The Duchess at 40, Part 4: Sporty and Casual Styles

Hello-Hello, and welcome to Part 4 of The Duchess at 40, a series of in-depth reports on the Duchess of Cambridge’s style. Today I look at her more casual and sporty ensembles. There is a big difference between what is worn to watch a sporting event and ensembles seen when participating in a sport. Let’s begin with the outfits worn when the Duchess took part in sporting activities.  

Tennis and sailing are the two sports we see the Duchess participate in most frequently. Below, you see her at a February 2016 tennis engagement where she opted for a Nike top and trackpants/sweatpants by Monreal London. At an October 2017 Lawn Tennis Association engagement, she wore the Monreal trackpants with a PlayBrave ‘Clarice’ jacket in black. At a third engagement, this one in 2018, when expecting Prince Louis, she paired the trackpants with the PlayBrave’ Clarice’ in white. 


Other tennis looks include the Cable-Knit Cricket Sweater by Ralph Lauren, worn with cuffed trousers at an Edinburgh tennis center in May 2021. On the right, a September 2021 engagement where the Duchess donned designs by Poivre Blanc, a premium French sportswear brand.

The Duchess has played more table tennis than I initially recalled. Here you see her during last May’s away day in the West Midlands, wearing a blouse by Tory Burch and High Waisted Trousers by Jigsaw (we’ll see more of these later in the post); on the right, at the July 2012 SportsAid launch, when she first wore the ‘Wessex’ dress by Hobbs. 

In April 2013, she was in a Moloh coat and Aquatalia boots while playing when visiting Glasgow.  

At an ICAP charity day in December 2015, sporting the ‘Davina’ dress and ‘Jude’ jacket by LK Bennett.

A much less formal look on day two of the March 2020 Ireland visit, wearing skinny jeans and an Equipment Shirt.

We have seen the Duchess participate in many water sports. Below are images from the infamous dragon boat race in Charlottetown during the 2011 Canada tour, when the Duchess was in a Nike jacket and Sebago shoes.

The Duke and Duchess squared off against each in a race other while touring New Zealand in April 2014. The Duchess was in a classic Breton stripe top by ME+EM and Zara jeans. On the right, you see the Duchess during the August 2019 King’s Cup race, wearing special styles created for that event. 

When in Portsmouth to watch America’s Cup races in July 2015, the Duchess represented the home team, Ben Ainslie Racing, in pieces from sailing outfitter Henri Lloyd.

The Duchess has been royal patron of SportsAid since 2013, and engagements with the charity have often been participatory. Below, you see her wearing her Smythe Blazer, a Mango top, and Zara culottes at a February 2020 event. On the right, playing volleyball at an October 2013 SportsAid function in her Smythe Blazer, a Ralph Lauren Breton-stripe top, skinny jeans, and the Corkswoon wedges by Stuart Weitzman we saw so frequently. 

Three more shots of the sporty Duchess: on the left, at a 2017 Heads Together London Marathon training session, wearing a jacket by Perfect Moment, skinny jeans, and New Balance sneakers and in the center, trying her hand at abseiling (similar to rappelling) when visiting North Wales in 2015 in a jacket by Mountain Equipment and Brasher boots. When visiting Sweden in January 2018, Kate played a little bandy hockey wearing a coat by Burberry and a pair of Sorel boots.  

Below left, the Duchess opted for a Really Wild sweater and her New Balance trainers when visiting the Gaelic Athletic Association in March 2020. More recently, we saw the Duchess wearing Lululemon and her New Balance sneakers when taking part in exercises at a Derry Rugby Club in Northern Ireland last September. 

The Duchess enjoyed several activities when visiting England’s stunning Lake District last September. She went cycling with Air Cadets and did a little abseiling, wearing her Seeland Hawker Quilted Jacket and See by Chloé boots.

One of Kate’s earliest sporting engagements was her March 2012 visit to the Olympic Park before the London 2012 Games. The Duchess arrived at the engagement in a Pucci blazer, LK Bennett heels, skinny jeans, and a Team GB scarf before changing into a Team GB hoody and sneakers.   

Many are fond of another hockey look, this one seen when the Duchess visited her old prep school in November 2012. She wore a coat modeled on an McQ style from Alexander McQueen and her trusty Aquatalia boots.

