The Duchess of Cambridge is, and has been for quite some time, one of my style icons. So when I set off for my first trip “across the pond” I decided to also embark on what I dubbed”The Kate Middleton Shopping Tour.” My plan was simple: I would find Kate’s favorite high street brands, and purchase something affordable at each one.
Because really,what better kind of souvenir hunt than supplementing one’s wardrobe with pieces bought abroad? And who better to copy than Kate? Who can forget her iconic black and white dress from Topshop, worn on her 25th birthday? That dress sold out almost as quickly as the pictures hit the front of the papers. Or what about her white Reiss dress, worn for her and William’s official engagement photo (and again on their tour of Canada in 2011)?. Since the beginning of her time in the public eye, Kate has endeared herself to royal watchers as being the sort of graceful, beautiful and kind friend we all want to have. Additionally, she’s relatable, wearing clothes you can go into any high street store and buy yourself. You don’t need a personal stylist to dress like Kate, you can simply stop into a store like Zara and purchase the blazer Kate wore the day before.
So, throughout various cities in the UK and Ireland, I managed to find some of Kate’s favorite high street brands: Zara, Topshop, Reiss, and Jigsaw. Additionally, I found quite a few “Repli-Kates” at various other stores like Dunne’s and Marks & Spencer.
Kate’s worn tons of pieces by Zara, mainly her trademark navy blazers that she often pairs with skinny jeans and her Stuart Weitzman corkswoon wedges. While a few Zara pieces were a bit out of my price range at the time, Zara has a great line called “Zara Basic” which offers up staple pieces at very affordable prices.
Since I’m always in need of suit separates (for my other chosen profession), I chose a smart, tailored, and conservative black skirt that I’ve worn many times. It hits at just the right length and still looks brand new even after almost three years.
Kate’s black and white dress was made instantly famous when the paparazzi snapped pictures of her wearing it on her 25th birthday. Right from the start I knew I had to have my own Topshop dress. Topshop is incredibly affordable and fashion forward. Nearly all the clothes I saw while shopping there have made their way into the mainstream American style. It’s like a Maurices here in the ‘States, but with a funkier–more London/urban edge.
I picked up a smart little grey jersey dress at the shop in Dublin. I could dress it up or down depending on the occasion and it looks great with a statement necklace. Most important to me is that it says “Topshop” in the back!
I really wanted a Reiss dress, particularly the white one I tried on in the dressing room at their store. It reminded me of the famous white “Nanette” dress Kate wore in the picture at the top of this post.
Unfortunately, a dress like this costs upwards of 300 euros (a bit much for a student on a study abroad trip!). I couldn’t resist still trying it on and snapping a photo of me in it in the dressing room. I wanted evidence that I had actually tried on a real, authentic Reiss dress.
However, it all worked out perfectly because I ended up with my beautiful pale orange scarf that I love and adore. Because I was groggy from travel and a little foggy on the exchange rates at the time, I might have paid a bit more for the scarf than I normally would have (it might be the most expensive thing I own, save my computer). I wear that scarf everywhere now, not just because I want to get my money’s worth, but because it’s beautiful and I love it–and every time I wear it I’m reminded of my trip, and you can’t put a price on those memories.
Kate actually worked at the London Jigsaw as an accessories buyer after her graduation from St. Andrews University. Jigsaw is upscale but affordable, with lots of beautiful quality pieces. You definitely feel like a VIP while shopping there.
I found an adorable royal blue tank top at their store in Chester, England for about 12 pounds. It has beautiful lace accents that looks amazing under any top.
So, do you do any shopping when you’re abroad? What are some of your favorite stores?