Ascot Appreciation—The Duchess of Cambridge

Housekeeping Note: The Designer Diaries will return in approximately two weeks in order to make way for some special programming. Also, Getty is temporarily down today so any post with Getty links will be missing photos. Fingers crossed that it resolves itself soon!

For some reason, I thought the Duchess of Cambridge had a long history of Ascot attendance, but she has only been there a mere three times as a royal. She has definitely set out a certain style for the event, and that style can be summarized in one word: lace. Lots and lots of lace.

I have my share of lace fatigue, but I think the lacey effect works for this event. It’s both formal and summery, and Kate has stuck with shapes that flow – that adds to the summery effect.


Kate turned to Elie Saab for this event. The blue midi was a customized version of the designers Resort 2019 collection, and included a detailed bodice with a neck bow. The detail on the bodice is actually macrame, not lace, but the effect is close enough to not veer from her theme for the event. The skirt has a tulle overlay with embroidered dots. She wore a Philip Treacy hat, in the same style as her floral hat from 2016’s Trooping the Colour.

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For her 2017 entry, Kate stepped out in her favorite designer, Alexander McQueen. This dress is definitely all lace, and although it’s summery and appropriate, it’s the accessories and hair that grab my attention here. She is wearing the fantastic Bahrain Diamond and Pearl earrings borrowed from HerMaj, and a lovely bespoke hat. The chignon is one of my favorites of her updo tricks.

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Kate wore a Dolce & Gabbana lace dress for her Ascot debut, with a saucy Jane Taylor hat perched atop her head. The dress sported a very big dust ruffle at the hem, with long sleeves and a round neck.

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The thing is, none of these dresses is something I would wear, or really something anyone I know would wear anywhere. I think that’s the entire point. They are quintessential “Duchess at Ascot” dresses. The Duchess is going for feminine and classic for this event, and I am onboard. I think you could look at her years from now and say, “Queen-to-be”.

I mean, just look at these photos. They could have been taken any time from 1900 to now.