All eyes will be on Kate Middleton as she weds Prince William this week, and small wonder. Like her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, Middleton is a classic beauty on the verge of becoming a fashion icon. Her impeccably tailored dresses and coats have a tendency to sell out shortly after she’s photographed wearing them.
Even if you’re not married to a prince, you can do the next best thing by dressing like the newest royal. “The base clothes that make up Kate’s look are classic, timeless pieces that any woman could find and incorporate into her wardrobe — simple shapes that don’t really go out of style and look good on most people,” says Sarah Shirley, a New York City-based fashion stylist.
Another cornerstone of Middleton’s look is her color palette: reds, blues (royal and navy), black, brown, and neutrals like cream, white and beige. “And she always — in whatever she wears — has definition at the waist to flatter her slim, hourglass shape,” says Kendall Farr, a celebrity stylist and author of Style Evolution and The Pocket Stylist.
Here’s how to shop your own closet or look for new basic pieces to recreate Middleton’s style.
When pulling together an outfit, keep in mind Middleton’s clothes are fitted — nothing oversized — and she combines structure with softer pieces. “Her choices are tailored, but always feminine and a little romantic — a velvet trim on her coats and jackets, for example, or a wool trench coat with a feminine frill hem,” says Farr.
Choose simple shapes, like straight pencil skirts that fall a few inches above the knee, in plaid wool or houndstooth fabrics. Middleton pairs these with easy tops, like a fitted T-shirt, a short blazer or a jacket that’s nipped at the waist, black hose (not tights) and tall, black suede boots.
She has also been seen wearing flowing wrap-style dresses that fall just above her knees. With V-necks and delicate prints, they’re perfect for daytime. A definite essential to her everyday uniform is a knee-length overcoat, often double-breasted with a tie at the waist.
Middleton’s jeans-and-T-shirt look reflects her passion for equestrian sports. She opts for straight-leg jeans in dark denim — minus any rhinestones and fading — and often tucks them into tall brown or black boots. If you’ve never tried a straight-leg jean, give it a whirl. “It makes your legs look long,” says Shirley. A cream-colored sweater or a feminine top and short blazer reminiscent of a riding jacket (in black, brown or plaid) finish the look.
For Special Occasions
When an important dinner or soiree is on her schedule, Middleton chooses long, form-fitting V-neck or halter-style dresses that wrap at the waist, in solid jewel tones like teal and bright coral pinks. Look for these styles in fabrics like satin or jersey and with feminine details like Grecian draping or crystal embellishments, says Farr. For a daytime event, go with a classic dark, knee-length skirt suit — never a pantsuit.
Stick with minimal, understated accessories. A thin chain necklace with a pendant for day will accentuate a V-neck top or dress, says Shirley. Choose a solid-color leather handbag with just a touch of slouch and little hardware.
Stick with classic footwear: simple black suede or leather pumps, espadrille sling-back wedges, knee-length boots, all with around a 2-inch heel. And to top off the British look, Farr suggests a fascinator or hat with whimsical details, like a bow or feather for special occasions.
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