All of Kate Middleton's very best dresses from the past two decades

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kate Middleton's dresses are some of the most copied in the world, and for good reason. The Duchess has worn hundreds of iconic styles, dating back to when she first started dating Prince William in 2003, right down to those of her most recent official engagements. In fact the pair's romantic story starts with a dress.

Although they started off as friends when they met at St Andrews in 2001, it is thought the turning point was when Kate walked in a university charity catwalk show in a sheer dress, wowing William. Created by fashion graduate Charlotte Todd, the strapless, sheer knitted affair made headlines and sold for £78k in 2011.

Kate Middleton wedding dress

While the Duchess of Cambridge's earlier outfits had Sloane Ranger-esque vibes (think oversized blazers, chic boots and jeans), her wedding dress was really what put her on the fashion map. On 29th April 2011, Catherine walked down the aisle in a stunning Alexander McQueen gown, designed by Sarah Burton.

The Palace released a statement at the time, saying, 'Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing. Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen’s work. Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress.'

It was made with ivory and white satin gazar, and the skirt was designed to mimick an opening flower with arches and pleats. Further details included 'individual flowers hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create a unique and organic design, which incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.'

What designers does Kate Middleton wear?

For red carpet events, Kate Middleton has her favourite fashion brands, most of which are British talents including Alice Temperley, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham. (Always paired with a signature Kate Middleton hair look, naturally.) For daytime Royal engagements, Kate Middleton's dresses tend to be from high street brands, and as soon as she's spotted wearing them, they fly off the shelves - L.K.Bennett, Reiss, Zara, Whistles, all gone within hours of being worn. That's the Kate Middleton effect.

Does Kate Middleton buy her own clothes?

Prior to becoming a royal, Kate Middleton did pay for her own clothes. However, now that she is a working royal, she has an allowance which comes from Prince Charles, which covers everything she and Prince William need for their engagements, from travel to clothing. Royals are not allowed to accept gifts where they would feel obligate to do something in return (so they're allowed to accept flowers and small gifts from well wishers but not free clothes for example).

Kate Middleton's stylist is known to borrow clothes from designers for the Duchess to wear to events, but she then returns them, though sometimes the Duchess can choose to buy them.

Take a look back at the Kate Middleton's dress over the past couple of decades.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.