(This story was first published on 9 January 2017 and has been reposted from The Quint’s archives for the royal’s birthday.)
On 29 April 2011, 300 million people around the world sat in front their TVs, watching a modern day fairy-tale unfold.
A ‘commoner’ named Kate Middleton stepped out of a vintage car to not only marry a prince but also to become one of the most influential style icons of her time. Kate’s wedding gown, an instant hit, sent the fashion world into a frenzy.
Every minute detail of the dress was discussed and debated online, while cheap replicas of the dress flooded Chinese wholesale websites in a matter of weeks.
The popularity of the dress helped raise a whopping 8 million pounds when it was put up on display at the Buckingham Palace.
The wedding dress heralded the birth of the “Kate Middleton effect”. Every dress and accessory Kate wears garners so much interest that it usually sells out in a matter of days if not hours.
When Kate visited India in 2016, the Anita Dongre maxi dress she wore sold out in a matter of hours. What’s more, Dongre’s website crashed immediately after.
Duchess Catherine Versus Princess Diana
Kate’s sartorial choices are often juxtaposed with that of her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana. Princess Diana and Kate may have married into the same royal family, but they are poles apart in terms of fashion.
Kate appears to have a conservative fashion sense, a sharp contrast to Diana’s flamboyant, glamorous style.
Three-quarter sleeves and knee-length dresses are a style staple for the Duchess of Cambridge. She is mostly seen in solid pastels and neat silhouettes. Her outfits are always girl-next-door meets elegant princess. Who even knew that was a thing before Kate came along?
Kate’s critics have slammed her style for being prudish and boring. But her refusal to follow fashion trends blindly gives her an edge above the rest. Her style is consistent and distinguished, much like that of style icons Jackie O and Grace Kelly.
Princess of Frugal Fashion
What makes Kate truly unique is that she has turned the biggest fashion offence into a novelty.
Kate has never shied away from repeating her outfits and accessories. She often steps out wearing boots from her college days. Sometimes, she repeats outfits for her outings. Her casual approach to fashion is a refreshing change from the celebrities we’re used to seeing.
When Kate repeats her outfits, she proves that she too has her favourite outfits, just like us. But what she’s also doing is passing on a great lesson in style: Don’t worry about repeating your clothes, just style them differently.