Now for the Casual Styles category. We begin with several dressed-down ensembles seen at outdoor locales during tours: on the left, the Duchess wears Zara’s Midrise Biker Trouser and a shirt from Australia’s R. Williams for a 2016 safari in India; in a Really Wild vest and Jaeger linen shirt for a mountain hike in Bhutan; and sporting a Zara top, khaki trousers, and Brasher boots for a walk through a rainforest in Borneo during the Jubilee tour.

Other tour ensembles include these two Calgary Stampede looks from the 2011 North American tour. The Duchess wears a Smithbilt hat, R. Sole boots, and a Butler and Wilson belt buckle in both photos. On the left, the Duchess is in the silk/cotton ‘Rodeo Shirt’ by Temperley London (post is here); on the right, she wears an Alice by Temperley design (original post is here).

We saw a different pair of R. Sole boots when the Cambridges returned to Canada in 2016. Below left, you see the Duchess in a wrap coat with ribbed sleeves by Canadian brand Sentaler and earrings from Canadian designer Shelley MacDonald. Next, wearing a Zara blazer, an H&M top, and J. Crew loafers during the last day of that Canada tour. Next, the return of the Olivia coat by Reiss, worn during day two of the 2020 Ireland tour with a pair of Russell & Bromley boots and skinny jeans. On the right, another look from the Ireland trip, wearing a coat by iconic Irish brand Dubarry when touring a farm west of Dublin in March 2020, along with a shirt from the Barbour X Alexa Chung collection and her Penelope Chilvers boots.  

When attending sporting events at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Duchess wore a mix of styles, often with at least one Team GB item. Below, wearing a Zara denim skirt and team top while watching a women’s hockey match between Team GB and New Zealand; in her Ridley dress by Stella McCartney when watching tennis; in her Smythe blazer, skinny jeans, white Adidas Team GB shirt, and the Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon to watch an equestrian event. 

The Duchess has done a fair amount of gardening the past several years and has usually dressed in skinny jeans for those engagements. In January 2019, we saw her pair a Dubarry jacket with a J Crew sweater and See by Chloé boots while at a community garden in North London. When visiting a garden center in June 2020, the Duchess was in a Fjällräven vest atop a Jaeger linen shirt with Massimo Dutti jeans and Superga sneakers. When doing some planting in November 2017, she opted for her oft-worn Barbour jacket, a Temperley London sweater, and her Penelope Chilvers boots.  

At other gardening engagements, she has been dressier, as seen in this photo from her work at The Nook Children’s Hospice in June 2020, when she debuted a dress by Faithfull the Brand. 

We saw another non-denim gardening ensemble at an Edinburgh engagement in May 2021, when the Duchess sported a Massimo Dutti jacket, the Jigsaw Silk Spot Print Cardigan, and trousers that look like they might be ‘Ginnie’ style from Reiss.

But as a rule, when really working in a garden, she has been dressed down.

Scouting events often involve multiple activities, many of them outside. Below you see the Duchess at a snowy March 2013 training session wearing a jacket by Barbour, boots by Le Chameau, and a Really Wild hat. Another Scouting ensemble included an Iris and Ink sweater worn with Zara skinny jeans at a December 2016 Cub Scouts meeting. 

At the UN’s climate change conference in Glasgow last November, the Duke and Duchess spent time with Scouts to learn more about their #PromiseToThePlanet campaign. For that engagement, the Duchess wore a quilted vest by Ganni with skinny jeans and a turtleneck sweater and her See by Chloe boots. At a September 2020 event, she was in a linen shirt and jeans by Massimo Dutti topped by a Really Wild vest. In March 2019 she wore a J. Crew sweater and the See by Chloe boots.

When the Duchess watches polo matches she is usually in very casual looks. Below (from l to r) in an unidentified suede jacket with her Le Chameau boots in June 2012, and what I think is the Burberry shirt seen during the 2011 tour; in June 2014 wearing a Breton stripe top from ME + EM with her Sebago’ Bala’ shoes; in another ME + EM top, skinny jeans, and Sebago shoes when attending a June 2015 match. At more recent matches we have seen the Duchess wearing dresses. 

