Published On: Sun, Aug 16th, 2020

Royal news: Kate Middleton’s espadrilles are this summer’s must-have

Though the royal family have a certain protocol when it comes to how they dress, that doesn’t stop Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and others from being fashion icons in their own right. But while the royals each have their own style and are renowned for sparking instant bestsellers whenever they’re spied in a new dress, this summer the world’s leading royal style influencers have been spotted in what’s clearly a wardrobe staple. Espadrilles are this season’s must-have shoe trend – and it’s no wonder the royals love them. 

The ultimate smart-casual shoe, espadrilles feature a plaited fibre sole and a canvas or cotton fabric – making them cool and comfy in equal measure. 

Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Queen Letizia of Spain have all been spotted in the chic shoes in recent months, and it’s not gone unnoticed by royal fans. 

Google searches for espadrilles were up 90 percent over the past three months, with searches for specific colours and styles spiking as the royals stepped out in their favourite footwear. 

It’s not a new trend for the fashionistas either – the shoe style is one that crops up time and again each summer, while Spain’s Queen Letizia has proven she has quite the collection to show off when the sun shines. 

In fact, this design of footwear has been considered chic for decades, as personal stylist and image consultant Gabrielle Teare explained: “They are associated with the South of France; instant cool chic in a casual shoe. 

“Originally from the Basque region, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Lauren Bacall first gave them their popular appeal.”

READ MORE: Queen Letizia ends royal tour in pretty midi dress – where to buy

But while our favourite royals will no doubt want to look stylish for the cameras as they go about their public engagements, it’s likely the choice is popular for a more practical reason. 

“I think espadrilles are so popular because of their versatility,” commented fashion stylist Laurel Hunter. 

“High end designers such as Chanel, Gucci and Valentino have given them a modern spin, and they can be dressed up or down depending on the look you’re going for.

“They are also extremely comfortable; the wedge espadrilles especially give women that extra bit of height without the pain of wearing a strappy stiletto sandal.”

The comfortable shoes were Queen Letizia’s go-to for her recent royal tour around the country following the coronavirus lockdown, and were also a popular choice for Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle during their pregnancies. 

What’s more, with sustainable fashion being increasingly popular for the royal family, fast fashion is not an option – and classic pieces that work time and again are more important than ever. 

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Fashion stylist Desriee Tiwalade agreed: “Espadrilles are an all-time favourite during spring and summer. They are such a staple and essential piece to have in your shoe collection – [they] will never go out of fashion.”

But while the timeless shoe can take a permanent slot in your wardrobe, styles do vary – and Desriee thinks there’s one particular look to go for in 2020. 

“The perfect style of espadrilles to have this summer would definitely be a mid wedge for a casual look,” Desriee recommended, adding that the low heel can then be dressed up for the evening without having to get changed. 

Colour is important too; Desriee’s choice would be for “a neutral camel and an orange, as both colours work so well with all skin complexions”. 

Gabrielle agreed that colour play was the way to go for this season’s trends. “I think rather than style I would recommend colour; the easiest, fastest way to update an outfit is to update your shoes – a colour pop adds instant glamour.”

The royals themselves have been spotted in more classic colours; Kate Middleton has worn her go-to tan lace-up Castañer wedge espadrilles for countless appearances, including a recent visit to meet frontline workers. 

Meanwhile Meghan Markle wore a more striking pair by the same brand in black during her 2018 royal tour. 

Spanish royal Queen Letizia has shown off different looks from her own shoe collection, opting for nude styles from Spanish label Macarena for an outing earlier this week – though she’s also been spotted in recent weeks wearing a bold black pair, and owns a set from the Duchess’ favourite brand too. 

The versatile footwear is not only timeless, but ageless too, being popular among some of the senior royals as well as the fashion-forward Meghan and Kate. 

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, donned a pair of brown leather espadrille wedges from Penelope Chilvers for a recent outing to her local pub. 

The 55-year-old royal looked comfortably chic in the shoes, which weren’t unlike another of Kate Middleton’s choices from Russell & Bromley. 

But though the love of the casual shoes are shared across all the royal ladies, they have their own ways of wearing them when it comes to the full outfit. 

While Kate tends to pair hers with her signature floaty floral dresses, Meghan opts for more classic shirt dresses and maxis for a casual summer ensemble. 

Sophie, Countess of Wessex on the other hand pairs the seasonal shoe with midi skirts and jumpers, or the occasional dress which is somewhere between the two Duchess’ styles – floral, yet more structured than Kate’s dainty dresses. 

However, Queen Letizia really is the queen of espadrilles, showing fans how it’s done by wearing them with anything from formal dresses to summer midis and elegant jumpsuits and capri trousers. 

For Gabrielle, that’s why the Spanish royal wears them best. “My favourite is the endlessly chic Queen Letizia of Spain,” the stylist revealed.

“I love them with capri/cigarette pants; the current flowery, longer dresses such as Rixo and other brands look great with espadrilles too. 

“Almost anything goes – that is their huge appeal.”

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