By Rebecca Drew
PLUS SIZE mum felt ‘VULNERABLE’ before sharing pictures of herself copying KATE MIDDLETON’S outfits online – but she’s proving the ‘KATE EFFECT’ is for curvy girls too.
Stay at home mum of two, Katie Wolfe (34) from Pennsylvania, USA, never felt like she had a place in the fashion world and struggled to find clothing that suited her style, shape and personality.
However, when Kate Middleton and Prince William stepped out in November 2010 to announce their engagement, Katie was taken over by the ‘Kate Effect’ and instantly fell in love with the Duchess of Cambridge as a person and her style as she was blown away by the stunning blue Issa dress she was wearing.
From that moment onwards, the royal mum of three was an instant style icon for Katie due to her effortless elegance, style and beauty. Katie started to ‘repli-Kate’ the Duchess’ outfits after finding out what she was wearing through social media and then tracking the items down in the shops, online and on eBay.
Katie, who is a UK size 16 to 18, started following women within the ‘repli-Kate’ community on Instagram, who shared pictures of their copy-Kate looks and at first felt too intimidated and vulnerable to do the same as she was curvier than them.
With encouragement from her husband, Sean (38) Katie decided to start posting pictures of her own royal-inspired outfits and was taken aback by the love and support she received from women thanking her for showing them that Kate’s clothing can be worn and pulled off by every body shape and size.
The royal fan says that being a stay at home mum can be isolating at times and that, what started as a hobby with following the Duchess of Cambridge’s style, has now transformed into something more as she has made friendships with likeminded women online.
She has since replicated around 80 Kate-inspired outfits and spends no more than £77 ($100) per outfit.
“I adore the Duchess of Cambridge and have followed her for many years now. I found myself quite lost in the world of fashion until she came along. Everything felt trendy and just not suited to my style or personality,” said Katie.
“Then she came along and changed the world of fashion really. The ‘Kate Effect’ is very real and I instantly fell in love with her style and her as a person. Her classic elegance and femininity inspire me endlessly.
“The day they announced their engagement when I saw her walk out in that beautiful blue Issa dress, I was hooked. That was the very first item of clothing I bought and from that moment on she has been the icon for me.
“Wearing my Kate-inspired outfits gives me so much more confidence. When I look at her, I can see she’s so beautiful, so confident and seeing that makes me feel that way.
“I love the ‘repli-Kate’ community, I admit it was a bit vulnerable and intimidating at first to put myself out there on Instagram. Being plus sized and curvy, it can be scary; there weren’t a lot of fuller figured girls repli-kate-ing but this wonderful community of ladies is just beautiful.
“I’ve felt nothing but love and support, just by sharing my love of the Duchess and her style. I’m a stay at home mum and this started as a hobby for me as my husband works really long hours so being at home can be really isolating and I just thought this is a fun hobby.
“It’s turned into something more than that. It was just a way to connect with other women who had the same interests as me and it’s been a really beautiful thing.
“Everything she [Kate] wears just works for everybody because she’s just so timeless and classic. It’s funny because when I first started, I was a bit intimidated and very vulnerable to out myself on Instagram and I was just so intimidated by it but one day my husband just said to me ‘Just do it’ and I was a little bit alone being the curvier girl but all of the ladies are just so supportive and so kind.
“I’ve had so many girls message me saying thank you for doing this and saying that I’ve inspired them. That’s probably the most touching thing to know that my little picture on Instagram has inspired somebody else to embrace their curves and to show them that they too can dress like the Duchess.”
Katie shares her stunning outfit creations on Instagram under the handle, @classicallycurvy, and as well as her impeccable style, she admires the Duchess of Cambridge for her work in mental health.
On Katie’s ‘repli-Kate’ bucket list is the L.K. Bennett Addison dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore to meet the Obamas in April 2016.
Katie went onto to talk about how she tracks down the Duchess’ outfits.
“When she wears something, my husband laughs at me because I’m like, ‘she’s out, she’s out’ and I’ll go on What Kate Wore, or on Instagram to see if they’ve identified what Kate is wearing,” said Katie.
“Then I’ll see if it is still available and if it’s not, and it’s usually not because of that Kate Effect, and it’s gone in minutes, I’ll search on eBay and Poshmark.
“A lot of the girls message me asking how I manage to wear what Kate wears. Well most of the brands that she wears, like the high street stuff, do cater for larger sizes. I always say don’t be afraid to look – you will find your size.
“Usually the stuff I buy is second-hand stuff, my husband supports our whole family so I’m on a budget. I usually try to stay within a pretty small budget, around a hundred dollars per outfit. I’m a replicator on a budget.
“If she’s wearing some sort of bespoke Alexander McQueen, that’s not an option. I try to get a lot of wear out of the outfits I buy so I know what I’m spending will get a lot of value out of that money.
“I definitely want her L.K. Bennett Addison dress, the one she wore when she met the Obamas at Kensington Palace – that’s number one on my duchess bucket list as I’m yet to find it or find it in budget.”
Finally, Katie shared her views on the Duchess of Cambridge and fashion for all sizes.
“I feel like you could just sit and talk to her about your whole life. Your problems, your mental health, motherhood – she’s so relatable and so kind. She just exudes kindness. She just really cares about the people she’s talking to – you can see it in her face,” she said.
“I think all women, no matter their body type, should dress in a way that inspires them and makes them feel beautiful, and the Duchess’ style does that for me.
“As far as fashion goes, you can dress beautifully at any size, copy the Duchess at any size. She’s just an excellent role model across the board. She’s just the ultimate for me.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/classicallycurvy