Meet Mallory Johnson Bowling, a 31-year-old American woman who is living the dream. She is Kate Middleton’s greatest fan and she has the wardrobe to prove it.
An avowed royal watcher with over 17,000 Instagram followers on her Lady.M.Replikates page, Bowling has hundreds of outfits that copy the fashion worn by Kate Middleton.
Born and raised an only child in the United States, Bowling says she was always interested in British royalty. When Queen Elizabeth visited her university, College of William and Mary, in 2007, that interest grew and in 2010, it turned into fascination when Prince William announced his engagement to Catherine Middleton.
“After she got engaged, it was something that was really exciting because it was sort of this common middle-class girl becoming a princess. It was every girl’s dream come true. So, of course, that resonated with me as a young girl at the time as well. And so it just became something really fun and a nice hobby on the side to kind of track and see what she was wearing and see if it was something that would kind of fit into my everyday wardrobe and if it did then I would try and add it to my collection,” she said.
That was the year Bowling started to wear her hair like Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and started keeping track of what she wore to public events.
When she sees something she likes, she turns to her community of Replikate followers to see if anyone has identified the designer, then scours eBay, Poshmark, Depop and consignment shops (upscale used clothing stores) to find the items.
“It may not be the most sparkly ball gown out there but it’s something that is really relatable and it’s something that’s very down to earth,” she said, adding that while she admires and has purchased some of Meghan Markle’s fashions, her clothing is a bit too expensive for her budget.
Bowling said she is very disciplined about her purchases, limiting herself to $250 per item and organizing her wardrobe with the Glam Outfit app to make sure she doesn’t duplicate any item she already owns.
Today, she owns over 250 items that replicate Kate’s wardrobe, and she often wears them to her government job or simply to run errands.
“It is a lot of fun to kind of sometimes pretend, you know,” she said.
With a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Winston, for Winston Churchill, and a husband who she says is distantly related to Queen Elizabeth, Mallory embraces her royal-inspired life.
She said she has been to London a number of times, but has yet to run into Kate Middleton.
Asked to imagine what it would be like to spend a day with the Duchess of Cambridge, Bowling said she imagines a quiet day, filled with the things she admires about Kate, her devotion to charity and her family.
“I think if I had a perfect day in a Kate outfit with Kate, I think it would be probably in something very casual, probably jeans and maybe like a jacket of some sort, and maybe we’d go out on a walk in the country, or do some charity work with some of the great experiences that she’s had recently. Maybe with the kids, that would be kind of fun, to hang out with George and Charlotte and Louis, but it would definitely be much more of a less formal occasion than perhaps a state dinner, though the tiara would be fun,” she said, before laughing and admitting that she wore a tiara like Kate’s at her own wedding.
Bowling has also written congratulatory letters to members of the British royal family, and keeps their responses in a tin in her study.
She admits her letters to royalty don’t mention her interest in Kate’s fashion, but says she’s fairly open about it with family and friends, who recognize that it’s simply a fun hobby for the Washington-area attorney.
“For the most part, everyone really knows that I do this… I’m not shy about it and they just know that it’s a part of who I am. But, it really doesn’t define me,” she said.
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