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I wore a Princess Kate-inspired black tie dress and have never got so many compliments

 I bought a dress just like Princess Kate's and it's my ultimate go-to…

A split image of Kate Middleon and Isabelle Casey
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It is no secret that Princess Kate serves as fashion inspiration. From countless dazzling red carpet outfits to her sleek skinny jeans, she truly never misses.

As an eager watcher of the Princess of Wales, I wondered if her chic sense of style would work on someone like me. So I took inspiration from one of her most elegant red carpet looks and honestly, I have never received so many compliments. Not to mention I've worn the gown multiple times in the last year and it never misses.

Princess Kate's dress differs in shape © Dan Kitwood
Princess Kate's Top Gun Premiere dress was unforgettable

Now at this point, you're probably wondering two things which are one, which dress was I inspired by? And two, how did I afford it? So let me explain. 

After covering the Top Gun red carpet last year I will never forget the moment I saw the Prince and Princess of Wales in the flesh for the first time. The Princess was even more perfect in real life than you could imagine.  For the star-studded event, she chose to wear the most elegant Roland Mouret black floor-length gown that featured a white bardot panel.

isabelle wearing a lookalike of Kate Middleton's Top Gun dress
I couldn't help but try out a similar dress myself

While of course, I would love to tell you I was able to call in the same designer number worn by the lady herself, £2,900 wasn't in my budget but I did manage to find something very similar from Vesper247 named the 'Lya black contrast maxi dress', but it wasn't an exact match. 

It did feature the same monochrome colour scheme and white Bardot panel, but unlike Princes Kate's full skirt, mine had a dramatic slit on one side. This worked perfectly for me as not only was it within my budget at £64, but the added slit offered the perfect versatility for my social schedule, which doesn't include walking the red carpet alongside Tom Cruise in case you're wondering!

A photo of Princess Kate shaking Tom Cruise's hand© Gareth Cattermole
Princess Kate was pictured alongside Tom Crusie during the event

What was interesting about my royal discovery was the number of compliments I got from not only friends and family but even from royal fashion commentator, Elizabeth Holmes who noticed the royal reference as soon as posted a photo of myself wearing the gown on my Instagram account.

She said:  "When I spotted your Instagram, I immediately recognized that distinctive — stunning! — dress, with the white off-the-shoulder neckline, and fitted black bodice and skirt. I commented immediately, asking if this was the Kate dress, purposely ending my question with an exclamation point instead of a question mark, because I was certain it was! Such fun, and you looked amazing." 

Princess Kate laughing with Tom Cruise at the Top Gun Premiere © Mark Cuthbert
The elegant colour scheme is one reason this dress is so flattering

One thing I have noticed is that whether I'm feeling bloated or not really myself, the dress is the perfect piece to hide my insecurities, whilst still making me feel glamorous and confident. Personally, I think is down to the cut and shape of the dress as well as the timeless colour scheme, but I wanted a professional opinion. 

It surely is no coincidence that the one dress in my wardrobe I can always rely on to make me feel ready to take on the world is similar to one belonging to the Princess of Wales - who quite literally has all eyes on her everywhere she goes. So I asked celebrity stylist Ellis Ranson to break down the details of why she thinks Kate would opt for something of this style. 

She explained: "The Bardot is just one of those flattering shapes that works for all body types.

 "Your collarbones and neckline are a really nice area to show off. You can also cover the top part of your arms which is an area a lot of people don’t like to show off, but it's in a very unobvious way.

 "The shape is also really versatile. If you wear your hair up you create a really classy finish. With a pair of statement earrings, you can modernise the look. I always opt for no necklace when you’re wearing a Bardot to keep the attention on the neckline. It also creates a stripped-back feel, super elegant!

 "The dress is also monochrome which gives off a chic vibe. I reckon this dress is so loved by Kate because black is such an easy go-to. It’s comfortable and safe, and with a pop of white, it adds a bit of warmth and style.

"When you're wearing a single-form dress like this, I think the slit is transformative. It elevates the entire outfit, and gives a really sexy feel, whilst remaining classy."

Follow Personal and Editorial Fashion Stylist Ellis Ranson at @EllisRansonX.

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