08/04/2011 at 11:00 AM EDT
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
is a master at recycling looks from her own closet
, but when it comes to her hats, it seems this royal is happy to splurge.
At the wedding
of Prince William
's cousin Zara Phillips to Mike Tindall, Kate accessorized her cream Collette Dinnigan French lace dress and Day Birger et Mikkelsen brocade coat (both worn in 2006) with a brand new, bespoke hat by British milliner Gina Foster.
Retailing for about $675, the natural straw coulis, called "Launceston Place," was customized by the duchess in a whirlwind visit to the hatmaker just 10 days before the nuptials. "She rang and asked to come in, then she tried a few on and we went from there," Foster tells PEOPLE from her tiny boutique in Kensington (a mere minutes walk from Kate's new apartment at Kensington Palace).
Arriving for the appointment alone, Kate was her usual low-key self, spending just 30 minutes in the boutique. "She wanted something in a color to match her outfit," says Foster, who adds that "she had her outfit and her bag with her" as she browsed the boutique. "There were people in the shop but she just strolled in – she's a normal person I guess, she's very down-to-earth and polite."
Choosing to customize the sculptural style with an additional flower fixed under the bow detailing, the end result was the epitome of understated chic with just a hint of glam. "It's a slight departure from her normal hat style but it's quite good to try different shapes. And for a wedding it's easier to wear something a bit more extravagant than you would wear for work," Foster says. "It was contemporary yet sophisticated." Much like the duchess herself.