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13th January 2022

Celebrating Kate Middleton’s 40th Birthday Month: style, sunglasses and future-Queen chic

Kate Middleton

This report on Kate Middleton is by our resident style reporter, Nancy Buckland-Kirk

Her style is so recognisable that she is known simply by one name: Kate. For two decades now we have been fascinated with her, and since her wedding to Prince William in 2011, Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge,  she has found her style feet in every way. And, let’s face it, Kate doesn’t get dressed the way we do: every time she makes a public appearance, not only are the photographers out in force, but every outfit needs to work for her, rather than against her. Whether she’s working for one of her adopted charities, attending an event or a red carpet occasion, Kate’s stature has grown: at 40, she is now supremely confident in how she presents herself to the world. She’s also a fan of classic eyewear – but more of that later!

Here in Liverpool, we are hugely fond of Kate. She chose the city for an early, married solo appearance on Valentine’s Day in 2012, to support Action on Addiction, a charity very close to her heart. Supporting British fashion, and promoting some of its high street labels, has enabled Kate to have a growing presence: she’s regal, but not out-of-touch. She’s already one of us.

Kate has also been able to talk about issues first brought to light by Princess Diana: she’s certainly carrying the torch, even if it was not passed on in person. Whether it is discussing mental health, children’s health or women’s issues, she has a way with people that you can’t buy, imitate or bottle. It’s a true gift.

To celebrate her 40th Birthday month, I decided to have a look back through some of her most memorable looks. Of course, we all love an off-duty photo: Kate loves her blazer, jeans and spotless trainers. But when it comes to fashion history, it has to be a collection of images that reflect Kate’s approach to occasion dressing: serene, understated and a class act all the way.

For her wedding day, Kate was under the spotlight. Not since the wedding of her late mother-in-law had the world awaited such a regal bride. She did not disappoint, and it was a win for British fashion once more.

THAT wedding dress allowed Kate to leave behind her fiance style and step into her role as a Duchess. For the wedding watched by the world, keeping the style secret right up until the last moment, Kate opted for Alexander McQueen. The label, which was headed by Sarah Burton, and still is, after the death of its founder, has forged a link with Kate which lasts until this day: classic, tailored, and fit for someone who is becoming a senior Royal.

Kate is a huge supporter of British fashion in every way, and she often puts up-and-coming designers on the map. This dress by Emilia Wickstead is a signature style by Kate: simple, fitted, with subtle shades and neutral accessories.

Kate does occasion day dressing with aplomb and now is confident wearing designer looks from all over the globe: this one, worn at Ascot, by Elie Saab, is more detailed, and the hat fits to perfection.

Kate has begun to step away from dresses during the daytime at times, especially since becoming a mum. This jewel-toned silk blouse by Gucci is hugely glamourous, and Kate sticks again to simple shapes.

Kate knows when she attends a wedding she is going to be a huge focus of attention, and so she took on the role of ‘bridesmaid minder’ at her sister’s wedding. Again, dressed in McQueen, this has become a huge favourite, as the pleated detailing and blush silk fabric are so elegant.

Kate’s recent night out on the red carpet to meet 007 took the shine off both her husband and the world’s most famous spy: as she stepped out, this glittering Jenny Packham dress stole every lens. It felt like a real moment for Kate: happy and confident, and approaching her forties with that huge smile.

Kate’s photoshoot for her 40th Birthday, by Paolo Roveri, again wearing McQueen, has seen the Duchess stepping away from her own signature style into something more pronounced, and befitting a future Queen. We’ll definitely be seeing more one-shouldered looks, and the added pockets are a style detail that style lovers adore.

When it comes to her eyewear wardrobe, Kate does like to mix it up from time to time, but she usually returns to the same brand for her staples, and that’s Ray-Ban. She opts for classics, whether at Wimbledon, on the ski slopes, or out-and-about during the daytime, and she knows what suits her face shape.

For Spring/Summer 2022 Kate will be able to choose from the new-season Ray-Ban Icon series, whether she goes for the Wayfarer, Clubmaster or Aviator models, which are the shapes she wears most frequently.

At Blankstone, Ray-Ban is such a popular range and is the one so many clients, new and established, opt for. As a leading, recognisable brand, it is one which has always retained both its own sense of historic cool whilst embracing new innovations and technologies.

The Wayfarer has a classic shape which never dates, and really suits casual looks.

The Clubmaster has a more retro appeal, and has its own cool heritage.

The Aviator is the most fashion-forward choice for Kate, and one which is as popular in Ibiza, Dubai and at the world’s most famous festivals, as well as on the face of our most stylish Royal.

Ray-Ban is also an affordable choice, which makes it great for fashion lovers to switch up their looks. Beautifully designed, long-lasting but still with that instantly recognisable logo which also adorns the faces of music legends, screen icons and supermodels, you can adapt your favourite style to include prescription lenses: essential for capturing every Centre Court Moment – or if, like us, you are staying close to home, at this summer’s Liverpool Tennis tournament.

As Kate moves into this new decade of her life, she is in a unique position: she is the person we relate to, enjoy hearing about and, more importantly, now listening to. She has found her voice, and I am really excited to see what she does next with her role. It can’t be an easy one at times, but it is one she has approached with dedication and grace. And while she is happy to stay in the shade and let others shine, it seems the sunlight follows her wherever she goes.

For a future Queen, we really couldn’t ask any more, could we?

Nancy is a noted fashion writer, and now contributes her own style slant for our Blog every month: eyewear, trends and beyond

To view the full Blankstone Ray-Ban range follow this link:

Additional images courtesy of Paolo Roversi