As the new Princess of Wales, Kate certainly has some big fashion shoes to fill and she is doing a pretty impressive job so far.
The past year has been one of fashion triumphs and, as she embraces her forties and her sense of style evolves and grows, the Princess appears to be more comfortable than ever in her choices. Now, an exclusive online HELLO! poll has revealed Kate’s most popular looks of 2022, from red carpet glamour to her working wardrobe and more casual attire.
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Leading the way, with 22 percent of votes, was the gorgeous green Jenny Packham gown she wore on tour in Jamaica last spring, followed by her stylish polka dot Ascot ensemble, with almost 20 percent of votes.
"Kate may be more comfortable in a Breton top and jeans but HELLO! Readers really enjoy her more glamorous looks," says Jill Wanless, editor of HELLO! Fashion Monthly. "Kate has a flair for the more flamboyant – that was clear when she wore the McQueen puff sleeve gown for her 40th birthday portrait - and now it’s the time to move from fashion lover to style leader.
"Experimenting with less traditional labels like Alessandra Rich, Edeline Lee and Roksanda has helped to elevate her fashion status," Jill adds. "And showing an appreciation for circular fashion, sustainability and an awareness of cost of living woes are all important messages right now. We’d love to see her in more rented high end outfits for big events and for Kate to start championing lesser known British designers and brands to give them a boost. She's mastered a figure hugging dress but something quirky and unexpected could hopefully be next on her agenda for 2023."
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Susan E Kelley, founder of the fashion website WhatKateWore, tells us: "The Princess’s wardrobe reflects her confidence and comfort in the many roles she has as a mother, wife, and Princess of Wales. She remains true to her basic style aesthetic while expanding her fashion repertoire to include elements like colour blocking, something we saw more of this past year, and the increase in vintage clothing and accessories."
And while Susan points out that Kate takes a more conservative approach to her working wardrobe than her predecessor Diana, Princess of Wales did, she says she does share some common ground with her late mother-in-law.
"Central to the wardrobes of both women is an understanding of the messages conveyed by their fashion choices and a willingness to use that unspoken power as a means of sartorial diplomacy,” Susan explains. "Timeless designs and support for the British fashion industry have also been key components of their wardrobes and both perfected the art of mixing high and low, wearing pieces from luxury labels alongside designs from the high street.” Despite beautifully carrying off designer gowns and power suits, Susan says that Kate doesn’t want to let her wardrobe overshadow the good work that she does.
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"I think the Princess is most at home in a pair of skinny jeans, a Barbour jacket, and trainers or boots," she says. "My guess is that she accepts that fashion is part of her job, something that has to be dealt with and managed, but she will always want the focus of any engagement to be on the people or the organization she is visiting, not on her fashion choices.” Here, Susan gives her verdict on Kate’s top 12 outfits:
Kate's emerald jewels were the perfect accessory for this memorable gown
1. "This soft and floaty Jenny Packham gown, combined with the Queen’s Emerald Tassel earrings and bracelet, was a favourite of many royal fashion fans when Kate wore it to a dinner in Jamaica in March. The oversized tulle ruffle and sequin embellishment provided the oomph to stand up to the glittering diamonds and emeralds, while Kate's up-do offered the perfect backdrop for the earrings."
2022 was a year filled with fabulous polka dots for Kate
2. "The Princess's fondness for polka dots and Alessandra Rich combined for an elegant look at Royal Ascot, one that many found reminiscent of the Victor Edelstein polka dot dress worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, to Royal Ascot in 1988. The Sally Ann Provan boater-style hat, Gianvito Rossi heels and Princess Diana’s pearl and diamond earrings were ideal accents for the look."
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Kate's new take on the tiara did not go unnoticed
3. "Seeing Kate switch from the oft-worn Lover’s Knot tiara to the Lotus Flower generated quite a buzz online after she attended the Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace in December in this scarlet embellished Jenny Packham gown. This was the first time she has worn her hair down with a tiara, a switch from the elaborate up-dos we expect for white-tie functions, and this hairstyle choice was also a talking point. As always, she carried the look off with aplomb, adding the late Queen’s diamond earrings for good measure."
