The Duchess of Cambridge’s 50 best fashion moments (2023)

There is more to being a royal than wearing pretty frocks, but it's a harder part of the job than many people realise. Just ask the Duchess of Cambridge, who has attended many a public event during her decade of life as a working royal.

This week, the Duchess is at the COP26 climate conference, attending various events encouraging world leaders to take a stand on the environment. As such, there will be particular attention on Kate's wardrobe decisions, as she will undoubtedly be sending a message about eco dressing with her outfit choices.

She began as she likely means to go on on Monday 1 November, choosing to wear a khaki Ganni gilet, made from recycled polyester and pairing it with her favourite See by Chloé boots, which she has worn many times before. In her dressed-down look, Kate proved that you can look simultaneously comfortable and chic - while making a planet-friendly fashion statement.

Thisis just one example of the many dress codes the Duchess has had to master; there are tributes to be paid andpolitical pitfalls to avoid. The Duchesshas learnt the art of sartorial diplomacy and become adept at sending all kinds of messages through her clothing. And with hundreds of engagements under her belt, Kate, along with her assistant and stylist Natasha Archer, deserves praise for navigating this minefield so smoothly.

Here, the Telegraph fashion team choose their 50 favourite Kate fashion moments from the past decade...

Announcing her engagement, 2010

The announcement of Kate’s engagement to Prince William was her first appearance in a formal royal capacity, and the £385 Issa dress she wore for the photocall is one of her most memorable looks ever.

Though Kate knew the label’s founder Daniella Helayel personally, she didn’t want to let news of her engagement slip, so she bought it off the rack at Fenwick, chosen because it matched her sapphire engagement ring, which previously belonged to Princess Diana. The dress sold out globally, doubling sales for the brand in the following months, a phenomenon that came to be known as the ‘Kate Effect’ and would be felt by dozens more labels over the years.Tamara Abraham

The Alexander McQueen wedding gown, 2011

It was a decade agothat Kate stepped out at Westminster Abbey in her Alexander McQueen wedding gown, created for her by the house’s creative director Sarah Burton. With a deep V-neckline, lace sleeves and a three-metre train, it was reminiscent of Grace Kelly and the Queen’s bridal looks.

Both traditional and modern, timeless yet in keeping with the label’s style signatures, and grand enough for the occasion without overwhelming the bride, it succeeded in meeting a long list of challenging criteria. It would also represent the start of a long working relationship for the two women. TA

Alexander McQueen in Hollywood, 2011

This is Kate on her first trip to the US - when she and William went to LA and met the Hollywood A-list in June 2011. It’s hard to know which party was more star-struck. Kate has already worked out her best evening looks - soft, flowy lines with a generous sprinkling of sparkle.Lisa Armstrong

Jenny Packham in Canada, 2011

While it’s true that most people remember this dress mainly for the wardrobe malfunction Kate suffered wearing it (there’s a reason the Queen always has weights sewn into her skirt hems), I will always think of it as one of her most timeless looks.

The silk crepe dress has vintage appeal – you can almost imagine stumbling across it in a vintage boutique – and its primrose-yellow hue couldn’t be more uplifting or hopeful, as befits a newlywed. I still hold out hope that she might wear this again someday – preferably, for her sake, on a less windy day.Emily Cronin

Emilia Wickstead, May 2012

Emilia Wickstead is one of the best designers for the Duchess, marrying chic sophistication with a little fashion edge. This pretty pink dress, seen at a Buckingham Palace garden party, is beautifully tailored while Jane Corbett’s lovely lace and bow-adorned saucer hat adds an ultra-feminine finish.Bethan Holt

Orchid dress, September 2012

Let’s hear it for one of the Duchess’s lesser-known literal dressing moments. On a tour to Singapore in 2012, she and William visited the country’s botanical gardens, which were filled with an abundance of orchids, the national flower. Kate appropriately wore this lovely Jenny Packham orchid-print dress. It would be great to see her re-style it in a more fashion-forward way now. BH

