The coronation of King Charles III—and the subsequent changes to the dynamics of the royal family—were bound to be reflected in a shift in the Princess of Wales’s wardrobe, as she went from the Duchess of Cambridge to queen-in-waiting and her role within the family became even more important. British Vogue’s deputy editor Sarah Harris wrote at the time that she was hoping to see Kate reaching for “more suits… in the shape of a wide-leg, high-waisted trouser with a long-line blazer”. Perhaps the memo reached Kate, as she hasn’t worn anything other than suits this fall.
Kate’s wardrobe in Windsor must hold rails of midi-dresses in ditsy florals, polka-dot prints, and joyful bold colors—they were her unofficial uniform for her trips to schools and charity centers across the country for at least a decade. She is now the Princess of Wales and her foundation for royal style is not a calf skimming shirtdress with a pleated skirt or belt. It is a pair tailored wide-leg trouser.
Since September, Kate has worn almost a dozen different takes on the same tailored, corporate look, and she hasn’t been photographed in a dress since the Wimbledon finals back in July. On a visit to a community hub in Bracknell today, walking across a grey-tiled lobby in a pressed white shirt, tailored grey trousers, and a slate-grey knitted vest (from Samantha Cameron’s workwear-heavy label Cefinn), Kate looked as though she could be welcoming the new graduate intake at a corporate firm.
“Let’s face it, the simple task of getting dressed—even with all the help and advice imaginable—when you’re the Princess of Wales, can’t be easy,” Harris wrote of the process of assembling a royal wardrobe. “Nothing can be too fussy, so forget a slit that’s tricky to navigate, or a collar that needs tending to. It’s also impossible to please everybody. Because, you know, being the wife of the future king—and mother to his heir—means the entire world is watching; scrutinizing.”
Kate’s work wardrobe has been reduced to a few sharply tailored suits which she can mix and match with a white tee or shirt underneath. The princess prefers a high-waisted trouser—either gently cropped or boot-cut—and longline blazers with button detailing. Finishing touches include pointed court shoes in suede (often a match to her suit’s color). Whether she’s wearing Alexander McQueen, Sezane, Holland Cooper, Burberry, or Roland Mouret, the cut tends to be the same, but Kate does switch it up when it comes to color and print.
A trouser suit is the ideal choice for a modern-day princess: it’s polished and timeless, but practical, too. (The princess won’t have to have weights sewn into the hem of her skirts to avoid them being blown around by rogue gusts of wind, as the late Queen Elizabeth II reportedly did, and a suit negates the need for tights.) Royal outfits should never appear wrinkled, and tailoring maintains its appearance far better than a flimsy pleated midi, so they’re a sensible choice on that front, too. This more businesslike look also reinforces the message that the Firm—and Kate and William in particular—work hard. Another bonus: Wearing variations on the exact outfit may shift attention to the cause that the princess is supporting, rather than her carefully scrutinised wardrobe.
Kate was delighted to discover that dressing like you worked at a competitive law firm became a popular theme for the spring 2024 collection. The Boss show was even titled “CorpCore”, as it explored traditional codes of executive dressing. This was more than just pinstripes with a grey-and-navy color palette. Pens were attached to ties, stuffed in chignons and boxy garment bags looked like the accessories at Canary Wharf. Bottega Veneta introduced black power suits featuring exaggerated shoulders. Striped shirts, rolled newspapers and shoppers made of XL Intercciato weave were scattered around the store. Miu Miu also offered accessories with a workwear theme, including bookish specs, bags large enough to hold laptops, and shoes. There’s plenty of inspiration for the new corpcore princess.