It’s no secret that some of Kate’s best looks come courtesy some of Britain – and the world’s – best designers. It’s also no secret that the rest of us don’t have the deep pockets that the Duchess of Cambridge does when shopping for clothes. What would Kate do when faced with the question of are designer clothes worth the money, if she was like us? Is it possible to wear designer clothes like Kate within realistic budgets?
We argue that the answer is yes, and have three reasons why we think so.
- Kate’s designer pieces are often timeless and classic, meaning that she will be able to wear them time and time again – as will you.
- Buying quality pieces over quantity of pieces is a way you can diminish the amount you spend on clothing. The more you wear the quality pieces that will stand the test of time with their intricate details and exquisite workmanship, the lower the cost per wear.
- Loving your clothes means you will generally take better care of them, you smile when you see them hanging in your closet and we have found that it also increases confidence in the wearer. Can you really put a price on confidence and happiness? Don’t we all deserve to feel like that about the clothing we wear? (And yes, I know that clothes making you happy is an extremely shallow definition of happiness. Just go with me here)
So how can you scoop up designer clothes at a discount? We are excited to share our three best tips on how to shop for Kate’s favourite designer brands for less.
Shop Like Kate For Less Tip #1: Do Your Research
The first thing any of us should do when deciding to make a large purchase is to stop and step back from the item. While impulse purchases may work out for you, when you’re spending money on an article of clothing that you want to last for years to come and that is costing a chunk of your savings account, do your research. What do we mean by research? Well, there are a couple of key things we tend to stop and ask ourselves.
Who is the designer? What do they stand for?
Do some research on the designer themselves. Designers all have an aesthetic and brand they are widely known for and you’ll want to be sure that their name, brand and values are all things that align with yours. For example, we all remember Kate’s iconic Issa dress that she wore for her formal engagement announcement with Prince William, in purple on the 2011 Canada Tour, or the bird print Issa from the night before her wedding. We had seen Kate numerous times over the years and it appeared to be a brand that she loved and that we all expected to see more of… Until Camilla Al-Fayed purchased a 51% stake in the London-based company. The name should sound familiar to royal watchers. Camilla’s brother, Dodi, died alongside Princess Diana in the 1997 Paris car crash.
It’s been widely reported that the Royal Family want no association with the Al-Fayed name for a number of reasons, one Mohamed Al-Fayed, the father of Camilla and Dodi, stating that the car accident was a conspiracy planned by the royal family. While Issa dresses are gorgeous, it’s highly unlikely – if not a guarantee – that we will not see Kate wear one again. While that does not mean the rest of us can not enjoy their silhouettes (although the quality has gone drastically downhill in my opinion) it’s a prime example of doing research on the brand and ensuring that your values are aligned.
Will the piece be a classic?
When you’re spending money on an article of clothing that you’re spending a lot of money on, you’ll need to ask yourself if the piece will be a classic. Is the Burberry trench coat you’re eyeing the Kensington in a classic silhouette, or is it the extremely trendy lace version? While there is absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing the lace version (we swoon!), if you’re buying something with the intention of wearing it time and time again over the years – like Kate – then you’ll want to be sure you’re purchasing a classic piece with timeless silhouettes, detailing and accessories.
Shop Like Kate For Less Tip #2: Become a Stalker
The next key to getting a great designer find? Become passionate about finding out everything you possibly can about the piece and/or brand. Do they have a small number of boutiques that never offer sales? Are they a large international brand with outlet stores? I like to go to a high-end store near me and try on a designer piece. I inspect all of the details, make sure I have the right sizing information and fit and then I head home to stalk my favourite online haunts to see if I can get the piece for less. 9/10, I can find the piece for at least 25% less than I could purchase it in the store… But you have to be persistent. Here are two tips on how to be an effective online clothing stalker:
Is the item sold out? Want to watch for it to go on sale? Several services and brands offer a notification for when something goes on sale or becomes available. L.K. Bennett, one of Kate’s favourite shoe designers, offered a signup for the pumps after Kate wore it on the Royal Tour of India and Bhutan and it was not available for purchase. They sent out a notification as soon as the shoe was re-released and if you were quick enough, your size would have been available.