As many readers are aware, the Duchess is fond of pairing a tailored blazer or jacket with skinny jeans. Below left, the Duchess wearing a Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini blazer when visiting the RAF Air Cadets on Valentine’s Day 2017. In the center, she repeats her ‘Delaney’ coat by Reiss when launching her Early Years survey in February 2020, pairing it with a cashmere turtleneck by Pure Collection; on the right, the same Philosophy blazer in a different color, seen at a 2017 Coach Core event with a pair of Russell and Bromley ankle boots. The blazer is from the label’s Resort 2017 collection, done in a rayon/wool blend.

Here you see an older example of the blazer/jeans look along with a more recent engagement. On the left, the Duchess in August 2013 at her first engagement following Prince George’s birth, wearing a Ralph Lauren blazer, a Zara top, and her Pied a Terre’ Imperia’ wedges. On the right, in a Really Wild jacket and jeans during that 2021 Lake District trip shown above, worn when visiting with two of the “Windermere Children,” Holocaust survivors who spent time in the Lake District.

We saw a deviation from the blazer and skinny jeans look in June of last year, when the Duchess sported the Cargo Pocket Blazer by Chloé with ‘Favorite Cut’ jeans from & Other Stories, a looser style than what she wore for many years.

One significant change to the Duchess’s wardrobe: we are seeing her in dress trousers more frequently. They have varied in width and length. Here are three of the more narrow styles she has worn. On the left, at a November 2019 Shout volunteer celebration in her Smythe blazer with Joseph trousers; in the center you see her wearing a Massimo Dutti sweater with a pair of UFO trousers for 2020 World Mental Health Day events; on the right, during a September 2016 visit to Cornwall, she wore a pair of Gap trousers with her trusty Smythe blazer. (The Smythe jackets are really great definitions of ‘hero’ wardrobe pieces.)

Here are some of the wider leg silhouettes she has worn. On the left, wearing Zara culottes and the Slim Signature Silk Shirt by Equipment during a 2019 engagement at Sunshine House. In the center, the Duchess in another pair of culottes, this design by Jigsaw and topped with a Warehouse sweater for a Natural History Museum engagement in October 2019; on the right, at the King’s Cup May 2019 race announcement, wearing LK Bennett’s Parker trousers (sold out) with a Breton stripe top.

Full-length wide-leg styles have also become more common on engagements. Below, a look mentioned in Part 3, seen when visiting an RAF base in September of last year, the Duchess was in the Reiss Larsson blazer, her Goat ‘Binky’ blouse, and a pair of UFO trousers. The trousers are seen again at the Pride of Britain Awards last November (center). Initially, I thought they were the Jigsaw pair (right photo) from a December 2018 visit to an RAF base in Cyprus seen with her Smythe blazer in ‘army’ green.

I think we will continue to see wide-leg styles, particularly the Jigsaw trousers, as they seem to be a favorite style for the Duchess. You see them below at the January 19 Foundling Museum engagement, worn with a Zara turtleneck and UFO teal coat. In the center, you see a UFO pair of camel trousers worn on day two of last May’s Scotland tour, topped by the Massimo Dutti camel coat worn several times by the Duchess; on the right, you see the Jigsaw trousers paired with a Hobbs coat and worn in December of last year during the royal train tour.

We are also seeing straight-leg dress trousers on the Duchess. Below, wearing what looks like LK Bennett’s ‘Frieda’ Cigarette Trousers at the Imperial War Museum in November of last year (l and c) with an Alexander McQueen blouse and Catherine Walker coat, and at a school visit topped by a Hobbs coat and Hobbs sweater, also worn last November. 

In Part 3 of the series, we showed the Duchess wearing trouser suits, but I think they bear mentioning again here. Here are the two examples: a purple Emilia Wickstead look worn for September 2021 Northern Ireland engagements and the Marks and Spencer suit seen at a March 2020 engagement.

The Duchess has stayed true to her core style aesthetic for both sporting and casual events.  I think we will continue to see more trousers, both wide-legged and with a narrower silhouette, nor would I be surprised to see the Duchess in more coordinating separates moving forward, like the looks shown above. 

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