6 times Kate Middleton had outfits altered to fit her royal wardrobe

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesKate Middleton has been altering her outfits for years.
  • Many of the outfits the Duchess of Cambridge wears sell out quickly, but some may not realise that certain looks have been altered to fit specific needs.
  • Middleton has had fabric added to some of her dresses to fit her modest style.
  • The royal is no stranger to customising pieces from her favourite designers, including Emilia Wickstead and Alexander McQueen.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When it comes to outfits, Kate Middleton has plenty to pick from. The fashionable royal is also a big fan of altering new and recycled looks to fit her needs.

“Kate enjoys adjusting outfits to suit current trends. She will quite often add a bow, remove a keyhole, or change the length of skirts or sleeves to make them her own,” Anthony McGrath, leading fashion journalist and senior lecturer at the Fashion Retail Academy, told Insider.

Here are some of the outfits Middleton has customised through the years.


The duchess wore an altered Saloni dress that originally featured sheer paneling and an open back.

Moda Operandi/Warren Allott/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesKate Middleton had the sheer design altered to include a panel of fabric that matched her complexion.

For a reception at Kensington Palace in 2016, Middleton wore a high-collared Mary Illusion Dot Dress by the Indian designer Saloni. The duchess had a nude panel of fabric added to the sheer bodice and the open back closed up for a more reserved look.


Middleton first wore this Alexander McQueen dress in 2017, and then stepped out in an altered version two years later.

Samir Hussein/Karwai Tang/Getty ImagesOn the left is the original Alexander McQueen dress Kate Middleton wore to the 2017 BAFTAs.

The Duchess of Cambridge turned heads when she arrived at the 2017 BAFTAs in a tiered, off-the-shoulder Alexander McQueen gown. Two years later, Middleton attended the 2019 Portrait Gala wearing the same dress. However, she added cap sleeves to the gown to make it look brand-new.


Middleton made a subtle change to this Beulah London dress, and it worked like a charm.

Orchard Mile/Karwai Tang/Getty ImagesKate Middleton had the fluted sleeves removed from the Beulah London dress.

For a visit to the Family Action Charity in January 2019, Middleton wore an olive-green Beulah London midi dress that originally featured fluted sleeves. She had the sleeves removed and added a belt, which elevated the look.

“It looks as though she’s taken off all the frills and made it a lot more conservative and a lot more modest,” Susie Hasler, a stylist based in the UK, told Insider. “I think we are seeing an evolution of her style from a duchess into Queen-in-waiting.”


Middleton made a small alteration to the sleeves of this Emilia Wickstead dress.

Farfetch/Karwai Tang/Getty ImagesThe Duchess of Cambridge had the sheer sleeves removed in favour of a solid design.

While arriving for Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, the duchess was photographed wearing this tartan dress. She put her own twist on it by having the sheer sleeves removed in favour of a solid fabric to match the rest of the design.

“In this picture, she’s out with her family for the day so she’s chosen something very conservative,” Hasler said. “She always seems to favour those high necklines, which really work for her.”


Middleton added a modest scoop neck and cap sleeves to a strapless Alexander McQueen dress from the designer’s 2011 collection.

Net-a-Porter/Julian Parker/Getty ImagesThe duchess had cap sleeves added and the neckline altered to be more modest.

According to “HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style” by Elizabeth Holmes, the dress Middleton wore to a 2011 BAFTA reception in California was altered to be more modest. The Duchess of Cambridge also had the custom dress made in a lilac colour.


The Duchess of Cambridge made a few subtle changes to this Alexander McQueen dress.

Mark Large/Samir Hussein/Getty ImagesKate Middleton had more fabric added to the sleeves of this Alexander McQueen dress so they would no longer be sheer.

Middleton wore the original design in 2012 to an official dinner hosted by Malaysia’s Head of State. The royal pulled it out of her closet again for the 2020 BAFTAs but had it changed to include a layer of fabric on the sleeves so that they would no longer be sheer.

“With this particular dress, it appears she adapted the sleeves to flatter her figure, adding a lining and shoulder pads to create a more structured look,” McGrath said.This means the dress frames her face better and enhances her posture.”

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