Kate Middleton's Best Evening Gowns Ever

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, never fails to wow royal watchers when she steps out onto a red carpet. Her glamorous evening looks have ranged from demure lace to high-glitz sequins, showing off a range of styles in her formal wardrobe.

One thing Kate does particularly well is the art of the re-wear. Rather than shell out thousands on a new evening gown for every event, she frequently chooses something she already owns — and she's not afraid to reach deep into her wardrobe. In fact, the duchess even wore a 10-year-old gown to the 2021 Earthshot Prize Awards ceremony.

Whether heading to a film premiere, an awards ceremony, or an important charity gala, Kate has worn so many stunning evening gowns over the years it's hard to choose just a few favorites — but we're going to try. Here's a closer look at some of the best evening looks from the Duchess of Cambridge.

Kate's wedding reception gown was bridal perfection

When Kate Middleton married Prince William on April 29, 2011, the world buzzed about her stunning long-sleeved Alexander McQueen wedding gown. The lace-detailed dress was a hit with fans, but hours after the excitement of the morning royal wedding had ended, royal watchers were treated to a second, completely different bridal look.

Although the public wasn't witness to any photos from the couple's wedding reception, we did get a glimpse of Kate's lovely dress for the evening festivities. Wearing another gorgeous Alexander McQueen creation (via InStyle), Kate let her hair down (literally) for the nighttime party. It's difficult to imagine navigating a dance floor in the grand dress she wore to walk down the aisle at Westminster Abbey, so it makes sense she'd change into a more modern gown for the reception. The newly-minted Duchess of Cambridge certainly looked ready to dance the night away in her more streamlined satin gown with glittering waistband and full, swirly skirt.

Although she was photographed wearing a fuzzy cardigan over it, we're pretty sure Kate eventually left it on her chair as she celebrated her royal marriage with family and friends. Singer Ellie Goulding even performed at the reception, where it was said that Kate "sung along to every word of her last song, 'Starry Eyed'" (via 95-106 Capital FM).

She was the perfect Bond girl at the No Time To Die premiere

The women in James Bond movies are known for their glamorous outfits, and Kate Middleton brought the same energy to the red carpet in September 2021. Channeling her inner Bond girl, Kate wore a show-stopping gold sequin gown to the premiere of "No Time to Die" starring Daniel Craig (via People). Kate's Jenny Packham-designed, cape-detailed dress turned so many heads that Mr. Bond himself even commented on the look. "You look jolly lovely," Craig said, greeting the duchess at the premiere, according to the publication. Covered in sequins, beads, and chunky gems, the gown was, indeed, "lovely" for the star-studded event. For the premiere, Kate joined her husband, Prince William, who, as People noted, is president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Her in-laws, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, also attended, making this a family night out at the movies.

Kate opted not to buy pricey new jewels to pair with her designer gown, instead choosing a pair of earrings she'd worn on a tour of Pakistan two years prior (via Hello! Canada). The gold drop earrings by Onitaa were custom-made for the duchess and coordinated beautifully with her sparkly gown.

The royal looked pretty in pink (twice!)

A stand-out favorite evening gown of Kate Middleton's is one she wore early on in her royal career — in fact, it was the first official event she attended after her April 2011 wedding (via Hello!). Kate stepped out in a stunning pink Jenny Packham gown for her duchess debut, attending the June 2011 Absolute Return for Kids 10th-anniversary event, per the magazine. The form-fitting gown, covered in pale pink sequins and Swarovski crystals, was part of the designer's Spring 2011 collection and originally retailed for $5,015, according to What Kate Wore.

Kate loved the gown so much she revisited it in 2016 for a charity gala dinner benefiting one of her patronages, East Anglia's Children's Hospices and their new building, The Nook (via Grazia). This time, Kate changed her look by wearing her hair in an elegant updo, but What Kate Wore noted she accessorized with the same pink L.K. Bennett heels and Prada clutch as the original outing. If it works, why mess with perfection?

Kate channeled Princess Diana in a one-shouldered gown at the BAFTAs

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards is the UK's answer to the Academy Awards, and Kate Middleton is a regular feature on the event's red carpet. Prince William serves as the organization's president, so royal watchers look forward to the couple making an annual appearance at the glittering awards ceremony. One of Kate's standout BAFTAs moments was in 2019 when she wore a floaty white gown by Alexander McQueen (via Us Weekly). The British fashion house also designed both of her wedding gowns, and this one-shouldered dress with floral detail wouldn't have looked out of place at her own wedding reception.

Kate paired her Grecian-style gown with a glittery pair of heels by Jimmy Choo, per Us Weekly. On her ears she wore a special accessory: diamond and pearl earrings previously owned by her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, per People. But the Diana comparisons don't end there. People noted that Kate's BAFTAs look was quite similar to a white, one-shouldered gown Diana wore to a ballet performance in 1991. Whether or not the tribute was intentional, Kate's gown provided a lovely fashion reminder of the people's princess.

