When you are one of the most scrutinized women in the world, like the Duchess of Cambridge is, it’s probably tempting to play it safe with your wardrobe. However, despite all eyes on her, Kate Middleton’s outfits are not always the simple, monochromatic uniform people might expect.
She’s surprised us all on many occasions by making a bold statement with her sartorial choices, and we love her for it. Here are some of her best, most unexpected fashion looks.
1Poppies in the rain
While attending a garden party on the grounds of Kensington Palace in August 2017, Kate debuted this poppy-printed Prada dress.
2Pretty in purple
Not to be outdone by her young daughter (who looked darling in a pink frock), the duchess wore a gorgeous lavender Emila Wickstead dress as she and Princess Charlotte strolled across the Hamburg airport runway in July 2017. And it wasn’t the first time the ladies coordinated in shades of pink.
Kate Middleton is clearly pro-polka dot prints. Case in point: this black and white dress that she wore to the first day of the Wimbledon Championships in July 2017.
4Lady in red
The duchess let her hair (and sleeves) down in a red Alexander McQueen dress at the Queen’s Birthday Party at the British Ambassadorial Residence in July 2017.
5Short and sweet
It’s not often Kate dons a mini dress, but she debuted this above-the-knee Gucci number during a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
6C’est chic, no?
While in Paris in March 2017, Kate wore a Chanel design to visit a famous Parisian landmark.
What’s black and green and white all over? This floral Alexander McQueen dress that Kate wore to the 2017 BAFTAs, that’s what.
8Prim and proper
Kate looked lovely in a green Hobbs suit dress with a Peter Pan collar in January 2017.
It may have been winter, but Kate clearly was thinking about spring flowers when she put on this Erdem dress to attend a meeting in January 2017.
The duchess nearly had a Marilyn Monroe moment in November 2016, when her white lace gown dramatically blew in the wind at the premiere of “A Street Cat Named Bob.”
The duchess looked jolly in a belted red and green printed Vanessa Seward dress at a Christmas party in December 2016.
12Kate x Kate Spade
We’re not sure if you’d call the color of this Kate Spade dress “princess-pink,” but it certainly seems appropriate when Kate, seen here in October 2016, wears it.
13Give us a twirl
The duchess looked like she was ready to pirouette in this red and white dress while visiting a Canadian Coast Guard and Vancouver First Responders event in September 2016.
14Casual in printed pants
The duchess rarely wears pants during public outings, but for a visit to Cornwall in September 2016, she opted for a graphic pair of leggings and wedge espadrilles.
Many women avoid horizontal stripes, but not Kate! The duchess looked amazing in this off-the-shoulder Barbara Casasola gown at the Art Fund Museum of the Year dinner in July 2016.
16All smiles in blue floral
This cream colored gown that Kate wore in August 2016 is so classic Kate, from its bright burst of blue flowers to its sophisticated cut.
17All about that hat
Kate’s worn some pretty epic hats over the years, but this hat-and-coat combo from June 2016 might just be our favorite the duchess has ever worn.
18Pretty printed princess
At the 2015 Women In Hedge Funds Gala Dinner, Kate looked radiant in a printed Erdem gown.
19Channeling Princess Di
Like Princess Di, who wore polka dots when presenting baby William to the world, Kate opted for a custom Jenny Packham polka dot dress to show off her new son Prince George in July 2013.
Some pregnant women avoid wearing loud prints in order to appear more slender, but not Kate! She went bold in a cheetah-print dress in June 2013.
21Classic in graphics
A graphic print dress seems to be Kate’s go-to. In June 2011, she wore this black and white patterned dress to a friend’s wedding.