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Fashion Flashbacks & Your Favorite New Day Dress of 2020

Hello-Hello, and welcome to another post as we continue with our year-end polls and also share two fashion flashbacks.  In the poll starting today, we are looking at Kate’s new day dresses. For the purposes of the poll, I have not used dresses that we only saw in a Zoom call; we will cover cocktail/dressier designs in a separate poll. 

We begin with the Zara dress worn for a day of engagements in Bradford

The brand’s Printed Dress with Belt is midi-length in 100% polyester. Done in an oversized houndstooth print, the piece buttons up the front, has a pleated skirt, v-neck with attached bow, elastic on the inside of the waistband, button cuffs, and wide self-belt.

The next design is also by Zara, seen when Kate and William were in South Wales

It is made 0f a viscose/nylon blend. The knit design features a round neck with modified balloon sleeves with an extended cuff.

Kate chose a dress by Alessandra Rich for the couple’s first day in Ireland

The Rose-Print Pleated Silk Dress is from the label’s S/S ’20 ready-to-wear line.  The fabric is a print silk crepe de chine, and the dress features a pleated bodice, structured bishop sleeves, and a peplum waist.

Next, a vintage frock that was also worn on the Ireland trip

The dress appears to be silk with a ruffled (aka ‘pie crust’ collar) collar and jabot trimmed in black velvet, double-banded cuffs also trimmed in black velvet, a black velvet belt, and gathers at the shoulder and waist.

Our third dress from the Ireland trip is by Suzannah, worn for events in Galway

The Valerie Polka Squares dress is 100% silk crepe de chine in a style inspired by a 1940’s design.  It showcases a fitted bodice with a vee-neckline, pleat detailing at the shoulders, bodice, cuffs, with a “slightly higher pitched waist seam, with the skirt being a soft a-line.”

In an April Clap for our Carers video, we saw the Duchess wearing the Ghost ‘Anouk’ dress.  

The dress is 100% viscose in a pattern called ‘Suzie Floral Spray’ in blue. Described as a feminine shirtdress, the garment featured a ruffled collar, cuffs, and hem, fabric-covered buttons, and pleating at the sleeve head.

Kate debuted a new label when helping plant a garden at The Nook Hospice in June

She wore the Marie-Louise Midi Dress ($189) by Faithfull the Brand.  It featured a vee-neck and faux front closure with self-covered buttons, a shirred panel to define the waist, puffed sleeves with rows of elastic at the cuff, an invisible back zipper, and a floaty A-line skirt.  The handmade, hand-dyed & hand-printed piece is 100% rayon.

When attending a July tea party at Queen Elizabeth Hospital to celebrate the NHS’s 72nd birthday, the Duchess chose a Beulah London design.

She wore the Shalini Midi Dress, crafted of 100% silk crepe de chine. The fabric was digitally printed in Italy, while the dress itself was constructed in England. It is midi-length with a contrasting white point collar and cuffs, concealed front placket, fitted waist, flared skirt, and self-belt.  

The Duchess was in Emilia Wickstead for a July engagement launching Tiny Happy People with the BBC.

It looked like she wore the Anatola Pleated Polka Dot Shirtdress. The dress is polyester with a touch of elastane for stretch; the lining is also poly.  It features pleats on the roomy bodice and full skirt, buttons under a concealed front placket, a wide point collar, a buckle belt, and long full sleeves with button cuffs. Kate’s dress appeared to have some of the volume removed from the sleeves. 

For a July meeting at Sandringham about the Royal Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, the Duchess returned to Suzannah.

Some may recall this was a tough dress to ID at the time. It turned out to be Suzannah’s Cotton Shirt Dress in a pattern called ‘Blue Polka,” made of lightweight organic cotton with a semi-fitted bodice, side seam pockets, the coordinating belt, and box pleats providing the volume for the skirt.

In August, the Duchess wore another shirtdress style, this one by Boden.  

The Viola shirtdress is a maxi style with a ditsy floral print. Made of viscose, it has a button front, point collar, tiered skirt, and self-belt.

For September engagements in London, the Duchess chose another style by Beulah London

We first saw the piece in a video marking Mental Health Awareness Week in May. The Calla Dress is 100% silk with a cotton collar. Other design elements include a shirtdress silhouette with a concealed front placket, A-line skirt, and slender back tie.

Also in September, a new dress by Gabriela Hearst for an outdoor screening of David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet with Sir David Attenborough and the entire Cambridge family.

It looked like the Duchess was in the label’s ‘Marley’ style, from the designer’s pre-fall 2020 collection. It is 100% cotton with a cotton/silk lining.  The style features a buttoned bodice with concealed placket, adjustable sleeve length with tabs, a self-belt with snaffle closure, and a full skirt accented with mother of pearl snaps on the side.

In October, the Duke and Duchess met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine and First Lady Olena Zelenska at Buckingham Palace. 

The dress was never officially identified, so it is on our UFO list. However, it does bear several design elements similar to Emilia Wickstead pieces Kate has worn.  It is knee-length with a classic fit and flare silhouette, a vee-neck, and a self-belt in a style like other Emilia Wickstead belts. It has darts on the bodice and gathers at the waist like other Wickstead designs.

