With three young kids at home and a schedule packed with public appearances and private charitable causes, Duchess Kate could be forgiven for not looking picture-perfect every time she steps out. But somehow Kate always manages to nail her fashion choices — most of the time. Join us as we take a look back at the Duchess of Cambridge's fashion hits (and misses) of 2021… Bond girl indeed! Duchess Kate looked drop-dead gorgeous at the "No Time To Die" world premiere at Royal Albert Hall in London in September. Kate rocked a glittering gold gown made by British designer Jenny Packham as part of a special collaboration, the Jenny Packham X 007 Collection. This show-stopping outfit deserves a closer look. Keep reading for another view…
Then read on for more of Duchess Kate's best and worst looks of the year…
Jaws dropped over Duchess Kate's stunning Jenny Packham creation, an homage to the Bond girl in the 1964 classic "Goldfinger," at the world premiere of "No Time To Die" in London in September. The look was full of delightful surprises, including this gold sequined cape. Add in Kate's elaborate but fun updo, and this was one of her finest fashion moments of the year… and of all time!
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Love it or hate it? That question defines this bold look Duchess Kate wore to host a drive-in screening of "Cruella" for Scottish NHS workers at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, in May. The purple, blue and green tartan trench coat by Holland and Cooper, perfectly tailored and full of interesting details like military-style epaulets on the shoulders and buckled cuff adjusters, is a surefire conversation starter. For that, we give Kate — who sometimes plays it sartorially safe — two thumbs up.
We love the color risk Duchess Kate took with this bright purple Emilia Wickstead pantsuit while touring the Ulster University Magee Campus in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in September. But the thing about risks is… sometimes they don't pay off. The cut of the suit, paired with a black turtleneck and sensible blue pumps, unnecessarily age the beautiful future queen. Instead of royally stylish, she looks positively prim.
What a glamorous re-wear! Duchess Kate arrived at November's Royal Variety Performance in London wearing a real showstopper — an emerald green sequin and crystal-embellished Jenny Packham gown that she first wore during her 2019 royal tour of Pakistan in 2019.
Kate channeled her inner goddess in October in this breathtaking lilac Alexander McQueen gown at the Earthshot Prize ceremony in London. Guests were asked not to buy anything new to wear to the inaugural green awards event, which was created by her husband, Prince William, and their Royal Foundation to honor winners for their contributions to environmentalism. Kate first wore the belted frock to a Los Angeles BAFTA gala in 2011. A decade later, both the dress and the duchess are just as stunning.
Duchess Kate radiated confidence in an Alexander McQueen blouse and Catherine Walker coat at a Nov. 10 event at London's Imperial War Museum. From the military-inspired details to the poppy pin (in the U.K., the red flower symbolizes remembrance of fallen World War I soldiers), we give Kate's look a royal salute.
Duchess Kate loves to step out in plaid from time to time, and we have no quibble with the pattern of the red-and-black houndstooth Alessandra Rich dress she wore to the VA Museum in London in May. But the frock's drop waist, pleated bottom and mid-calf length were not the most flattering cut for the duchess.
Duchess Kate was a vision in a pale pink Beulah London frock at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London in July. The midi-length dress's delicate details (those buttons, that belt) and fit-and-flare shape accentuate Kate's fit frame. But our favorite part of this outfit might be her shoes: beige "Nicholes" pumps from Aldo which, at under $100, you don't need to be royalty to rock.
To commemorate Remembrance Day, Duchess Kate (flanked by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Sophie, Countess of Wessex) attended the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London on Nov. 14. In keeping with tradition, all of the royals wore black outfits appropriate for marking the solemn day honoring U.K. armed forces members who have died in the line of duty since World War I. Kate chose a rewear — an Alexander McQueen military uniform-inspired design she previously donned for the 2018 Remembrance Sunday service — and topped it off with a new hat from Lock & Co.
She knows how to accessorize! Duchess Kate didn't let a little rain dampen her enthusiasm at the launch of the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood at Kensington Palace in June. Her lavender LK Bennett dress was pretty enough, but the duchess's whimsical rainbow umbrella stole the show and turned this look from dull to dazzling.