Kate looked so elegant at Tom Cruise's film premier
4. "The form-fitting Roland Mouret frock Kate wore to join Tom Cruise at the UK premiere of Top Gun: Maverick at London’s Leicester Square in May was more daring than many of her evening gowns and a brilliant red carpet look. Its clean lines and monochrome palette photographed beautifully - always an important factor - while the diamond star-motif earrings were the perfect accent."
The Alexander McQueen birthday ballgown became instantly iconic
5. "The rich red one-shoulder Alexander McQueen gown with the oversized puff sleeve, which Kate wore for one of her official birthday portraits by Paolo Roversi, made a dramatic style statement. Accessorised with diamond earrings loaned from the late Queen, this is not an understated design but a piece that proudly announces itself and shines on its own merit. A bold choice, it is a style that will stand the test of time, always a primary concern when selecting styles for official portraits."
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The head-turning look was a favourite among fans
6. "The Princess’s vivid green Solace London 'Sabina' dress, hired from rental platform HURR, was a polarizing choice for those following her style. Many thought the dress looked like a green screen and the internet was alive with photoshopped images, although some readers acknowledged changing their minds on the colour once they saw how the dress popped against the set at last month's Earthshot Prize Awards in Boston. Queen Mary's glittering emerald and diamond choker also prompted passionate debate online among those who loved the combination and those who thought it didn’t mesh with the dress."
Kate's winter hue was perfect for the festivities
7. "This Eponine dress demonstrates the Princess’s fondness for colour blocking, something we are seeing more frequently in her wardrobe. The head-to-toe burgundy, including Gianvito Rossi pumps and drop earrings by Accessorize, was the perfect festive choice for Kate’s Westminster Abbey carol service Together at Christmas and was more subdued than the vibrant red ensemble seen at the previous year’s concert - an understandable choice for an event dedicated to the late Queen."
Kate demonstrated how to style a glorious canary yellow dress
8. "Seeing this vibrant yellow Roksanda dress for a second time at Wimbledon only served to reinforce the rave reviews it received when Kate first wore it in Jamaica last spring. The LK Bennett straw hat and lemon quartz Kiki McDonough earrings set off the sunshiny yellow perfectly."
Kate's fit and flare silhouette was perfect
9. "Seeing Kate in a new designer at a British Fashion Council event in May was a treat for Kate fashion followers, especially as many were already Edeline Lee fans. Design elements like the high neck, dropped shoulders, and flared skirt created a flattering silhouette, while the ties at the elbow added a touch of whimsy, while her clutch and court shoes were by Emmy London and earrings from Nadia Irena."
Blue accessories were the perfect complement at Easter
10. "This ensemble demonstrates the Princess’s practice of buying the same design in different colors for her working uniform. She owns the Emilia Wickstead dress in three colors and teamed it with a pleated crepe Jane Taulor headband and Cassandra Goad earrings for her Easter Sunday church outing in Windsor. The desire to simplify her work uniform through multiple purchases of the same item is underscored by her accessories: at last count, she owns both the Rebecca court shoes and the Natasha clutch - both by Emmy London - in at least eight colours."
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The sporty Princess looked impeccable in her Brenton stripes
11. "The Princess's fashion fans love seeing ‘sporty Kate’ and 'nautical Kate,' so this ensemble for a sailing event in Plymouth in July was a popular look. The tailored Holland Cooper shorts and striped cashmere knit by Erdem were pieces that could easily be replicated on a budget, while the £18 earrings and £50 Superga trainers were also wallet-friendly items."
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Kate's pretty floral dresses and wedge heels will always go down well
12. "The summery ensemble by Tory Burch - in the same shade of blue as Belize's flag - was very much in sync with William and Kate's visit to a cacao farm and walk on the beach during their tour in March. It included accessible items like the £55 Sézane earrings and Stuart Weitzman wedges, making Kate's style feel more attainable for many fashion fans."
Susan's fashion commentary on the Princess of Wales can be found at whatkatewore.com and @whatkatewore.
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