We know how Taylor Swift’s friends dress—she shows up with them on the red carpet and casts them by the dozen in music videos. Much more of a mystery? What Kate Middleton’s posse wears. To shed some light on the brands, outfits, and styling most common to posh Brits, we got in touch with an Englishwoman with style to spare: Ladies of London‘s Caroline Stanbury.
Stanbury at a polo event this summer
“Black trousers, a shirt or T-shirt with heels, and a new classic over-the-shoulder handbag, either Saint Laurent or Chanel,” she spouted off as soon as we asked what the well-dressed Brit would be likely to wear for dinner with her girlfriends. “British style is all about classic shapes and colors. Clothes you wear that don’t wear you.”
Stanbury is especially well-versed to talk about posh style too; she’s spent time as a stylist and is friendly with the aristocratic class of Britain, having reportedly dated Prince Andrew, uncle to Wills and Harry.
But, back to Kate. The type of women she hangs with are likely to have closets filled with equal parts family pass-downs and designer buys.
“Young Brits love their mothers’ closets. They appreciate her style and can always find treasures,” Stanbury told us. “Shopping-wise, it’s new designers and classic. I love going to Ledbury Road in Notting Hill to discover new designers and Chanel on Sloane Street for the classics.” When it comes to accessories, stylish Londoners care first and foremost about handbags and would not be spotted in sneakers the same way their American counterparts are.
Kate with friends at a 2012 polo game
“Sneakers are a lot more acceptable in America, and you wouldn’t see them in a members’ club or restaurant in the U.K. [Brands like] Nike and Adidas are seen as running shoes, they’re more like gym-wear to the British society.”
If any of Kate’s friends attend official events alongside the Duchess, protocol would dictate that they leave the more fashion-forward numbers at home. They’d dress with the same mindset as a wedding guest—the royal family shouldn’t be outshone and, as such, high hemlines, deep cuts, and anything too flashy is a no-no.
“You’d wear a dress or skirt which is knee-length or below. Absolutely no sequins or diamantes. It would be understated elegance.”