Let’s be clear, Kate is genetically blessed in such a way that if it weren’t for the fact that she seems like a very nice person who has devoted huge amounts of her time to supporting charities, you’d kind of hate her. She could wear a trash bag and carry it off, and as far as I can tell she doesn’t have an unflattering angle. That said, after having posted my top 10 favorite looks of hers since she became Duchess of Cambridge, fair’s fair and here are my least favorite:
Dress by Erdem
Most of the time I’m a fan of Kate’s Erdem picks. Indeed, she had several from the Canada/US tour, from where the below image was taken, which were fantastic. This one, however, doesn’t do it for me. I like it from the waist down, but everything about the floral embroidery just makes this way too fussy for my taste and almost aging for Kate’s then-29 years.
Coat dress by Catherine Walker
I want to like the idea behind this, but the execution fails. The green is too neon and the collar way too constricted zipped all the way to the top. Oh, and I hate that there’s a zipper at all. It just feels like three disparate ideas all mashed together in one jarring pop of color.
Blouse by Goat and skirt by Banana Republic
I actually quite like this blouse, as I do most of the items that Kate chooses from Goat. I, however, detest this skirt, which looks like the kind of thing you buy for one of your summer internships in college when you need some work-appropriate clothing and you’ve seen “real” grown-ups wear something along these lines. Then you go back to school and it ends up in the corner of your closet to be forgotten in favor of jeans, leggings and a smattering of cocktail dresses that will horrify you within three years. You’ll come across it later in your 20s when you actually have a job and need all the professional clothing you can get your hands on but you take one look at it and think, dear God, no, I’m not that desperate. Anyway, Kate chose to wear this last year. Beyond the print being hideous, its cut is too boxy and overwhelming to Kate’s frame to be paired with this blouse. If she must wear this skirt again, I’m going to have to insist she pair it with a more fitted top.
The blouse, on the other hand, I would love to see recycled.
Coat by LK Bennett
I’m just so bored by this coat I could scream, but for whatever reason Kate seems to love it. She first debuted it in the fall of 2011 when she wore it to a UNICEF event in Copenhagen with Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. It was boring then, but at least she switched up the belt and gave it something. Since then she’s worn it with the belt with which it came and it’s just made it even more dull. I originally included the image of when she wore it in 2013, however at the time she was in her post-George phase of limp hair made more severe by a middle part and I didn’t want the overall lackluster styling to in anyway take away from the fact that I just don’t like this coat. The 2016 showing included this hat and a ponytail and it all just looks so random.
Dress by Stella McCartney
Technically Kate didn’t wear this to a public engagement and therefore it shouldn’t really be on this list, but this is such a notable miss that I’m making an exception to my own arbitrary rules. Again, I want to like the idea of this, but the execution fails. First of all, it’s wrinkled. Then there is the fit, which is off. It bizarrely almost looks too snug in the bodice, though that may be because of Kate holding the package in her hands against her torso. Which brings us to the real issue: the hair. The neckline of this dress is clearly intricate and detailed, and the dress has a lot going on. The hair should be up to let the dress speak for itself. The sheer stockings should also be ditched and, if memory serves, she wore this with black heels? I can’t be sure. Anyway, a part of me kind of wants her to recycle it and do it right just to see if better styling would fix this whole situation.
Coat by Erdem
This coat is just one big sigh. It reminds me of children’s one-piece pajamas that you zip from the foot to the collar and the material is too close to fleece to make that not an apt comparison. The color is fine, but everything about this is boring and strange and, once again, it has this bizarre zipped collar fastened all the way to the top. The cherry on top of the lackluster sundae is the hint of a Peter Pan collar. Just no.
Coat by Erdem
To be fair, a lot of people loved this look, especially her showing off a larger hat. I was not one of them. The hat reminded me of the ones that come with porcelain dolls (in fact, this entire ensemble would be fitting on a porcelain doll). And I just don’t care for the fabric or lace design on the coat. If this entire ensemble could be worn by the Queen or Camilla without raising any eyebrows, then maybe Kate should give it a pass for now. Also, the combination of the grey hat, clutch and shoes all together comes across too matchy-matchy for me.
Coat by Reiss, cords by J Brand and boots by Aquatalia
All of these items seem fine, but not together. That is all.
Top by Hobbs and skirt by Jenny Packham
This is one of the few Kate outfits which I actively disliked upon sight. Like #3 above, it feels like two random pieces thrown together without much rhyme or reason. However, unlike that look I don’t care for either one. I strongly dislike the mesh neckline and sleeves, but the combination of them with the peplum hem and belt is a miss in my book. Now, re: the skirt, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this could be re-purposed into a win, but the sheen and length make it feel outdated and too old for Kate.
Dress by Temperley London
I shouldn’t have to defend why I don’t like this dress to anyone with eyes. I am halfway shocked that 2012 Kate wore it in the first place. 2012 Kate had great style! I just tried looking at this photograph to find something about it that worked, but no, that doesn’t exist. This needs to be thrown away. I love Temperley, I’m sorry, but no. It’s the sleeves that kill me. Omg, those sleeves. They haunt me. Now they will haunt you too.
It would be cruel to end it there, so instead let’s focus on five great looks that almost made my Top 10 list were it not for the constraints of, you know, the number 10:
Sweater dress by Alexander McQueen
So close to the line of too twee, but it manages to stay on the right side of it. It feels both vintage and modern, practical and elegant. I love it. I especially loved it when Kate wore it with her hair up; a few years later she would recycle it with her hair down and it didn’t work as well. The neckline shouldn’t be hidden and the dress should just be allowed to hang without competing with Kate’s curls.
Dress by Diane von Furstenberg
Let’s all get a tan and wear green silk.
Dress by Joseph
I know it’s a lot from the US/Canada tour, but 2011 was a great year for Kate. This Joseph dress is so simple and so lovely.
Dress by Naeem Khan
I love this look for a couple different reasons. 1) It’s a beautiful dress; 2) It was so fitting and so perfect for the event, which was a visit and photo call at the Taj Mahal during the 2016 tour of India; and 3) It was wonderful to see Kate wear Naeem Khan, particularly given that she was in India. I really, really hope Kate keeps this brand in rotation and wears it again when it isn’t being used, in part, as a diplomatic nod.
Dress by Roland Mouret
I don’t think Kate has ever worn an item by Roland Mouret I didn’t love. Indeed, the two other pieces that jump to mind are both in my Top 10. But this was a knockout and Kate looked memorably gorgeous.