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The bow blouse: witty prissy in a £ 790 Gucci blouse (which she changed by wearing it from behind), £ 130 Jigsaw pants and £ 595 Aspinal bag in a London children's center in March

Never Middleton-of-the-road again! Kate & # 39; s new wardrobe is fun, fashionable and a relief

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The bow blouse: witty prissy in a £ 790 Gucci blouse (which she changed by wearing it from behind), £ 130 Jigsaw pants and £ 595 Aspinal bag in a London children's center in March

The bow blouse: witty prissy in a £ 790 Gucci blouse (which she changed by wearing it from behind), £ 130 Jigsaw pants and £ 595 Aspinal bag in a London children's center in March

This year I experienced a totally unexpected fashion epiphany. It suddenly dawned on me that my new inspiration was not some painful edgy designer or artfully designed fencer, but someone who was closer to home. Step forward, the Duchess of Cambridge, a woman who was mocking for a long time because she was too safe, too determined.

Of course there have always been die-hard Instagram acolytes who wanted to reproduce her every look. But the standard fashion display was that Kate's outfits were a disgrace: cautious to dull, preference for justice over panache, all terrible snakes and heels.

Think of: Jigsaw-obsessed mum & girls' first big job (which was about the situation). The duchess's post-marital style was safe, sober and stylish only for the most slavish sycophant.

In 2013, Hilary Mantel famously condemned Kate as & # 39; an articulated doll on which certain rags are hung … a mannequin with shop window, without its own personality & # 39 ;. The novelist further said that the duchess "seemed to have been designed by a commission … with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs turned by hand and glossy varnished." Shocking and cruel, yes, but the truth is that Mantel only said what many had thought privately. The duchess's clothes wore her instead of wearing them. As a royal drying rack, she could be trusted for the absolute minimum of British buying without upset the apple wagon, but one would not dream of looking at Kate for style inspiration. Floating in uncertainty about the mid-market, her wardrobe was a neighbor with a usually large collection of fascinators. She wasn't chic.

The pointy shirt dress: again visiting a favorite £ 1,750 Alessandra Rich dress (worn in the previous November), here together with suede heels, pearl earrings and a Smythson clutch for a trip to Bletchley Park in May
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The pointy shirt dress: again visiting a favorite £ 1,750 Alessandra Rich dress (worn in the previous November), here together with suede heels, pearl earrings and a Smythson clutch for a trip to Bletchley Park in May

The pointy shirt dress: again visiting a favorite £ 1,750 Alessandra Rich dress (worn in the previous November), here together with suede heels, pearl earrings and a Smythson clutch for a trip to Bletchley Park in May

Well, no more. In recent months the duchess has seriously stepped up her fashion game – and what a joy to see. The first inklings came at the end of last year, when Kate performed alternately in Alessandra Rich and LK Bennett polka dots, a festive Emilia Wickstead tartan skirt, a fantastic Oscar de la Renta suit and Chloé combat boots (yes, really!).

This new, more up-and-at – & # 39; em attitude coincided with the maternity leave of Kate & # 39; s long-term stylist, Natasha & # 39; Tash & # 39; Archer, the woman who ordered the queen to make her granddaughter look more royal in 2014. During, Tash was credited as a PA instead of a stylist, a title that was much more appropriate according to some catty fashionista & # 39; s. While Tash was away, the duchess asked her old college friend and former Vogue employee Virginia "Ginnie" Chadwyck-Healey for advice. Not only did Kate look new-broom-like, Ginnie is adept at placing long-line dresses in the middle, while also cracking fashionable casuals.

Team Tash quickly announced that it was normal and that she was – instead of Ginnie – the source of innovation. Anyway, there were signs that – after years of two conservatism – her assignment had been changed to play it safe to get in her step. Telling a woman that her form was "very Kate Middleton" was no longer a passive-aggressive insult, but increasingly a coveted accolade.

A series of & # 39; wow & # 39; moments followed. In February a periwinkle caused Mulberry-cape jacket to pant in Northern Ireland. In March, Kate was wearing an ultra-fashionable (yet all her) lilac Gucci pussy-bow blouse (which she wore from the back to the front) with wide jigsaw puzzle pants. & # 39; In the evening there was not only her beloved McQueen, but more Gucci, Erdem and Missoni. Her Wimbledon game was particularly strong: a white Suzannah button-down, followed by the emerald-green couture tea dress of Dolce & Gabbana, which was worn for the first time on tour in Canada, and which was then named after her by the designer duo. Oh, and her Ascot ensemble: powder blue lace Elie Saab where other princes are silent, not together with the nudist courts, but silver stilettos. Meanwhile, Kate brought us the hat band, even before Miuccia Prada.

The components of Kate Mark 2 are bold hues, sharp shoes, slender one-piece (dresses and jacket dresses) and streamlined suits; a new, more feminine and fashionable preference for height; a step beyond the mid-market in favor of high-end offset by high-street; a more appropriate age for casual; and fun with fashionable flourishes (dots, bows, ties). All this plus what commentators want to point out as the Duchess's tendency to & # 39; recycle & # 39 ;. In other words, wear her outfits more than once in the way of a normal person.

