Yeah, Duchess Kate ‘kicked up her fashion game’ when Meghan came around

Her Royal Highness in Battersea Park listening directly to parents about their experiences of parent-to-parent support.

Wall Street Journal writer/columnist Elizabeth Holmes has written a book based off her popular royal-fashion social media/column. The book is HRH So Many Thoughts on Royal Style. We talked about some of the excerpts before – Holmes quoted Robert Lacey’s claims that the Queen’s hats are indicative of her “indentured” servitude. Thus far, from the excerpts I’ve seen, Holmes’ analysis of royal fashion is basically what all of us do here, only Holmes aims for perky positivity where we tend to go negative and button-shame and point out creepy cosplay. Well, Holmes’ book apparently points out – gently! – that the Duchess of Cambridge really changed up her look as soon as Meghan Markle came around. No sh-t.

Nothing wrong with a little healthy competition! According to royal fashion expert and author Elizabeth Holmes, Kate Middleton definitely stepped up her style game when Meghan Markle came around.

“I think Kate kicked up her fashion game in the fall of 2018, certainly after the royal wedding of Harry and Megan,” Holmes tells Us while appearing on Us Weekly’s series “Royally Us” to promote her new book HRH So Many Thoughts on Royal Style. “Kate had just had Louie and she went away on maternity leave for a couple months and came back and suddenly had a little bit more fashion in her wardrobe.”

Though Holmes says that this change could have been due to a variety of things, it was certainly interesting timing. “It’s impossible to say what inspired that,” she explains. “It could be just sort of bouncing back after having a baby or that she was working with some new fashion advisers. But I do think that Megan on the scene sort of made everything more exciting for both of them. And I love that Kate kind of stepped up her game!”

[From Us Weekly]

Yeah, all of us who had been following Kate’s tortured style journey from Waity to Future Future Queen/Perfect Kate could plainly see that Kate really changed things up as soon as Meghan came around. I kind of disagree that Kate began the change after her last maternity leave – it started earlier than that, basically as soon as it was confirmed that Harry and Meghan were dating. Kate had competition and she had someone to copy. I also think that she was purposefully doing a lot of repeats in 2018-19 because Meghan was getting so much bad press about the cost of her clothes.

Holmes also has an interview in Glamour where she talks about how her interest in royal fashion evolved. Some of her thoughts here were kind of interesting:

Kate was never a fashionista: “Kate and Meghan have been the focus of my Instagram presence–Kate was somebody I’ve loved since 2011, and Meghan came on the scene as I was commenting on Instagram. Together they make a fascinating pair. I certainly don’t want to compare the two of them. Kate has grown into fashion, from what I understand; she began to embrace clothes and the power of clothes and draws a lot of attention for someone not naturally interested in fashion. She knows clothes are a part of her duties, and this is very similar to the Queen’s approach—using clothes as almost a uniform. I very much enjoy seeing the two of them and the similarities between their approaches.

How quickly Meghan changed the royal fashion game: “With Meghan, I continue to be impressed and amazed by how quickly she’s picked up the power of royal fashion. She entered the family as a fully formed and very accomplished woman. She jumped right in. What she did during her time as a senior working royal, to see all that she did with her fashion in that short time…she fulfilled the traditional idea of what a royal woman should wear, but she also put her own spin on it, which I respect and admire. She found a way to make it her own.

Holmes identifies most with Meghan: “I’d love to say I’m a Diana, but I don’t think I am. I’m not as much of a risk taker. I’d most identify with Meghan. I think what she introduced was a bit of modernity to the royal fashion equation. I followed Kate for a long time before Meghan started dating Harry, so I appreciate and admire her style, but it is such a traditionally royal look that I found it not realistic for my life. At the core, there’s a formality to what Kate wears. I appreciate that, and it’s extremely appropriate for her role as the future queen consort. But I look at my closet, and I look at these four women, and I see Meghan in there. Elevated but minimalistic, a chic, modern woman. She introduced a relaxed sophistication that we never really saw from Kate, and there’s real power in that. I’m excited for what Meghan is doing now. She’s made the royal fashion conversation much more interesting and much more modern.

