Ever since Prince William started showing interest in a gorgeous brunette by the name of Kate Middleton way back in his college days, the world was utterly obsessed. After all, for the longest time, pretty much all Royals married other Royals or members of the aristocracy. The idea that the dashing Prince William would potentially marry a normal person — albeit one from a fairly well-off family — was unbelievable. The two went through their ups and downs but eventually ended up tying the knot.
While people checked out Kate's outfits back when the duo were dating, she's definitely had a style evolution since then. After all, every public outing she goes on, pretty much, she's extensively photographed. So, she puts a ton of effort into her wardrobe, working with her stylist to ensure that she's always looking fantastic. She has certain silhouettes and cuts she's frequently drawn to, but she still mixes it up quite a bit — and if we're being honest, we probably covet at least half of her wardrobe. I mean, she has some truly stunning pieces.
A garment she wears can easily sell out within just a few hours — that's how obsessed the public is with Middleton's style. So, we've taken a peek back at 8 of her best outfits of all time, and 8 that were maybe a little more questionable.
Here are 8 of her best looks that we want to add to our closets ASAP:
16 This Jenny Packham gown that is full glam goddess
Middleton has actually worn this Jenny Packham gown on two occasions, and we can totally see why — it's stunning, and it's a bit of a change of pace for her for black tie events. While she wears a fair bit of neutrals in her everyday life, she tends to go for darker, bolder carpets for events that require a full glam look — so this neutral number stands out from the pack. Although, it's really only neutral in terms of the colour palette — the gown itself is absolutely shimmering with intricate sequins and beading. The simple silhouette highlights her amazing physique, her brunette locks pop against the blush-coloured gown, and she just looks absolutely fantastic. We wouldn't be surprised if she pulled this gown out of her closet a third time — it's that good.
15 This floral Prada dress, the perfect outfit for a service held in the gardens
Sometimes, people get a bit critical of Middleton's style, calling it dowdy for her age — however, we have a feeling that's mostly just because the world is used to seeing celebrities showing a ton of skin, all the time. Sure, because of her position, Middleton generally keeps fairly covered up, but she definitely makes bold picks that show off her sartorial risk-taking. Just take this amazing dress, for example. The hemline is long, and the pussy bow detail is definitely retro, but this isn't the kind of dress your grandma would wear — the Prada number is still fun and flirty, and it's the perfect choice for a service held in the gardens. Paired with the umbrella, she looks like the perfect English rose — although we hope she swapped out those shoes when it came time to trek through the grass!
14 Ethereal in this Jenny Packham beauty
Middleton's stylist must have British designer Jenny Packham on speed dial — she's slowly becoming one of Kate's go-to picks for events requiring a gown or something of that nature, and it's not hard to see why. Middleton looks absolutely stunning in this gorgeous teal Jenny Packham number. It looks great from afar as she makes her way down the red carpet, with the delicate volume on the bottom and the interesting cut on top. However, when you get closer, there's even more to admire. The lace details and delicate buttons on the back, the perfectly arranged pleats, the wisps of lace poking out here and there, the beaded belt. It's just stunning — Middleton is always a showstopper, but she was particularly gorgeous in this amazing dress. If we were her, we'd buy one in every colour!
13 Proving that all white can be a stunning style statement in this lace Alexander McQueen dress
Many women shy away from all white looks because, well, they fear it can skew a bit bridal, or just a bit too innocent and twee. However, Kate Middleton shows in this outfit that all white can definitely pack a style punch — particularly in the spring or summer seasons, a fantastic little white dress can easily take the place of your standard LBD. This Alexander McQueen dress is incredible, from the amazing lace all over to the cinched waist and gorgeous high collar. Personally, we may have paired it with a shoe that offered a burst of colour, or perhaps a colourful accessory, but in all honesty, this dress would look amazing with just about anything. I mean, can you think of a better outfit for an outdoor event? She looks fresh and fabulous.
