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The Duchess of Cambridge loves to champion British designers and brands (as well as European ones that have earned a special place in the hearts of UK shoppers), so as she celebrates her 40th birthday on Sunday 9 January, it seems like the perfect occasion to also celebrate some of her favourite fashion lines.
Catherine has the enviable capacity to cherry pick the best designs around, regardless of their price tag. In among the McQueen and Jenny Packham gowns, however, Kate favours a surprisingly large number of more affordable labels – including a fair few high street brands.
Birthdays, especially milestone ones, are often a time for reflection, and a look back at royal engagements of recent years reveals the fashion brands that have become some of Kate’s favourites.
If you too would like to dress like the future Queen-consort, these are the places to shop:
Boden has become one of the Duchess’ most frequently worn brands and she has a particular penchant for their knitwear, shirts and coats, which combine classic cuts with fun details.
Pictured above in the brand’s scalloped neck Hambleden jumper while visiting School 21 in Stratford, London, on 11 March 2021. Kate wore the bright coloured knitwear while congratulating teachers involved in the re-opening of the school following coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Just three days earlier, the Duchess had worn another Boden piece – a printed pussy-bow blouse – during a video call appearance on International Women’s Day on 8 March.
Founded by Johnnie Boden in 1991 as a mail-order business originally specialising in menswear, Boden quickly pivoted to womenswear and Johnnie cites his wife and three daughters as inspiration.
Kate is a fan of the brand’s scalloped styles, having also worn the Abercorn Scallop cardigan during another video call with one of the finalists in her photographic competition, Hold Still 2020, the previous November.
She also picked Boden when deciding on her outfit for the Cambridge family’s 2019 Christmas card photo – in which she wore the blue floral Aurora Wrap Dress.
Kate loves to take part in a variety of sports and often delights in a bit of friendly competition with her husband Prince William. Her competitive nature means she wouldn’t want to be held back by unsuitable footwear, so the fact she can frequently be spotted sporting Superga’s 2750 Cotu Classics speaks volumes for the shoes’ comfort and practicality.
The pared back design of these £57 lightweight canvas tennis shoes with a vulcanised rubber sole has stood the test of time, as they have been in production in Turin, Italy, since 1911.
Kate isn’t the only royal to be taken with the design, as her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales wore a navy pair in 1997.
Catherine is pictured above wearing the trainers while playing tennis games with schoolchildren as they took part in the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) Youth programme, at Craiglockhart Tennis Centre on 26 May 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The trainers’ classic design is versatile enough to be worn off the playing field too, and Kate packed them for her royal tour of Canada in October 2016 and wore them to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018.
Aspinal of London | Shop here
She carried the black version during a trip to Bradford with Prince William in January 2020, her first royal engagement of the year, during which they visited My Lahore Restaurant and attended group support sessions at a Khidmat Centre.
She previously showcased the design when she visited The Royal Opera House in London in January 2019, and as she paid tribute to those who were killed in a helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium at Leicester City’s Football Club in November 2018.
A month earlier Kate carried the lilac version while attending the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit at London’s County Hall.
Aspinal is a family run business, whose founder didn’t start out in the fashion world. Iain Burton was the original inventor of audio-guides to museums and galleries. In 2001 his brand started creating bespoke leather stationery to those museums and from there the brand branched into luxury leather goods, designed to be passed down throughout the generations.
Kate has really embraced matching coats and jumpers when she wants to create a smart business-like look. Pictured above in Hobbs London’s Lara Sweater and Tilda coat, she chose to wear this bold fuchsia pink duo for a visit to Nower Hill High School in London on 24 November 2021.
Buy it: Fuchsia Pink Tilda Wool Coat | £219
Hobbs was established in 1981 in Hampstead, London, with a focus on modern cuts, feminine tailoring and heritage craftsmanship.
Kate is clearly a fan of the brand’s tailoring – especially when in bright colours or bold prints – as she owns quite a few Hobbs coats, jackets and skirt suits.
She wore the London Dalmatian Mac during two of her pregnancies. First in June 2013, she wore it to christen the Royal Princess ship while expecting Prince George. Then she wore it again during a visit to Margate in March 2015 while pregnant with her second child, Princess Charlotte.
Marks and Spencer | Shop here
The Duchess of Cambridge has a pink trouser suit from Marks and Spencer’s Autograph collection, which she really loves as she wore it on no less than three occasions in 2020.
First, she wore the pin tucked trousers and matching double breasted blazer during a private visit to an NHS call centre in Croydon, London, in March 2020. Then at the end of that month, Kensington Palace released a photograph of the Duchess wearing the blazer while speaking with the CEO of mental health charity Place2Be.
The trousers got another outing on 22 September 2020, when Kate met with parents and their children in Battersea Park, London, to discuss their experiences of being helped by peer support networks during the coronavirus pandemic.
