One of the most popular questions we get asked on a regular basis is just how repliKaters find the pieces that Kate is wearing, often identifying a specific item just from looking at a blurry arrival photograph from the Duchess’ events before high-resolution images are more readily available.
Today, we’re joined by the lovely Laura (you’ll know her on Twitter as @Japanese_Ginger) who is not only an expert at Kate identifications, but as a Fashion Editor on the blog UFO No More – a site dedicated to bringing attention to old events through the medium of fashion – Laura routinely finds pieces from royals around the world, often collections which are no longer in stores (or easily found online!). We are so excited to share with you Laura’s tips and tricks on identifying the clothing worn by not only Kate, but all of the royal ladies whose style we admire.
Every now and again, I’ll get a tweet or some other kind of communication asking how I ID clothes. I wish there was some magical formula I had that made IDing automatic, but unfortunately that’s not the case. More than anything, it takes practice. The more times you try to ID clothing, the better you will be. But to help get any want-to-be fashion hunters started, I thought I’d share a few tricks of the trade I’ve picked up.
There are two main weapons in a fashion finder’s arsenal: fashion knowledge and technology knowledge. So I’m going to break my article down into tips for each of these. First up, fashion knowledge.
Fashion Knowledge Tips
Fashion sometimes feels like another language, and like learning a foreign language, immersion is one of the best ways to do it.
Follow fashion experts on Twitter, read fashion blogs, keep up with fashion news. The more you know the better.
Learn Designer Aesthetics and Kate’s Preferences
Nothing makes a find easier than having a good idea who the designer is. There are two things that can help you. One is knowing a designer’s aesthetic. Knowing what an Erdem floral or a Jenny Packham embellished gown looks like or the theme of Sarah Burton’s latest collection for Alexander McQueen will help you immensely.
Being a Kate expert helps too. Is she wearing dark skinny jeans? Zara’s a good guess. Do you want to know who designed her new suede pumps? Gianvito Rossi isn’t a bad starting point. While Kate will surprise us with new designers, she does have a good list of designers that she relies on a lot.
Find a Unique Identifier
Be able to pick out what is identifiable about the item you are searching for. The best way to narrow your search and prevent any false positives is to figure out what is unique about whatever item you’re looking for.
Knowing the various hem lengths, silhouettes, sleeve lengths, necklines, colors, etc. can all help. Also, look at multiple photos to make sure the lighting or angle isn’t playing tricks on you. Nothing is worse than looking all day for that pair of Kate’s new navy blue shoes only to discover they’re black.
Next up, here are a few technology tips to help you with your fashion hunt.
REFINE, REFINE, REFINE!!!
The reason why royal fashion identification is even a reality today is because of all of the tools we have thanks to the Internet. Using them is key. Every filter a site offers is a way to decrease the amount of items you have to scroll through.
Most sites have things like color, price point, and even length available to refine by. Use as many as you can. Another trick with this is to order your results by price point. It’s usually easy enough to tell if Kate is wearing a higher priced or lower priced piece. So organizing by price lets you search in the price point you think is most likely.
Know the Best Sites and When to Use Them
Shopstyle is the gold standard as it aggregates many sites into one search engine with robust filters (Bonus tip: Be sure to check both the US and UK versions of Shopstyle, as the results are often different). For fresh off the runway pieces, Moda Operandi is a good place to check.
For pieces that are a season or more old, look no further than The Outnet. There are many other sites that have unique offerings. Explore…you never know which site will have that piece of Kate’s you’re looking for!
Some of my best lessons came from finds I didn’t even make. Early on, after a find was made I would challenge myself to find the item using only the information the person who found it had (i.e. trying to find Kate’s recent Somerset by Alice Temperley dress without filtering my search by designer).
This is how I picked up crucial knowledge about how to use fashion search engines. I also picked up some fashion terminology along the way. For instance, while retracing steps one time I learned that searching for frill and ruffle can bring up different results even though they mean similar things.
There is so much I can’t put here because it just takes practice and experience, but hopefully this is enough to get you started on the path to becoming a royal fashion expert. Happy hunting!
It’s always a mad race to identify a piece of clothing Kate is wearing, and the thrill of the hunt can be intoxicating. We are so thankful that Laura and the incredible ladies at UFO No More do their great work identifying pieces and for sharing their knowledge with us. We’d love to hear your tips and tricks too – how do you find Kate’s pieces?
Do you have an article you’d love to share with the WWKD community? We’d love to hear from you!