Topshop polka dots, April 2013

Kate isn't given enough credit for her pregnancy wardrobes. Planning outfits for royal engagements when your body is constantly changing is a feat she's navigated seemingly effortlessly. This versatile white polka-dot dress from Topshopmade a couple of appearances while she was pregnant with Prince George, at the inauguration of the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, and for the wedding of William van Cutsem. TA

Sequinned Jenny Packham, September 2013

This was Kate's first official engagement following maternity leave after welcoming Prince George, and if she set out to dazzle fellow guests at the Tusk Conservation Awards, she nailed it. The dress was by Jenny Packham, by this time a reliable go-to for duchess-worthyeveningwear, and the platform sandals by Jimmy Choo. TA

Roksanda in Australia, 2014

Prince William told his wife that she looked like a banana wearing thisyellow Roksanda dress. It was actually a diplomatic nod to Australia’s national colour as they arrived for a tour of the Commonwealth nation but also one of the most daring looks which the Duchess tried around this time - we loved this fun gesture which boosted one of London’s fashion week’s biggest stars. The dress came in handy a couple of years later at Wimbledon, where it was compared to a tennis ball. BH

Alexander McQueen in New Zealand, 2014

Kate looks so chic and polished in this military blue Alexander McQueen coat-dress, her hair tied back in a sleek ponytail. She looked every inch the princess that crowds in Blenheim had been waiting to see, yet modest and respectful to take part in a service of remembrance for the country's war dead. A sartorial challenge smoothly navigated.TA

Mulberry in New York, December 2014

Kate was pregnant with Princess Charlotte during her visit to New York, and her bright pink Mulberry coat, worn for a visit to the 9/11 Memorial, was a highlight, not just for its vibrant colour, but also its loosely tailored shape. The coat accommodated her bumpand dressed up her black roll-neck Seraphine maternity dress underneath. TA

Erdem at the 100 Women in Hedge Funds gala, October 2015

When it comes to eveningwear, Kate usually sticks to shimmering Jenny Packham or Temperley gowns, so this Erdem dress, with its moody tulip print, was a bold style departure. She carried it off fabulously of course, with the help of some very special jewellery - the Queen Mother's diamond and sapphire fringe earrings and a diamond bracelet believed to have been a wedding gift from Prince Charles. TA

Royal Ascot in Dolce & Gabbana, 2016

This is peak Kate, in a dress that is the perfect shape for her figure. The slight volume in the skirt accentuates her waist while the length and narrowness of the arms contribute to what is one of her most elegant looks. It nods to My Fair Lady - Audrey Hepburn in black and white at the races . But whereas Cecil Beaton’s costumes were deliberately ostentatious, this is sweet and demure. And the angle of the hat is perfection. LA

Casasola in London, July 2016

This was an unexpected choice from Kate, but a brilliant one too. The off-the-shoulder ankle-length design was by Italian label Casasola, which is best known for its fine knits and tailoring. It demonstrated a new confidence when it comes to fashion, that she’s not afraid to go off the beaten track. She went on to wear it a second time in 2019.TA

Alexander McQueen in Canada, September 2016

Kate kicked off her Canada tour in an Alexander McQueen look featuring the colours of the country’s flag. With a tiered skirt and hemline just above the knee it was chic yet youthful, striking the perfect diplomatic note. TA

Preen in Canada,September 2016

This was one of those moments when everything just came together to create an incredibly regal effect. At an evening reception in Canada, the Duchess wore a maple leaf red dress by Preen which was classic with a modern twist. Completed with a chignon and the Queen’s Maple Leaf brooch, the world saw in Kate a future queen that night. BH

