Kate the Great: The Best Looks of the Duchess of Cambridge - Favorites

Kate Middleton turns 40—Here’s a look back at some of her best ensembles.

It’s Kate Middleton’s 40th birthday! The Duchess of Cambridge celebrated this milestone with the release of three new portraits by photographer Paolo Roversi. Dressed in Alexander McQueen, Kate looks straight out of a Winterhalter portrait.

To celebrate, we put together a list of some of our favorite Kate Middleton looks, from the high fashion looks to her more normal event clothing, and her casual choices.

Jenny Packham Teal Gown

Kate the Great: The Best Looks of the Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton in Jenny Packham

Kate loves a good Jenny Packham gown, and this, for me is one of the best. A dyed version of the designer’s Aspen wedding dress in teal, Kate first wore the piece in a gala dinner celebrating the upcoming London Olympic Games. In 2018, she took it out for another spin at the Tusk Trust Conservation Awards.

Made from silk and Chantilly lace, it has elaborate lacework on the back, bodice, and cap sleeves, and is embellished with crystals on a belted sash. The original design from Jenny Packham’s Spring/Summer 20212 Bridal collection is known as the Aspen and comes in ivory. 

I am so obsessed with this dress, I had a version made by Maureen Disini to wear to my cousin’s wedding, and the Aspen Gown is in my folder of aspirational wedding gown dreams on Pinterest. My favorite part is the lace on the bodice because it keeps the look sexy yet demure.

Jenny Packham Gold ‘007 Gown

Kate the Great: The Best Looks of the Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton in Jenny Packham

For the premiere of the latest James Bond Movie No Time To Die in September, Kate went all out with another Jenny Packham gown, this time one from the designer’s capsule collection with EON Productions (the group behind the James Bond movies). Thanks to COVID-19, this was the first time in two years that Kate arrived, decked out in show-stopping glory.

Inspired by Goldfinger, the piece features gold sequins, beads, and glitter details, with crystal embellishments. The plunging v-shaped neckline was adjusted for Kate, and the dress was topped with a long floating cape. That night, Kate truly captured the essence of a Bond Girl. 

Catherine Walker Grey Coat Dress

Kate the Great: The Best Looks of the Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton in Catherine Walker

While Kate does glam very well, I would say my favorite kind of “Fashion Kate” is Autumn/Winter Kate, probably because I dream of being swathed in a beautiful coat dress in the winter too. Winter dressing is the best kind in my opinion, and Kate does this very well.

Case in point, this Catherine Walker Grey Coat dress that she wore for the traditional Sandringham Christmas Day services in 2019. This was the first time Prince George and Princess Charlotte joined their parents for the service and traditional walk after, and the last event the entire family (with some…notable exceptions) was out in full force before COVID-19 made itself known.

According to the blog What Kate Wore, the coat is a customized version of the brand’s Larissa style. The style is described as “a luxurious, mocha mohair and faux fur,” with “a distinctly wintry Russian aesthetic to this beautifully tailored coatdress.”

Kate’s version is without the faux fur skirt, replaced with full mohair from top to bottom. It was very elegant, but Kate did regret the choice, finding it too hot. “I really shouldn’t have worn this,” she told Karen Anvil, one of the many well-wishers standing outside the church that day.

Her Many Green Coats

Kate the Great: The Best Looks of the Duchess of Cambridge
Hobbs Persephone coat in Yukon, Canada in 2016, Catherine Walker coat for Remembrance Day Service in 2018, Alexander McQueen for St. Patrick’s Day in London in 2019, Alexander McQueen in Bradford in January 2020, Catherine Walker in Ireland, March 2020

Kate looks great in green, and lucky for us there have been many occasions when she picks the shade. I couldn’t choose, so they’re all here. Mostly always worn in trips to Ireland, or on St. Patrick’s day celebrations, I am…green with envy.

Remembrance Sunday Ceremony 2019 and 2020

Kate the Great: The Best Looks of the Duchess of Cambridge
2019 in Catherine Walker, 2020 in Alexander McQueen

On the second Sunday of November, Kate stands with members of the Royal Family on a balcony on Whitehall, overlooking the Cenotaph (the UK’s primary war memorial) for Remembrance Sunday. Remembrance Sunday commemorates the military and civilian contributions of men and women in Britain and the Commonwealth during the two World Wars.

This is a very serious event, and Kate always looks quite severe, which always makes this a very interesting fashion moment. Dressed in black and looking serious, this is a different kind of Kate that we’re used to seeing, which is why I’m always curious to see what she is wearing.

For 2019, she wore a military-esque Catherine Walker coat topped with a Phillip Treacy hat. In 2020, she wore an Alexander McQueen coat, again with military-inspired details, this time on the shoulder. Her hat was by Phillip Treacy.

Barbour Jackets

Kate the Great: The Best Looks of the Duchess of Cambridge
The Defense Jacket by Barbour

My favorite episode of The Crown, season 3 is Episode three, “The Balmoral Test.” As the name implied, the episode takes place mostly in Balmoral, and everyone is decked out, ready on a romp in the mud for a horse ride and some hunting, all while dressed in Barbour (except Margaret Thatcher). I watched it and started dreaming of a Barbour jacket.

The English brand was founded in 1894 and has earned three Royalty Warrants. It’s the outdoorsy-jacket of choice for anyone in England who can boast of a “heritage” and over the years, Kate has worn the brand for outdoors-y, casual events. The Defence Jacket (available on the website as the Winter Defence Jacket) in the shade of olive was last seen in a February 2020 farm visit, while the Edith Jacket, from the brand’s Alexa Chung collaboration, was worn in November 2020.

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