is considerate of the future of the planet.”
The stylist continued: “Her sophisticated style encourages investment in timeless classics which can be worn on repeated occasions, and indicates an evolution from a sexy and confident young woman to a mature fashion tastemaker, sensitive to global issues.”
How did Kate Middleton become a royal?
Kate Middleton, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was born on 9 January 1982 at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, England.
She was born to Michael and Carole Middleton, a former flight dispatcher and air hostess. The couple founded a party supplies company, Party Pieces, in 1987 – now estimated to be worth £30 million.
Kate has a younger sister Pippa Matthews, 34, and a younger brother James Middleton, 31.
Kate and her family moved to Amman, Jordan, in 1984, where the future Duchess was educated at an English-speaking nursery school.
After moving back to Berkshire the family sent Kate to private school, St Andrews School. She went on to briefly study at Downe House before moving onto Marlborough College where she boarded.
For university the young Kate attended the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland. Here she was awarded an undergraduate MA (2:1 Hons) in history of art.
Relationship with Prince William
Kate met Prince William when they were both studying at St Andrews, and both living in St Salvator’s Hall. Famously, William reportedly took a fancy to Kate after she wore a see-through dress during a fashion show.
In 2003 the couple began dating and lived together during their second year of university.
The couple split in April 2007, however, in October they were back together.
Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with his late mother Princess Diana’s engagement ring in October 2010. The couple were holidaying in Kenya at the time.
On 29 April 2011 they married at Westminster Abbey with a whopping 26 million watching the event live.
Kate wore an Alexander McQueen dress worth a reported £250,000 on the big day.
Kate assumed the title “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge” and also become the Duchess of Cambridge on the day.