Catherine Walker at the Hague, October 2016

Jackie Kennedy was famously her husband’s secret weapon when it came to charming foreign nations so it’s little wonder that the Duchess has taken inspiration from her early ‘60s style numerous times. This lilac skirt suit, worn to visit the Netherlands, looked businesslike and elegant. Kate also wore the Queen’s pearl earrings, a perfect choice for a photo opportunity with Vermeer’s The Girl with a Pearl Earring. BH

Alexander McQueen at the BAFTAS, February 2017

Kate often rewears her clothes, especially investment pieces like McQueen. She sometimes has them slightly altered. She first wore this to the Baftas in 2017, as is, with thin shoulder straps (which were designed to sit at the most flattering point of her shoulders; Judy Halil, Head of McQueen’s atelier, is expert at this) and later added fuller sleeves in 2019. LA

Alexander McQueen in Paris, 2017

Kate cut a glamorous figure in a black tweed Alexander McQueen gown for a reception at the British Embassy in Paris. Tweed can easily appear dated, but in a chic all-black and figure-skimming cut, Kate’s had an edge. The duchess added to the effect with modern accessories: a sleek leather belt and sharply pointed suede heels. KT

Jenny Packham in Paris, March 2017

Kate’s icy silverJenny Packham gown for a black tie dinner hosted at the Hôtel de Charost is quintessentially princess-y. She’s also wearing the Queen’s diamond chandelier earrings which she often borrows for diplomatic receptions to complete a dazzling effect on this charm offensive visit. Hikmat Mohammed

Chanel in Paris, March 2017

It’s always a special moment when a visiting royal wears an outfit by a designer from the country they're visiting, especially when in Paris. The Duchess of Cambridge has really pioneered this, especiallyin a tweed frock from Chanel’s spring/summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection.She went the full Chanel, completing the look witha small burgundy quilted leather top-handle bag and CC logo belt.HM

Alexander McQueen at Trooping the Colour, June 2017

Endearingly,the Duchess(in McQueen) and Princess Charlotte worethe same shade of pink for Trooping the Colour in 2017. There’s no doubt that the young princess will look to her mother for fashion lessons in the future.HM

Gucci at the V&A, June 2017

ThisGucci mini dress was a huge fashion step for the Duchess, a sign of her growing appreciation for design. The tweed was given an elevated finishwith its red and navy trimand gold buttons. Worn at the V&A, the museum later tweeted a photograph of a similar Sixties Courreges dress to demonstrate its place in style history. HM

Gosia Baczynska in Poland, July 2017

Risk-taking hasn’t been a big part of Kate’s style evolution but this cocktail dress by Polish designer definitely felt edgy. The designer described it to The Telegraph as ‘classy and a little bit rebellious’. It was commissioned for the Duke and Duchess’s visit to Warsaw and was a triumph for soft diplomacy. BH

Markus Lupfer and Prada in Berlin, July 2017

The combination of a printed metallic midi dress by German designer Markus Lupfer and scalloped Prada heeled sandals made for a fashion-forward look for a reception while on an official visit to Poland and Germany. The silhouette istypical of the duchess’s style, but the prints and colourways added a fresh element to her ensemble. That night, Kate also wore Princess Diana's pearl bracelet for the first timeKT

Prada on the anniversary of Princess Diana's death, August 2017

On the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Kate joined William and Harry to visit the memorial garden created in their mother’s honour. In a clever, understated sartorial gesture, the Duchess wore this floral pussy-bow Prada dress which looks like something the Princess might have worn in the early ‘80s when the world’s perception of her as a real-life fairytale princess was at its height. BH

Christmas day in Miu Miu, December 2017

In the past few years, Kate has become much jollier with her festive style choices. One of the first examples of that was this tartan Miu Miu coat, worn on Christmas Day at Sandringham in 2017. It was a refreshing-ly fashion choice after a few years of Christmas coats from high street brands or classic country labels. BH