The festive tartan skirt: Christmas party ready at Kensington Palace last December in a seasonal checkered Emilia Wickstead skirt, £ 1,300, and a £ 315 Brora cardigan, amid a flurry of fake snow
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The festive tartan skirt: Christmas party ready at Kensington Palace last December in a seasonal checkered Emilia Wickstead skirt, £ 1,300, and a £ 315 Brora cardigan, amid a flurry of fake snow

The festive tartan skirt: Christmas party ready at Kensington Palace last December in a seasonal checkered Emilia Wickstead skirt, £ 1,300, and a £ 315 Brora cardigan, amid a flurry of fake snow

It helps that Kate & # 39; s style transformation coincide with what's fashionable: modest, witty prissy, ladiesish chic, with a retro-camp soup. There are vague hues of Diana, vague hues of Queen Letizia of Spain, but in general this is something entirely of Kate.

Many women experience a new-found fashion confidence in their mid to late 30s, older, wiser, richer and happier in their bodies. For Kate, the benefits are even clearer. She was once the royal ingenue – and middle-class arrivist – and now married for eight years. Kate is no longer the new girl. Instead, there is Meghan, a less complicated incomer, to capture the anti-aircraft guns. The arrival of a sister-in-law with literacy in fashion has undoubtedly also contributed to Kate's game. The Duchess of Sussex has a notoriously expensive taste. In the first eight weeks after her marriage, she wore £ 155,000 outfits (if she had paid the full price) and her wardrobe moaned with design houses such as Givenchy and Dior. Meghan & # 39; s presence has not only led to a rivalry in healthy style, her exorbitance has punished a higher – and more than British – spending.

There is finally a sense of pleasure here: a woman who finds her style, settles in and then enjoys it. Kate knows who she is and what she is here for. Royalty – not least, female princes – speaks in semaphore; an iconography that we, as viewing audience, have been invited to read. Kate & # 39; s tailor-made semaphore says: "I'm ready for Princess of Wales and, soon, Queen. I may not have been born with it, but I cracked this royal thing – and damn it, I'm going to enjoy it. & # 39;

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Even the most fashion-resistant royal women have their style moments: the queen mother with the "White Wardrobe" that astonished Paris in 1938; Princess Anne with her three Fashion covers between 1971 and 1973 (upcoming as It-girl in the new season of The crown). This is finally Kate & # 39; s. And long may it – and they – rule.

The power frocks

Gone are the too high, too girlish hemlines; instead more female midis and maxis that show off her willowy framework

The midi at school: for a lesson about combining femininity and business, look no further than the duchess. For the first day of the four-year-old Princess Charlotte at Thomas Battersea School earlier this month, she opted for a flattering £ 215 flower Michael by Michael Kors midi and kept the look fresh and modern with coordinated accessories

The midi at school: for a lesson about combining femininity and business, look no further than the duchess. For the first day of the four-year-old Princess Charlotte at Thomas Battersea School earlier this month, she opted for a flattering £ 215 flower Michael by Michael Kors midi and kept the look fresh and modern with coordinated accessories

The midi at school: for a lesson about combining femininity and business, look no further than the duchess. For the first day of the four-year-old Princess Charlotte at Thomas Battersea School earlier this month, she opted for a flattering £ 215 flower Michael by Michael Kors midi and kept the look fresh and modern with coordinated accessories

The winner of Fit and Flare
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The winner of Fit and Flare

The Fairytale Ballgown

The Fairytale Ballgown

The fit and flare winner, The fairytale ballgown

The fit and flare winner

As patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, all eyes are on Kate to offer a number of winning looks. No problem. With its belt details and pleats around the bust, her choice of a £ 1,390 Emilia Wickstead dress, in her beloved powder blue for the men's final, delivered a classic look with a modern edge. The Aldo shoes with block heels were £ 64.99.

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The fairytale ball gown

Kate knows the power of a dream dress – and this blushing pink floor-sweeping Gucci dress doesn't disappoint. During this charity gala at the V&A in London in February, the Duchess increased the wow factor with a waist-whittling sash and £ 1,170 Prada clutch.

The cute coats

Still super smart but without the "occasional" look of the past, step forward the smart jacket dress

The girly a11 in one

The belt at the waist and the A-line cut of this gray woolen Catherine Walker jacket make him smart without being grumpy. Kate combined it with black & # 39; s and courts and a Sylvia Fletcher for Lock & Co hat during a visit to King & # 39; s College London in March.

The queen of green

Copper buttons and a silhouette of a princess line give this bespoke Alexander McQueen jacket a military feel for her visit from St Patrick's Day to the Irish guards in London in March. The green tourmaline and amethyst earrings are from Kiki McDonough; the clover brooch and the corsage nod to the occasion.

The Disney princess coat

Girl next door meets Cinderella! Kate was wearing this £ 1,735 retro-style Mulberry dress on a walkabout in Northern Ireland in February. Accessorized with loose hair and a big smile, there is an approachability for the look.

