We're back with one of our most enjoyable annual activities - our end of year polls. 2016 was quite a year for the Duchess sartorially; we saw a plethora of new designers debuted, a continued mix of designer and high street, and of course tried and trusted staple styles and silhouettes. Tonight we're asking you to vote for Kate's Best Coat and Gown of 2016. One caveat: as with previous years we are excluding items worn during the tours of India/Bhutan and Canada as we held post-tour polls on both occasions. You can view Poll results for India/Bhutan here and results for the Canada tour here. We will include a summary of all the year's most loved looks in our 'Kate Fashion Awards' post when all the winners are in.
We know the Duchess loves her coats, and what a stellar collection she has! For our first category we're taking a look back at the coats sported by HRH in 2016. We have an interesting mix this year, with everything from warm winter coats to bespoke pieces created for royal events. For Kate's first engagement of 2016 she marked the 75th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets with a service at St Clement Danes in London. The Duchess' choice of attire for the day? Her bespoke cornflower blue belted Alexander McQueen coat. It marked the third outing for the garment previously worn in Blenheim, New Zealand during the royal tour 2014, and chosen two months later for 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in Normandy.
For the RAF Disbandment Parade in Anglelsey, Kate brought back her L.K. Bennett Ami Coat first debuted during a UNICEF visit to Copenhagen in 2011. The wool/nylon piece features a high collar, front slit pockets, and originally came with a belt.
Kate's green Sportmax coat makes a double appearance in this year's polls. In February, the Countess of Stathearn wore it for a day of engagements in Scotland.
And just yesterday Kate selected it again for Sunday service at St Mary's on the Sandringham estate. The Long Belted Coat is made of green virgin wool and comes from the Sportmax Autumn/Winter 2015 Collection. It features a V neckline and two deep side pockets.
For engagements in London, focused on suicide prevention efforts Kate brought back one of her least popular coats - the Erdem Allie. Once again, this item has had multiple outings. The Duchess first wore it in New Zealand during the royal tour (you might recall Kate told a member of the crowd she liked it but William thought it was "a bit bright"). Kate chose it again for the start of the Tour de France in July 2014. The grass-green, knee-length coat features a tab-detailed waist, and true to form, the designer used his love of floral prints - this time on the silk lining.
We saw another Erdem creation for the Commonwealth Service in March. The bespoke grey coat is based on styles from the designer's Pre-Fall 2015 Collection with lace effect and silk lining.
The Duchess also brought back her blue M Missoni tweed coat for the opening of a new EACH charity shop in Holt. The Duchess bought the light blue coat several years ago at Bicester village. The collarless, knit bouclé piece features fringe trim and is from the Autumn/Winter 2010 Collection.
The Duchess looked lovely in her Michael Kors indigo twill jacquard swing coat for a visit to the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace. Kate debuted the piece on Anzac Day for the final stop of the Australia tour in 2014, and I have to say I much preferred it the second time around. It's a gorgeous garment.
Kate donned her vibrant green Catherine Walker coat dress for her first appearance at the Chelsea Flower Show. I have to say, I cannot get on board with this one; I suspect it's the zipper, and high neck. For some reason the top portion reminds me of a light jacket one might wear to the gym. The vivid grass-green colour was a nice choice for the flower show though.
Something tells me this one is going to prove popular... HRH was effortlessly regal at the National Service of Thanksgiving in a bespoke Catherine Walker mist blue, wool crepe coat dress with white lace embellishment all the way down the front. It was a sublime choice for the occasion - a timeless classic in my opinion and one I very much hope to see again.
An elegant Kate chose the bespoke cream McQueen coat dress she wore for Princess Charlotte's christening during Trooping the Colour. It's a beautifully tailored, understated garment now steeped in royal history - not only was it worn for Charlotte's christening but also the Cambridges' first Trooping appearance as a family of four.
For Order of the Garter, it was a sartorial ace for Kate who wore a bespoke red Catherine Walker coat dress for the day's ceremonies. This is another example of styling completely changing the look of a piece and breathing new life into it. The lightweight wool garment features three-quarter length sleeves, princess seaming, and Kate's favoured fit-and-flare style.
For her first visit to Northern Ireland since a pre-wedding engagement, Baroness Carrickfergus dug deep into her closet for a coat she's had for over a decade - The gold brocade coat by Day Birger et Mikkelsen is from their Resort 2006 Collection. The Duchess first wore it in May 2006 for the wedding of the Duchess of Cornwall's daughter, Laura Parker Bowles, who married former model Harry Lopes at St Cyriac's Church in Wiltshire. It's been worn several times since, most notably at Zara Philipps' wedding in 2011 and the Paralympic Opening Ceremony in 2012.
