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The Duchess’s Garden Party Style & Dress Poll Results

We are back with the results of the initial Favorite Daywear Dress poll and two quick polls looking at last year’s more formal frocks as well as the coatdresses worn by the Duchess. But first, I thought a look at Kate’s garden party ensembles would be fun.

We begin with the Duchess’s first garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2012

Kate wore a dress by Emilia Wickstead for the May 29th event.

A version of the ‘Alice’ style, the piece showcased a fitted bodice, squared neckline, long sleeves, inset waistband, and a full, pleated skirt. The off-center closure on the bodice used snaps as well as hooks/eyes.  The dress was worn to the Sovereigns’ Luncheon just a few weeks before this function. 

The Duchess wore her double-drop pearl earrings and a new hat by Jane Corbett. 

The chapeau was worn again for Trooping the Colour in 2013.  

Kate also accessorized with her Sledge Pumps ($206, currently on sale) and Natalie Clutch, both by LK Bennett

The Duchess wore Emilia Wickstead again at a May 22, 2013 garden party

She was in a modified version of the designer’s “Marella” coat, named after Italian socialite and art collector Marella Agnelli, née Princess Donna Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto. The silk coat featured an abstract yellow and white pattern, three-quarter length sleeves, and a collarless neckline; it was from the S/S 2013 collection.

Kate repeated a Jane Corbett hat first seen at Order of the Garter in 2012 .

She carried her Fifth Avenue Clutch and Park Avenue Pumps, both items by Russell & Bromley.

And it looked like she wore her Annoushka Pearl Drops suspended from her Kiki McDonough Diamond Hoops

The following year brought another repeat when Kate attended a June 2014 Buckingham Palace garden party.  

The knee-length dress showcased exquisite lace atop a white or ivory base, long sleeves, a modified boat neckline. The color was referred to by many different names, including nude, beige, gold, caramel, eggshell, blush pink, and others. (I call it ‘champagne.’)  The dress was first worn for the 2012 Jubilee National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral (shown below left).

The Duchess wore a new hat by Jane Corbett that was designed specifically to go with this dress, and her Annoushka Pearl Drops hanging from her Kiki McDonough Hoops. She also carried her Russell & Bromley Fifth Avenue clutch.

After much discussion and emailing, it appeared the Duchess wore Russell and Bromley’s 5th Avenue heels.

The next time the Duchess attended a garden party was May 24, 2016

She repeated a bespoke design by Alexander McQueen featuring multiple folds placed asymmetrically on the front, a round neckline, peplum, and full skirt. Many immediately recognized the look, as it was initially worn for Prince George’s christening in October 2013.  

The Duchess accessorized with the same hat worn at George’s christening, the ‘Georgie’ style by Jane Taylor.

She accessorized with her Nina Clutch ($250) by LK Bennett and her Gianvito Rossi pumps, along with the Annoushka Pearl Drops/Kiki McDonough Hoops.

Kate attended another garden party in 2016, heading to Northern Ireland in June for that event.

Kate was in a coat she wore as early as 2006; it was by Day Birger et Mikkelsen, a Danish brand.  This was at least the fifth time the Duchess was seen in the garment. It was made of brocade fabric with a subtle gold paisley pattern; it also features a single-breasted silhouette with flap pockets, off-center three-button fastening, and princess seams.    

Lady Carrickfergus (as she is titled in Northern Ireland) accessorized with a new hat by Lock and Company, the Morning Rose Perching Hat.

She brought back her Nina Clutch and Fern pumps, both by LK Bennett.

She wore the Irish Guards’ Shamrock Brooch as well as new earrings that were a customized version of Kiki McDonough’s Eden Diamond Flower Drop Earrings, with citrines instead of lemon quartz stones.

For a May 2017 garden party, the Duchess brought back a Christoper Kane coat. 

The fitted design was a bespoke piece, crafted of an ice-blue eau de nil satin. It featured multiple gores front and back, with four panels per side. There was also a covered front placket, vertical front pockets, a self-belt, and notched lapels. 

The Duchess was in a hat by John Lock and Co., the Sweet Delight style.

Kate first wore the design in 2012 for the Opening Ceremony of the London Games and then again in June of 2014 for Order of the Garter ceremonies. You can see the Lock & Company hat is a repeat from that 2014 Garter ensemble.

At the garden party, Kate accessorized with a vintage clutch and her Gianvito Rossi praline pumps. 

She also had on the Blue Topaz and Diamond earrings by Kiki McDonough that we first saw her wear in Luxembourg just a few weeks before the party.Kiki McDonough /

Most recently, we saw Kate in pink Alexander McQueen at a May 2019 garden party

(This will be repetitive, as we just featured the ensemble in a fashion flashback last week.) The double-breasted design hits at the knee and has very slightly raised shoulders, pleats at the front and back, and flaps at the hips. The piece is also featured in one of the polls below.