Alexander McQueen and Jane Taylor at Prince Louis'Christening, July 2018

This was the day that the hatband trend was born. Kate looked elegant in cream Alexander McQueen for her youngest child’s christening, but really upped the ante by swapping one of her usual fascinators or saucers for a Jane Taylor crescent band, inspired by Indian goddesses. It was a small but significant symbol of a shift in her style - and she’s been wearing them on and off ever since. BH

Alessandra Rich, October 2018

One of my all-time favourite Kate looks, this Alessandra Rich dress meets all the royal dressing requirements - modest, elegant, timeless - but it’s also interesting, with its crisp white collar and cuffs. It’s no wonder Kate’s worn it on a couple of occasions already, and invested in more pieces by the British luxury label since. TA

Mulberry coat in Northern Ireland, February 2019

Kate loves all shades of blue and the Mulberry cape sleeved wool trench she wore in 2019 on a trip to Northern Ireland is particularly good on her. Even better is the way it fits her - length, line and across the shoulders, it’s perfection. The sleek clutch bag, the navy stiletto courts demonstrate how far she has evolved from the diffident figure in girlish cuts. LA

Gucci in London, March 2019

It was obvious how far Kate had come since the days when a charity visit would see her wearing a high street tea dress and beige heels. For an engagement at a London children’s centre, the Duchess effused cool confidence in an on-trend Gucci pussy-bow blouse, wide-legged trousers and Aspinal bag. BH

Elie Saab atRoyal Ascot, June 2019

Kate chose a pale blue dress with beautiful chiffon layers and embellishments for Ascot in 2019. The colour was fresh - and so was the choice of designer as she had never previously worn a dress by Elie Saab. CL

Catherine Walker in London, June 2019

This Catherine Walker coat is a favourite of Kate’sand I understand why -it is a classic design that looks impeccable every time. It’s tailored to fit like a glove and there’s nothing more chic or versatile than a cream coat. HM

Stella McCartney at Archie's christening, July 2019

The outfit Kate wore to nephew Archie’s christening showcased Kate’s move in a more adventurous direction with herstyle. Her salmon-pink Stella McCartney pussy-bow dress isn’t especially daring (though it is above-the-knee, unusual for royals), but the way she styled it – with a bold redhat-band and pumps – gives it a modern spin. Pink and red is one of the fashion world’s favourite colour clashes for a reason: it confers both softness and energy, calm and zing. EC

Emilia Wickstead at Wimbledon, July2019

The Duchess of Cambridge’s baby blue Emilia Wickstead dress is a testament to how thoughtful she is about each outfit. The short cap sleeves are chic and the pleated skirt gives plenty of room for sitting comfortably in royal box. HM

Pakistan green in London, October 2019

At the Aga Khan Centre, London in 2019 When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Aga Khan Centre in London ahead of their Pakistan tour, Kate’s green dress was more than an elegant style statement. The £825 design, from ARossGirl x Soler, paid homage to their host by echoing the colour of the Pakistani flag, and was respectfully modest too. It was teamed with $8 earrings from Pakistani label Zeen, setting the standard for a perfectly pitched tourdrobe to come. TA

High-low dressing atthe Natural History Museum, October 2019

I remember cooing at this outfit the first time I saw it. The aubergine Warehouse knit, tucked into khaki Jigsaw wide-leg trousers, was a new silhouette for the Duchess’s public wardrobe. But the designer accessories made it - note the coordinating Tod’s block heel shoes and the top-handle Chanel bag. CL

Alexander McQueen at the annual diplomatic reception, December 2019

This sumptuous midnight blue velvet gown was a grand departure from Kate’s usual floaty ballgowns at 2019’s Diplomatic Reception. The dramatic sweetheart neckline is a beautiful detail, adding a sculptural element and framing that astounding Nizam of Hyderabad diamond necklace perfectly. BH

Massimo Dutti coat, January2020

A classic camel coat is such a timeless item that the cost-per-wear can be easily justified, so you’d be forgiven for thinking Kate would invest in a high end luxury version. Alas,the Duchess’s double-breasted maxi coat is from high street favourite Massimo Dutti. It looks much more expensive than it is, particularly when paired with slick black accessories, like Kate has done here. KT

