Kate Middleton’s Zara dress proves a printed midi is not just for summer

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Kate Middleton just gave us a lesson in winter dressing. Here’s how to make it work for you.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are back to business as usual as of yesterday. The pair headed to Bradford for their first engagement of 2020 and naturally Kate served up a sartorial feast. The Duchess stepped out in what can only be described as the perfect winter dress: the dogtooth pattern, the belted waist, the puff sleeves, the pleats. This was just the January pick-me-up we needed at Stylist HQ. And then it got better: we found out it was from Zara

Thanks to Kate, we have fallen in love with printed midi dresses all over again. Just when you thought the trend was only to be worn in the warmer months, Kate turned it on its head and confirmed a printed midi dress is, in fact, perennial. 

Considering her royal wardrobe, Kate does like to champion the British high street. There’s a plethora of McQueen, sure, but the Duchess has been known to wear affordable brands on and off duty. 

Whether it’s a bardot Zara dress to the polo, J Brand jeans on the hockey field or Monica Vinader earrings basically with every outfit, she’s frequently seen in her casual look of knitted jumper, jeans and wellies. This time Kate’s high street hero was a printed dress – that cost only £15.99 in the sale – devilishly paired with a chic military-style Alexander McQueen coat (a favourite go-to for the Duchess) and matching black accessories: an Aspinal of London top handle bag and Gianvito Rossi court shoes.

Few brands do effortless winter dresses like Zara. We might have had another polka dot dress epidemic on our hands (the one that became the cult buy of summer 2019 – your BFF, sister and auntie probably all had it) except that due to the royal affect, the one Kate wore yesterday is already sold out. Sob. 

There are plenty of printed dresses like Kate’s that do all the work for you, and lots of reasons to be wearing them now. Here’s how to do it: 

1. Layering: add or take away a layer to make it suitable for every season. A contrast colour rollneck (you’ll need a thin one here) underneath adds a directional feel to the dress, whereas throwing on a chunky cable knit jumper on top brings an effortless ease to your look. 

2. If you’re just wanting to dip a toe into the printed dress game (jeans and jumper wearers we are looking at you), take out the fuss and try a chuck-on style and avoid tied-waists or pussybow details seen in Kate’s dress. 

3. Accessories. We recommend styling your print dress with a slouchy knee-high boot, or a crisp white trainer for a more dressed-down take on the trend. Naturally if you’re feeling full-on future queen, pair yours with a ladylike handbag. Glossy blow dry not necessary but encouraged. 

Shop our edit of the best printed midi dresses to help you get dressed this January. 

  • Stine Goya

    Printed midi dresses: Stine Goya

    Monochrome is always easy to style, plus it dulls down a print if you’re worried it’s too much. Add a pop of colour with playful shoes and accessories.

    Paneled printed midi dress, £210, Stine Goya

  • Mango

    Printed midi dresses: Mango

    Florals for spring? Groundbreaking – yes we hear you Meryl. But how about florals for all year round with this moody Mango style?

    Midi printed dress, £59.99, Mango

  • Rixo

    Printed midi dresses: Rixo

    Printed smock dresses aren’t going anywhere for 2020, so why not try a tiered version like this one from Rixo?

    Tiered midi dress, £305, Rixo

  • Whistles

    Printed midi dresses: Whistles

    Be brave, be bold. This Whistles printed midi is right on trend with a 70s-style aesthetic.

    Printed midi dress, £179, Whistles

  • Nanushka

    Printed midi dresses: Nanushka

    Animal print has stuck around for many seasons because it’s a simple and chic way to wear print. Take a walk on your wild side with this Nanushka zebra print dress.

    Zebra midi dress, £395, Nanushka

  • Topshop

    Printed midi dresses: Topshop

    A floral ditsy print is an easy go-to. Pile on the layers to make it more of a wintry look – try a polo neck underneath and a knitted jumper on top of this Topshop dress.

    Ditsy floral dress, £39, Topshop

  • Lisou

    Printed midi dresses: Lisou

    This dress screams royalty; the satin silk, the rich red hue and it’s even got Kate’s pussybow neckline. Dress down with fresh white trainers and edge it up with a leather jacket.

    Print silk dress, £425, Lisou

  • & Other Stories

    Printed midi dresses: & Other Stories

    & Other Stories is our high street heartache when it comes to printed midi dresses – we want everything. This shirt style is great for work with pumps or trainers and the knotted waist adds a fashionable update.

    Gingham midi dress, £95, & Other Stories

  • Zara

    Printed midi dresses: Zara

    Polka dots are a big trend for the upcoming season, so get ahead of the curve (literally) with this affordable dress from Zara. Add a bit of ruffle for good measure.

    Polka dot dress, £49.99, Zara

Images: Getty/courtesy of the brands

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