The Many Bags of Kate Middleton

Or should I say, The Many Bags of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge? It’s been over a year since Kate married Wills in a wedding that I will admit staying up until the wee hours of the morning to witness, but it seems like we can’t quite get used to what we’re supposed to call the former Ms. Middleton. That hasn’t stopped anyone from talking about her, though, particularly when it comes to fashion. The things that Kate wears and carries sell out immediately, and not just in her native Britain, but all over the world.

Why is that, exactly? It’s not just the royal caché; Kate’s ensembles are generally a well-calculated combination of both high-end and attainable pieces, which gives her personal style an accessible, real-girl feel to it that celebrities don’t usually have, let alone actual royalty. When Kate was still a commoner, the handbags she carried were never showy or ostentatious. As a duchess, that remains true, except that she’s more often carrying clutches than tote bags. Ahh, the perks of having an entourage to do the heavy lifting! Check out our roundup of Kate’s accessories, then and now, after the jump.

First, let’s go back – way back – to when the British press was still calling her “Waity Katie” and no one knew if Prince William would ever make an honest woman out of her. As a relatively normal woman (if the girlfriend of a prince), Kate did what most of us do – she carried a neutral, function work bag like the Tod’s D-Bag Tote. A newer version of this style is available for $1845 via Saks.

When Kate and Wills’ engagement had been announced but they had yet to wed, Middleton’s wardrobe was positively frumpy on occasion, perhaps out of the Palace’s desire to frame her as an appropriate future princess. The Anya Hindmarch Shell Frame Clutch is the only redeeming aspect of this ensemble, but better things are to come. Shop Anya Hindmarch via Net-a-Porter.

After the wedding watched ’round the world, the first handbag Kate carried was a Mulberry Polly Pushlock Satchel at Heathrow Airport, where she and Wills were jetting off to Canada. Shop Mulberry via Net-a-Porter.

Shortly after their honeymoon, Kate and Wills embarked on their first North American tour. Kate’s carried almost exclusively British designers since her engagement was announced, but while in America, she went with a local bag – the Diane von Furstenberg Lytton Minaudiere in leopard print. Buy through ShopBop for $395.

When the trip took the pair to Canada, though, Kate went back to one of her favorite Brits with the Anya Hindmarch Raffia Fan Clutch. Shop Anya Hindmarch via Net-a-Porter.

If there’s one British brand that Kate’s put on the map, it’s definitely LK Bennett. She’s almost constantly wearing the brand’s shoes, and this LK Bennett Natalie Natural Clutch is also a perennial favorite. A similar option can be had for £195 via LK Bennett.

I’m tellin’ you, this little LK Bennett clutch comes out a LOT.

Now that she’s a princess, it’s almost all tiny clutches, all the time. Sometimes it seems like there might not actually be anything inside them at all, but rather they simply provide something for Kate to do with her hands in photos. In this case, it’s a Alexander McQueen Skull Box Clutch in dove suede. Shop a similar McQueen clutch for $1655 via Neiman Marcus.

When I first saw this picture of Kate carrying this Jaeger London The Kate Quilted Clutch, I thought that perhaps she had stepped a bit out of character to embrace a little bit of Chanel. Not so! Jaeger London even named this little black bag after her, and she’s carried it quite a few times. You can have your very own for £75 via

Bags like this Hobbs Somerton Patent Bag make me curious about just how vast Kate’s clutch closet must be; it matches her grey sheath perfectly. Sadly, this may be one of the few brands about which the Internet holds literally no information.

The Jaime Mascaró Black Velvet Hilary Clutch also matches Kate’s dress perfectly, but I’ll admit that black is a bit easier to match. It’s a very reasonable 149 euros at Pretty Ballerinas.

Ultimately, though, Kate’s affections often go back to a handful of her favorite designers. This Anya Hindmarch Marano Clutch pops up in a lot of different versions in Kate’s outfits. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $720.

  • Steph

    I dont get what all the fuss is about her TBH

    • Silversun

      Let’s see: she’s stylish without being attention-seeking, well brought-up, educated, and you just know from looking at her that she’s skilled in making conversation and putting people at ease. There are worse role models.