Who knew vaccination style was a thing? Duchess Kate's appropriately off-duty outfit got rave reviews from fans after she shared this photo on Instagram in May. Kate wore high-waisted denim and a ribbed white tee from H&M as she got her first jab at London's Science Museum. "Yesterday I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at London's Science Museum," she wrote. "I'm hugely grateful to everyone who is playing a part in the rollout — thank you for everything you are doing."
Duchess Kate goes ultra-glam when she needs to, but she also knows how to dress down in style. To meet with young Scouts at the Alexandra Park Sports Hub during the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, Kate rocked skinny jeans, a cozy turtleneck, a colorful English Scout scarf and a vest by the Danish brand Ganni. Besides looking sporty, the vest is made of 100% recycled plastic. We call that a win-win!
Despite the royal hue, a favorite of Duchess Kate's, this look had us singing the blues. The gorgeous mother of three — who wore the outfit in May to visit a violence reduction unit in Prestonpans, Scotland — looks uncomfortable in the creased double-breasted Zara blazer and pleated skirt by Hope Fashion. Either piece on its own would be fine but worn together, they did the duchess no favors.
Duchess Kate rocked a pink Alexander McQueen dress during a walk and talk with first lady Dr. Jill Biden at the G7 summit in Hayle, England, in June. Her accessories — an LK Bennett bag with matching Rupert Sanderson pumps — were just right. The only thing that missed the mark? The fit of the usually impeccable royal's dress. Surely she's got a tailor on call!
Just call her Casual Kate! This ensemble worn by Duchess Kate when she visited London's Natural History Museum in June — high-waisted jeans by the U.K. brand & Other Stories, a fitted white shirt, a pink blazer by Chloé and her favorite VEJA low-top sneakers — hits all the right notes. Need proof? Please note how relaxed, comfy and confident the duchess looks!
Duchess Kate went all natural — and made us want to grab our hiking boots and head to the country — when she visited Manor Farm in Darlington, England, in April. Her Fair Isle sweater, skinny jeans, tall boots and Seeland shooting jacket are stylish, comfortable and warm. Countryside chic at its finest!
It was a somber occasion, and Duchess Kate was appropriately attired in a simple but stylish black Catherine Walker coatdress and hat by Philip Treacy at Prince Philip's funeral at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, in April, eight days after his death at 99.
This black-and-white midi-length frock with a sensible bow is a little ho-hum for Duchess Kate, who shines brightest when she dips into her expanding fashion color palette. But she scored style points in October for recycling this Zara dress, which she wore to an event in October 2020 when she visited University College London.
This silhouette is nothing new for Duchess Kate, who loves the look of a good pair of wide-legged pants, fitted shirt and long coat. But we have to give her kudos for rocking the ensemble in bubblegum pink when she visited School 21 in Stratford, East London, to celebrate its reopening in March after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions lifted. This playful hue — right down to her mask — is a refreshing break from the rich primary colors Kate usually chooses. So pretty in pink!
Duchess Kate simply glows when she gets back to her casual, athletic roots. This Ralph Lauren Cable-Knit Cricket Sweater looks like it was made for the sporty royal, who completed the look with cuffed black pants and tennis sneakers at the Craiglockhart Tennis Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, in May.
We're all for a great neutral, and this camel coat by Massimo Dutti is gorgeous. But Duchess Kate, pictured in May at the opening of The Balfour at Orkney Hospital in Kirkwall, Scotland, went a little too far and looked almost washed out in all that beige. Her partial updo and Scottish tartan scarf skewed more matronly than memorable.
Polka dots added the perfect touch of whimsy when Duchess Kate hit Wimbledon in July wearing an Alessandra Rich skirt and one-button blazer by Smythe. (Plus her purple-and-green Wimbledon members pin, naturally!) It was the kind of effortlessly polished style that Kate makes look so easy.
Duchess Kate stuck with a tried-and-true formula at the Wimbledon ladies' finals in London in July: a solid color fit-and-flare dress with simple pumps and her hair in loose waves. But the vibrant green of the Emilia Wickstead frock and the timeless white Jimmy Choo pumps made this a winner of a look.
Red alert! Duchess Kate had a stop-traffic moment at the launch of the "Taking Action on Addiction" campaign at BAFTA in London in October. What looks like a dress is actually separates — a pleated skirt by Christopher Kane and a turtleneck sweater that fit her like a glove, finished off with neutral Ralph Lauren pumps. Major style points for the color choice: a bold, vibrant hue that made Kate a red-hot royal.