It’s been just over 10 years since Kate Middleton wed Prince William wearing an ornate Alexander McQueen gown inspired by Grace Kelly. Since becoming the Duchess of Cambridge, her royal tenure has been categorized by similarly modern-day princess moments, but also looks that ground her as a woman working to advance causes close to the hearts of the British public. A brilliant ambassador of the high street and homegrown talent, Kate uses her platform to shine a spotlight on UK craftsmanship and creativity. Her habit of rewearing favorite designer looks has added a conscious element to royal fashion, while her wardrobe binders—such as Breton tops and pussy-bow blouses – make her personable, as well as unfailingly polished.
The “Kate effect”—the media term for the sell-out status automatically bestowed on the more attainable items worn by the Duchess—continues to reign supreme, but her healthy appetite for LK Bennett—nude Sledge pumps were a major royal headline in the early years—has subsided. Strong relationships with McQueen’s Sarah Burton, Catherine Walker, Emilia Wickstead and Erdem Moralıoğlu ensure that Kate’s public-facing looks are au courant but classic, which is essential when every minute detail is analyzed.
Comparisons to Diana, Princess of Wales are still drawn by the newspapers, but Kate has cultivated her own image which, like her mother-in-law’s, toes the line between outdoorsy and official. A consummate professional, the Duchess’s style legacy will lie in her penchant for precisely-cut dress coats that mean business, peppy prints and color palettes that say a thousand words and, of course, immaculate blow-dries.
Here, an ode to the Duchess of Cambridge’s defining looks over her decade as a royal.