12 This Erdem dress, which is a totally different silhouette than she normally rocks
It's no secret that Middleton likes rocking a good floral print from time to time, but this dress definitely took us by surprise because of how different it was from her normal silhouettes. She rocks all kinds of outfits, but she generally picks a dress with a slightly more voluminous, A-line skirt, or a simple shift that doesn't cling to her curves. This dress is definitely a bit more bodycon than her typical outfit — but that's one of the reasons we love it. She looks absolutely stunning, and we love the intricate detailing in the dress' print that almost makes it look like she's rocking matching separates. This is definitely a departure from some of the styles she normally wears, and it just proves that it's okay to mix it up — even if you're known for a certain style, you can still play around.
11 A belted blue coatdress by Eponine that proves blue is definitely her colour
When it comes to colour, Middleton is definitely not afraid. Sure, she's rocked her fair share of black and neutral shades, but she's also worn just about every colour under the sun, from fiery red to sunny yellow to vibrant green and everything in between. However, we have a bit of a soft spot for the way she looks in blue — something about how it pairs with her brunette locks and fair skin is just incredible. This Eponine coat dress is classic Kate — a fairly conservative cut, A-Line skirt that goes to the knee and swishes when she walks, and plenty of interesting details that draw the eye in when you look a bit closer. She's paired it with accessories in a slightly darker shade of blue, but honestly, the colour of that dress is jus phenomenal on her.
10 A custom lavender Emilia Wickstead dress that shows why we should all go custom
One thing that celebrities can teach us is the importance of a tailor. No matter what your shape, no matter how toned and lean you are, there are certain things that still need a bit of tweaking — and getting clothes tailored ensures you'll look fantastic in any piece you buy. Of course, if you're a Royal, you don't just have the option of getting things tailored — you have the option of getting garments custom made, which is how Kate obtained this particular dress. The lavender shade is gorgeous, not one we typically see her wear, and the cut itself is amazing. It's super simple, but makes her look absolutely beautiful, which is exactly what you want if you're a Royal — you want to look great, but you don't want your outfit to be making more headlines than the charity event you're attending in it.
9 The sapphire Issa wrap dress — picked to match her new engagement ring — that started it all
This sapphire-coloured dress is kind of what kicked off the public's obsession with Middleton's style. Sure, they'd been watching what she wore before when she was just Prince William's girlfriend, but when she became his fiancee, the style watch definitely intensified. And this outfit was kind of the perfect one to debut her status as a Royal to be. First of all, it looks absolutely amazing on her — the wrap silhouette showcases her physique without being too bodycon, and looks amazing on her. And the colour perfectly goes with her new engagement ring, which only further highlights the reason these two are in front of the camera, making the announcement to the world. And, she doesn't have to worry about looking at these photos years later and cringing — that dress is a classic that will never go out of style.
Here are 8 of her worst looks, the ones she should maybe pack back in her closet and not bring out again:
8 This island mix-up that was just not the most flattering
While Middleton is usually spot on with her style choices, even going so far as to try to wear designers from whatever country she's visiting when possible on her tours, even she sometimes makes a bit of a misstep. For this visit to the Solomon Islands, she wore a dress made by a designer from the Cook Islands — which are thousands of miles away. However, even if you disregard the designer of the gown, it's just not the best look for Kate The colours are vibrant, but the horizontal stretches of pattern kind of break her body up into chunks, and the midi length isn't the most flattering in this case. It's just not really an outfit that showcases her physique, and it's probably not one she'll be pulling out of her closet for a repeat.
7 This Erdem gown that had a loud print and weird ruffled situation towards the bottom
Okay, on the one hand, we love that Kate went with a print rather than a solid colour for a black tie event like this — it's a bold style statement for a gown. And, the top half has potential to look amazing — the fitted silhouette is perfect for her slim frame, and the cinched in waist helps draw attention to her physique. Plus, the dark blues and deep reds look fantastic with her fair skin and brunette locks. Then, you scroll down — and it makes us wish it was a cocktail-length dress instead. We're not sure what the intention is behind that ruffle situation from her mid-leg down, but it's just not a great look. This dress would look so much more amazing with a simple flowing skirt instead of being broken up with that ruffle.
