The queen of recycling: thrifty Kate Middleton teaches the Insta-generation the value of a signature wardrobe

In today’s Insta-generation — where people often post one photo of themselves in an outfit and never wearing it again — there is a lot to be said for ‘recycling’ one’s clothes.

Yes, I know, a lot of Insta stars make additional money from reselling their featured outfits, therefore cutting down on ‘disposable fashion’, but — given the current state of the planet — adding to the air miles of a solitary garment isn’t exactly the way forward.

Preachy bit over; we have decided to cobble together just some of the ensembles Kate has reworked from *gasps* her own wardrobe. Only this weekend, at the women’s final in Wimbledon, she recycled a green Dolce & Gabbana dress she first wore in 2016 while on a royal visit to Canada. Its sleek lines were in stark contrast to sister-in-law Meghan’s pleated number.

But I’m not about to add to the already tiresome amount of column inches devoted to the allegedly ‘warring royals’… instead, we’re going to focus on something far more positive ­— the merits of a signature wardrobe.


Whether it’s a subtle block-colour guna or a unique panel number, Kate doesn’t just rework the trusty ‘little black dress’…

Tealing Groovy

The pleated Emilia Wickstead teal dress was a firm favourite of Kate’s; she first sported it during a well-documented 2014 jaunt to New Zealand, coupled with a matching fascinator and the trusty clutch perma-clasped to her abdomen. Kate then dressed it down while giving it a home outing while visiting the Centre for Addiction Treatment Studies the following year, and most recently last winter at an engagement with William.

Wimbledon Wear

If there is one fashion rule Kate seems to follow, it’s that if she’s debuted an outfit overseas, she will most definitely give it another whirl on her home soil — irrespective of how distinctive the look is. By way of example, she sported a lemon and white panelled Roksanda Ilincic dress in Australia in the spring of 2014, followed by Wimbledon two years later.

Blue is the Colour

If we had to enforce a preferred hue on the duchess, it would have to be blue. She does love a spot of royal blue… teamed with a marginally different set of shoes, bag and half-updo, this Eponine London dress  is almost unrecognisable. Almost. She wore the same earrings, which may have given the game away the second time she wore it in November last year.


Surely Kate couldn’t possibly wear the same gown innumerable times? Indeed she could — especially when we’re talking certain lauded designers of a sparkly disposition.

Resplendent in Packham

The Duchess first wore a stunning Jenny Packham number to a red carpet event in 2012, breaking it out again six years later in 2018 for (aptly enough) the Tusk Conservation Awards, which is a non-profit organisation set-up to help maintain and protect African wildlife. What better way of attempting to save the planet than not ordering new dresses at every opportunity?

So Good She Wore It Twice

Another iridescent Jenny Packham creation was chosen by the duchess, firstly for 2011’s ARK 10th anniversary gala dinner in London, and secondly for 2016’s East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ Nook Appeal dinner. Again, changing up her hair, and adding some McQueen earrings the second time around was more than enough switcherooing to distract from her being outlandish enough to team the dress with the same Prada clutch and LK Bennett peep-toe sandals. Speaking of which…

Bennett Beautiful

It’s not just the pricey designers that deserve a revisit: a comparatively budget dress from LK Bennett was worn firstly in 2014, during that royal visit to New Zealand and Australia in 2014, before giving the blue poppy print ensemble a London outing in 2016 when visiting Keech Hospice in Luton.


Kate is so comfortable in her ability to revisit outfits, she doesn’t even feel the need to switch up her two-pieces with a different skirt or a statement jacket.

Cranberry burst

A fruity beauty that has had multiple outings thanks to its versatility. Designed by Paule Ka, the cosy burgundy number got its first airing in 2012 during an outing at Middle Temple, where herself and Wills met with law students. Making it increasingly cosy, it was teamed with a turtle neck and those Stuart Weitzman knee-highs during its second whirl in 2017, followed by a more casual variation involving pumps in the November of the following year.

Lady (Repeatedly) in Red

Three times may be a charm, but four times is an absolute winner. Luisa Spagnoli’s claret skirt suit boasts an array of ways to be worn. It’s amazing how a pair of opaque tights, leather gloves, those Weitzman boots and a change of hairdo can provide a new twist to an already striking ensemble over the course of six years.


Statement colours, double-breasted beauties, cutting-edge maternity wear and more, Kate’s ability to rework outerwear is something to behold.

The Emerald Isle…

A green dress coat teamed with a very smart Lock & Company hat was the obvious choice for St Patrick’s Day festivities in 2017, when she met with soldiers of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards following the parade in London. Since then, this double-breasted Catherine Walker piece, topped off with velvet details, has been the coat of choice for the duchess; she also wore it to the Centenary of the Armistice at Westminster Abbey in November 2018.

Pretty in pink

As statements go, one can’t get much louder than a hot pink Mulberry maternity coat. While expecting Princess Charlotte, Kate wore this coat first in 2014 during a trip to New York City. Later in the pregnancy, she gave it a more summery feel with nude legs and flowing locks. Four years later, while expecting Prince Louis she teamed it with opaque tights and dark gloves again while out in Coventry in January 2018.


Kate stepped out in a grey signature print Missoni coat, alongside a smart black pillbox hat, while commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Somme in France in 2016. It had another turn at a Service of Hope at Westminster Abbey in the April of the following year.

So follow the royal lead, Insta-generation — wear it once, twice, three times a lady.

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