We’ve long been waxing lyrical about the Duchess of Cambridge’s knack for summer dressing: statement cotton trousers, off-the-shoulder dresses, printed blouses and espadrilles are all synonymous with her summer style, and she rarely puts a fashion foot wrong in that department - one that is notoriously tricky to navigate.
It’s for that reason we take summer style cues from her, and a new photo, released yesterday, from a recent visit to Baby Basics UK, the charity initiative that aims to support families struggling to provide for their newborns, was no different.
Kate opted for a printed green maxi dress by Boden (last summer’s hit Viola dress, though its new season Jane dress is similar if you're keen) which featured long sleeves and a tie waist. Rather than whipping out her trusty wedge espadrilles which would have elevated her look, she chose white canvas trainers instead, lending her frock a casual, but equally chic and practical, feel.
Superga trainers aren’t new to Kate’s summer wardrobe - she has worn them with everything from chinos to cropped wide-leg trousers - but it’s the unexpected pairing with a pretty frock that had us note that there are a few style pointers to adhere to when attempting to wear the two together...
Sleek trainers are a must
It’s no coincidence that Kate opted for minimal white canvas trainers to wear with her floral dress. While they no doubt have their place in your wardrobe, chunky dad trainers (think giant soles, garish shades and jazzy designs) will make for an entirely different vibe when paired with a printed dress.
If you’re hoping for an effortless, low-key look á la Kate, a slick, clean trainer design and neutral colourway is key as the aim isn't to have your trainers making a statement.
The length of dress is important
Kate opted for a maxi, and some may argue this is easier to pull off alongside trainers, particularly if you're tall like the Duchess, but it's worth noting that where a maxi completely masks your legs, some may find that a sandal, which shows some skin so as to not completely drown the frame, is more flattering. In that case, opt for a midi instead, as that flash of leg will balance trainers which offer more foot coverage.
A floaty, feminine silhouette is key
If you’re opting for a form-fitting frock, you may want to rethink trainers as your shoe of choice as it’s rather tricky to get that balance right. A looser silhouette adds to the effortless vibe we’re aiming for here, and that needn’t mean you have to opt for a shapeless smock. Kate’s Boden number featured a tie belt, highlighting her waist and creating a flattering silhouette.
As a rule, shorter frocks should be looser, while longer frocks may benefit from a cinched in waist.
Dress it up with a statement accessory
A dress and trainers on their own strikes an excellent smart/ casual balance, but if you want to elevate the look a little more for a garden party or pub lunch, then the addition of a striking accessory will work wonders - see how the Duchess kept her hair off her face with a padded velvet hairband. You could try bold earrings, a patterned scrunchie or a jewelled hair clip to achieve the same effect.