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Kate Middleton is known for sparking “the Kate Effect,” her knack for catapulting fashion designers to fame by wearing their designs. Now the duchess is inspiring a generation of stylish bargain hunters.
Take Kate Urbanksa, a 29-year-old beautician in Berkshire, England, who carefully scrutinizes Middleton’s style to painstakingly replicate it for her 47,000 Instagram followers on @GreatReplikate. But Urbanksa isn’t paying full price for Middleton’s Jenny Packham designs or Jane Taylor hats. According to the Daily Mail, while waiting for the bus or standing in a checkout line, she hunts on eBay for Middleton’s exact dresses, only discounted, and hires tailors to redesign key pieces.
For example, per the Daily Mail, Urbanksa found Middleton’s $400 L.K. Bennett Addison dress for only $186. And she had a tailor design a copy of a $4,000 Naeem Khan dress for only $37. “I love Kate Middleton and her style — her look is modest, timeless, and so different compared to other celebrities nowadays,” Urbanksa told the Daily Mail.
Despite her diligence, Urbanksa is surprisingly practical. “You have to also be realistic about which of Kate’s outfits you’ll actually be able to wear in reality,” she said. “You might be dazzled by a full-length gown the princess wore, but if your lifestyle doesn’t require a couture dress, then don’t buy it!”
And while Urbanksa confesses to spending up to $9,000 on her royal threads, the only item she’s paid full price for are a pair of $670 Gianvito Rossi heels in praline.
Urbanksa first started replicating the duchess’s outfits the day after her 2012 wedding to Prince William, when she saw a photograph of Middleton wearing a $60 Zara dress. “There was something about the Duchess’s style that instantly struck a chord with me. She never follows trends, and she picks clothes that are comfortable, elegant, and classic,” she told the Mail.
However, Urbanksa isn’t Middleton’s only stylish superfan. A handful of women who call themselves “Replikates” have growing Instagram accounts devoted to scoring royal fashion on a dime.
A British nanny who goes by the user name _Lady Valerie_ treats her 3,000 followers to both authentic and knockoff versions of outfits worn by Middleton, such as her black-and-white Tory Burch Paulina dress from 2014.
Kylie Wallace, who calls herself Lady Wallace, showcases her duchess-inspired outfits, such as the gray wool Dolce & Gabbana miniskirt and white Reiss blouse that Middleton wore in February 2016 for a guest editing stint at the Huffington Post UK.
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