“Style icon” is a term that is regularly brought up in reference to Kate Middleton, who has become world famous for her impeccable sense of style over the last four years, since her engagement to Prince William in late 2010. The Duchess undoubtedly makes great fashion choices for outings to the grocery store, for royal tours, and appearances at black tie galas, but her choices have recently come under fire by the Queen.
Ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official visit to Australia and New Zealand in April, Her Majesty has ordered Middleton to undergo a style makeover fit for a princess. Middleton, who became regarded as an icon for her tendency to mix high fashion pieces with affordable items, must now change up her wardrobe which set “the Kate effect” in motion.
Her rise to fashion notoriety began the moment that she stepped in front of the cameras to announce her engagement to Prince William, in a fittingly hued royal blue Issa dress, with long-sleeves and knee-skimming hemline. This dress marked the first in a long line of dresses worn by the Duchess to sell out within hours of being photographed.
Her wedding dress cannot go unmentioned when chronicling her fashion timeline, as it was the dress seen around the world by millions of royal watchers who tuned in to see what she would be wearing on the day that she married her prince in April of 2011. Bridal fashions were altered thanks to “the Kate effect”, as brides began favoring more traditional styles, with some choosing to wear replicas of the Duchess’ dress on their special day.
While her wedding dress was a game changer, it certainly isn’t her most iconic contribution to fashion. Her penchant for repeating outfit choices hasn’t gone unnoticed, and has become her trademark over the past few years. On the royal tour the Duke and Duchess took to the United States and Canada in 2011, she wore her LK Bennett nude pumps, J Brand jeans, and navy Smythe blazer multiple times over the course of one trip.
Middleton has continued to recycle designs since her trip abroad, as she wore her favorite black LK Bennett wedges, J Brand jeans, and Smythe blazer during appearances at the Olympic Games in 2012. Throughout her pregnancy with son, Prince George, she was able to wear eye-catching designs from years past, the most popular of which was the black and white polka dot dress from Topshop that sold out in stores and online minutes after being identified.
The Duchess has stayed loyal to her favorite designers ever since her turn as a fashion icon, with Jenny Packham, Alexander McQueen, Issa, and Topshop among her favorite labels. In spite of all her sartorial successes, she has made a few faux pas, which the Queen hopes to rectify in her imposed style makeover.
With a few too many Marilyn Monroe moments at her public appearances, the Queen has suggested that Middleton lower her hemlines, and leave her retail clothing behind in favor of styles from high end designers. With lower hemlines and more high-end looks, the Duchess will make a transition to a more conservative style, something that her grandmother-in-law will certainly put her stamp of approval on.
Middleton has only worn the Queen’s jewelry on select occasions, which she hopes to change by the time the Duke and Duchess venture to Australia and New Zealand later this year. This past December, Middleton wore a tiara for the first time since her wedding, and just weeks ago she wore a large diamond necklace given to the Queen in 1947 to a gala in London.
In just a short amount of time, Kate Middleton has become a style icon, thanks to her impeccable fashion choices, all of which have been executed with class. Although she is in the midst of a style transformation, there’s no doubt that she will continue to set trends, and that “the Kate effect” will remain a force well into the future.