The Duchess of Cambridge is known for impeccable style - and the 'Kate effect' certainly remains in full fashion force. An army of copycats – or copyKates – trend on Instagram and are loyally searching her wardrobe archives for styles they can steal for less. Never heard of a repliKate? Enter Julie James, or @jules_the_duchessofbudget on Instagram, who dedicates her grid to dressing exactly like our future Queen. And she's definitely not the only one – search the hashtag and you'll find thousands in the community that love Kate's elegant style just as much as us.
Julie looks gorgeous in her Kate-inspired outfits
38-year-old Julie, from Omaha, Nebraska, only started her #repliKate Instagram account in 2018, but has already gained followers that love seeing her exact replicas of our Catherine's iconic outfits – as well as some bargain versions. Of course, we had to find out her royal style-hunting tips, since she's even managed to find an exact dupe for Kate's unforgettable Issa engagement dress, not to mention some of Meghan's best looks. Where do we begin?
How long have you been a fan of Kate and her style?
"To be honest, I didn’t know who Kate Middleton was until it was announced she was engaged to Prince William. I have always admired the royals, but I never paid attention to the gossip about who the princes were. When Kate walked into the press conference wearing the iconic blue Issa dress, I was hooked."
Your emphasis is on budget - do you think it’s possible to dress well for less?
"It is absolutely possible! Websites like The Real Real, The Outnet, eBay and Poshmark allow anyone to find high end pieces at shockingly affordable prices. Having said that, the key to dressing well is finding a good tailor. I lucked out because my mother is quite talented. Growing up, she would make my sister and I matching outfits and I hated it. Now I’m so grateful for her talent."
Some of her finds are exact matches of Kate's
What’s the best bargain lookalike you’ve ever got?
"Well, I just purchased a pair of Zara pants - the same pair Kate wore - on eBay for $5, which was my best deal yet."
What is the least comfortable item of clothing Kate wears?
"High heels. On days where I know I’m going to be on my feet and walking around, I leave the heels at home."
What’s her least restrictive item of clothing?
"Two words: wrap dress. There isn’t a woman in the world who can’t rock a wrap dress, feel comfortable doing so and not worry about wrinkles."
Do you shop with the intention of getting a Kate look?
"When I go shopping I don’t intentionally have Kate in mind. I’m a fan of her overall style so by default, I’m likely to choose similar items but it’s more of a subconscious thing. On the other hand, when Kate wears something I am absolutely in love with, I will search the internet high and low until I find it!"
Julie is also inspired by Meghan
You sometimes rock a Meghan look – what do you love about her style?
"I lived in Los Angeles for 10 years. Meghan has perfected that LA Girl Boss look and I love it. Also, Roland Mouret is one of my top favourite designers. I view his creations as a piece of artwork. Anytime Meghan wears Roland Mouret, she absolutely can’t go wrong."
Does dressing like Kate make you act more regally?
"It’s funny you asked this question because it’s what made me start posting photos of my RepliKate outfits. One day I had I very important work meeting, and it occurred to me I felt more confident, self-assured and held my head a little higher in my repliKate outfit. It was then I decided to start an Instagram account. Every woman should hold her head high and feel confident in how she looks. If that means getting inspiration from a Duchess or a Kardashian, then do it."