[From Glamour]

I mean, Holmes isn’t wrong! Meghan brought a more modern look overall and you can still enjoy talking about Kate’s style AND acknowledge that she sometimes dresses like a Victorian doll. I also think Holmes pointed out something fundamental about Kate, which is that Kate doesn’t really have an interest in fashion or an interest in being stylish or modern. Kate has always been in this rut, almost like she’s too lazy to actually be fashionable. Also: I’ve said this before, but it’s always been clear that Kate has never had to dress professionally for a job. She doesn’t “get” work-wear or professional attire whatsoever. That comes from never holding a real job.

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57 Responses to “Yeah, Duchess Kate ‘kicked up her fashion game’ when Meghan came around”

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  1. Elizabeth Regina says:

    This is the difference. Kate likes to be dressed and has accepted being dressed, so a lot of her clothes wear her. Meghan learnt how to dress herself, so she wears her clothes.

  2. Mumbles says:

    The one thing that always amazed me was that Kate’s clothes managed to be both so blah, and yet so expensive.

    • Nancito says:

      So true. Most of her clothes are so school marm-y. The Queen has a better sense of style than Kate.

    • starryfish29 says:

      That’s because she doesn’t actually have any interest in fashion but she wants/needs to be seen as fashionable because she knows that she doesn’t really bring anything else to the table. Thus she wears expensive brands with fashion cred, but often wears them awkwardly and picks the worst pieces.

      • PEARL GREY says:

        The thing is, Kate never had any style, from her 8-year princess-in-waiting audition days to the present day. She also has remarkably very little to say for herself, hence the “theme dressing” that borders on parodying to speak for her. Her clothes have long been the only talking point when it comes to her “influence”, “impact” and engagements. There’s nothing else there.

        As for her changing her style because of Louis’ birth, ha! I hardly think a third child suddenly gave her the fashion boost the first two didn’t. She had to switch it up because her daily uniform of coat dresses, fussy prints and buttons galore was being even more unfavourably compared to the new duchess’s sleek, modern and wearable style. Without any actual work and accomplishments to compete with, of course she had to revamp her wardrobe.

        It’s hilarious how people are tiptoeing around it like it isn’t painfully obvious. So many stories refuting that Meghan influenced Kate’s look. Is the Top CEO embarrassed that we can all see it took a new arrival to finally drag her from not only her 6-year part-time working royal jolly, but from rummaging through the Sears outlet bargain bin too?

  3. Solace says:

    On a shallow note, she’s a Capricorn. The ones who don’t fully evolve fall back to their baseline…which is that they’re traditionalists. Aka bound to the old times, hence the Victorian doily fashion sense and mindlessly copying mummy.

    The ones who are more well adjusted and multi faceted like Kate McKinnon tend to shine. That’s my amateur astrological interpretation.

    • AnnaKist says:

      “Victorian doily fashion”… perfect!
      Ima Capricorn and sincerely hope I fall into your second category.
      We have a single word in my native language that describes her perfectly, but I’m not aware of its English equivalent. The closest I can manage is a word we use in Australia: daggy. She’s a dag who dresses like a dag, and that makes her daggy.

      • anniefannie says:

        I can’t really, for sure decipher what “daggy” means ( and auto correct doesn’t recognize) but you can be sure it’s going to be a part of my day to day communication! I think it’s universality is it’s entrance in to every dialect.
        ie “ My ex-in-laws are daggy!”

      • Solace says:

        Oh Annakist, I’m sure you’re in the second category and are golden. My comment was more cuz Kate’s stubborn loyalty to certain things is frustrating. In my frustration, I turned to astrology to help me make sense of her 😁

    • Monica says:

      Totally sign on to your explanation, Solace! I kind of miss the days before Meghan came along when watching Kate meant encouraging her to evolve. Now that she’s proven shady, or at least shady-enabling her husband, it’s no fun anymore.

  4. minx says:

    I love that the pictures are a gallery of some of the worst outfits she’s ever worn.
    It’s too bad, she’s tall and slender and could look fantastic.