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Her royal high endness

The duchess proves a professional in choosing the right designer for the right event

The Top Tweed

The Top Tweed

He must be a favorite

He must be a favorite

The top tweed, the fixed favorite

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The top tweed

At the V&A Museum for her first evening event after her return from maternity leave last October, Kate's new style won big style points. With its raw hems and off-shoulder cut, she looked erber cool in Erdem & # 39; s modern version of £ 1,395 on tweed. The Jimmy Choos also rocked.

The must be a favorite

At Ascot in June, Kate beat him out of the park in a tulle-rich, beautifully embroidered bespoke Elie Saab two-piece. The bow collar and translucent sleeves gave the chic look striking clout. The Philip Treacy hat, silver heels and clutch were the perfect finish.

Keep it realistic

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Kate is still loyal to the main street – but she has left the perfect outfits for a relaxed, accessible look

The trusted favorite

The trusted favorite

The comfortable crop

The comfortable crop

The trusted favorite, the comfortable crop

The trusted favorite

LK Bennett returned to one of her old favorite labels, LK Bennett, and wore this polka-dot dress during a visit to Evelina Children's Hospital in London last December. The modest cut of the £ 325 Mortimer is a big trend for fall.

The comfortable harvest

What to wear in the event of a bomb attack on a Chelsea Flower Show with a group of children on a sunny May day? Kate chose a £ 255 embroidery Anglaise blouse from MIH, trendy £ 59.95 Massimo Dutti trimmed camel pants and sensible Supergas.

Royal recycling

The duchess has sharpened her queen's abrasion skills – and she attracts them here with confidence

One dress, two ways What a difference a sleeve makes! For the National Portrait Gallery gala in March (left), Kate transformed the midnight blue flower-layered Alexander McQueen maxi she was wearing to the Baftas 2017 (right), replacing the original off-the-shoulder straps with sleeves and a more relax & # 39; down - & # 39; Do & # 39;

One dress, two ways What a difference a sleeve makes! For the National Portrait Gallery gala in March (left), Kate transformed the midnight blue flower-layered Alexander McQueen maxi she was wearing to the Baftas 2017 (right), replacing the original off-the-shoulder straps with sleeves and a more relax & # 39; down - & # 39; Do & # 39;

One dress, two ways What a difference a sleeve makes! For the National Portrait Gallery gala in March (left), Kate transformed the midnight blue flower-layered Alexander McQueen maxi she was wearing to the Baftas 2017 (right), replacing the original off-the-shoulder straps with sleeves and a more relax & # 39; down - & # 39; Do & # 39;

One dress, two ways What a difference a sleeve makes! For the National Portrait Gallery gala in March (left), Kate transformed the midnight blue flower-layered Alexander McQueen maxi she was wearing to the Baftas 2017 (right), replacing the original off-the-shoulder straps with sleeves and a more relax & # 39; down - & # 39; Do & # 39;

One dress, two ways: what a difference a sleeve makes! For the National Portrait Gallery gala in March (left), Kate transformed the midnight blue flower-layered Alexander McQueen maxi she was wearing to the Baftas 2017 (right), replacing the original off-the-shoulder straps with sleeves and a more relax & # 39; down – & # 39; Do & # 39;

Heels the look-at-me

These are the shoe trends that Kate swears by

The party heel: glittery £ 525 Jimmy Choos were just the ticket at Somerset House in London for a charity in June

The strappy espadrille

For understated summer glamor, Kate rocked these £ 100 Castañer wedges at the Hampton Court Flower Show in July.

The formal wedge

For a smart-casual look, Kate nailed it in these £ 35 Monsoon wedges for a visit to RHS Wisley earlier this month.

The metal court

A high-gloss version of the classic field, this £ 545 Gianvito Rossi chops the glamor at Ascot in June.

The hiking shoe

These £ 215 See by Chloé boots enhanced an off-duty look at a visit to the London community garden in January.

The block heel

Elegant but comfortable, Kate started the first day of this year's Wimbledon in these £ 495 Gianvito Rossi courses.

The decorated pump

These £ 495 Rupert Sanderson heels are ideal for formal events. Kate wore them in January at the Royal Opera House in London.

Moving forward

The hat band is hot trend – but Kate came first

The top braid: before the christening of Harry and Meghan & # 39; s son Archie in July, Kate might have looked pretty in pink Stella McCartney, but her custom-made Juliette Botterill Millinery braided berry hat band

The top braid: for the baptism of Harry and Meghan & # 39; s son Archie in July, Kate might have looked pretty in pink Stella McCartney, but her custom-made braided berry hat from Juliette Botterill Millinery was the crown on the job

The top braid: for the baptism of Harry and Meghan & # 39; s son Archie in July, Kate might have looked pretty in pink Stella McCartney, but her custom-made braided berry hat from Juliette Botterill Millinery was the crown on the job

Summer flowering

Summer flowering

The retro band

The retro band

Summer flowering, the retro band

Summer flowering

With its striking applique flowers, this £ 958 Jane Taylor design almost surprised Prince Louis during his baptism in July.

The retro band

For Sandringham & # 39; s Epiphany Service in January, Kate wore another Jane Taylor design – a crepe band of £ 575 in the same shade as her Catherine Walker coat.

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