12 Super Simple (but Totally Life-Changing) Fashion Tricks Kate Middleton Taught Us

Impeccable-but approachable, too! We're constantly impressed by Kate Middleton's stunning high-low style-and how her fashion choices have infiltrated our own wardrobes. Here are the top lessons we've learned from the world's most stylish royal

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

It’s cool to belt your coat

Photo by Chris Jackson - Pool /The FA via Getty Images

Kate’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

Nude pumps really are a must-have

Getty Images

Stylists 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 

Braids make an updo youthful

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

Look for blingy buttons—and built-in jewelry

Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage; Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage

Buttons 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

Great style is ageless

Photos by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

After 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

There’s a whole world of hats to explore

Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images; Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

While 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

Colored jeans are now a classic

Photo by IAN WEST/AFP/Getty Images; Photo by Chris Jackson/AFP/Getty Images

They 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

Drop earrings are always elegant

Photo by Chris Radburn/AFP/Getty Images

From 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

Skip the collar

Photo by BRADLEY PAGE/AFP/Getty Images; Photo by JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images

Streamlined 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

Clutches are the place to go crazy

Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images; Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Skulls, 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

There’s nothing wrong with a nude mani

Getty Images

Nail 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

It’s worth trying to look cute in any environment

Photo by VINCENT THIAN/AFP/Getty Images

We’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.

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