Look like a princess – on a budget!

Fashion Union red belted peplum skater dress, �22 (0844 573 0900/www.fashionunion.com)
Fashion Union red belted peplum skater dress, �22 (0844 573 0900/www.fashionunion.com)
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If last year was all about one big white dress, 2012 has been a showcase of Kate Middleton’s entire wardrobe.

With a demanding diary of Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Olympic spectating, state dinners and charity engagements, the Duchess of Cambridge has stepped up her role as fashion queen.

Lipsy Amy Childs lace pencil dress, �65. (www.lipsy.co.uk)

Lipsy Amy Childs lace pencil dress, �65. (www.lipsy.co.uk)

Little wonder her usual habit of finding high street, vintage and second-hand buys has been upgraded to designer pieces thanks to a reported £35,000 clothing allowance from Prince Charles.

Luckily, you don’t need a royal budget to emulate her regal style. The high street is quick to leap on her every elegant fashion move with affordable options.

Middleton mania is rife. Style search engine ShopStyle.co.uk experienced a 114 per cent increase in hunts for red dresses following the outing of Kate’s Alexander McQueen scarlet frock for the Jubilee pageant.

There’s even a phone app for die-hard Duchess admirers – Kate’s Style List.

BHS blue shift dress, �25.

BHS blue shift dress, �25.

Here’s how to copycat Kate...

Casual Kate

Kate proved to be a good sport during London 2012 with a string of Olympic outings in her capacity as official Olympic ambassador.

She looked relaxed in Team GB tracksuit tops – and white fitted polo tops were one of her favoured spectator pieces. Try Esprit’s stretch polo top, £13.99, for a similar look.

Mango green chiffon maxi dress, �89.99, from Mango at House of Fraser.

Mango green chiffon maxi dress, �89.99, from Mango at House of Fraser.

Team with Kate’s current penchant for coloured skinny jeans, which show off her slender legs. Sales of coral jeans soared when she sported them to play hockey during a GB team training session. George at Asda has a similar pair for just £14.

The Duchess often smartens up a casual outfit with a fitted navy blazer. Pull on Peter Hahn’s gold button blazer, £59, for some instant princess chic.

Swimmer Rebecca Adlington was caught on camera during a meet-and-greet admiring Kate’s Stuart Weitzman navy wedges. Raise your game (and height) with Dune’s Ghita closed toe wedges, £75.

Formal Kate

Occasionwear is where Kate really excels with her wardrobe choices.

Refined and elegant, her choice of knee-grazing hems, long sleeves and demure necklines make her a fashion icon for any age.

Kate guaranteed she could be spotted on the Thames from a distance during the Queen’s Jubilee river pageant in eye-popping red. Fashion Union’s belted dress has the same peplum waist and skater skirt detail, £22.

And Kate regularly wears cobalt blue. Replicate her familiar shift silhouette with BHS’s bargain blue dress, £25.

She uses blush and nude shades to ooze chic for special occasions. Cinch your waist like Kate in her ladylike lace Alexander McQueen number by adding a belt to Lipsy’s Amy Childs lace pencil dress, £65.

The Duchess isn’t afraid to recycle outfits and her blue collarless Missoni coat is one of her repeat favourites. You could transform any dress with Marks & Spencer’s Autograph sequin collarless coat, £135 (available in October).

Whatever the outfit, you can bet a plain pair of court shoes will be involved. Step out in Kate’s actual leg-lengthening accessory staples, L.K. Bennett’s taupe patent Sledge heels, £195.

Glamour Kate

The Duchess doesn’t work a red carpet very often but when she does she knows exactly how to transform into red-hot royal.

Reminiscent of her Grace Kelly-esque wedding dress, Kate loves lace and the Temperley masterpiece she wore to the War Horse premiere echoed the same V-neckline – Madame Tussauds used the very same gown to dress her waxwork model.

Get the look for a fraction of the price with Kaliko’s lace maxi dress, £180 (due in September).

She wowed the crowds looking like a goddess in emerald green wearing a flowing Jenny Packham gown at an Olympics gala dinner.

Get the regal jewel look with Mango’s green chiffon maxi dress, £89.99.

Contrasting with her voluminous blow dry, Kate maintains her style crown by keeping her shoes and evening clutches minimalistic so the focus is all on her and ‘The’ dress that’s just about to join her impeccable fashion archive.