Kate’s hat was by Juliette Botterill.

She wore the Collingwood diamond and pearl drop earrings that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales. 

The Duchess also had on her Gianvito Rossi suede pumps in the praline colorway and she carried her Loeffler Randall clutch. 

Of seven ensembles, all but two featured repeat designs.  Three were Alexander McQueen designs, two were by Emilia Wickstead, and three were in the’neutral’ color range – ivory, cream, champagne, while two were pink.

Do you have a favorite garden party look? Just for fun, here is a quick poll on the Duchess’s garden party style.  

Now for results of the initial round of Favorite New Day Dress voting. You may recall we divided the dresses into two groups because there were so many. Here are results from the initial round of voting.

As the numbers above show, in the first group the yellow Alexander McQueen dress worn for Trooping the Colour in June took first place and the Alessandra Rich seen at a May Bletchley Park engagement was second, garnering the majority of the 3000+ votes. In the second group of dresses, the Emilia Wickstead from the 2019 Gentleman’s Singles Final at Wimbledon was your favorite, followed by another Wickstead design, this one seen at the launch of the National Emergencies trust in November

These four dresses will be part of a new poll that will also have your favorite ‘dressy dress’ from last year and your favorite 2019 coatdress. 

Let’s move now to our review of those more formal styles; we have just four to consider.  The first is from February when the Duke and Duchess attended a reception in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Kate wore the Metallic Lurex Midi style by Missoni. Described as being “whisper-weight,” the dress was made of a rayon/cupro/polyester blend fabric, with a metallic sheen.  Design elements included a fitted bodice with a v-neck, sheer sleeves, a pleated midi-length skirt with a “slim-fitting slip.” 

The next dress in our poll was worn at the Chelsea Flower Show in May and just featured in our look at Kate’s Chelsea Flower Show ensembles last week.

The Erdem ‘Sheba Floral Gown’ was made of a cotton-silk voile material in a floral print. It showcased what is described as “Victorian influence” and a high neck embellished with white crocheted lace that you see used throughout the dress. The garment had multiple tiers accented by raw-edge ruffle trim, long sleeves, and a concealed back zipper.   

When attending Royal Ascot in June, the Duchess debuted a new designer, Elie Saab.  While technically separates, this seemed to fit better in this category. I think the look would skew the separates poll to come, as those styles are much more casual.

Kate wore a bespoke version of the designer’s Macramé Pussy Bow Top ($1625), crafted of a cotton/poly/silk blend fabric. It has a relaxed fit, button front, and partial lining. The Embroidered Tulle Skirt ($3100) is done in matching tulle fabric with embroidered dots; it has an A-line silhouette and it is lined. 

At an October 1st engagement at the Aga Khan Centre, the Duchess was in a dress that was part of a collaborative collection from Aross Girl and Soler London.

The Amanda style ($556) was made of silk georgette in a maxi-length. It featured a round neckline with gathers, elasticated waist, self-belt, sheer sleeves, and cuffs with tie fasteners that create a blouson effect. Fully lined, the dress did not have a zipper but slipped on over the head. Now it’s time to vote! 

One of the things that became evident when reviewing all of Kate’s ensembles from last year is that there was a decrease in the number of coatdresses she wore.  Here is our quick review. When attending the annual Anzac Day Service in April the Duchess wore Catherine Walker.

Similar to the brand’s ‘Amber’ style, the peacock blue garment had a funnel-style collar, full-length sleeves, and a hemline that hits mid-knee.

For a May Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, the Duchess was in a pink coatdress by Alexander McQueen. 

The piece is double-breasted, with a very slightly raised shoulder, pleats at the front and back, and a full skirt.

We saw another Catherine Walker coatdress at last year’s Order of the Garter service.

The ‘Liza’ style is described by the brand as “A contemporary take on a ’50’s look, this coatdress in ivory wool crepe has copped jacket ‘panels’ edged in fine black lace.” Other design elements included an oversized collar, button front, and self-covered buttons.
Again, the top finisher in each of these two new polls will be included in a poll with the four dresses from the Favorite Daywear Dress poll. 

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Sunday 7th of June 2020

I didn't realise how many of Kate's garden party looks I had forgotten about! The pink Emilia Wickstead has always stood out in my mind and I was confident that would be my pick. But then I started scrolling through the photos from other parties and saying for each one, "Oh, I forgot about that one! That one was great too!" – up to a point. Eventually I found the looks less magnificent, and I think it started when Kate began wearing full updos for each garden party. I feel the christening dress and Christopher Kane coat both looked much better on earlier outings when Kate's hair was down. The coat in particular looks a bit too sharp in the collar and shoulders, and the same elements turn me off from the McQueen coat worn last year. I was never a fan of the Northern Ireland look, the coat is just too big and the hat a bit overwhelming as a result. There is something charming about Kate wearing the same pair of earrings to every garden party up to that point!