  5. Sofia says:

    I think Kate dresses the way she thinks Duchesses should dress. Or at least how Duchesses in her head should dress. But there’s ways to make coat dresses and vintage pieces look good and she doesn’t.

    • Becks1 says:

      This is what I think. She doesn’t dress like a professional woman, she dresses like she thinks a Duchess and the future Princess of Wales and Future Future Queen Consort should dress. the problem with that is, she is looking at the queen for guidance, and the queen is a 94 year old woman. She should be looking at her relative peers – Victoria, Letizia, Mary – and she doesn’t.

      Its like she realized when Meghan came around that she “could” dress in a different way, and its been interesting to see. But you can definitely tell she has no idea what working professional women wear.

      • Katherine says:

        Exactly. I’ve always thought her outfits are like her doing an impression of something rather than really styling an outfit. I sometimes think of her in comparison to some of the other European princesses and most of them just look polished, mature, a little sexy, regal when needed but bottom line like grown up accomplished women. Sure with some style differences but I always look at Letizia or Mary or Victoria and think they look like a city professional woman who has to also carry a certain regal flair and most of them pull that off, and don’t seem to be cosplaying. Kate always looks like she’s mimicking something or an idea of something.

        I think there’s a bigger difference at play in that the BRF really loves this narrative of shy young woman and has to learn the ropes and gain confidence. I was just reading on a pro Kate blog people were so impressed by her recent public speaking and you can tell she’s learned so much from William and her role and just barf. I mean it’s SO infantilizing. The other European married-in women all had careers and adult accomplishments of their own and my impression is would be mortified to be spoken about in such a way. I don’t doubt marrying a royal has a learning curve but you have some others who have worked in media, finance, PR, and know how to dress and present themselves as adult professionals (which being a royal is basically that with a tiara and some glam sometimes)

  6. Amy Bee says:

    Holmes has certainly changed her tune because she spent most of Meghan’s time as a senior royal criticizing her fashion and comparing her to Kate’s regal style. It would be interesting to see what she says to the British press. However she did apologise for her comments about Meghan after the BLM protests erupted. At least she grudgingly admits that Kate was impacted by Meghan’s presence. Kaiser you make a good point about Kate never having to dress for work. This led to Meghan being unfairly criticized for her work attire because people kept comparing to Kate.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yeah this is why I was rolling my eyes at some of these quotes. oh NOW Meghan is a breath of fresh air and modern and all that??

      • Love says:

        I came here just to say this. She’s certainly changed her tune, after trashing Meg and her hair for more that 4 years. I will not be buying this book, and I hope nobody else does.

        It’s not lost on me that she changed her tune on her racism when it became “commercial” to not be racist (Jannetti style)… which would have been commendable had people not spent years telling her about her racist rhetoric

    • S808 says:

      Yeah, she’s singing Meghan praises cause she’s out of the royal sphere and no longer direct competition for Kate who they all seem to be living through.

    • Nikki says:

      Thanks for bringing this up. Her Insta page was triggering and very anti-Meghan/anti-Black. She apologized, but so did other closet racists who knew they would have to do book tours and possibly have to answer for it post-BLM. I’m willing to bet she gives entirely different takes when speaking to the British press.

    • Nic919 says:

      I recall when she was slamming Meghan for carrying binders during the start of the Oceania tour as if being prepared for royal tour is a bad thing.

      Holmes simply realized that her peak white feminism was actually just being racist and that doesn’t sell to a North American audience in the same way it would to the white supremacy royalists based in the UK.

      Over the last decade Kate has maybe ten outfits that are decent, the rest being the weird sister wife coat dress nonsense or her awful leggings and wedges for casual wear.

      • Fascinating Fascinator says:

        +100 Came here to say this too – the entire eholmes book tour has been insufferable peak white feminism. Will not be purchasing her book. Also – as noted yesterday – she interviewed Robert Lacey – known Meghan hater – just another example of her playing to different audiences and her words of racist remorse being empty. Unfollow.