In France, Kate wore the M Missoni Long Snake Stitch Coat. Made in Italy, the coat features front button closure and patch pockets. It is described: "Silver metallic threads shimmer within the monochromatic hues defining a textured A-line coat that's visually shaped with an angled zigzag pattern."
For an 'away day' in Manchester comprising several engagements, Kate was stylish in another bespoke Erdem coat. The plaid coat is based on a design from the Resort 2016 Collection. I thought the mix of hues; from the soft shade of pink to the specs of white against the darker background worked beautifully.
Kate wore her Mulberry Paddington Coat for unannounced engagements at a women's prison and the Nelson Charity Trust in November. The coat "is designed in a fresh sky-blue hue for fall. Classically tailored, this slightly loose style has been cut in Italy from a luxurious wool-blend with a tactile touch of mohair - guaranteed to keep you warm without weighing you down. It's fully lined to slip on easily".
It was the Temperley London Callas Coat for the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. The elegant £995 coat features a beautiful floral diamond jacquard fabric. More from the product description: "Beautiful knee-length coat made from a lightweight black floral diamond jacquard fabric. Boat neckline with 6 Temperley buttons to close up the front. Nipped in waist with soft gathering at the waistline. Seamed stitched detail on collar and button placket."
Kate repeated her black DVF Lio for a sombre Remembrance Sunday.
Kate wore her black velvet trim Alexander McQueen at the memorial service for the Duke of Westminster.
And for Christmas Day service, the Duchess freshened up her much-loved Hobbs Celeste coat with a stole from ASOS. The chestnut brown, double wool crepe coat features leather stud fastening and cuff straps. A lovely seasonal choice!
Looking over the collection of coats Kate wore in 2016. We've looked at nineteen coats and I believe just five were new or previously unseen items in her wardrobe. By my calculation that means 74% of coats worn in 2016 (not including pieces worn on tour) were repeats. It's interesting to observe how differently Kate styled many of them for their repeated public wears. As always, there's so much to love. I'm torn between several myself including the blue Catherine Walker for the National Service of Thanksgiving, the red Catherine Walker and of course the Michael Kors... So much to choose from. Which one got your vote? :)
For our second category, we're looking at gowns worn by the Duchess in 2016! As those who read regularly know, I love nothing more than a gown appearance (only second to a tiara). We have five possibilities for this poll beginning with the Saloni Mary Flocked Chiffon dress Kate wore for a pre-tour reception at Kensington Palace.
Kate looked fantastic in the floor-length royal blue Roland Mouret Nansen Gown for SportsAid's anniversary dinner. The gown features the label's signature darts and panels providing a flattering silhouette with a nipped waistline and svelte contours. The cut-out shoulders give the graceful style a modern edge. I love this gown - the fit, the colour, the off-the-shoulder detailing. A particularly memorable look for HRH.
For the EACH gala at Houghton Hall we saw the return of the much-loved gown Kate wore for her first evening engagement as HRH the Duchess of Cambridge. The rose pink Sequin and Bead Embellished Gown by Jenny Packham proved a huge hit with readers for its second outing too. It's a beautiful shimmering piece with a sprinkling of crystal and bead embellishments. The updo fully showed it off on the evening too.
We saw a brand debut for the premiere of A Street Cat Named Bob. Self-Portrait has been the go-to label for celebrities and fashionistas in recent years owing to their always-stunning collection of feminine, whimsical and intricately detailed dresses. Kate chose the brand's Pleated Crochet Dress from the Resort 2016 Collection. The Victorian inspired design features a crochet bodice and long sleeves, a grosgrain band defines and flatters your waist, before falling to a pleated maxi skirt spliced with a leg-baring split.
Last but not least, a sparkling Duchess teamed the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara and the Queen's jewels with her bespoke red cap-sleeve Jenny Packham gown. First worn at a state banquet in 2015 it was our first opportunity to get a proper look at the dress. It has a very 'princessy' feel to it and true to form Packham added her signature shimmering effect detail to complete the gown.
A nice selection, quite varied in terms of style, colour and formality too. Both Packham designs are simply divine; she is truly the queen of evening wear and her designs work wonderfully on Kate. I also adored the modernity and tailoring of the Mouret gown. Do let us know which one wins your vote and why in the comments section :)
We leave you with a very brief video from Westminster Abbey's Twitter Feed. The bells rang to mark the 35th birthday of HRH the Duchess of Cambridge today! I hope Kate had a splendid day with her loved ones!
The Abbey bells are ringing to mark the birthday of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. pic.twitter.com/DxYqVzz73g— Westminster Abbey (@wabbey) January 9, 2017
We'll see the Duchess for her first engagements of 2017 on Wednesday when she visits the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, including the centre's Early Years Parenting Unit (EYPU) to learn more about their work with families who have children under five years old. The Cambridges will then pay a visit to a Child Bereavement UK Centre in Stratford, as the London centre marks its one year anniversary.