For the socially distance meeting Kate paired her M&S trousers with her trusty Superga Cotu Classics, but she is also a fan of sporty footwear from the high street stalwart, having previously worn M&S’s Ribbon Detail Lace Up Trainers. for a SportsAid event at the Olympic Park in East London in February 2020.
Kate owns quite a few pieces from high street favourite Zara. Pictured above in the brand’s green wide leg trousers, which she paired with her M&S Ribbon Detail trainers for a SportsAid event at the London Stadium in Stratford on 26 February 2020, at which she raced heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Zara may be among the most affordable labels in the Duchess’ wardrobe, but she certainly doesn’t consider it to be throw-away fashion, as she has reworn Zara pieces on a number of occasions.
Most recently she stepped out for a second time in a checked dress first seen during a visit to Bradford in 15 January 2020. The pleated monochrome midi with a pussy bow neckline got a second outing on 5 October 2021, when Kate visited University College London to meet the researchers behind a landmark study called Children of the 2020s, which will track the holistic development of children from the age of nine months to five years.
The Duchess often snaps up blazers from the Spanish brand and has been pictured (fittingly) in red, white and blue styles – knowing Kate’s attention to detail, we’re sure the significance of those colours is no coincidence.
L.K. Bennett has long been a staple in the Duchess of Cambridge’s wardrobe. Founded by Linda Bennett in London in 1990 with the vision of bringing “a bit of Bond Street luxury to the High Street”, the label is best known for its heels and workwear.
Kate regularly wears shoes, dresses and coats from the brand, plus she owns a few of their clutch bags too. The brand’s platformed Sledge pumps were her go-tos until 2014, and more recently she has been seen in the Fern pumps and Floret court shoes.
In June 2021 she wore the L.K. Bennett’s £225 Dee Pale Blue Crepe Shift Dress (which is surprisingly still in stock) as she visited the London School of Economics for the launch of the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, an initiative focusing on the importance of children’s early years (0-5 years) and the impact it can have on their future.
Buy it: Dee Pale Blue Crepe Shift Dress | £255 from L.K.Bennett
The Duchess of Cambridge owns at least three jackets made by heritage countryside label Barbour.
Pictured above, Kate can be seen in the brand’s Longshore Quilted Jacket, which was a staple on chilly outdoor royal engagements in 2021.
On 31 January 2021, Kensington Palace released a video filmed by the Duchess of Cambridge to mark the start of Children’s Mental Health Week, in which she can be seen wearing the slimline jacket. Then on 27 April 2021, she wore it again while in Country Durham. It got a third outing on 26 May 2021 when Kate and Prince William spent the morning at West Sands Beach in St Andrew’s, Fife.
Kate also owns a Barbour Edith jacket from the brand’s collaboration with Alexa Chung and an olive coloured Barbour Defence jacket, which she has owned since at least 2012.
Jigsaw’s High Waisted Sport Luxe Trousers have become one of the Duchess’ favourite styles for pairing with bold knitwear and sharp shirts.
In December 2018, she wore the wide legged trousers while visiting RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Then she returned to the style in March 2021 while promoting the Mentally Healthy Schools project in at School21 in Stratford, and again in May 2021 while visiting The Way Youth Zone in Wolverhampton during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Even when Kate does wear an outfit from an expensive designer brand, her jewellery often offers a more affordable way into her wardrobe.
At the Royal Variety Performance on 18 November 2021, she paired her Jenny Packham gown with fan shaped 18ct gold-plated Zenyu Chandelier Hoop earrings by London-based brand Missoma.
Buy it: Zenyu Chandelier Hoop Earrings | £125 from Missoma
Kate first wore this style on a royal tour of Pakistan in 2019, and they are not the only Missoma earrings she owns. She’s also thought to have been wearing the the brand’s Molton Hoop Earrings with her M&S pink suit during her visit to the NHS call centre in Croydon in March 2020.
Plus, she has often worn the brand’s pink and gold rhodochrosite Mini Pyramid Charm Hoops.
Buy it: Rhodochrosite gold mini pyramid charm hoop earrings | £85 from Missoma
British jewellery brand Orelia London is a relatively new favourite for Kate. The Duchess was first photographed in a pair of the brand’s gold-plated Chain Huggie Hoop earrings during a video call with nursing students in February 2021.
Despite their very reasonable price tag of £18 the earrings have become something of a staple for Kate. She was next seen wearing them just a few days later during a video call with the founder of the Little Village charity and two of its service users.
Since then she has often returned to the neat pair, more recently wearing them with her Barbour Longshore jacket during a visit to County Durham in April 2021, as well as during the royal tour of Scotland in May 2021, when she donned her Superga trainers to play tennis games.