  7. dawnchild says:

    Kate’s dressing for the job she wants, but she only copies, not interprets. So she dressed like Jecca etc when single, now like TQ (without realizing that she’s not going to be TQ, more like the Queen Mother)…and the result is a formal facade, dated, boring, and out of touch with the 30-40 something year olds of her generation. Who has that many coats, hats and buttons? Old ladies, that’s who. Her contemporaries are not going to be looking to her for fashion for sure. But she spends a giant amount of money for someone who’s not interested in it which is a huge pity, and nearly unforgivable in a public role model for a country that’s going to be suffering even more soon…

  8. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Kate does what women are supposed to do… What they’re told. Yeah I channeled Joffrey Lannister. Meg tells. Meg is in control. Kate? Royalty tells. Royalty controls.

  9. Kate says:

    That’s a good point about the difficulty of/inability to dress professionally if you’ve never had a job that requires it. This reminded me that there was a fashion blog I used to read that had a post about fashiony ways to dress for the office and it was hilarious because none of the outfit suggestions were remotely work appropriate for a conservative or business casual dress office space.

  10. MF1 says:

    I find it interesting that after all these years, Kate *still* hasn’t figured out what suits her. She’s tall and angular, so she looks great in structured pieces. Flowy pieces with a ton of detail are too delicate for her. That’s why her mumsy floral dresses are dull on her but that black suit and camisol look so good.

  11. yinyang says:

    When she first came out she couldn’t dress, that’s okay she’s not a stylist or fashion designer so I don’t really care. Natascha Archer upped her style game, and other stylists were hired Virginia Chadwick-Healey. Rich people don’t have to be smart, they just have to be smart enough to hire the right people.

  12. Lala11_7 says:

    Kate couldn’t really dress before they got married…and she has worked HARD to maintain that stance…which is too bad….cause she had the POWER TO RUN THE FASHION TABLE…but…that would require effort and that “IT” factor…and Kate…does not have “IT”!

    • tee says:

      i agree she doesn’t have “it”, but she does have something. she’s a deity to a niche population of WASP women.

      • Nic919 says:

        Kate’s position is what attracts those waspy types, not Kate herself. William’s wife was always going to be viewed as an end goal for some of these who think marrying a prince solves life’s problems. It’s actually better that Kate doesn’t have much of a public personality because the more she disturbs their image of perfect regal princess, the more they won’t like her. It’s also way she always gets the benefit of the doubt despite evidence that she’s not so nice and hasn’t been gracious to Meghan. I mean there is a video capturing her bitchiness and many still don’t want to believe that she has the capacity to be mean.

  13. tee says:

    i quite like her style for non-royal events; look forward to what she’ll wear. when she’s playing “duchess/future queen”, however, is when her style sucks. she seems to be trending away from coat dresses tho, finally.

    meghan has definitely been a huge influence. and i’d say at the beginning, meghan’s style for official events seemed to (unfortunately) be kate influenced as well.

  14. Gail says:

    😂😂😂😂😂whatever game Kate stepped up when Megan came on board , she has dropped for the preferred window treatment variety instead. Her clothes she had been wearing. All god awful ugly . How is it that a 38 year old woman can manage to make petty Betty who is in her nineties look younger than her?

  15. TheOriginalMia says:

    My face is stuck in a perma-cringe at those outfits. Kate can’t dress for work because she’s never worked in a professional environment. I’ve said it before she should have taken a page out of CP Mary’s or Queen Maxima/Letizia’s books. They know how to dress as professional women and royals. Not cosplay a dead woman and a 90+ year old monarch.

  16. CC. says:

    I liked Kate’s looks when she wears slacks. But then I realised it’s basically because it’s actually wearable.

    Kate is a gorgeous woman and as an ugly person, it kills me to see her dress like shit! I notice she tends to dress kinda cute when it’s a non royal engagement. Or if she has a casual engagement like what she wore to the university. I do think she’s going for a Regal Queen look but I don’t get that reasoning. If she dressed modern and chic, she would be dominating social media imo.

    I think Kate had decent looks pre Meghan though. She became quite frumpy over the years and slightly improved when Meg came along.

  17. Sarah says:

    Since when did she have a ‘couple of months’ maternity leave? Or ‘go back to work’ full stop while we’re at it?

