5 Summer Style Rules, According to the Royals: How Kate, Beatrice & Sophie Dress for the Heat

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royal summer style universal
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Summertime and the royals are breezy—at least their style choices are. Whether it’s Kate Middleton on the polo field or Princess Beatrice at Wimbledon, we can’t help but envy their chic (and warm weather-friendly) threads. But we can also take our cue from them. Here, five summer style rules to follow, according to the royals—Kate, Beatrice, Sophie and Zara all included.

kate middleton sophie duchess of edinburgh long sleeves
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1. Full-Length Sleeves Are OK, As Long as the Style Is Breezy

When you think about summer dressing, shorter sleeves come to mind. But in the case of the royals, longer sleeves are also a flattering and warm weather option as long as the fabric is airy and light. For example, Kate’s Beulah London select for a recent visit to the polo field where she cheered on Prince William. The fit offers full coverage, but doesn’t cling, minimizing the chance that she’ll feel sticky or uncomfy due to sweat. (Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, also emulated this tactic.)

kate middleton midi skirt
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2. Another Airy Option: A Pleated Midi Skirt

It’s become a signature look for Kate. A pleated midi style effortlessly accomplishes two summer fashion goals: 1. It’s versatile, especially in a neutral hue, meaning you can mix and match it with almost anything—say, a blazer, but also a tee 2. It moves. (Much like a breezy dress, a midi skirt maximizes ventilation, a win as temps climb.) In fact, this style is so summer-friendly, Kate has plucked variations on it from her royal closet frequently for occasions like Wimbledon (twice!) and the National Portrait Gallery, too. It doesn’t hurt that Self-Portrait makes a one-and-done version of it.

beatrice and sarah chatto shirt dress
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3. A Shirt Dress is a Royal Staple…and Also a Classic

First, Lady Sarah Chatto (the daughter of the late Princess Margaret) popped up wearing one. Next, it was Zara Tindall. (Both donned their own version of it for Wimbledon, a royal style runway of sorts.) Yes, the shirt dress—in particular a striped version—is a quintessential summer piece to stash in your closet. Here’s why: It delivers a look that feels tailored, especially if you add a belt, but it also stays crisp and cling-free. In neutral tones, you can’t go wrong.

royal summer style two tone shoe
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4. Two-Tone Pumps Are the New Summer Sandal

Officially, the style is called a ‘spectator pump,’ and it enjoyed its first surge of royal popularity back in the mid-19th century when the Duke of Windsor wore a men’s version to a sporting event. But for summer 2023, Kate—and Princess Beatrice on a couple of recent date nights—have paired the two-tone classic with crisp day dresses and mini styles. The secret is in the shoe’s neutrality: Most notably, the shoe comes in black and tan, black and white or tan and black. In a flat or heel, it’s a summer staple that works.

royal summer style barbiecore
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5. ‘Tis the Season for Embracing Barbiecore

Yep, even the royals haven’t been able to escape the sweeping impact of ‘Barbiecore.’ The royals, Kate, Sophie and Bea, have all embraced varying shades of pink this summer—be it at the Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Ascot or the Young V&A. The good news: Pink is one of those shades that tends to be universally flattering. It also has a major brightening effect, which is perfect for summer, whether you love Barbie or not.

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Rachel Bowie

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...
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