How Kate Middleton has ‘modernised’ Princess Diana’s outfits – ‘More sophisticated’

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Polka dots are fast becoming a fashion staple in Kate Middleton’s 2022 wardrobe. The Duchess of Cambridge has worn several dresses by Alessendra Rich, with some suggested she is honouring Princess Diana’s favourite print. Express.co.uk spoke exclusively fashion expert Karine Laudort about Kate’s most recent polka dot outfits and how she has brought a historic pattern into the 21st century. 

Polka dots were around to hundreds of years before Princess Diana and now Kate wore them. 

Karine explained the history of polka dots in British fashion: “Following the industrial revolution in the mid-1700s and, after the arrival of what we now call sewing machines, in 1790, it then became possible to create round and symmetrical spots. 

“The term Polka Dot however first emerged in a US women’s lifestyle magazine called Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1857.  

“The pattern then became popular in clothing in England in the rest of Europe, in the late 1800s with the craze of a Czech dance of the same name (Polka) which made the print very fashionable.” 

Comparing and contrasting Kate’s polka dot outfits to Dianas, Karine added: “Kate and Diana’s polka dot outfits are very similarly classy and streamlined. 

“Diana’s style was unique given the time period during with she wore the most polka dots which was the 1980s and was not afraid to wear them in a multitude of bright colours and dot sizes. 

“However, Kate has on numerous occasions channelled some of Diana’s polka dots looks over the years. 

“Then as she wore polka dots into the 1990s naturally the style of the polka dotted garments changed. 

“As such, both Kate and Diana’s polka dot dresses stand out because of their classically 80’s silhouettes (big frills, puffed sleeves, shoulder pads, etc).”

Kate, however, has “modernised” her polka dot outfits. 

The expert explained: “Kate has modernised her polka dots looks by wearing more sophisticated designs (split dresses, shorter sleeves dresses) and trendy accessories (bags and shoes). 

“If she wants to go for a more business chic look, she will pair a navy and white polka dots skirt with a white top and navy blue blazer.”

The majority of Kate’s polka dot outfits tend to be in tones of blue, black or white. 

Karine said: “Kate’s favourite colour is believed to be blue. 

“Due to Royal wardrobe etiquette, she chooses more neutral and classic colours such as black, blue and white when wearing polka dots as can they be matched with pretty much any other colour of accessories.

“These polka dot tones are also more formal.” 

Karine compared these tones to the perception of brighter colours: “Red and pink polka dots are definitely more playful and fun when worn in outfits and therefore, are no longer classic. 

“A red polka dot is more alluring and a pink polka dot adds a feminine and bolder touch to an outfit.”

A lot of Kate’s polka dot outfits feature pleats or ruffles, Karine explained how these elements add dimension to a design. 

“Pleating and ruffles are ornaments and decorative frills aimed at adding more edge and elegance to an outfit,” she said. 

“Structured dresses, skirts or even shirts appear more sophisticated and sharper than plain designs. 

“No surprise there as to why Kate would opt for more intricate garments.” 

The fashion expert also spoke about the way Kate incorportates accessories into her polka dot outfits. 

“Kate is effortlessly able to pair the best accessories when dressed in general but even, more so, when she wears polka dots,” Karine added. 

“She loves matching clutches and stilettos (usually black or brown) or if she goes for a ‘no bag’ dressed down look, then she will opt for wedges.

“Her best finishing touch is when she includes a fascinator hat or intricate headpiece, for formal occasions.” 

About Karine 

Karine’s career in the fashion industry spans over 18 years, working first as a Commercial Model, Fashion Events, Fashion and Lifestyle Features and Editorials, Reporting and Fashion PR.

In 2008, she went on to launch her own London-based PR agency, Kay Flawless, then relaunched in April 2020 as a Digital Marketing and PR agency.

Karine regularly comments or writes for various international fashion, lifestyle and entertainment media outlets.

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