In the end I stuck with the pink Wickstead – the hat was just phenomenal and Kate looked radiant with a bit of a tan as well. The yellow coat is a close second though!


Tuesday 2nd of June 2020

I’m loving these polls!

Alas, I really don’t love any of the Garden Party looks. I guess it’s a style preference — to me, they all manage to look stiff and stuffy.

The powder blue Elie Saab ensemble for the Ascot was a delightful confection! I still love it and it’s one of my Top Ten Kate looks.


Sunday 31st of May 2020

I really enjoy these posts where you review past looks of a particular style. Thank you for doing them, I feel they must be a lot of work to put together. I find it fun to review poll results and see how the look that I like best ranks in popularity. To be honest I'm not a huge fan of "garden party" looks (I follow Kate's style for her outdoorsy and workwear looks) so I was surprised that my favourite look in this category, the champagne lace McQueen, is the overall favourite.

I can see why the blue Elie Saab separates also leads in the second poll, the look is so quintessentially British, so perfectly accessorized, and ideal for the Royal Ascot. It's a classic Kate look. However, my favourite in this category is the minty green Missoni, for the same reason that my favourite in the other poll is the champagne lace McQueen: it's one of the few times Kate has gone for a sexy look.

Now don't @ me people, I love Kate's style as much as you all do, but to my mind she's very much like Audrey Hepburn, timeless, elegant, feminine, but only very occasionally sexy. Kate's style is very cultivated and each look is well thought at out so I believe it's deliberate decision. It has nothing to do with her slim physique, you certainly don't need Marilyn Monroe curves to be sexy. Queen Letizia of Spain has a similar figure to Kate and that woman has a lot of sex appeal.

All the best from NYC <3


Saturday 30th of May 2020

.. just a short, heartfelt even-if-this-all-seems-silly.. THANK YOU to the creator and upkeep-er of this lovely website! thank you. thank you. thank you. (and thank you to Kate-- who will never see my thank you!)

I haven't posted in a long time.. but I live in NYC. I have been part of the global experiment.. on lockdown for 78+ days now-- and the effect of the pandemic has ripped my life apart. this isn't the place to go into details! but I wanted to just type that this little site.. is such an innocent sweet spot for me! it doesn't feel frivolous or decadent, the way it does often, for me, to look at glossy pages in Vogue, for example- there is something always so dignified and elegant about Kate! and the same tenor is found in the site.. sigh. it's a bit of comfort. with a cuppa! (-: it's almost as if Kate does with clothes/shoes/jewelry/hair/accessories what traditional flower arrangers do in Japan.. she 'speaks' through them. anyways. hope my ramble is well taken! and not too out of place. THANK YOU for the few moments of beautiful respite!


Saturday 30th of May 2020

Deliane, your comment was so lovely that I started to read it aloud to my husband but wasn't able to read it all the way through because I was crying. Sometimes I am just gobsmacked by what a long, ghastly slog it has been for people, and what a long road remains ahead. The grace and dignity you and others display as you get through dark days is amazing. If this site provided even the tiniest of respites, I am immensely grateful to be able to do that. I'm sending you a big hug and hopes for brighter days. Susan☺️


Friday 29th of May 2020

Thanks for a truly fabulous post. From the absorbing review of garden party outfits my clear favourite was the yellow Wickstead Marella coat. I love it when Kate makes a departure from her regular choices. In tailoring she usually opts for a sleek, elegant finish, but this textured yellow is fresh and youthful, colourful for a garden party while contained in clean, formal lines. Neat three-quarter sleeves add a touch of verve. Classic with a twist shows admirable elan in my book, while this is also a winner in the maternity style stakes. I gave preference to new outfits over repeats, much as I love them. The other newbie, the pleated pink McQueen was a repeat of style themes, albeit brilliantly realised.

From the more formal dress styles I once again had an easy winner, the minty Missoni. The other three were much less appealing. The Missoni was another example of a quiet Kate breakout, unusual glittery fabric in an interesting colour, benefiting from considerable Missoni skill in handling such material. Of the others, I’ve already bemoaned the fussiness I feel the chintzy blue Erdem embodies elsewhere, and the beautiful turquoise from the Aga Khan centre was biased towards making a cultural rather than sartorial point. Plus, I have never been a fan of the highly popular Elie Saab. Way too fussy, detailed, and girlie for my taste. I can see how it fits a Disney princess ideal, and, of course, it’s perfectly in context at Ascot.

The dress coats again gave me no problem. The white Catherine Walker is another complete stand-out for me, once more we revisit Kate favoured style details in A-line format, but the whole garment is completely revised and transformed by the expert and adept use of an inspired contrast trim. It’s just that bit different from the beautiful peacock blue coat and the masterful McQueen take on traditional formality.

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