Yes, I have begun to dabble in the world of RepliKaters (as my Instagram followers well know). What? Well, RepliKaters have fun following and copying fashions worn by Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Sometimes this involves making identical purchases (while the designer items are out of my budget, sometimes Kate shops mainstream too) or trying to find less expensive choices that resemble what Kate wore.
I do love Kate's style, and in fact when I edited my closet this summer I had her in mind. Would Kate wear this? (Though that can get a bit confusing when it seems like I'm talking about myself in the third person.)
Now, I'm not for a moment saying everything in my wardrobe is Duchess-worthy (so please don't point that out when you see me running into the grocery store for milk). I'm sure I kept a lot of workout clothes that are way too casual for that Kate, and since I am not in fact royal (shocker, I know) and don't have the same need to be quite so conservative, I do have some items with lower necklines and higher hemlines. But stylists agree that it's a great idea to have a fashion icon in mind when both shopping and purging clothing to keep yourself consistent and help with decision making.
Now, before we get too far with this, let's preempt the critical viewpoints.
By following the Duchess of Cambridge's fashion, I am not trying to *be* Kate. In fact, there's no reward in the world that would convince me to choose that kind of highly scrutinized life. Nor can I even pretend to know the woman. Even after reading two very thorough biographies, I likely know a tiny fraction about who she really is. Plus, why would I want to be Kate Middleton when I can be Kate Winn?
What I am doing, (and I think I speak for the majority of the other RepliKaters out there) is having fun following the fashion and tracking down the finds (there really is a thrill to the hunt - this could be a bit like Pokemon Go?) Plus, I actually feel I've become part of a community (just as you might if you share the same favourite sports team) as RepliKaters are very kind and supportive on social media as we share the same interest and goal.
There are certainly negative opinions about this out there. One online commenter (not on my site; my readers are much more savvy and understanding) talked about how women who copy Kate's style are "sheep", and others say that obviously these women have nothing better to do. Oh believe me, I have lots to do. But prioritizing some fun downtime always makes my list, so I am refreshed to do everything else. (Plus, treadmill desk = working out + RepliKating at the same time.) When I interviewed celebrity gossip blogger Lainey Lui and asked her how she responds to those who think that it's trivial to follow celebrities, I loved her response:
"It's about balance. We can still do our cerebral reading and our jobs and also make time for entertainment. I think sometimes it's an unfair question because nobody asks a man when he's doing his job and has an important career why he takes time out to watch the football game. I feel like the more that question is asked the more I bump up against it because men don't have to justify why they watch sports, so why should we have to justify why we like knowing about Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie, especially when the conversations about Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie could lead us to a better understanding of ourselves."
Long story short: no judging us!
Now, for the good stuff! Over a year ago, while perusing the jewelry at Walmart (seriously) I came across this fun replica of Kate's iconic engagement ring (which of course was first worn by Diana, Princess of Wales). In this photo, the top shows the original ring, and the bottom is my single-digit-dollars purchase.
My next RepliKate purchase was just this summer, when I ordered the exact same Breton sweater from Me + Em (definitely in my price range, and on sale too!) that the Duchess has often worn.
Continuing to stay frugal, one day at the mall I spotted coral jeans (again, worn by Kate on several occasions) for $14.99 on the sale rack at Gap. Now that's a deal...and also breaks me out of my neutral colour rut! (Of course I didn't try for an exact copy of the sweatshirt...I have my own alma mater to support!)
Then, there's the navy blazer. Not the Smythe one favoured by Kate, of course, but the H + M version for under $40. I wear blazers to school all the time and needed a navy one for my collection. (No photo yet - I'll add it to my next post...since I'm sure there will be one!)
I could tell that Kate was a good choice as fashion inspiration since when I turned to my closet I already had several items resembling hers, like the blue pants shown below. As for the golf shirt...well, remember you don't have to shop in the women's section! This was 5 bucks at Old Navy...it's an XL Boys' shirt!
Finally, I turned to eBay and bought an affordable replica of the Duchess' L.K. Bennett Lasa poppy dress, which is ready to go for my next TV appearance. (For the most part I've been following her more casual choices, as I have little need for ball gowns and tiaras, but I had to have at least one Kate dress to be an authentic RepliKater!)
You can find an update to this post here, and many more of my Replikates on my Instagram account.
If you're interested in learning more about the style of the Duchess of Cambridge, here are some of my favourite sites for Kate fashion (and make sure you're following me on Instagram for all of my Kate/Kate updates too!):
What Kate Wore
Kate Middleton Style
What Would Kate Do?
If you are a RepliKater or write about the Duchess of Cambridge's fashion, please leave a comment below so others can find you as well!