Carrie Johnson Takes A Leaf Out Of Kate Middleton’s Style Playbook With A £59.99 Blazer From Zara

She relied on the royal's favourite high street shop.

Carrie Johnson wearing a red blazer

by Laura Antonia Jordan |

The dilemmas that Carrie Johnson must face when getting dressed are, one assumes, similar to those which the Duchess of Cambridge contends with on a daily basis. Chiefly, how do you slot into the rigid eco-system the formal and fusty family business that, via marriage, you have found yourself at the epicentre of – in her case the Conservative party, in Kate Middleton’s the ‘firm’ – without losing your identity as a 30-something woman? You must know how to get the right sort of attention (the masterclass: Middleton at last week’s Bond premiere) without seeming hungry for headlines – desperation is not a good look on anyone. You need to appear aspirational as well as attainable, glossy yet grounded. It must be exhausting.

Unsurprisingly, Johnson appears to be taking style notes straight from the Duchess playbook, in both look and spirit. You could see it at this summer’s G7 Summit and you can see it again now at the Conservative Party conference. Arriving in Manchester she wore a ribbon-collared blouse and red blazer costing £59.99 – strikingly similar to the style Middleton wore to the Euro finals – both from Zara. Against the backdrop of a pandemic ravaged economy, pitching up in couture would have spelled political disaster. That is, of course, where Melania Trump got it very, very wrong.

Carrie Johnson wearing a blazer from Zara
Carrie Johnson wearing a blazer from Zara ©Getty

Like the Duchess of Cambridge, Johnson has had to be quick to adjust to the art of diplomatic dressing. So, yes, that means embracing achievable price points (as well as the Zara she has also worn boots from Jigsaw) but it also means championing British brands. For this, see the red smock dress from family-run Somerset brand Cabbages & Roses, which also has the sustainable credentials that Johnson has made part of her sartorial PR strategy.

As for the ‘look’? Johnson veers towards a boho style made safe for middle England (who could forget that Coachella-lite floral crown from her wedding?). Midi prairie dresses – polite, demure, but with enough waft as to hint at a free-spirited side – are the closest she has got to establishing a style signature to date. Whether or not you think that the wife of a Conservative Prime Minister is actually free-spirited is down to personal discretion.

Carrie Johnson wearing a dress from Cabbages & Roses
Carrie Johnson wearing a dress from Cabbages & Roses ©Getty

Fashion’s power is to give us a glimpse into the person. We are all trying to communicate something through our clothes. A punt, is that Johnson’s dresses are intended to show the softer, more touchy-feely side of the Conservative party. But fashion’s power is that it is also to be enjoyed. Can we, therefore, say that Johnson is a style icon? That term is thrown around too liberally, and while her looks are inoffensive there’s a blandness that means calling her out as a breakthrough style star is grandiose and premature.

That might not be here aim, however. Perhaps just the fact that we are talking about her is victory – because when we’re doing that, we’re taking our eyes off the things that really matter.


SEE: All The Times Carrie Johnson Took Inspiration From Kate Middleton

carrie symonds kate middleton red dress
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While at the G7 summit, Carrie chose an LK Bennett dress, which is a high street label often chosen by the Duchess of Cambridge, More than that, the bright red hue is one which Kate wears on a regular basis. She chose it again in May of this year when she visited the National Portrait Gallery. She paired her scarlet Eponine dress coat with a tan skirt.

Carrie Symonds and Kate Middleton
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The third day of the Conservative Party Conference saw Carrie in this bright pink & Other Stories midi dress. Kate wore an Alexander McQueen dress in a similar colour to Princess Eugenie's royal wedding last year.

Carrie Symonds and Kate Middleton
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For the second day of the Conservative Party Conference, Carrie wore this £179 Whistles leopard print dress, which had us thinking of the flower-printed Michael Kors dress Kate wore for the second time on Princess Charlotte's first day of school a few weeks ago.

Carrie Symonds and Kate Middleton
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Carrie's £475 belted Isabelle Fox blue wool dress, which she wore to the Conservative Party Conference this weekend, mirrors the blue Alexander McQueen cape coat dress Kate wore (for the fourth time) to an event last week honouring Sir David Attenborough.

Carrie Symonds and Kate Middleton
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Carrie opted for this £225 eco-friendly Liberty dress to make her first solo speech at Birdfair last weekend, which looked very similar to the Ridley London frock Kate wore earlier this summer in June to a photography workshop with charity Action For Children. We think Carrie's choice of footwear was more appropriate for a British summer.

Carrie Symonds and Kate Middleton
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When Boris Johnson took office as Prime Minister at the end of July, Carrie looked on in this £120 Ghost midi dress, which quickly sold out prompting speculation that she was the new Kate Middleton. Fittingly, Kate also wore a pretty-in-pink midi dress this summer at the polo with her three children, sister-in-law Meghan Markle, and new nephew Archie.

Carrie Symonds and Kate Middleton
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Carrie was spotted around London on the day Boris Johnson launched his campaign in June in this £55 Karen Miller dress, which was pretty similar to the floral-printed Vanessa Seward dress Kate wore to The Mix Christmas Party in 2016. Proof that red isn't just for the festive season, then.

Carrie Symonds and Kate Middleton
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CREDIT: Twitter, Getty

Carrie, like Kate, knows that a simple check-print dress can never do you wrong, as shown by this £159 Whistles dress in pictures posted on Twitter last week from a meeting with the Prime Minister and six hospices. Kate wore a similarly printed dress on a visit to Bacon's College back in 2012.

Carrie Symonds and Kate Middleton
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CREDIT: Shutterstock, Getty

Back in 2017, Carrie wore a pair of navy trousers with a white blazer for a simple, polished look while visiting St James Catholic Primary School in Twickenham with Theresa May. Kate wore a very similar look only 2 months later during a trip to the 1851 Trust roadshow at Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre. Maybe it's Kate copying Carrie, then?

Carrie Symonds and Kate Middleton
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CREDIT: Facebook, Shutterstock

A white collar popping out of a navy jumper is a simple look loved by both Carrie and Kate.

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