She’s the future-future Queen Consort, and she’s the current reigning Queen of Style!
That’s according to Tatler, who placed the Duchess of Cambridge at the top of its best dressed list of 2022.
They cite a ruffled, polka dot-strewn, gloriously ‘80s dress by Alessandra Rich that Duchess Kate wore to Royal Ascot in June as the outfit that propelled her to the top of the list.
While onlookers might be of the opinion that Kate’s white dress with brown polka dots was entirely too much—a belt! A pussy bow! Full-length sleeves and a high neck!—this, for Tatler, was why the look was such a success.
They wrote, “It was a look that recalled Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and ’80s-era Princess Diana, one that paid no heed to the sweltering heat on race day and prompted the breathless return of Tatler’s best-dressed list.”
In fact, Kate has been leaning heavily into the ‘80s look this year, with varying degrees of success.
We loved the lingerie-esque romanticism of the floaty mint green chiffon dress she wore to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, and the ruffled dress encrusted with emerald sequins by the Vampire’s Wife that the duchess wears in a portrait painted of her and her husband Prince William.
On the other hand there was also the yellow peplum monstrosity that she wore for her and William’s last engagement during their controversy-laden tour of the Caribbean.
Also by Alessandra Rich, the dress features massive puff sleeves, waist pleats, a bow, a bejeweled belt… is there anything this dress didn’t have? Anyway, judge it for yourself:
But Kate also made the time to showcase sleeker looks in 2022, proving that she has a lookbook not solely based on Diana’s most extravagantly decade-appropriate outfits.
There was the shimmering pink mermaid dress she wore in Belize, and the tube dress by Roland Mouret that she wore to the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick.
It was this slinky black and white gown, which she paired with $13,200 star-motif diamond earrings, that earned the Duchess of Cambridge accolades in the press.
Even her sister-in-law Duchess Meghan wore a jumpsuit version of the dress on a date night in NYC a few weeks later!
But it seems clear that Kate also looks to the Duchess of Sussex for guidance—some of her most iconic outfits this year were styled by Meghan first.
The white power suit that is Kate’s most-repeated look this year? (She’s worn the Alexander McQueen suit everywhere from the Commonwealth Games to Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee concert.) It only appeared after Meghan made her dazzling re-entry into the public eye wearing a slouchy white suit at the Invictus Games in spring.
Then there was one of our favorite Duchess of Cambridge looks from this year: a belted teal dress by Edeline Lee in which she was a sleek-haired vision, and in which she presented an award at the Design Museum.
It was a really gorgeous look, and very reminiscent of a teal dress by Jason Wu that Duchess Meghan wore during her and Prince Harry’s tour of Fiji in 2018.
Kate even styled her version of the dress exactly like Meghan, swapping her usual bouncy waves for Meghan's trademark sleek hair and wearing eye-catching gold filigree earrings just like the gold leaf earrings that can be seen in the photographs of her sister-in-law from a few years ago.
However the biggest influence Meghan has had on Kate was the interpretation of appropriate workwear during her whirlwind few years as a senior royal.
Before Meghan came along, Kate wouldn’t be seen dead in pants at an official engagement, preferring to stick to queen-esque coat dresses in bright, eye-catching colors and looks inspired by her late-mother-in-law the Princess of Wales.
(Time for the big reveal: that polka dot ensemble worn by Kate to the races and which earned her the highest of accolades from Tatler was in fact modeled entirely on an outfit of Diana’s that the princess wore to the same races in 1986. Kate’s recreation was so faithful that she even sourced a similar saucer hat for her own day out at Royal Ascot 36 years later. While she stopped short of wearing Diana’s exact pair of pearl drop earrings, the Duchess of Cambridge did also wear a pair of pearl earrings that once belonged to—wait for it—Princess Diana.)
Anyway, back to the pants! While she still displays a penchant for coat dresses, Kate has also been curating an entirely sensible wardrobe that doesn’t see pants as a bit too modern for a working royal woman.
Meghan regularly pairs belted pants with a turtleneck and a long coat so Kate does too—and in our opinion she’s never looked better.
And less than two weeks after Meghan stepped out in New York for lunch with Gloria Steinem wearing a pair of tailored shorts by Dior, who should step out in tailored shorts for the first time (in public, anyway) but Duchess Kate?
And that’s because beautiful and elegant tailored shorts are for everyone! (Not according to the tweet below, though—but that’s the great thing about fashion. We don’t all have to agree all of the time.)