The duchess chose black lace for the 2019 Royal Variety Performance

Kate Middleton has always had a fondness for lacy dresses, but one of her best lace gowns is the one she wore for the 2019 Royal Variety Performance. The televised event, which raises money for the Royal Variety Charity, features a range of singers, comedians, dancers, and other performers. For a night spent watching some big stars, the duchess selected a beautiful black lace evening gown from one of her go-to designers, Alexander McQueen (via People). The event actually took place on the anniversary of her engagement announcement to Prince William, per the magazine, making it an extra special night out for the duke and duchess.

Like her wedding gown, the black frock she wore to the Royal Variety Performance featured long sleeves and a gorgeous floral lace pattern. Trimmed with black fabric around the neckline and waistband, the fitted dress flared out at the bottom for a stunning evening look. Kate accessorized with a repeat pair of Erdem earrings, a dangling gold style she first wore to open the Victoria and Albert Museum's Photography Center in 2018, per People. Even if you can't show up to London in your best evening look like Kate, you can catch the full 2019 Royal Variety Performance on YouTube (and watch the duke and duchess' grand entrance).

Green sequins made Kate sparkle in Pakistan

Prince William and Kate Middleton embarked on a tour to Pakistan in October 2019, marking the first time the couple visited the country, per Royal Central. During the trip, dubbed by their communications secretary as the "most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date," Kate debuted a range of stunning outfits. She wore one of the most exciting outfits of their visit, a green sequin gown (its bold color may have even been inspired by the Queen), at a special reception hosted by the British High Commissioner (via Entertainment Tonight).

Sparkling in the deep green, long-sleeved Jenny Packham gown with a matching scarf (per Entertainment Tonight), Kate was all smiles as she arrived at the Pakistan National Monument. She added dangling gold earrings from Onitaa (which she'd later sport on the red carpet at the "No Time to Die" premiere) and wore her hair partially pulled back to show off the statement jewelry (via Harper's Bazaar). The magazine noted another standout moment of the event: The royal couple pulled up in a colorful auto rickshaw. Even William got into the local spirit for the event, looking dapper in a traditional outfit called a sherwani, per Harper's Bazaar.

The duchess looked glam in pink Gucci

When it comes to evening wear, Kate Middleton tends to stick to her favored designers, including Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham, but one of her prettiest formal looks comes from a brand Kate does not typically wear. The duchess had a Gucci moment when she arrived at London's Victoria and Albert Museum in a dreamy pink gown for the February 2019 100 Women in Finance Gala, per People. The magazine noted that Kate attended the event as patron of 100 Women in Finance's Philanthropic Initiatives, delivering an impassioned speech about mental health in the early years.

The gown was the perfect look for the day before Valentine's Day, featuring swirling shades of pink and ivory and a velvet waistband in a deeper shade of burgundy, which Kate cleverly matched with her clutch (same color and fabric!). She added some major jewels to the off-the-shoulder dress, rewearing the same Kiki McDonough morganite drop earrings she sported at her sister Pippa's wedding, per People. The dress was such a hit with royal watchers that The Sun shared an £80 copy-Kate look so we commoners could step out in royal style, too.

She likely transformed this floral Alexander McQueen gown for a different look

While Kate Middleton is known for rewearing her gowns, she took an interesting approach when it came to one particular evening look. In 2017, Kate walked the red carpet of the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTAs) in a knockout black floral gown by Alexander McQueen (via PopSugar). With its off-the-shoulder style and bold pattern, the media outlet pointed out how the look was a departure from her usual evening wear and "would appeal to any dark romantic." Kate paired the gown with enormous (and heavy-looking!) diamond earrings and a very special bracelet: the diamond piece Prince Philip gave to the Queen for their wedding gift, per What Kate Wore.

Royal fans were in for a surprise when Kate brought a totally different version of the gown back for a 2019 event. Arriving at London's National Portrait Gallery, Kate stepped out in the familiar black gown but, this time, with cap sleeves and a higher neckline (via the Daily Mail). Social media buzzed about the remade gown, with Twitter users wondering whether the top had been remade or if she purchased a different gown in the same pattern. While we'll never know for sure, it seems unlikely the duchess would purchase the same exact dress in a slightly different style. If so, altering something she already owned to achieve a different look is a clever (and thrifty) way to change up an expensive gown!

The royal wore elegant green lace at the National Portrait Gallery

Kate Middleton always looks lovely in green, and what better time than March to break out a rich shade of the color for an evening event? Not long after St. Patrick's Day 2017, the duchess debuted a gorgeous new gown by Temperley London, according to Good Housekeeping. The lace dress featured a sheer bodice and long sleeves over a deep, forest green lining. Trimmed with a bow-detail at the waist, the flattering gown was an elegant choice for a night at the National Portrait Gallery in London, of which Kate serves as patron (per Good Housekeeping).

Her glossy brunette blowout looked in top form for the evening, showcasing an oversized pair of dazzling gemstone earrings. Kate added some metallic gold accessories to the look, choosing a clutch handbag from Wilbur & Gussie along with Jimmy Choo heels, per Good Housekeeping. The magazine shared that Kate also met fashion royalty at the event when  introduced to designer Alexa Chung. We wonder what they talked about?

