A Review of Kate’s Official Engagement Outfits – Part One

Hello, again! This is a long post today, so settle in and get comfortable. We have broken this post into two parts, so please come back tomorrow for part two! Yesterday we looked at Kate’s outfits as a royal fiancee. Click here for a refresher. Today, let’s review her choices for her official appearances in the UK since April 29th. (We won’t cover the Canada tour in this particular post.)

Interestingly, although she wore four repeats in six public appearances during her engagement, she wore three repeats in the twelve UK official events since the wedding. (Again, this does not include the Canada tour.) This is not a criticism at all – we love seeing new outfits, as well as recognizing old favourites!

1) Meeting the Obama’s at Buckingham Palace, May 2011.

William and Kate’s first publicized engagement after their wedding was a visit with the Obamas at Buckingham Palace during their State Visit. Kate wore a new Reiss dress called  ‘the Shola’, which was available for purchase in spring 2011. The dress quickly sold out and Kate was lauded both for looking chic and for wearing an accessible High Street label. She also wore the dress in such  a way that it looked like a much pricier item. Kate also appears to be wearing some statement shell jewelry around her neck – perhaps purchased on honeymoon in the Seychelles?

And I know we are focussing on the clothes, but what do you think they were all talking about? The wedding, honeymoon, how the Obama’s trip has been going so far? We bet Kate and Michelle had some good talking points planned out in their minds  to keep the conversation going. Must be strange trying to have a conversation when you know you are going to be photographed. Kate and William both like to keep their hands animated for the photos!

2) ARK Charity Gala, June 2011.

This was the first formal evening event for Kate as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and she wore a new Jenny Packham dress that was still in stores at the time (on sale). Although not a tiara event (we have a post in the works on Kate’s tiara future – stay tuned!), she really brought out the bling with the dazzling Jenny Packham dress that was conservative (she didn’t have to worry about cleavage like Diana did when she wore that black strapless number on her first formal evening out with Prince Charles), flattering, age appropriate and FUN.

Here are a couple of pictures of Diana at her first formal royal event at the Royal Opera House in March of 1981. Looks like a very stressful dress to have worn! It was designed by the same duo who created her wedding dress, David and Elizabeth Emanuel.

Kate’s Jenny Packham dress is also the same silhouette that Kate has repeatedly worn for formal evening events so it’s safe to say this is the silhouette we will keep seeing. Let’s take a look at the evening dresses we have seen Kate in to make our point.

Here she is at the Boodles Boxing Ball in 2006 wearing BCBG:

And here she is at the same event in 2008 wear a pink Issa gown:

And we have another Issa dress here. This picture was taken at a charity dinner for the Starlight Children’s Foundation in 2009:

And I’m sure we all recognize this from the BAFTA event in Los Angeles in July 2011. This gown is Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

So I think we’ve made our point…onto the next!

3) Prince Philip’s Birthday service, June 2011.

Kate and William at Prince Philip's Birthday Service, June 2011

Kate wore this Jane Troughton coat (above) that she was last seen wearing in 2009 at the wedding of Nicholas Van Cutsem and  Alice Haddon Patton. We talked about that outfit (one of our favourite pre engagement looks) here.

Kate wore earrings made from Diana’s set for the first time in public at this event. As has been widely discussed elsewhere, these earrings were made from a set of diamond and sapphire jewelry that Diana received as a wedding gift from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The stones worn as earrings by Diana and Kate were originally set as the wrist band of a watch.

Here are a few pics of the stones once they were set as earrings.

Diana in one of the original settings of the diamond and sapphire set

And again, in another setting

The way Kate is wearing the earrings seems like a perfect fit for her. Not too flashy but still beautiful. That way she doesn’t have to wait for ‘big’ events to bring them out and could wear them to Wimbledon! More on that in tomorrow’s post (part two).

4) Order of the Garter Ceremony, June 2011. 

Kate was stunning in this grey Katherine Hooker dress and coat that was specially designed with an antique clasp for her from the Buxton design. She got some criticism for looking older than her age, but we think she looks very princess-perfect, and appropriate for what is a very special event for the Royal family. We hope to see this one again in the new few years, perhaps at a wedding or baby christening…

That’s a serious hat, too. Can’t help but wonder how much room those hats take up in her closet at their cottage in Kensington Palace.

5) Trooping the Colour, June 2011.

Kate wore a white Alexander McQueen for this occasion which featured her second royal carriage ride and appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony.  Two months after their big appearance on the balcony after their wedding ceremony, Kate and William appear once again in remarkably similar ensembles. William is wearing his Irish Guards uniform like he did on The Big Day, and Kate, standing once again to his right, is again wearing white Alexander McQueen. The pleated detailing on the coat is very reminiscent of the bustle on her wedding dress, don’t you think? No doubt she picked this outfit out for this occasion with that in mind. It’s a sweet nod to her wedding dress.

via Zimbio.com

via The Royal Collection

- Via Zimbio

Kate on Armed Forces Day in McQueen. Via NowMagazine.

6) Irish GuardsArmed Forces Day, June 2011.

Kate wore a new military inspired navy Alexander McQueen dress and jacket from the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. This was the third appearance of Kate in McQueen after her famous wedding dress and the Trooping the Colour appearance. It would appear that Kate has forged a mutually beneficial relationship with the label and must get a discount on the pieces she has chosen. She is a dream unofficial brand ambassador for them, after all.

Kate also accessorized the coat with a lovely gold shamrock brooch which has also been worn by Princess Anne and the late Queen Mother. We love that Kate is getting right in there and keeping these traditions alive.  But we digress. Back this this ensemble.

The first thing we thought when we saw Kate striding out for the visit in this coat was “Kate, brace yourself for some serious Diana comparisons”. It’s inevitable, of course, but this one pretty much asked for it. Diana also wore military inspired outfits when visiting regiments, most notably in this white Catherine Walker skirt suit with gold detailing. Kate’s choice isn’t as overtly costumey, but still we thought it was a rather bold move for Kate! A pop of color in the clutch or shoes would have been a good choice to mix things up a bit…

7) Epsom Derby, June 2011
This was a beautiful, summery look for Kate at the Epsom Derby. Kate mixed various designers for this look; the jacket is by Joseph and the dress is a floaty, cocktail number from Reiss, and her shoes are LK Bennet. The skirt is lovely for this event, but the jacket was certainly necessary for this event. Here’s what the dress looks like by itself:
On close inspection of this ensemble, we’re not TOTALLY convinced that the jacket really goes with the dress (the jacket color seems a touch too creamy) but, overall, we still love it. Such a classy look. And was nice to see Kate’s hair up for a change!
See you tomorrow!

Categories: British Royal Family, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Transformation, Kate's Closet, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 replies


  1. A Review of Kate’s Official Engagement Outfits – Part Two « The Royal Post
  2. Predictions for Kate’s Outfit Tomorrow at the Royal Marsden Hospital « The Royal Post
  3. Kate & William at St. James’ Palace (Kate’s 3rd Evening Gown Appearance as HRH!) « The Royal Post
  4. Kate’s Borrowed Jewels Part Three: The Shamrock Brooch « The Royal Post
  5. Kate’s Balcony Appearances « The Royal Post

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