Nautical Kate: The Duchess of Cambridge tries a tricky trouser trend in J.Crew

The Duchess of Cambridge did literal dressing with a fashion twist at the 1851 Trust roadshow
The Duchess of Cambridge did literal dressing with a fashion twist at the 1851 Trust roadshow Credit: Mark Cuthbert

Although The Duchess of Cambridge is mostly renowned for her elegantly timeless style, occassionally she chooses a look which suggests that maybe she does have half an eye on trends, after all.

Last summer, she nodded to the off-shoulder look which was sweeping the high street at the time in looks by Barbara Casasola and Roland Mouret. And during the tour to Canada in September, her choice of a pie-crust collar dress from See by Chloe was a hint that she was fully aware of the ruffles-and-frills mania occupying shops and Instagram.

The Duchess of Cambridge with Sir Keith Mills at 1851 Trust roadshow Credit: Getty

Today, the Duchess displayed her fashion nous once again by debuting a pair of kick flare, cropped trousers by J. Crew as she visited the 1851 Trust's roadshow at London's Docklands which uses sailing to encourage young people to get involved in STEM subjects. She paired her new trousers with a white Zara blazer, white t-shirt and tweed J.Crew block heels which she first wore last autumn as she met young people enjoying their away day.

The Duchess's trousers at sold out at J.Crew Credit: Getty
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Although the J.Crew style is no longer available, they do play into one of the key trouser looks of the moment and mark quite a departure from the Duchess's usual penchant for skinny cut trousers. Cropped, flared trousers have been something of a slow burner trend, emerging as a key piece thanks to designers from Prada to Gucci, Chloe and Alexander McQueen featuring versions in their collections. Meanwhile, denim labels including Mih jeans, Frame Denim and Current/Elliott have created more casual jeans takes on the look which have become a modern alternative to the skinny jean.  

Alexa Chung wearing cropped flare jeans at Gucci's AW17 show Credit: Swan Gallet/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

The cropped, kick flare has been widely adopted by the style set- yes, some people got in there before Kate- with Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Reese Witherspoon among  the celebrities to have trialled it, mostly pairing it with silky shirts and blazers. But of course any trends with the words 'cropped' and 'flare' in it was never going to be the easiest to pull off. 

The abbreviated length exposes the slim ankle bone so makes them more flattering than classic floor-sweeping flares, but the proportions can still be on the tricky side, especially with styles like those chosen by Kate with a sharp central crease. As ever, it's all about getting the cut right- high-waisted, thigh-skimming rather than clinging and not too short, not too long are your key pointers. 

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the 1851 Trust today Credit:  WireImage

Arguably, Kate was likely first drawn to her new J.Crew  trousers because they work brilliantly into her penchant for literal dressing i.e dressing as closely as possible to suit the occasion. Given today's visit was all about sailing, her navy and white colour palette and those shiny gold buttons are the epitome of smart-casual sailor styling. 

Previous literal dressing moments have seen the Duchess wear a tiered white dress to Wimbledon, a floral tea dress to the Chelsea Flower Show and red in Canada, beside numerous outings to sailing-themed engagements in navy and cream. 

Her visit came as her husband Prince William accompanied The Queen to visit the residents' whose lives were devastated by the fire at Grenfell Tower in West London this week. Tomorrow, the royal family will come togethe rfor the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony. 

Three cropped, kick flares to buy now

Pale pink, £35, Topshop 

Ric-rac trim, £207, Anna October at 

Red tailored, £466, Giambattista Valli at Net-a-Porter