The Duchess of Cambridge's style is often considered a little bland for the fashion crowd—too many Breton tops, coatdresses and nude patent pumps. Given that she's representing the royal family on an international stage, she needs to look polished and select classic items that'll photograph well and won't date after several months. It's no easy task to tick all these boxes while also pleasing the fashion crowd. Kate does balance this with making more fashion-forward choices, wearing unexpected London Fashion Week designers such as Simone Rocha and Barbara Casasola, experimenting with new silhouettes and subtlety nodding towards the latest trends. Scroll below to see eight times Kate Middleton didn't wear what we expected.
Style Notes: On the royal tour of Germany, Kate opted for a more fashion-forward outfit for her evening look, wearing an off-the-shoulder red maxi gown by Alexander McQueen. She also swapped her nude court shoes for a pair of scalloped stilettos by Prada and wore a pair of Simone Rocha tassel earrings.
Style Notes: Lilac is a notoriously tricky colour to pull off, but this bold colour move paid off for Kate on her royal tour in Germany, where she wore this elegant sleeved dress by Emilia Wickstead. It's appropriate but not too safe.
Style Notes: The Duchess of Cambridge always masters diplomatic dressing, wearing looks that celebrate British fashion and designers of her host nation. A trip to Paris only meant one thing—head-to-toe Chanel. If we were princesses, we would wear this fitted Chanel bouclé dress with a waist belt complete with the double-C logo and a classic quilted Chanel bag at all times.
Style Notes: Even the Duchess of Cambridge wasn't able to avoid the Gucci effect, as on a visit to the V&A she wore a Jackie O–style fitted dress with red and navy stripe detailing and attractive gold buttons. She was never going to wear the brand's tee, but we love how she supported Alessandro Michele by turning to Gucci.
Style Notes: The Duchess of Cambridge loves this Preen by Thornton Bregazzi dress so much that she also owns it in black. And we can totally see why, as this is an elegant, classic evening dress that she can wear for years, if not decades. However, the asymmetrical neckline and pleated skirt also make it a firm fashion-editor fave.
Style Notes: At an event at the Natural History Museum, Kate wore one of her most "fashion" looks to date. Not only did she sport a more daring off-the-shoulder silhouette with a fitted fluted skirt, but she also opted for a new industry name, Barbara Casasola, a Brazilian designer who presents at London Fashion Week.
Style Notes: This fluted green Dolce & Gabbana midi dress with a nipped-in waist and statement shoulders is demure and stately but also won Kate praise from the fashion crowd.
Style Notes: Here we have another example of Kate winning in a French designer, as on her royal tour of Canada she wore a knitted, cream-coloured See by Chloé dress, which was on trend thanks to the ruffled piecrust-collar neckline.