6 A young, pre-Royal Kate in a sweater dress/velour jacket combo
We kind of have a soft spot for Kate's looks before she was a Royal, because back then, she was just another young girl in her 20s trying to make it in the big city. Sure, she had more privilege than most, but she wasn't a Royal getting things custom designed for her — so often, outfits from that time period don't really stand the test of time the way many of her other outfits do. The knit dress and black boots are a simple enough look here, but the belted velour jacket on top makes the look way more dated — and that bag is worlds away from the clutches she normally wears nowadays. Of course, she didn't have staff back then to carry anything she might need — she had to lug it all with her like a normal person.
5 This dress, which may have been far better suited to someone a bit older
Okay, this dress isn't actually horrible — objectively, it's well made, and the colour is actually quite lovely. However, something about the silhouette and the collar and the lace on top makes it seem like the perfect outfit someone in her 50s or 60s should wear — not a vibrant young Duchess who almost always wears outfits that show off her petite frame and have a ton of movement and sass. She looks fine, but this dress pales in comparison to almost all the other dresses she's worn — it's just not quite right for her. Not to mention the terrible swan like hat she chose as an accessory. We'd love to see her in another dress in this shade, just to see if the issue is the pastel blue itself or just the cut of the dress in general. Either way, though, we hope she doesn't pull this one out of her closet again.
4 This red dress, which was somehow both too dowdy and almost led to a Marilyn mishap
We can totally get behind a military inspired look, but something about the multiple buttons and high collar and overall aesthetic of this dress is just a little too over the top. The bright red colour is fabulous, but the general vibe is definitely a bit more dowdy than she may have intended. That is, until the wind picks up — there are several shots of Middleton making her way down the steps, baby in her arms, where her skirt keeps flying up and nearly giving the paparazzi an eyeful. It just goes to show that there's a reason so many Royals stuck to shifts and pencil skirt silhouettes — a dress with a more voluminous skirt can look fabulous, but there's always that danger of the wind picking up, so you have to be extra careful.
3 This shopping outfit, circa 2009
Okay, next time you feel down because you're not as stylish as Kate Middleton is, just take a look back at some of the things she wore when she was just a regular person and not a Royal working with a stylist — we promise you it'll make you feel a lot better. This shot was taken way back in 2009, when Kate was just another 20-something woman in London, out for a bit of retail therapy. This pencil skirt, blouse and cardigan combo is something we're pretty sure every woman working in some kind of office environment has worn time and time again. If Kate were to wear something like this nowadays, she'd definitely amp up the drama, making the blouse a bit more structured, taking the skirt to at least knee length, perhaps introducing some colour, etc.
2 This perfectly tailored McQueen coat that is just way too formal and drab the way she's styled it
Again, this coat itself is not necessarily awful — it's obviously well-made, and has tons of details meant to flatter the female body. However, somehow, it just looks incredibly boring on Middleton. We're not sure if its the colour, which washes her out a little bit, the simplicity of it, or just the overall vibe of the garment, but it just doesn't work. Middleton has worn a ton of coats and coat dresses over the years, and just about all of them are better than this particular number. It just goes to show how personal style is — even if something looks fantastic on the hanger, it may not necessarily be the perfect outfit for you. See? Everyone makes style missteps from time to time, even the ultra stylish Kate Middleton. It happens.
1 This gorgeous Jenny Packham dress that just drowns her in fabric
Middleton has had a ton of success with British designer Jenny Packham on the red carpet. Her designs often have a quality of the ethereal about them, and just work perfectly for Kate's tall, slim figure. However, this gown in particular just didn't really work for her. It's a gorgeous gown, with the soft fabric and romantic draping, and may have looked stunning on a woman with a bit of a fuller figure. For Kate, though, who has a very slim, lean, tall body, it just drowned her in fabric, and it has a bit of a grandmother vibe about it all. And again, the colour is just not the greatest — we're starting to feel like, though Kate looks amazing in just about every shade, things in the light blue colour palette just don't do her many favours.