Kate walked the red carpet in white

Many of Kate Middleton's evening gowns are from high-end designers boasting price tags that most of us average folks can only dream about. However, the royal once stepped out on the red carpet in a much more affordable — and just as stunning — frock. Kate attended the premiere of "A Streetcat Named Bob" in November 2016 (via the Daily Mail) and wowed royal watchers in a long white gown with a fun, open crocheted top and pleated skirt with a sexy high slit.

The dress, by Self Portrait, retailed for £320 (around $430), with the Daily Mail noting it was the first time Kate chose the designer. She wore contrasting red accessories with the dress, choosing burgundy heels and a matching clutch, along with a poppy brooch pinned to her dress. Kate attended the premiere on behalf of one of her patronages, Action on Addiction, per the publication, and even gave the star cat a few pets before heading inside to watch the movie. The dress proved to be so influential, in fact, that Harper's Bazaar pointed out three women who wore the same exact dress to Royal Ascot in 2018.

Her wintry blue beaded dress drew Frozen comparisons

December is a time to bring out the glitter and sparkle for the holiday season, and Kate Middleton understood the assignment when she stepped out in a jaw-dropping evening gown at the 2017 Royal Variety Performance. Dripping in dazzling beads, the duchess turned heads as she arrived at the annual charity show wearing a pale blue Jenny Packham creation (via Hello!). Drawing comparisons to Queen Elsa from the Disney movie "Frozen," Kate looked like the ultimate winter princess in the gown, which featured a sheer overlay with long sleeves over a pale blue dress with sweetheart neckline. Ironically, the 2020 Royal Variety Performance would feature a number from the musical "Frozen," with Elsa in her signature icy blue sequined dress.

The royal, who was pregnant at the time with Prince Louis, rocked her custom-made Jenny Packham gown with sky-high heels by Oscar de la Renta, per Hello! — no small feat for an expectant mother. Excuse us while we go searching for blue sequin gowns to wear to our next shindig!

She rocked this lavender gown twice with a 10-year gap

When Kate Middleton loves an outfit, she's not going to shy away from wearing it again ... even if it's a decade old. She proved her love of a rewear when she wore a lilac Alexander McQueen gown in both 2011 and 2021 (via Glamour). For the gown's first outing, Kate attended a BAFTA event while she and Prince William visited Los Angeles shortly after their royal wedding, per Hello! The flowy lavender dress with soft pleating was cinched with a sparkly white belt, and even Hollywood royalty like Nicole Kidman looked star-struck to meet the new duke and duchess, the magazine noted.

Despite 10 years and three children later, Kate pulled the lavender gown out for a second appearance, and it was just as stunning this time. Arriving with William at the first Earthshot Prize Awards in London, per Glamour, Kate wowed royal fans in the familiar dress. William had established the environmental prize to help create solutions to change the world, and the sustainable dress code involved recycling a previously-worn outfit. Per Glamour, Emma Thompson shared how the guests were told, "Please do not buy anything new for this," adding, "Can you imagine? The relief!" 

This time, Kate changed up her look by wearing the gown with a different belt, choosing a glittery gold style instead of the original white one. Thrifty and environmentally friendly? We call this look a win-win.

The duchess met Donald Trump in a bridal-inspired look

For formal wear, Kate Middleton loves Alexander McQueen, so it's no surprise she turned to her wedding dress designer for an important state occasion. When former U.S. President Donald Trump and his family visited Buckingham Palace in June 2019, the duchess chose a frilly white McQueen frock for the banquet held in his honor (via Harper's Bazaar). Similar to the gown Kate wore to the BAFTAs earlier that year, her outfit at the state banquet could easily be worn as a bridal look with its dozens of rows of tiny white ruffles.

Vogue called the dress "an unabashedly glamorous gown befitting the formal dress code." And what goes best with a formal dress code? A tiara! Vogue pointed out the significance of Kate's sparkling accessories for the event, including the Lover's Knot tiara frequently worn by Princess Diana and the Queen Mother's diamond-and-sapphire fringe earrings. Another something blue? The special sash she wore over her gown. Per Vogue, Kate was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen in honor of her wedding anniversary on April 29, 2019, and had the opportunity to wear the order's sash for the first time at Trump's state banquet.

She wore the perfect red evening dress to kick off 2020

Royal fans are always thrilled when Kate Middleton introduces a new brand to her wardrobe, and the duchess turned heads when she wore a fabulous red beaded dress by Needle and Thread in January 2020 (via Tatler). The brand's Aurora gown was a standout look for the UK-Africa Investment Summit reception she attended at Buckingham Palace. With sheer, long sleeves, red beads, and silver sequins, the dress proved to be an ideal choice for the event, which she attended alongside Prince William and her in-laws, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex (via Tatler).

Although this was the first time we saw Kate wearing the brand, it turns out, she has a secret collection of Needle and Thread dresses she wears behind closed doors. "We knew that the Duchess had this dress among others ... and you know, she wears us privately," Hannah Coffin, founder of Needle and Thread, told Hello! during an Instagram live. The magazine shared that the dress was a huge win for the brand, and, because of its success, a children's version was even added. We wonder if Princess Charlotte has a matching one?