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Princess Kate's most memorable fashion repeats over the last 20 years

The thrifty Princess of Wales has earned some worthy eco fashion credentials since she married Prince William

Kate Middleton wearing various outfits
Georgia Brown
Georgia BrownSenior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
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It's been more than two decades since the Princess of Wales stepped into the royal spotlight, and yet her sartorial prowess has never been more admired. 

From gracing the stage as St Andrews University It-girl to eventually becoming Prince William's beautiful royal bride, the nation quickly developed an obsession with the way the Princess dressed - a phenomenon we now refer to as 'The Kate Effect'. 

WATCH: Kate Middleton's best outfits over the past ten years

"Women around the world wanted to be Kate Middleton, and in the early days when Kate mostly favoured high street brands, her fans were able to emulate her, even if it was just a token nod," explains royal style expert, Miranda Holder.

"Kate manages to tread that awkward line between fashion and the restrictive etiquette limitations of the working royal perfectly - and all this makes utterly compelling viewing, keeping us hooked." 

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends a special reception hosted by the Governor General of Belize in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen wearing Vampire's Wife© WireImage
The Princess of Wales' sartorial excellence is captivating

Inspired by thrifty Princess Anne, Kate has followed suit in becoming one of the most prolific outfit repeaters in the royal family, often choosing to rewear clothes from her twenties, and even recycling most-memorable gowns for red carpet appearances.

In 2023, the mother-of-three surprised the nation when she attended the BAFTAs wearing the same dress she had worn to the event four years earlier. In November, she sparked joy in a bow-adorned hat on Remembrance Sunday that had first been worn to Prince William's graduation from Sandhurst in 2006 before they were married.

From rocking reworked Alexander McQueen to upcycling former flattering fits, Kate's stance on sustainable fashion continues to position her as an icon of environmental dressing. 

Here, see her best outfit repeats of the last twenty years.

Princess Kate's garden party outfit

Kate Middleton wears a blue sheer dress and matching hat© Getty

Recycling one of her most famous outfits formerly worn to Ascot in 2019, the Princess looked stunning at King Charles' garden party in 2023 in a coordinating blouse and skirt designed by Elie Saab, which she paired with a fabulous Philip Treacy hat.

Princess Kate's polka-dot peplum dress

Princess Kate wears a polka-dot dress from Alessandra Rich© Getty

Recycling one of her most-famous Alessandra Rich dresses, the royal chose to rewear her £1,335 peplum-bodice, fit-and-flare frock that she first debuted at Wimbledon in 2022 to an engagement in Southampton last summer.

Princess Kate's wedding guest glittering gown

Princess Kate wears a pink glittering dress

A dress so nice, she wore it twice. Princess Kate was captivating in pink at the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and his bride Rajwa Al Saif, looking beautiful in a shimmering pink gown by Jenny Packham. The Princess later wore the same dress just months later at a Diplomatic Reception held at Buckingham Palace.

Princess Kate's power suit

Princess Kate wears a red Alexander McQueen suit© Getty

The Princess of Wales never met a trouser suit she didn't like. In 2022, the royal defied expectations in the most eye-catching Alexander McQueen two-piece for the King's Coronation celebrations, which she originally wore to a Shaping Us event in January of that year.

Princess Kate's bejewelled Alexander McQueen dress

Princess Kate wears a white and gold dress© Getty

The Princess of Wales beguiled in this bejewelled Alexander McQueen dress at the BAFTAs in 2020 - an occasion she always uses to showcase British designers.

In keeping with the awards' commitment to sustainability, both William and Kate opted to rewear garments they already owned, with the Princess choosing an opulent gown she first debuted in Malaysia in 2012.

Princess Kate's eco Barbie moment

Princess Kate wears a pink tea dress© Getty

The Princess of Wales opted for a stunning pink tea dress from Beulah London to officially open the Young V&A (formerly known as the V&A Museum of Childhood) in 2023. The 'Ahana' dress, which she first debuted at Wimbledon in 2021, is crafted from wool crepe and boasts a flattering fit-and-flare silhouette.

Princess Kate's billowing BAFTAs gown

Kate Middleton wears a white one-shoulder dress to the BAFTAs© Getty

The royal opted for an ethereal one-shoulder piece, a white layered gown that flowed elegantly as she walked alongside her husband at the BAFTAs in 2023.

The design was cinched in at the waist with a waistband that flattered her silhouette and featured a cascade of drapery over her left shoulder. Showing off her commendable eco credentials, Kate's choice of gown was actually a repeat wear that she wore previously to the prestigious awards ceremony in 2019.

Princess Kate's red mini skirt suit

Kate Middleton wears a red suit skirt© Getty

The Princess of Wales set a record by recycling her beloved red skirt suit by Luisa Spagnoli for a fourth time for her 2017 Place2Be Big Assembly engagement. 

The royal first wore the stylish ensemble back in 2011 during a visit to St Andrews University with Prince William, then again in 2014 on her royal tour of New Zealand. Kate was photographed wearing the scarlet outfit again on her way to the late Queen's pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace in 2015.

Princess Kate's lace Temperley dress

Kate Middleto wears a lace dress from Temperley London© Getty

Kate looked stunning in this black lace Temperley dress on the eve of her 30th birthday, so it is no surprise that she opted to wear it for a second time. Nearly a year later, she stepped out in the romantic gown again to host a dinner in London.

Princess Kate's Jenny Packham gown

Kate Middleton wears a navy Jenny Packham gown

Jenny Packham is one of the Princess' favourite designers. The royal has worn this beautiful ruched gown a total of three times now, twice in London and once in New York City in December 2014. It looks sublime both with a cascade of diamonds and without.

Princess Kate's ruby red moment

Kate Middleton wears a red cap-sleeved dress© Getty

Kate made her first appearance in the Jenny Packham gown that features cap sleeves, a sweeping train and embellished details during her first-ever state banquet in October 2015. In December 2016, the Princess brought back the look for the annual Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace, this time wearing her late mother-in-law's Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara.

Princess Kate's butter-yellow dress

Princess Kate's butter-yellow dress

As she touched down in Bhutan in 2015 with Prince William, Kate donned a buttermilk yellow coat dress from one of her favourite designers, Emilia Wickstead. The last time Kate wore the garment was back in 2012 when she attended the Order of the Thistle ceremony in Edinburgh.

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