Zara and Alexander McQueen on a visit to Bradford, January 2020

For a packed day of engagements in Bradford in January 2020, the Duchess wore a chic checked dress with a pussy-bow necktie. The dress was from high street hero Zara - but Kate wore a greenAlexander McQueen coat with it, nailing the high-low mix. CL

Penelope Chilvers boots, February 2020

Sleek rural is the other genre Kate does so well. But it’s not just the clothes and the fact that the Penelope Chilvers boots are a style she’s been wearing for 17years that are endearing, it’s the body language. She is terrifically good at looking as though she is enjoying herself - probably the best in the family. LA

Alexander McQueen at the BAFTAs, February 2020

The dress code at the 2020 BAFTAs asked for attendees to wear an eco-friendly outfit, rather than commissioning yet another new dress for the night. Most celebrities ignored the request - but not the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate the Royal rewearer showed the rest how to do it, picking an Alexander McQueen gown from her wardrobe that she first wore back in 2012. CL

Alessandra Rich in Ireland, March 2020

If there was a look that summed up the Duchess of Cambridge’s late 30s style for me, it would be this lime green number from Alessandra Rich. There’s the daring split of the skirt, the Marmite print (a confident choice from a woman who once seemed to dress to please as many people as possible) plus the fun touch of the hairband, an accessory she's made her own.And the green is a typical touch of diplomatic Kate. HM

The Vampire’s Wife in Ireland, March 2020

For a Dublin reception hosted by the British ambassador to Ireland, Kate - ever the diplomatic dresser - ticked both the British and Irish boxes in a shimmering green gown by The Vampire’s Wife. The frill-hemmed lamè frock was as modest and chic, as it was fashion-forward. Extra style points for the texture clash by way of velvet heels. KT

In florals, June 2020

Kate’s off-duty looks generally consist of jeans or cropped trousers, with a shirt or Breton top, which is why her floral frock by Indonesian label Faithfull The Brand was such a hit. She looked at ease in her summery printed frock while visiting East Anglia Children’s Hospices in Norfolk, pairing it with espadrille wedges - though her trusty white Supergas would have looked just as good. KT

Remembrance week, November 2020

Kate tapped into one of the most dominant trends of 2020with this cream Ghost blouse, featuring a contrasting black scalloped collar. It was a perfect choice for a video engagement, and given that it was Remembrance Week, it was important that she choose an outfit that would allow her poppy to take centre stage. TA

Pink, March 2021

I think this is one of Kate’s best high street hits. The top is Boden but genuinely looks designer while the coat is Max and co. Maybe she got them altered because we know she’s punctilious about this - and she has learned how much it transforms an item. It’s great to see here taking a risk with such a bright, playful, modern shade of pink. It suits her and was a real mood booster during a grim time. LA

Cream at Westminster Abbey, March 2021

Catherine Walker and co.'s designscomeinto their own as women mature and find their confidence and elegance. As a younger woman, Kate sometimes looked matronly in some of her Catherine Walker, but this is perfection - tailored and pretty. The length, the shoes, the loose hair, even the mask - they all came together to create a peak Kate moment. LA

Prince Philip’s funeral, April 2021

The Royal family uses fashion to show respect at sombre moments. For her first royal funeral, Kate showed that she understood thiswearing a striking Catherine Walker and co. black coat with a pearl necklace and earrings borrowed from the Queen. Her poise and polish was widely remarked on in the coverage. BH

Ten year anniversary portraits,April 2021

The Duchess first wore this dress, from British high street retailer Ghost, on tour in Pakistan in 2019. The £195 frock didn’t get much air time back then, so three years later she dusted it off for a real moment - sitting for her 10 year anniversary portraits, shot by photographer Chris Floyd.

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