Check for Diffusion Lines
Many designer brands have sister lines of clothing which may offer a similar silhouette at a discounted price or a more fulsome availability. While this generally means that you’ll get less quality, sometimes the real thing can be just way too expensive or impossible to acquire and diffusion lines of the designer are a possibility. Be sure you investigate the quality before investing. As an example, Issa released a capsule collection with Banana Republic a few years ago and the quality was atrocious. Most people I know who purchased something quickly returned it. Kate is a fan of diffusion lines herself, having 3 versions of the Great Plains Cezanne dress – Great Plains being a sister brand to French Connection.
Shop Like Kate For Less Tip #3: Befriend a Salesclerk
If you find a brand you’re passionate about, there is a bonus to visiting the boutique… The salesclerks. If you are respectful, friendly and polite with what you are looking for, I have found that sales assistants are often happy to let you know when your size is in stock or when the piece might be available at a discount. The key is to be upfront with what you are looking for and be honest – if you tell the salesperson you have only the budget to buy the one piece and don’t insinuate that you will purchase much more than that one thing and waste their time, they will likely be more inclined to help you. Leading them on thinking they will make a huge sale and then not buying anything is never a good way to build a relationship.
Bonus Tip to Shop Like Kate For Less: Rent it!
Still can’t afford a piece? Not in the budget right now? We’ve all been there and will all be there at certain points in our lives (unless we have the aforementioned unlimited budgets Kate does!). If you have a special event, we are sure Kate would approve of services where you can rent an article of designer clothing, like Rent the Runway. There is no shame in renting an item and returning it – however we are strongly against purchasing something you can’t afford or have no intention of keeping, wearing it and then returning it. That isn’t classy or elegant, and definitely not something Kate would do.
Pieces from some of Kate’s Favourite Brands
Here are some of our current favourites from Kate-approved brands:
Dolce & Gabbana Silk Cotton Mid Length Striped Dress • Dolce & Gabbana • $1,408
Dolce & Gabbana Poppy & Daisy Open-Back Party Dress, Red/Black/White • Dolce & Gabbana • $1,956
Dolce & Gabbana Floral-Appliquéd Guipure Lace Gown • Dolce & Gabbana • $9,100
Gianvito Rossi Velvet Pumps • Gianvito Rossi • $670
Gianvito Rossi Lace-Inset Ankle-Strap Sandals-Black • Gianvito Rossi • $459
Gianvito Rossi Velvet Sandals • Gianvito Rossi • $815
Alexander McQueen Alexander Mcqueen Gathered Silk-Chiffon Gown • Alexander McQueen • $3,548
Alexander McQueen Long-Sleeve Jewel-Neck Sheath Dress, Cloud Blue • Alexander McQueen • $1,319
Alexander McQueen Long-Sleeve Harness Ruffle Blouse, White • Alexander McQueen • $699
Tory Burch floral mesh gown • Tory Burch • $1,110
Tory Burch Embroidered Dress • Tory Burch • $1,045
Naeem Khan Racer-Neck Embroidered Raffia Ball Gown, Natural/Red • Naeem Khan • $12,990
Naeem Khan Short-Sleeve V-Neck Mermaid Gown, Blue/Green/Multi • Naeem Khan • $6,990
L.K. Bennett ‘Alondra’ Sandal (Women) • LK Bennett • $495
L.K. Bennett Prula Graphic Floral Dress • LK Bennett • $695
L.K. Bennett ‘Freya’ Pump (Women) • LK Bennett • $425
PRADA Knee-length dresses • Prada • $2,856
TOD’S D-Bow small leather tote • Tod’s • $1,837
We want to know – have you ever made a designer purchase based on a brand or piece Kate has worn? What led you to the purchase? Do you love it, and how does wearing it make you feel?