We wrap up the new day dresses with another Alessandra Rich design seen when the Cambridge family attended a performance at the Palladium in mid-December.

The Petal Print Silk Dress (out of stock) is 100% silk with a multi-tiered ruffle collar, yoke waistband with gathers, button cuffs, and hidden back zipper.

Now it’s time to vote for your favorite.  NOTE 4pm Jan 19: Apparently the poll is not recording votes. I am going to create a new poll and embed it.

UPDATE: Here is the new version of the poll and it appears to be working. Thank you for your patience, and apologies for the confusion! 

Now, our Fashion Flashbacks.  The first was worn four years ago this past Sunday. 

The occasion was a Heads Together event.

The Duchess wore a dress by Erdem called the ‘Evita.’

It was made from matelassé fabric, providing a textured background that adds dimension to the garment. It is a basic sheath silhouette, with a fitted bodice and waist, concealed zipper, and vent at the back hem. Erdem called the print Black Lily Collage, while multiple retailers referred to it as navy.

You get a sense of the fabric texture in this image.

Kate accessorized with her Tod’s Leather Fringe Buckle Pumps.

And her oft-carried Bayswater wallet clutch by Mulberry. Kate Mulberry Bayswater Marron Conch Clutch Heads Together Jan 17 2017 with Erdem Evita dress.

She also wore her Gold Disc Button Earrings by Oscar de la Renta, seen in the lower right corner of the photo below. 

Our other fashion flashback includes a dress you will see in the ‘dressier dresses’ poll for 2020, a design worn one year ago tomorrow.

The dress was by the British label Needle and Thread, a version of its ‘Aurora style. The occasion was a Buckingham Palace reception capping off the UK-Africa Investment Summit.

The upper layer of dress fabric is inspired by vintage lace and done in tulle embellished with sequins, some in a floral motif. (The tulle sits atop a solid layer.) The frock features lace frills at the collar and shoulders, sheer sleeves, a defined waist, and a back zipper.

Kate repeated her ‘Casa’ clutch by Jenny Packham and Gianvito Rossi suede pumps ($695). 

The Duchess wore a new pair of earrings by Soru similar to the pair seen below, the Ruby Earrings in Gold ($186), minus the wide border of crystals.


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Tuesday 26th of January 2021

I voted for the white/floral suzannah dress it was so pretty and practical.

I wasn't a big fan of a lot of the dresses kate wore last year!Too many frumpy and old looking outfits.

The erdem "evita" dress was beautiful sexy,and classy i would love to see her re-wear it again

Paula B

Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Exactly my thoughts! Kate is so tall and slim she gets away with them, but many of these dresses are granny dresses, and would look like it on any other figure. The Erdem "Evita" is beautiful and flattering. Kate should show a little knee or shoulder a little more often, and take some fashion risks!

Mary B

Monday 25th of January 2021

Somehow in all the overwhelming news of last year, I missed the (from my perspective) catastrophic return of ruffles. Oh dear.

I know some like prairie dresses. I don’t oppose them in general- I like shirtwaists - but the ruffles. Fun to sew, but too nightgownesque for me.


Friday 22nd of January 2021

Beautiful girl with a sense of style out of date most of the time sadly, I am still a fan but boy she could be more sophisticated than this

Kiki in Vancouver

Thursday 21st of January 2021

I didn’t actually love many of those dresses at all - I don’t care for the long prairie style, and I’ve never been fond of shirtwaist dresses. And sadly I didn’t like anything Kate wore in Ireland. But omigosh, the flashback to the Erdem Evita is just divine. This is by far my favourite length and silhouette on Kate. This dress is in my all-time top favourite list for sure. And doesn’t her hair look amazing that day - so full, and not covering her face? I’m still finding it hard to believe the stones on the earrings worn with the Needle and Thread dress are genuine rubies. I’m drooling, and I hope we see them again soon.


Thursday 21st of January 2021

Thanks so much for another poll so soon it’s a real treat to review Kate’s 2020 dresses. The winner by a royal mile (see what I did just there?) has to be the stand-out green Alessandra Rich dress. The impressionist flower print is to die for, those casual black floral outlines work perfectly on bold jewel tones. The top style is unusual, clever, and distinctive; the high neck, those vertical pleats plus neat inset waistband, and the gentle swagger of the bell sleeves with their deep cuffs make this a creation of elegant originality and flair. Hope we see it again before too long.

The closest contender for me was the immaculate lilac/blue suspected Wickstead, which, in contrast to the Rich, made use of established classic style devices to produce a fresh take on a delightful and elegant couture look. It still remains a surprise to me how many new dresses there were despite lockdown, and how pretty they were.

The Erdem Evita is a favourite for me and a very welcome flashback, I’m only sorry it hasn’t been repeated so far. The creative Erdem take on things floral has been nicely contained in a classic sheath, thus avoiding the overcrowded look that comes with some of that label’s more complex patterns and designs. I loved how the Tod’s pumps blended with it, though I wouldn’t myself choose to put such a heavy heel against a slim skirt.

The red Needle & Thread was another instant hit with me, though it echoed much of what Kate has previously worn from both Packham and Temperley. It was simply perfect cocktail style for the occasion and the ruby Soru earrings were knock-out with it.

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