Kate Middleton Just Took Her Signature Style from Super ‘70s to Totally ‘90s with This Royal Fashion Staple

Hint: You probably already have it in your closet

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kate middleton 70s to 90s style mobile
Jane Barlow/Getty Images

Cue the royal style transformation: With the release of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Christmas card this week, Kate’s recent ‘70s vibe—hello, curtain bangs—was officially replaced with a look that’s totally ‘90s. The style staple required? A simple white button-up. (The exact one Kate wore isn’t IDed, but similar options—like this one, on sale for $35—abound.)

kate middleton prince william christmas card
Josh Shinner

Wait—a white button-up like the one I already have in my closet?, you might be wondering. Well, yes. Except it’s worth calling out that the white button-up—which, when paired with denim, reigned supreme throughout the 1990s—is having a moment right now and Kate isn’t the only royal to elevate the sartorial power of the wardrobe workhorse.

In fact, the Prince and Princess of Wales’s choice to make the white button-up their Christmas card uniform in 2023 actually harkens back to a royal who wore hers quite prominently in the very same era the card seems to represent: Princess Diana.

princess diana white button up 1997
Stefan Rousseau/Getty Images

In her final year especially, Diana seemed to lean heavily on the button-up (she wore it in white, but also peachy-pink) as a way to shift the spotlight away from her wardrobe to her work. A recent interview in the Telegraph with Pip Durell, founder of With Nothing Underneath, a shirting brand that offers a similar style to the one worn by Kate ($175), sheds light on the classic shirt’s contemporary appeal. “It lets you do the talking. As Diana did before [Kate and William], choosing a simple shirt means your causes and work are at the forefront of the conversation rather than your sartorial stance.”

How to wear it? Like Kate, you can pair it with denim, but also a skirt, layered over a dress or as part of a suit. It’s effortless and easy, but also a look that stands out.

Of course, the ‘90s aesthetic of the Wales’s Christmas card stretches beyond what William and Kate (and the kids, George, Charlotte and Louis) chose to wear. It also seems to nod to another royal decision made by Diana: Sending holiday cards in black and white. Specifically, her cards in 1994 and 1995, when she was going through a separation and subsequent divorce from Prince Charles. (Credit to photographer Josh Shinner for modernizing, but also mirroring those stylistic choices—intentional or not.)

Back to the button-up: Beyond the royals (Meghan Markle favors it, too), why has the classic shirt moved from a supporting role to star status this year? Perhaps it has to do with its presence on luxury runways, but also the recent attention on quiet luxury.

Either way, we’re desperate to refresh the ones currently hanging in our closet.

Rachel Bowie Headshot

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...