    I am here for full and proper mat leave and I really feel for US Celebitches so this is no shade on Kate for wanting to spend time with her children but it’s just another part of the embiggening/top CEO mythology and not true. Turning up for a public even then disappearing for a few more months is not ending your maternity leave after a couple of months.

    • Becks1 says:

      I don’t know if you were around here when she had Louis, but we made SO MUCH FUN of her maternity leave and many non-US posters pointed out that we have shit maternity leave policies here(which we 100% do), but the reason we made fun was because it was always like…..maternity leave from what? One engagement every other week? And it was so obvious because when she “came back” she came back to….one engagement every other week, or less. I think the US mat leave policy (or lack thereof) is a total disgrace, but the reason for mocking Kate’s mat leave wasn’t because women shouldn’t get extended leave, it was like you said – it was more just part of her embiggening/top CEO mythology.

    • Nic919 says:

      I would also point out that in Canada you get mat leave paid for if you have worked a certain amount of hours in the year prior to the pregnancy. Kate wouldn’t qualify for mat leave here either.

      But she hasn’t been pregnant or mat leave for 2 years and yet her numbers are still very bad. What’s her excuse now? Covid has been handy for her to hide, but it’s beyond ridiculous how she and William remain hidden away when older royals like Sophie and C and C and Anne are doing engagements during a pandemic.

  18. Izzy says:

    Elizabeth Holmes is peak white Karen feminism. She spent years dragging Meghan for doing such inappropriate things as *checks notes* dressing like she lives in the 21st century and for being prepared on her international tours. The only reason Holmes ever said anything nice about Meghan is because she got a pasting by the North American audience she was trying to engage, who was not here for her BS any more. Her racism against the backdrop of BLM and the protests exposed her for what she really is. She should never utter nor write Meghan’s name again, she isn’t fit to carry Meghan’s coffee.

  19. Andie says:

    That green dress might have been the worst thing Kate has ever worn. Somehow it’s both skintight and wrinkled with extra folds of fabric all down the front, the buttons are tacky and pulled off in the wrong directions due to a poor fit. Ugh. No.

  20. Dee says:

    Diana and Meghan (to some extent) set trends. Kate is going along with trends and sometimes messing them up. She couldn’t accessorize herself out of a handbag if her life depended on it.

    • L84Tea says:

      What Meghan did for me was make me remember how elegant neutrals can be. Years ago I used to always wear neutrals, but somewhere along the way I concluded that neutrals were boring and tried to choose more colorful items. Her style made me remember why I always naturally went for neutrals–they’re soft, they’re elegant, you can make them bold and interesting without fuss. Thanks to her, I am embracing that style again and loving it.

  21. A says:

    “Kate was never a fashionista.” Nah. Disagree with this. Her pre wedding fashion was great. I really liked her casual look all through 2004-2010 tbh. What changed was her becoming a royal. For whatever reason she ditched all the instincts she had for fashion prior to her marriage and just went haywire.

    And now she’s settled on endless reams of coat dresses and buttons, bc the truth is, unlike Diana, Kate does not bring her creativity to the matter of royal dressing. She thinks it has rules and is too afraid to step out of her comfort zone. Diana, surprisingly, was not afraid to experiment. She did not see the need to be constrained and she had some great hits over the years. Kate otoh is going to coat dress herself to the very end.

    • L84Tea says:

      I actually loved her Waity years style (yes, it was very Sloaney, but she pulled it off well) and I thought Kate dressed beautifully the first couple years of marriage. I’ve often said her looks would occasionally even go into sexy territory, which seems so crazy now. Her style went from youthful, a little glam, and pretty to down right dowdy and frumpy.

    • Maria says:

      Not really. She looked cute, but was no fashionista. Her “revenge dresses” during the 2007 breakup were terrible with the exception of one or two, she just looked good because she was tanning and wearing more makeup to “show William what he was missing”.

      She had times when she wore safari style clothes to pretend to be Jecca, and times when she semi-cosplayed Diana, and the rest were scuffed knee boots, cardigans, and horrid wrap dresses, with the occasional Uggs thrown in.

