Princess Kate’s best vintage fashion moments, according to a royal style writer

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The Princess of Wales has long been considered one of the best dressed ladies in the royal family. From her It-girl university days as Prince William’s sweetheart to her spellbinding formalwear moments and enviably chic off-duty style, it’s no surprise the ‘Kate effect’ is showing no signs of slowing. 

As HELLO!’s Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer, I have spent the last few years analysing and indulging in Princess Kate’s enviable style. Be it her vibrant tour-drobes from overseas trips, or her rental red-carpet fashion, there have been few sartorial moments from the royal style muse that I have missed. 

In my opinion, there is one thing the Princess of Wales does better than any other member of the royal family; vintage dressing. 

Fashion waste is at an all time high – of the 100 billion garments produced each year, 92 million tonnes end up in landfills – so a royal rocking pre-loved clothing is a pretty major environmental statement. 

Princess Kate makes sustainable dressing seem effortless, seamlessly weaving in vintage handbags, repeating outfits and re-wearing jewellery from the late Queen and her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.

Princess Kate’s best vintage style moments

© Getty

The vintage ‘Rio’ handbag

The Princess of Wales finally made an appearance on day four of Royal Ascot in 2023, dazzling onlookers in a ruby-hued dress by Alexander McQueen and a wide-brimmed hat designed by royal-favourite milliner Phillip Treacy. 

The royal was also armed with a rare vintage handbag; the ‘Rio’ clutch from Hermes which was most popular between the 1980s and 1990s but has been discontinued for decades. 

atherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits Trench Town on day four of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas on their week-long tour.© Chris Jackson

The pre-loved 1950s dress

When Prince William and Princess Kate touched down in Jamaica as part of their Caribbean to honour Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, the royal made sure she wasn’t missed with her vibrant rainbow-hued wardrobe. 

The Princess of Wales chose to wear a pre-loved dress hailing from the 1950s. Featuring a wonderful striped palette of turquoise blue, coral, and yellow with a black filigree pattern, the striking dress was purchased for £369 at William Hilson Vintage.

The Princess of Wales carried a Dayne Taylor Vintage 1960's raffia beaded bag in Jamaica in 2022© Getty

The 1960s raffia bag

Princess Kate favoured vintage dressing during her Jamaica trip, of which her colourful tour wardrobe included a tangerine-hued woven raffia bag from the 1960s. 

The bag was originally designed by the now-defunct label Wayne Taylor and manufactured in Japan.

Kate Middleton in red jacket and white trousers carrying a white handbag© Chris Jackson

The vintage Yves Saint Laurent jacket

For her departure from Belize to Jamaica, the Princess of Wales sported a chic vintage Yves Saint Laurent jacket in a radiant strawberry red hue, white palazzo trousers, a white Mulberry handbag, white pumps and accessorised with some earrings from Anthropologie. 

At the time, it was reported that Kate’s ravishing ruby-hued jacket was a vintage purchase she made during her university years at St Andrews. 

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London on May 18, 2022.© Getty

The beaded Josef clutch

Prince William’s wife cut a seriously elegant silhouette at a Buckingham Palace garden party in 2022. 

The mother-of-three wore a coral coat dress, a striking headpiece from Jane Taylor with salmon pink shoes from Emmy London. She paired her look with a striking vintage accessory – a beautiful beaded clutch bag believed to be from Bags by Josef, an iconic designer most popular in the 1930s to 1950s.

LOOK: Every candy-coloured outfit worn by Princess Kate to Buckingham Palace’s garden parties

Instantly recognisable as a Josef handbag, Kate’s hand-beaded clutch features a French embroidery known as a ‘Point de Beauvais’ achieved using a Tambour hook. The delicate beading is a signature embellishment on many of the Josef bags from the 1930s.

kate middleton blue tweed chanel jacket with black trim

The tweed Chanel blazer

In one of her most talked about vintage fashion moments to date, Princess Kate stepped out in a double-breasted Chanel tweed blazer, dating back to the luxury French label’s 1995 collection.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, leave a reception held by Irish Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Simon Coveney on March 4, 2020 in Dublin, Ireland. © WPA Pool

The pre-loved polka dot dress

In 2020, during a three-day tour in Ireland with Prince William, the Princess of Wales wore one of her most fashion-forward vintage pieces to date – a striking polka-dot Oscar de la Renta dress from the luxury label’s autumn/winter 1979 collection.

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Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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