A ROYAL-obsessed mum-of-five has opened the doors to her stylish capsule wardrobe, where she has recreated some of Kate Middleton’s most iconic outfits on a budget.
Blogger Jen Bradley, 39, of Wichita Falls, Texas, USA, first discovered the Duchess of Cambridge just after giving birth for a third time to little Sarah, now nine.
Captivated by her elegant style, she was thrilled to stumble across a replica of one of her iconic Diane Von Furstenberg dresses at her local mall.
But it was not until around 2014 that she became a true ‘replikate’ – someone who dresses like the royal – creating a collection of copycat versions of some of the fashion icon’s most well-known looks, for under $3,000 (£2,324).
Jen, who has four more children – Bryan, 14, Jacob, 12, Aaron, seven and Megan, four – with her husband, military worker Kevin, 42, said: “I try to keep on top of all Kate’s latest outfits.
“At least once a month, I will go through all the pictures of her at various public appearances and work out where everything is from.
“Her look is so timeless and elegant. You could wear her outfits five to 10 years from now and still look fresh and well put together.”
Jen, who home-schools her children, was first captivated by a photo of Kate Middleton just after she married Prince William in 2011, in which she wore an elegant designer gown.
“I remember seeing her in this beautiful Diane Von Furstenberg dress and thinking how classy and beautiful she looked,” she said.
“Later that day, I went to the mall and by chance, found a really similar dress in a high street store.
“Of course, I snapped it right up. I loved it and loved how I felt when I wore it.”
While she continued to follow Kate Middleton’s public appearances in the news, Jen did not begin to properly ape her style until around four years ago.
After deciding to build up a 30-piece capsule wardrobe of classic items that would not date, she knew there was only one person she wanted to base her look on.
“I don’t rush out to buy every single thing I’ve seen her in,” said Jen. “I’m a mum-of-five, so don’t have much need for her ballgowns, but I adore her casual style.”
Since then, Jen has been using Instagram fan pages and sites like What Kate Wore to track down where the Duchess does her shopping.
Sometimes, she can spend weeks on end finding the perfect item, but she also stumbles upon things by complete chance.
“Around two years ago, I was on Amazon, when up popped a duplicate of an iconic white and blue dress Kate wore to visit the Taj Mahal in India,” Jen said.
“There’s a really famous photo of her and William sat on a bench – the same bench Diana had sat on years earlier.
“That dress was an instant purchase. It’s one of my favourite things she’s ever worn.”
Favouring the high street over online stores like eBay, Jen mostly shops at places like Gap, Zara, J Crew and Boden – all favourite brands of the Duchess herself.
She continued: “Kate’s casual uniform is a blazer, Breton-striped t-shirt, skinny jeans and wedges. I love that look too, so have bought the closest copycats as I can find.
“It takes a lot of Googling – especially as everything she wears sells out almost instantly – but her style is so understated yet sophisticated that it’s worth it.”
Some of Jen’s best finds to date include a version of a white gown Kate wore to the premiere of A Street Cat Named Bob, which she bought online, and a replica of the overalls she wore in her famous Vogue shoot.
“I got them in Target, of all places,” said Jen.
She also owns Kate-inspired navy blazers, striped tops, gingham shirts, riding boots, trainers, trench coats and a red puffer jacket – just like the one the Duchess was pictured wearing on a visit to east London’s Olympic Park.
She continued: “Kate has an amazing shoe and coat collection, but one of my favourite things about her is her jewellery.
“Last Christmas, I went on a cruise with my family and on one of the last days they were having a so-called ‘royal jewellery sale.’
“There, I found a necklace that was based on her engagement ring. To me, they are priceless and it was such a big moment being able to get my hands on them.”
Ultimately, Jen would love to find her own version of a stunning one-shoulder Alexander McQueen gown that the Duchess wore to the 2017 BAFTAs.
“I also love her Penelope Chilvers boots, which she’s been pictured in loads of times over the years,” she said.
“They’re timeless yet elegant – classic Kate.”
Very active on Instagram, Jen shares some of her replikate looks with her followers – and is thankfully always met with positivity.
“They’re my best performing posts,” she said. “People just love to see them, it brings a smile to their faces.
“There’s a community of other replikate women online and they are always lovely and really supportive.
“I know some people may think this is a waste of time but it’s not hurting anyone.”
And while she also likes the way other royal icons, like Pippa Middleton and Meghan Markle dress, Jen will continue to copy Kate’s style day to day.
She concluded: “To anyone else out there wanting to join in with the replikating, I’d suggest getting really familiar with her style.
“She’s one of the most photographed women in the world, so there’s a lot of material out there.
“Learn her red carpet style and her casual, then work out what suits you.
“I’ve seen some replikates out there who can find her exact outfits – even the expensive designer ones – but for me, this is about doing things on a budget so that everyone can join in.”
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