Kate Middleton debuted a new look on Wednesday.
Sporting a grey sweater vest from Cefinn over a crisp white shirt, paired with coordinating grey trousers from Sézane, the Princess of Wales struck a balance between fashion forward and professional elegance.
Kate was in Bracknell, England, for a visit to the Vsi Razom Community Hub, which is nestled within the town’s Lexicon Shopping Centre.
Vsi Razom is a community centre where Ukrainains can meet, eat and drink. The centre fosters community connection and resource provision among Ukrainians in Bracknell and across Berkshire.
Through organising support groups and offering a myriad of services including English classes, childcare, and counselling, the centre provides a nurturing environment for individuals affected by the Ukraine crisis.
Vsi Razom, translating to ‘all together’ in Ukrainian, is the brainchild of two local women with a vision to provide a comforting sanctuary for the Ukrainians, aiding their transition into the Bracknell Forest community.
The visit, on the one-year anniversary of the hub’s foundation, shed light on the remarkable work being carried out to assist individuals who have sought refuge in the locale due to the ongoing strife in Ukraine.
During the visit, Kate involved herself in packing donations of indispensable items such as food and clothing alongside young Ukrainians who’ve made the UK their home in the last year. These packages are destined for Ukraine, extending a helping hand to those enduring the adversities back home.
The Princess penned a message of hope on the side of one of the boxes: ‘we’re all thinking of you’.
She also acquainted herself with the diverse services the hub renders, took part in an arts and crafts session with the local children, and shared warm conversations with the volunteers.
These sessions are more than just a creative outlet; they are a haven for displaced Ukrainians to garner support, counsel, and cultivate friendships within their newfound community.
The visit also included discussion with the hub’s psychologist who orchestrates weekly sessions, offering mental health support to the Ukrainians adapting to life in the UK.
The Princess also spent time with families who attend the centre, understanding their journey to the UK and the pivotal role the hub plays in their lives.
Ever since the Ukraine conflict surfaced, both the Prince and Princess of Wales have been active in highlighting the challenges faced by the people of Ukraine and applauding the boundless support extended by communities and organisations across the UK.
In March last year, Kate visited the London Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London to learn about the aid extended to those touched by the warfare.
Her attire on this visit subtly echoed her support for the country, with an azure sweater evoking the hues of the Ukrainian flag. Read more about the visit here.
The Princess visited a second Ukrainian Cultural Centre later in the year (November), and conveyed a similar sentiment through her ensemble. This time, the Princess visited a centre in Reading to talk with Ukrainian mothers who’ve sought refuge in the UK with their children. The Princess donned a polkadot dress adorned in Ukraine’s emblematic gold and blue. Read more about the visit here.
On the eve of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, a meeting transpired between Kate and Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska. It was clear that despite the poignant occasion, Kate wanted to acknowledge and show support for the enduring crisis. I have a section about the meeting included in my post here.
Also, The Royal Foundation convened a vital virtual roundtable last November to bolster the First Lady of Ukraine’s mental health strategy, addressing the mental health impacts of the ongoing conflict on Ukrainians.
Before the Russian invasion, both William and Kate had the honour of welcoming President Zelensky and the First Lady at Buckingham Palace.
Let’s move on to discuss Kate’s outfit.
Kate’s really leaning in to the ‘polished professional” look at the moment, isn’t she? Over the last six weeks, we’ve seen her wear nothing but tailored suits and separates. The tonal grey look still works with that aesthetic, but has a more relaxed edge, I feel. The Princess still looks like she means business, but this more laid-back look works for her audience of families rather than execs and experts.
A touch more daring too. I’d say this look is a more fashion forward than we’re used to.
It’s also a savvy choice for the UK’s unpredictable transitional weather. Honestly, I don’t know what season to dress for at the moment!
The look received mixed feelings on social media. While the grey is undeniably chic, I think a navy vest would worked better. Knowing Kate, it wouldn’t surprise me if she bought the vest in multiple shades for future mix-and-match moments.
The item, which retails for £120, is crafted from a mix of wool and nylon. It has oversized arm holes so it’ll work over any sleeve type, including crisp shirts and billowing blouses. It also features a dropped hem and side slits.
