January is a month of new beginnings, and for one beloved Duchess, the start of a year which promises to be more eventful than her previous 32, combined. The oh-so-chic Kate Middleton will turn 33 on January 9, and based on her winter wardrobe for the Duchess's December tour of New York City, Middleton is only becoming more sartorially gifted with each passing year. So, naturally, we should all strive to dress like Kate Middleton this season.
Middleton's enduring look isn't for those who crave subversion, but it is unparalleled in terms of refinement and sartorial professionalism. Stride into a Monday morning business meeting sporting one of Middleton's favored Alexander McQueen pleated frocks and you'll no doubt set a tone of smart creativity to last until happy hour on Friday. Middleton knows the power of a tailored fit, pieces that accentuate her athletic frame, and colors that highlight but don't overpower her subtle air of authority. In addition, Middleton's coordinates often strike the perfect balance between youthful and urbane, a difficult one to master. The Duchess achieves such a feat through injecting classic silhouettes with vibrant splashes of color and pioneering patterns.
But how does one channel the Duchess's seemingly effortless style without her entourage of talented stylists and image experts? Achieving Middleton's timeless look is more elementary than you'd think, as long as you stick to seven simple rules.
1. Invest in a Statement Coat
The outerwear which takes you from point A to point B is just as essential to a regal wardrobe as the layers underneath. Many of Kate Middleton's public appearances take place in outdoor locales, and for each occasion the Duchess sports a beautifully rendered coat. Middleton often favors outerwear in jewel tones or timeless prints, proving once and for all that a lackluster puffer simply doesn't make the grade in a winter wardrobe — unless you live in subarctic temperatures from January to June.
2. Snag A Nautical-Inspired Fitted Blazer
Channeling Kate Middleton means relinquishing your rights to an off-duty uniform of pilled sweatpants and a bleach-stained college tee shirt. When the vibe is laid-back, Middleton has been known to sport a simple tee or sweater — as long as her trusty nautical-inspired blazer is layered on top to lend a polished air.
3. Make A Mental Note That Navy Is The New Black
Perhaps head-to-toe ensembles in raven hues were deemed too harsh for public appearances by Middleton's image team, but for whatever reason, the Duchess often turns to navy instead of black. Informal engagements often see the Duchess in a navy blazer and perfectly fitted, dark wash skinny jeans. The effect is less severe than a black-on-black look, and equally slimming.
4. Remember That Tweed Isn't Frumpy... If You Wear It Correctly
Certainly, a knee-length skirt suit of boxy tweed isn't modern by any definition of the word, but pair the fabric with an avant-garde ensemble and you have a winsome look on your hands. Middleton knows the power of tweed accents, pairing a rough-edged coat in the material with a lackadaisical floral frock, or paired with her beloved skinny jeans. And of course, a tent-like fit is forbidden when it comes to tweed, lest the Duchess look 40 years older than her age.
5. Embrace Winter Pastels
Middleton's pastel moments in the spotlight are perhaps more divine than those in crimson or fuchsia, especially when the Duchess unexpectedly sports them during winter. The key to Middleton's sartorial success with winter pastels is a mixture of fit and fabric; pale shades look appropriate for the holiday season when worn in the form of wool, cashmere, and heavier silks, each form-fitted as opposed to voluminous and drifting.
6. Go For The Gold With Prints
Even though Ms. Middleton is resigned to keeping her skirts at an appropriate length and the majority of her accessories to a classic, subtle select few unless the occasion calls for the Crown Jewels, she makes up for her sartorial restrictions by embracing prints and patterns. Favoring patterned pieces by Orla Kiely, Erdem, and Whistles, the Duchess adores an abstract floral, graphic print, or pop of plaid, which is an expressive manner of injecting personality into a conservative wardrobe.
7. Purchase the Holy Trinity of Footwear: Boots, Pumps, and Wedges
No matter what she's sporting in terms of clothing, Middleton's footwear always earns an A+, despite the fact that she relies on only three footwear basics: a neutral, pointy-toe pump in matte leather or suede, a chestnut brown or black mid-calf boot with a sensible yet subtly sexy heel, and a cork-heeled wedge in navy or nude. With these three basics, you can polish off any ensemble with Duchess-like grace and poise.
Images: Getty Images