There’s no doubt about it: Kate Middleton has been absolutely crushing it in the style department as of late. From her baby-blue Wimbledon outfit with Aldo heels to her silky pink Stella McCartney midi dress for Harry and William’s charity match, it seems the Duchess of Cambridge has a newfound approach to fashion this year. Is it thanks to a new duo of stylists, or the fact that she’s now got some serious style inspo (or—dare we say?—competition) from sister-in-law Meghan Markle? Maybe it’s just because she’s really and truly on the path to becoming queen. Whatever the case, here are our seven favorite facets of Kate’s recent style evolution.
Kate Middleton Is Having a Style Renaissance and We Have Proof
All White Everything
What color is timeless for summer, elegant but not stuffy and gives off major monarch vibes? White, of course. But it hasn’t always been this way for Kate. After seasons of busy patterns, loud primary colors and—deep breaths—allover lace, the Duchess of Cambridge began her elevated “wear only white” streak at the BAFTAs this past February, when she showed up in a dazzling Alexander McQueen gown. Since then, she’s worn white at the state banquet (also Alexander McQueen), Order of the Garter (that one was Catherine Walker), Addiction Awareness Week Gala (coming at you from Barbara Casasola), Beating Retreat (a cream from Catherine Walker, but still, kinda white) and Wimbledon day one (phew, Suzannah). Bottom line: Kate’s learned that when it ain’t broke (or white), don’t fix it.
Get the look: Something Navy ($99); Harper Rose ($148); Love Shack Fancy ($295)
Shades Of Blue
In between all that all-white “slideshow dressing,” the duchess found time to add in another favorite hue: blue. But it wasn’t the stuffy navys and tedious teals she favored when she was pregnant with Prince George. From her Fleur Delacour-inspired Mulberry cape coat to Easter Services with Prince William, Kate’s made more of an effort in recent months to stick to shades that feel more relevant in 2019. For an appearance at the Royal Ascot races and for her official role at the Wimbledon men’s finals, she wore dusty cornflower blue and the most delicate shade of periwinkle, respectively. And it’s not just because she looks absolutely stunning in hues of robin’s egg and sky blue (though that, too); Middleton is also keeping with the muted blue trend that’s been going strong this season.
Get the look: Aeryne ($180); Zhivago ($480); Lela Rose ($1,690)
Floral Midi Dresses
Kate’s always loved florals, but these aren’t her typical ¾-length-sleeve sheath dresses that relate-y Katie used to wear in the '13-'15 era, trust us. These floral midi dresses are flowy (like the red and pink Stella McCartney she wore to William’s polo match), have romantic details like flutter sleeves (see: the silky paisley Ridley London dress Kate wore to a photography workshop) and interesting necklines (like the high-neck Erdem dress she wore to the Chelsea Flower Show). The most revolutionary aspect of these looks? The patterns are tasteful, delicate and muted. All the better to show off those go-to espadrilles.
Get the look: Topshop ($95); ML Monique Lhuillier ($495); Robert Rodriguez ($565)
Move over, go-to skinny jeans. The duchess has been switching up her typical trouser silhouette in favor of the more modern wide-legs this season, and we are Here. For. It. Exhibit A: To show off her Back to Nature garden, Middleton wore a pair of brown Massimo Dutti culottes with a leather belt and white eyelet button-down. Exhibit B: Her nautical striped navy and white sweater with a pair of L.K. Bennett sailor pants for the King’s Cup Regatta in May. Exhibit C: Her super wide-leg black Jigsaw trousers worn with her lilac pussy bow blouse by Gucci in March. Oh, we’re sorry, the old skinny-jean-wearing Middleton can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because she’s on board the wide-leg-trouser trend now.
Get the look: Free People ($78); Karen Millen ($225); Equipment ($375)
Don’t get us wrong: We love a good empty clutch as much as the next girl. But sometimes those ol’ Mulberry handbags can be so...lifeless, especially when coordinated too perfectly (like the matchy-matchy belt and bag she carried back in 2012). Thank God for Kate’s new stylists, because the fashionable duo has been taking bold chances when it comes to purses, shoes and accessories. From her velvet clutch and matching bow sash that Kate wore with her ombré pink Gucci gown to a gala dinner this February to the sparkling silver (!!!) heels that she coordinated with a metallic clutch at the Royal Ascot races, bright-red suede pumps and braided hatband for Archie’s christening to her endless collection of top-handle bags, we’re bowing down to this new era of standout accoutrements.
Get the look: Coach ($195); Gianvito Rossi ($745); Christian Louboutin ($1,250)
Solid, Bright Colors
Much like Queen Elizabeth, who wears bright colors so the public can spot her in large crowds (in order for bystanders to say, “I saw the queen!”), Middleton’s been wearing a slew of extremely bright shades as she prepares to step into a bigger royal role and, one day, wear the crown. That’s not to say she hasn’t always worn bright shades (this egg-yolk yellow frock she wore during an Australian tour in 2014 is almost blinding). But her recent hues feel a bit more grown-up. For her first appearance of 2019, Middleton wore a bright violet Oscar de la Renta dress during a visit to the Royal Opera House. Then, a fire-engine-red dress coat by Catherine Walker (a royal rewear) for Commonwealth Day. And, finally, a pastel pink Alexander McQueen dress with a matching hat to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Our favorite, the McQueen, still feels very pre-kids Middleton (she wore an almost identical dress in 2012) but in a more up-to-date style.
Get the look: All in Favor ($49); Kay Unger ($268); Gucci ($3,980)
The third duchess-approved shade is one we never would’ve expected, but we’re loving all the same. For what feels like the hundredth time this season (hey, we’re not complaining, she looks good), Middleton wore a rich hue of emerald green when she attended the Wimbledon women’s singles finals alongside Meghan and Pippa. The jewel-toned Dolce & Gabbana dress featured a bow neck-tie and shiny gold buttons down the front. Her other emerald frocks have been just as camera-ready, and perhaps they’re a sign that Kate’s finally found what works for her shiny chestnut locks and hazel-green eyes. (Read: Not the Keebler-elf green she so often sported in her marriage’s early years.)
Get the look: Ted Baker London ($295); Bec&Bridge ($330); Saloni ($595)
See ya, Kate’s old fit-and-flare frocks (and good riddance, might we add!). Make way for a myriad of more inspired shapes and cuts. This Alessandra Rich collared drop-waist polka-dot shirtdress, à la Princess Diana, was just one of many midi-length getups Kate wore this spring and summer. And let’s not forget the duchess went daring in that off-the-shoulder Barbara Casasola gown, or the bishop-sleeved mint-green dress (from her private dressmaker, NBD), or the swingy pleated skirt of her Missoni get-up in Northern Ireland. TLDR: Kate has seriously switched it up in the silhouette department, and we couldn’t be happier.
Get the look: Ali & Jay ($138); Reformation ($218); Caroline Constas ($995)