As of the 10th of October, the mid-grey colour worn by Kate is only available in ‘medium’. But other shades of grey, black, taupe, oatmeal and navy are still available to buy in more sizes, if you’d like to buy the same sweater vest but are open to a different colour.
Kate’s no stranger to Cefinn. Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of dresses and a blouse that she’s worn by the brand in recent years. I think Cefinn suits Kate well, the brand’s modest elegance aligns with her royal status, while the professional look matches the new image she’s embracing. It’s likely we’ll see the Princess wearing more from this British brand in the near future.
Cefinn is the brainchild of Samantha Cameron. For those who are from overseas and unfamiliar with the name, she is the wife of former British Prime Minister David Cameron. She is a businesswomen in her own right with a background in fashion. She was the creative director for Smythson for over a decade until her husband became Prime Minister. Following the election, Samantha Cameron stepped down as creative director and took on a part-time creative consultancy role instead. She was also a former judge for the Vogue Fashion Fund for four years, and made it onto the Tatler and Vanity Fair Best Dressed lists during her time at 10 Downing Street.
The name ‘Cefinn‘ is a play on Samantha Cameron’s children’s names, and her surname.
I have no information on the shirt as yet, unfortunately. Hopefully, one of the fashion sleuths in the community will try to track it down. I’ve not managed to find it myself.
I can tell you about Kate’s grey trousers, though. They’re from Sézane. The Martin trousers. Kate wears them in ‘mottled grey.’
The high-waisted trousers boast a wide fit straight leg which lends a modern silhouette. They also include side and back pockets, along with a concealed front zip and button closure for a sleek finish.
The trousers, priced at £130 / $170, are made of natural virgin wool fabric with a viscose lining, which ensures a cosy yet breathable wear.
Kate’s worn Sézane on a few different occasions—but it’s usually jewellery she chooses from the French brand. They’re definitely one of her go-to stores to shop for statement earrings (see a list of Kate’s Sézane pieces on this page).
Sézane, a Parisian-born label founded by Morgane Sézalory, emerged from a chance endeavour of selling vintage clothing found in a suitcase left by her sister on eBay, eventually blossoming into a beloved brand known for its timeless, classic designs and quality materials. Sézane carved its niche in the fashion world by offering timeless, French elegance with a modern, accessible twist. The company’s commitment extends beyond fashion, showcased by its B Corp certification, reflecting a responsible environmental and social stance.
Kate brought back a familiar pair of shoes to complete her ensemble. The J.Crew Avery Block Heel Pumps in Tweed.
The shoes feature a pointed toe, a 2-inch stacked heel, and a black tassel detail on the shoe’s upper. The tweed fabric is made from cotton, and the shoe is leather lined. Sadly, they’re no longer available for purchase at the time of writing.
This is the fourth time Kate’s worn the heels since she first stepped out in them back in 2016.
Kate’s worn a handful of items from J.Crew over the last twelve years in the royal spotlight—a few pairs of shoes, a pair of trousers, a couple of sweaters.
I also have it in my notes that the Princess met with Jenna Lyons—J.Crews’ Creative Director at the time—during a reception in New York in 2014.
J.Crew is an American brand that is very well-known across the United States. We’re not so familiar with J.Crew here in the UK. There used to be a handful of stores in London, but I believe they closed down in 2020.
Kate finished her look with her new(ish) Shyla London Rosalia Earrings (pictured below on another occasion). The Princess debuted the earrings last month during a visit to Leeds. This is the third time we’ve seen her wear the style to date.
The earrings feature circular freshwater pearls set in 22 carat gold on sterling silver. They cost £68 and can be purchased from the brand’s website, shylajewellery.com.
Shyla London offers timeless jewellery designed for today’s conscious consumer. Founded by Alice Blofeld in London, the brand champions sustainability through its use of recycled metals and natural stones. But it’s more than eco-friendly—it’s a brand with a mission. Shyla not only fills the fashion gap for affordable, high-quality jewellery but also actively uplifts women, partnering with charities to educate impoverished women in India.
Please do let me know what you think about Kate’s look at the Ukrainian centre! Did you find it fashion forward, a bold choice? Did you love it? Not your cup of tea? Let me know in the comments below.