The best moments of Kate Middleton’s vintage fashion

Kate Middleton is known for wearing her wardrobe staples sometime ten years later, which appeals not only to the Duchess’s thrifty nature, but also to her sustainability values.

The wardrobe Kate brought with her on her recent controversial Caribbean tour included many items widely celebrated by the fashion press, from a beautiful new yellow ROKSANDA day dress to a sleek ice blue evening gown by Phillipa Lepley. However, it was the pieces that had a few extra miles on the clock that generated the most interest.

On the Caribbean tour, Kate wore not only clothes already in her wardrobe, but also those bought by others. The Duchess debuted three key vintage clothing items in two days, provoking the British Rowing to ask the question: “Is this a new chapter for Kate’s wardrobe?”

Although the Caribbean tour featured more vintage pieces than any other worn in quick succession, Kate has cleared her eye for vintage in previous years.

From Oscar de la Renta and Yves Saint Laurent to the chic bags of the 30s and beyond, News week examines the highlights of Kate Middleton’s vintage fashion:

Josef handbag from the 1930s

The first vintage fashion item Kate has worn publicly is a small beaded bag from the Bags by Josef label.

The brand was a major producer of fashionable bags for women from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Kate Middleton 1930s handbag
Kate Middleton wore her Bags by Josef bag from the 1930s or so on two occasions. In Wimbledon (L) with Prince William, 14 July 2019. And (R) at the reception of the G7 leaders, 11 June 2021.
VICTORIA JONES / AFP via Getty Images / Oli Scarff / WPA Pool / Getty Images

Kate debuted this bag for the first time at Wimbledon, accompanied by Prince William in 2019. The Duchess paired the bag with a light blue crepe day dress from designer Emilia Wickstead.

Kate has since publicly worn the bag on another occasion, at the G7 Leaders Reception in 2021, hosted at the Eden Project in Cornwall, England. On this occasion she paired the bag with a chic Alexander McQueen coat dress and Aquazzura pumps.

Oscar de la Renta 70s polka dot dress

On an official 2020 visit to Dublin with Prince William, Kate Middleton debuted perhaps one of her most spectacular vintage items to date in the form of a deep pink and black polka dot mid-length dress with a ruffle neckline.

Kate Middleton Oscar of the 2020 rental
Kate Middleton wore an Oscar de la Renta design from the brand’s fall / winter 1979 collection at a reception during her visit to Dublin on March 4, 2020.
Phil Noble / WPA Pool / Getty Images /

This dress was identified as coming from de la Renta’s fall / winter 1979 collection and won the hearts of social media users for its resemblance to a dress worn by Princess Diana in the Vatican in 1985.

Kate paired the dress with black accessories from her most trusted shoe brand, Jimmy Choo.

Yves Saint Laurent 80s blazer

Leaving the first stop of the 2022 Caribbean tour, Kate surprised royal observers by wearing a vibrant orange jacket that has been revealed in her closet for over 20 years.

Kate Middleton Yves Saint Laurent 2022
Kate Middleton debuted in a vintage Yves Saint Laurent jacket upon her departure from Belize on March 22, 2022.
Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Members of the royal tour press were told that the jacket, which dates back to the 1980s, was by designer Yves Saint Laurent and had been bought by Kate in Scotland when she was a student.

Leaving Belize for Jamaica, the Duchess paired the jacket with white flared pants, a mulberry handbag, and Aquazzura shoes.

1950s printed day dress

Jamaica once again saw the Duchess wearing vintage clothing, this time most recently purchased by retailer Willow Hilson Vintage.

For a visit to Trench Town in Jamaica, marred by a series of PR mistakes, Kate wore a turquoise and orange printed dress, dated by Willow Hilson Vintage around 1950.

Vintage Kate Middleton Jamaica 2022 Dress
Kate Middleton wore a vintage 1950s printed dress during a visit to Trench Town in Jamaica on March 22, 2022.
Chris Jackson / Getty Images / Karwai Tang / WireImage

The Duchess had the slightly modified design, with the original spaghetti straps transformed into more modest straps by a matching small shawl that accompanied the gown.

Wayne Taylor handbag from the 1960s

On the second day of her visit to Jamaica, Kate wore a white Alexander McQueen dress with a pop of color in the shape of a Ridley London orange blouse.

The Duchess paired this dress with another vintage item: an orange beaded handbag she also bought through Willow Hilson Vintage.

Kate Middleton Jamaica 2022 Bag
Kate Middleton carried a Bags by Josef bag on the second day of her visit to Jamaica, March 23, 2022.
Karwai Tang / WireImage / Samir Hussein / Samir Hussein / WireImage

Kate’s bag dates back to the 1960s and is made of woven raffia with a wooden handle and gold hardware. The bag was originally designed by the now defunct Wayne Taylor label and made in Japan.

During their tour in the Caribbean, Kate and William visited people and places associated with their Royal Foundation’s Earthshot Prize. As this award is about preserving the planet, Kate’s efforts to incorporate vintage pieces into her wardrobe have been seen as an extension of this.

Talking with Rowing, Willow Hilson of Willow Hilson Vintage said Kate was setting a positive example to encourage people to re-wear vintage and old pieces. “Having someone like Kate wearing [our pieces] it’s just amazing, “he said.

“I think she is really trying to be an advocate of reuse and being [more] sustainable. There are still so many people he would never wear second hand: it can encourage people to be a little more knowledgeable with their fashion and look for older pieces. “

For more real news and commentary, check out Newsweek’s The Royal Report podcast:
Kate Middleton Vintage fashion top
From Oscar de la Renta to Yves Saint Laurent and the artisans of the 1930s, Kate Middleton’s wardrobes contain a myriad of spectacular vintage pieces. Photographed (L) at Belize airport, March 22, 2022. E (R) during a visit to Trench Town in Jamaica, March 22, 2022.
Samir Hussein / WireImage / Chris Jackson / Getty Images

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