    • nnenna1881

      i agree with you steph. There is a lot of fuss but honestly i find her clothing and bag choices very boring. She has predictable style…blues, nudes, dove greys, d occasional red but everything very matchy matchy and bland…now your first lady…Michelle, she had a great time with fashion, she experiments…you cannot be a style icon if you do not experiment…even DIANA did…

      • Steph

        Ya thats what i mean, shes average looking i think and like you said her fashion choices are boring and predictable.
        Silversun, i never said she isnt a good rold model, im referring to her personal style, i dont see what the big deal is.

    • Christina

      Finally somebody is saying it. Thx! Her styling is usually nice, but slightly boring. A few times, her choices were even matronly. There are royals with much more interesting style, like Queen Ranja of Jordan, or Crown Princess Mary of Denmark or Letizia of Spain. But (unfortunately?), the Americans are obsessed with the British Royal Family, so they focus on her.
      And like you, I am only talking about her style here. She is probably a nice and kind woman.

  • Cids

    Sorry it wasn’t the Honeymoon to which she was headed; but to Canada, for their first oversees trip.

    • Amanda Mull

      You’re correct! The attribution I found yesterday was wrong. Post has been updated.

  • denton

    I actually love that blouse!

  • Laurakasbaum

    love love love Kate! I think that she always looks so polished and put together…even before she was married to Wills.

  • Purseloco

    She is beautiful, love her bags, she made an honest man out of him!

  • Bargainologist
  • Kim

    I love her style always stylish and classic with a modern twist…love her.

  • Marie Martell

    Love her also.. Such a pretty and fashionable girl and look forward to many more post like this :)

  • se7enpunk

    She’s educated in st.andrews yet she’s only had one part-time job working as a salesperson at jaegers. She receive tons of money for clothes, beauty and styling every year from tax-payer’s money for doing nothing. Apart from the fact that she’s married to the prince of England, there is absolutely nothing interesting about her whatsoever including her style – boring and matrony (her bag collection is like from a 60 year old woman’s). I never understand the fuss about her and her trashy looking sister. In fact, I never understand the whole attention we give to the royal family at all. Its ridiculous to have royalty in modern democracy in my opinion anyway

    • Peace, Love, and Handbags

      My understanding is that the tax payers foot the bill only for security for the royal family. For everything else, the royal family is self-sustained through their massive, centuries-old holdings. (I have only read this — not personally studied the royal family’s tax return.) ;-)

      I am not sure who pays for all of the pomp and ceremonies though. The Brits (and much of the rest of the world) seem to love their parties and parades. Plus, think of the immense revenue brought in through tourism and memorabilia. Lots of people get to cash in on the royal family’s events. And it’s just plain fun! I was teaching in Oxford during the queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The streets and store fronts were full of red, white, and blue and pictures of the queen throughout the decades. One could sense the celebratory spirit in the air. (Yes, I realize that not every Brit appreciates the royal family.) I felt very fortunate to be there at that time. I was even lucky enough to be at Windsor castle when the queen was in residence during the Diamond Jubilee weekend. Of course, I didn’t see her, but to be there when she was in residence during such a momentous occasion was a treat for my students and for me. (Sorry . . . I really should keep a journal!)

      Concerning modern-day royals, as an American, I am with you on that. :-)

  • Alexandra Moore

    Technically, she is not a princess. One has to be born of royal blood to be a princess. So, if she has children, only they will be princes and princesses.

    Love this blog, btw!

    • Crissy

      I wanted to say the same thing! So I agree completely that she is not a princess. Only those who are born wih the royal blood from a royalty family be given that title.

  • haiyang

    Without doubt, Kate is very attractive. I always love her bags, which show her style. I love the style. Everyone should has his or her own style, right?

  • Cameron

    I think Kate has the right to look good and wear expensive designer’s brands as long as she is not using the taxpayer’s money. Think about how hard people ( friends and families ) works in this country and pay off lots of taxes. Travelling for long distance to work everyday and if tax payer’s money are not spend wisely , then that is terrible. We really do not want another Marie Antoinette or Imelda R. Marcos.

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