Photo Credit: Getty Images
It’s a fashion fact: The Duchess of Cambridge’s amazing style has changed the way we commoners dress — and for the better. Here, in honor of her 32nd birthday, we’re counting down the incredibly easy style lessons we’ve learned from Kate Middleton.
A Statement Belt Makes Any Coat Look Custom
Photo by Chris Jackson - Pool /The FA via Getty ImagesKate’s secret to making an off-the-rack coat look bespoke enough for a princess? Cinching it with a wide belt. The trick highlights her slim waist — and the contrast between wool and leather provides just the right amount of edge. Maybe it’s finally time to give our own tailored coats some more attention…
Nude Pumps Lengthen Legs
Getty ImagesStylists and editors have been singing the praises of nude heels for years, but it took Kate’s allegiance to a certain pair of leg-lengthening L.K. Bennett pumps (we’ve lost count of how many times she’s worn them!) to make us realize they really are the ultimate go-with-everything shoe.
Just Adding Braids Freshens Up a Classic Updo
Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images
From shellacked twists to severe buns, the standard evening updos can be aging. Kate Middleton’s solution: a few pretty plaits to add softness and romance.
Balance Basics With a Little Bling
Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage; Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImageButtons that shimmer like gemstones, collars studded with beads, gowns with incorporated necklaces … Kate’s a bit of a magpie when it comes to clothing. We love that she wears these pieces day and night — and we’ve added them to our own shopping lists to add visual interest to any borderline-boring wardrobe staples.
What Works for Mom Will Work for You
Photos by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty ImagesAfter seeing how Kate and mother Carole Middleton mirror each other's approach to fashion, maybe we’ll reconsider borrowing from Mom’s closet … or at least shopping at the same stores.
Hats Really Can Transform an Outfit
Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images; Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesWhile we’re unlikely to need a feather-embellished fascinator anytime soon, Kate’s love of hats has us ready to try out other millinery styles, from ushankas (aka furry Russian hats) to '20s-style cloches.
Colored Jeans Are More Fun Than Basic Denim
Photo by IAN WEST/AFP/Getty Images; Photo by Chris Jackson/AFP/Getty ImagesThey seemed trendy when they first appeared, but the Duchess has officially anointed colored jeans as a wardrobe staple. Just skip the neon in favor of crisp reds and (what else?) royal blues.
Drop Earrings Are Always Flattering
Photo by Chris Radburn/AFP/Getty ImagesFrom bold colored gemstones to antique pieces, the classic drop is Kate’s earring silhouette of choice. (It’s even been reported that she rehabbed a pair of Princess Diana’s sapphire cluster earrings into drops!) And we get it: they’re less serious than studs, more discreet than chandeliers and more aristocratic than hoops — and they flatter the face and neck.
Skip the Collar to Look Less Fussy
Photo by BRADLEY PAGE/AFP/Getty Images; Photo by JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty ImagesStreamlined silhouettes are the backbone of Kate’s wardrobe, so it’s no surprise she often chooses collarless coats and jackets — they epitomize unfussy elegance.
Clutches Are the Place to Go Wild
Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images; Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty ImagesSkulls, tassels, giant red bows … all are part of Kate’s covetable wardrobe of clutches. They’re a welcome diversion from our collective shoe obsession — and add a touch of daring to formal looks.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Going Nude ... at Least When It Comes to Your Nails
Getty ImagesNail art addicts are still waiting for the Duchess to try something — anything! — besides her trademark short, sheer manicure. But we’re inspired by Kate’s classic nail choice — it’s simple, chic and refreshingly low-maintenance.
A Good Attitude Makes You Look Great Anywhere
Photo by VINCENT THIAN/AFP/Getty ImagesWe’ve seen her rowing, skiing, diving … even rappelling from a tree in the rainforest, and always wearing a smile. Her sense of adventure makes Kate look gorgeous no matter what she's doing — though in this case, safari-inspired staples and a belt that matches her hiking boots probably doesn't hurt either.