Although Kate lives with her fiancée in a rented farmhouse in North Wales, she spends a lot of time in London — mostly in the swish neighborhoods of South Kensington, Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Mayfair.
Kate has been called “the high street princess,” and by high street, we are referring to mainstream chain stores you’d find in the mall. There are lots of high streets in London, but Kate’s shopping strip of choice is King’s Road, is a who’s who of contemporary British fashion boutiques, beginning at the Sloane Square end with Duke of York Square, and heading west all the way to the Bluebird Cafe.
Starting with Whistles, where she bought the scalloped-edge ivory blouse she wore in some of the engagement photos, which is located in the outdoor mall at Duke of York Square, fronting King’s Road. The brand is a bit like Madewell, not sexy but sweet. For spring, that means a smart-looking fluorescent pink knife-pleat skirt ($154), a black tie-shoulder jumpsuit ($406) and a lucky horse print blouse ($138).
Next door is L.K. Bennett, is where Kate goes for her sensible kitten heels and signature boots. The round-toe, 21/2 -inch Sabira heels resemble Christian Louboutin’s Simple pumps but at a fraction of the price, just $147. L.K. Bennett is reminiscent of Ann Taylor pre-makeover — lots of office-appropriate pencil skirts and feminine polka dot blouses (both $203), along with conservative silk jersey dresses ($300) and diamante clutch purses ($276).
Jigsaw London, at the west end of Duke of York Square, is where Middleton worked as an accessories buyer in 2007. It has the prettiness of J. Crew and the bohemian appeal of Anthropologie. For spring, that means $57 Breton stripe shirts, $80 T-shirts with silk rose appliqués, along with fluttery metallic floral dresses ($317) and some very cool-looking Hunter wellies with a distressed finish.
Across the street is Reiss, where Kate scored the sleek cream dress she wore in her engagement photos. Reiss is similar to Club Monaco, with super-chic, modern clothes in the style of Celine and Jil Sander such as a fuchsia silk top with a fluid sleeve ($185), an A-line suede skirt ($365), royal blue silk trousers ($195) and asymmetrical cutout wedge sandals ($295).
Back down King’s Road at Sloane Square, Peter Jones is the Middleton family’s go-to department store. The store, which feels like a Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s equivalent, features some of the same brands found on the high street, along with selected designers, including British accessories brand Mulberry.
The hat department at Peter Jones, which stocks feathered and flowered styles by one of Middleton’s favorite milliners, Whiteley Fischer (about $290) is a big attraction.
Another source for Middleton’s extensive hat wardrobe is Philip Treacy. His salon is east of Sloane Square on Elizabeth Street, along a stretch of retail that could cater to a princess bride’s every need — Jenny Packham for dresses, Peggy Porschen for cakes, and Allegra Hicks for honeymoon beach cover-ups. At Treacy’s shop, floral headbands go from $487 to $1,300 and couture creations, such as the silver starburst hat in the window that was made for Grace Jones, can run well into the thousands.
A short walk north on Sloane Street toward Knightsbridge, and you’ll pass stationery and leather goods store Smythson, the source of Middleton’s leather-bound wedding diary, and upscale department store Harvey Nichols, where she has picked up those famously smoking-hot silk jersey plunge-front gowns by BCBG and Issa.
Beauchamp Place, a swanky street that’s just a few blocks down Brompton Road past Harrods, was one of Princess Diana‘s stamping grounds and is a Kate Middleton hangout as well.
Kate loves a bargain, and on Kensington High Street just a few blocks away from Kensington Palace is TK Maxx, the British version of TJ Maxx. She reportedly enjoys riffling through the racks of last season’s mirrored Lanvin sandals ($291 down from $991), Valentino tops ($242 from $731) and Alexander McQueen dresses ($761 from $2,567).