We begin with evening dresses. I remember when William and Kate's engagement was announced back in 2010, I was particularly interested to see how Kate's style would develop and what her collection of gowns would consist of down the line. Three years later, we see the Duchess selecting pieces time and time again from go-to designers such as Alice Temperley, Jenny Packham and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and a few select dresses she loves to bring back.
Due to Kate's pregnancy and in the absence of a royal tour, it was a relatively quiet year in terms of evening engagements, with the first taking place in April when the Duchess attended a reception for her patronage The Art Room at the National Portrait Gallery. Kate chose a pale blue bespoke (custom made) dress by Emilia Wickstead.
The sleeveless piece features a round neckline and a scooped back. It is crafted of a heavy crepe material.
It encompassed many of the elements we saw in the designer's Spring/Summer 2013 collection. Kate looked radiant and the shade worked beautifully with her colouring. It remains my favourite maternity look Kate wore last year.
Kate shimmered in Jenny Packham at the Tusk Trust Awards in September. It was Her Royal Highness's first 'wow factor' appearance of the year and she chose a pale gold sequin gown with a high, round neck and a drop waist.
It was a divisive piece in terms of reader opinion. Upon a closer look many felt the nude panels detracted from the overall look of the gown, although many of us who have worn sequin pieces can attest to the irritation one can experience.
It was Jenny Packham again for the 100 Women In Hedge Funds Gala at Kensington Palace in October.
The gown is described this way:
'Simply stunning in ink-tinged silk, this floor-grazing gown from Jenny Packham is the ultimate in evening elegance. It features a wrapped front, V-neckline, gathered short sleeves, black velvet sash, hidden back zip, tailored bodice and full skirt.'
Below we see a closer look at the ink-blue off-the-shoulder gown from the designer's A/W 2013/2014 Collection. It remains available at StyleBop for €4,219.
Kate was elegant in Temperley London for the SportsBall in November. We had all hoped the Duchess would wear a full-length gown and dazzling jewels for the event, but it turned out to be quite an informal evening with many of the guests arriving in cocktail dresses.
The 'Templeton' dress is described as:
'Inspired by Renaissance stained glass, it is made of a taffeta-style fabric and has a plain body with a detailed neck yoke, sleeve and skirt finished with a feminine scallop. Demure and slightly Audrey Hepburn in feel, it has a nipped in waist, slightly exaggerated shoulders and full skirt.'
Below we see a closer look at the garment.
Perhaps we're bending the rules a little with our next gown. We simply could not have a poll on Kate's gowns without the inclusion of the icy blue, eyelash lace Alexander McQueen gown Kate wore to the Annual Diplomatic Reception in December.
Yes, we must state the obvious. We didn't actually see the gown but from what we could see it certainly appears to be a stunning garment, the detailing, the colour... If we had seen the entire look, we'd wager it was Kate's best look of 2013! Given Kate's penchant for repeating favoured pieces, it's likely we'll see it yet. Nonetheless it shall be interesting to see how it fares in the poll.
For the première of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Kate brought back her gorgeous Roland Mouret 'Lombard' Gown.
It's truly a striking piece, with strong defined shoulders, a high neckline and the high slit. Kate worked closely with Mr. Mouret on the dress; he described HRH as "very aware of her position, a woman of her time". Given the collaboration and the level of thought that went into it, there's little doubt in my mind it will make another appearance in due course.
Kate's Temperley London 'Amoret' dress completes the choices in our evening dress poll. The Duchess publicly wore the black lace gown for the third time at an advance screening of David Attenborough's Alive 3D at the Natural History Museum.
We all have that go-to dress in our closets, which works for a wide variety of occasions and we can simply throw it on and feel ready to go with minimal effort. I imagine this is how Kate feels about the 'Amoret'; it's appropriate for the occasion and she clearly feels comfortable in it.
Moving on to our second poll, we look at more casual frocks and day dresses.
Kate made her first public appearance of 2013 to view her first official portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in her burgundy Whistles 'Sofia Rae' dress. The 100% silk piece has a deep V-neckline and it is just below knee-length.
Next we look at the Max Mara Studio wrap dress Kate wore for a visit to Action on Addiction's Hope House. The jersey print dress has a V-neck and cross-over front with a ruched waist and attached waist tie.
The Duchess selected another Max Mara dress for a friend's wedding in Switzerland in March. The talking point of the look was undoubtedly the unidentified cream coat (we'll discuss that further in our next poll).
Another dress we merely saw a glimpse of next - the Great Plains 'Cezanne' dress Kate wore in Grimsby underneath her Hobbs 'Celeste' coat.
William and Kate's visit to Child Bereavement UK offices in March marked one of the few occasions the Duchess elected to remove her coat during an engagement. Kate looked chic in the Topshop Collar Contrast Dress. I love the Peter Pan collar and it was quite a fresh, youthful look for HRH; perfectly appropriate for the nature of the visit.
|Topshop/Paul Harrison Twitter Feed|
Kate was stylish in the Erdem 'Sophia' dress for a visit to The Willows Primary School in Manchester. The navy-blue, burgundy, white, blue and pink Visconti-bloom silk-crepe dress has a square-neckline and sheer half-sleeves.
We saw another design by Kate's 'independent designer' during Children's Hospice Week; a peach dress.
Kate went furniture shopping in a $42 Asos maternity dress in June.
New mother Kate looked radiant in Jenny Packham when she stepped out onto the steps of St. Mary's Hospital to introduce little George to the world. The bespoke cornflower blue crepe de Chine dress was a stellar choice for a number of reasons.
It was reminiscent of the dress Diana wore when she left hospital with Baby William and primarily because Kate had only given birth a day before the appearance; it was so refreshing to see her embracing her figure and not hiding it in this day when we see the media pressurising new mothers to look a certain way. It is believed Ms. Packham designed an identical pink one too, as the parents were unaware of the baby's gender.
The following day we saw a glimpse of Kate in the Seraphine Blossom Dress.
For the first official portraits of Prince George, Kate chose the same dress again, this time in fuchsia.
NOTE: The ensemble is an adaptation of a coat dress, so I elected to include it in our dresses poll as it seemed a suitable choice, as opposed to including it in coats.
Kate wore her Orla Kiely 'Birdie' dress in November.
And finally, the Duchess was festive in red for The Queen's pre-Christmas luncheon. Unfortunately we could not see enough of the garment to definitively determine the designer, but it is widely thought it is either Kate's red McQueen dress from the Jubilee or the Beulah London 'Elsa' dress.
Now that you've selected your favourites, I'd like to share mine. My favourite evening gown of 2013 (I'm sure you've all guessed it) is the Alexander McQueen gown Kate wore to the annual Diplomatic Reception. From the limited view we had, I absolutely loved it. It looks elegant, sophisticated, timeless. Everything a gown for a white-tie function should be.
The second one was a tough one. I was torn between the ivory ensemble Kate wore to George's christening and the Jenny Packham polka dot dress. They are both memorable looks which royal fans will remember for some time to come. Ms. Packham's piece won marginally.
I am very much looking forward to seeing your choices, please feel free share your favourites and least favourites in the comments below. In our next poll, we'll be voting for Kate's Best Coat of 2013 :)