      Her marriage wardrobe has not been great. Even the first year it was pseudo-military themes, buttons, dowdy florals with unweighted hems, princess dresses. It’s only gotten worse from there.

  22. GuestWho says:

    I will just say this regarding Kant’s fashion sense:



    • L84Tea says:

      I’m laughing because I consider that trip to be hands down some of the worst looks she’s ever had. Ever.

  23. Sparky says:

    I get that Maxima’s style does not fit Kate’s personality which is fine. I wouldn’t dress like that myself. If she’s going to cosplay anyone I think that Letizia would be the best choice. Letizia has a similar body type and dresses in a conservative manner without looking like she raided granny’s closet.

    • L84Tea says:

      I’ve thought the same thing. If Kate had good fashion sense, I could see her dressing very similar to Letizia. Or even a little CP Mary. Maxima’s style is too whimsical for Kate. Kate would never have the guts to dress like Maxima.

  24. Mina_Esq says:

    That photo of M and K from Wimbledon is a perfect example. Kate basically just buys an expensive luxury clothing item and calls it a day. Meghan styles herself – she has the fashion staple (white blouse), slick hair, cool shades, and a funky skirt to add interest. It’s not a matter of enjoying or not enjoying fashion. It’s the basics of dressing yourself as a professional woman. For someone who claims to like to recycle, Kate has no fashion staples! She could, for example, get some neutral blouses and classic black cigarette trousers and then use her love of colourful dress coats to add interest to the look. This way, she’s just wasteful and boring.

  25. MerryGirl says:

    Whatever book she’s selling, I ain’t buying. After spending years bashing Meghan’s hair and general look which proved she hated the biracial duchess, she now wants us to believe her personal style is more aligned with Meghan now that she has a book to sell? Girl please.

  26. MsIam says:

    The only thing I can think of to explain Kate’s dressing is that by the time she actually becomes queen consort she may be in her mid fifties so this type of clothing would be somewhat more appropriate and she can save some money. Provided she stays the same size. Sort of like Princess Anne. Otherwise I can’t imagine why a young woman would want to dress like an old lady and not even a stylish one at that. Carole in my opinion dresses more youthful than Kate. As far as Diana cosplay, Diana was always youthful and vibrant. Even her worst get ups and she had some doozies did not make her look like an old schoolmarm like some of Kate’s looks.

    • Nic919 says:

      She is never going to rewear most of her clothes even if she stays the same size for years. Kate has to spend money and she is the least thrifty of all the married in women. It’s probably to make up for her empty life and bad marriage, but the only time she made an effort to rewear things was when she was making Meghan look bad. She has since spent a ton of money on new clothing during a pandemic when most people are trying to just survive and Brexit looms over them to make things worse.

      • equality says:

        Even when she rewears something it is from years ago. The articles point out that she wore it in 2012. Is that thrifty? I wear the same things from week to week not year to year.

  27. Marivic says:

    Kate has very bad posture which makes her carry clothes without confidence, so she looks dowdy and unsure of herself. Meghan, on the other hand, has good posture so clothes look good on her and brings about positive energy.

  28. PNWer says:

    I think it all comes down to personality. Princess Diana could wear the hell out of a basic shift dress. Duchess Meghan looks fantastic in a simple wrap coat. With Duchess Kate there’s no warmth or expression in her eyes. She has worn *some* amazing outfits but they still just don’t leave an impression like a genuine laugh or empathetic smile.

  29. CrystalBall says:

    Kate has noticably stopped repeating outfits since she can no longer use her fake thriftiness to passive-agressively have a dig at Meghan. Indeed, Kate may well be buying endless quantities of new clothes in lieu of the love she craves but cannot buy.
    The reason she and William have a problem with Harry and Meghan is because their love is the real deal. While the Daily Mail desperately tries to rewrite history, the truth is that a young man did not love his girlfriend enough to want to marry her in an acceptable timeframe. Instead he tried her out for nine long years, not commiting in case a better option came along.
    No honorable man behaves like this. And only a desperate, needy and weak woman who is just along for the ride and is both too lazy and inept to forge her own path in life would be willing to put up with this.