Based On The Last Few Days, The Future’s Bright For Meghan’s Wardrobe

Block colours, 1; nude tights, nil.

Meghan Markle new wardrobe

by Laura Antonia Jordan |
Updated on

Reader, she wore a cape. For her final appearance as a senior member of the Royal Family this week, Meghan Markle went out with a bang wearing a vibrant emerald Emilia Wickstead dress with a caped neckline. Sure, it felt appropriate (read: respectful – back off keyboard warriors) but it also heralded the arrival of a new style era for Meghan - for what could say 'hello, world! I'm ready for you!' like an authoritatively swishy cape and a strident shade? How super.

Meghan Markle green dress emilia wickstead
Meghan in a caped dress by Emilia Wickstead

Certainly the unofficial farewell tourdrobe hinted at the beginnings of a new era for Meghan's style. Consider this week's the hat-trick of bold, block colour dresses: the aquamarine Victoria Beckham dress she wore to the Endeavour Fund Awards, the red hot Safiyaa gown (another hint of a cape) with matching Simone Rocha earrings taken for a spinat the Mountbatten Festival of Music, as well as the green Emilia Wickstead moment. It certainly marked a departure from the play-it-safe neutrals - think, every tone of biscuit, beige and buff - she's rarely been spotted out of since becoming a Duchess. The message: did you really think I was just going to fade away?

Freedom is on the horizon, and Meghan is already dressing for it. In a gesture of soft rebellion, gone are the regulation nude tights; in is a swishy ponytail. It suits her. The look feels modern, alluring, unapologetic. And, by the way, it suits Harry too - who coordinated the lining of his suit to the green dress.

Meghan Markle red safiyaa dress
Meghan and Harry arriving at the Mountbatten Festival of Music

The truth is, that whatever she wears, we'll be taking note. Even before there was Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, there was the Meghan Markle Effect. We first glimpsed it at the Invictus Games in 2017, when she wore the Misha Nonoo ‘Husband’ shirt, ripped Mother jeans and Sarah Flint flats. It was simple, even unremarkable at first glance, but nevertheless people wanted in.

Since then, Meghan’s influence has swollen to epic proportions. Hers is arguably the most closely observed, analysed and copied wardrobe in the world (according to global fashion search platform Lyst she was the most powerful dresser of 2019, with her outfits sparking, on average, a 216% increase in searches for similar pieces). And now the biggest question for Sussex-style watchers is: what next?

Meghan Markle in Misha Nonoo Husband shirt
Meghan Markle at 2017's Invictus Games ©Getty

As a fully-fledged member of the Firm, there have been continual hints of Meghan doing things in her own style (literally) – whether that’s via a thumb ring or an unexpectedly pared-back wedding dress. But that’s not to say her royal wardrobe has been outright rebellious; she bends the rules rather than breaks them. And credit where credit’s due, in the process Meghan’s nailed a look that’s loaded with poise and polish but, crucially, still feels modern. She’s perfected that billion-dollar blend of the aspirational and attainable, the gloss of a Hollywood actress meets the grounded reality of a new mum, which is the crux of her appeal. Her Duchess look is that of a smart, sophisticated and, yes, style-savvy working woman.

And because Meghan will continue to be a working woman, we probably won’t see a radical departure from the look she’s made her own in the past 18 months. Tailoring, midi skirts and pointed pumps, for instance will probably continue to be in her on-duty arsenal. But liberated from the rigidity of royal rules, we’ll likely see slightly shorter hems and more sleeveless pieces. She’ll have the chance to loosen up a little – and let the inner California girl shine through (bye to the enforced frumpification of nude tights and church hats). That Invictus look was the last time we really saw Meghan as Meghan, and no doubt denim (even ripped! Shocking!) will feature, the fashion equivalent of a big sigh of relief. Perhaps her more relaxed royal tour outfits, which embrace colour and print, fluid silhouettes and trainers are a precursor of what's to come. The breezy, belted cotton shirtdress by ethical designer Hannah Lavery she wore in South Africa seems to align with her values and pre-Duchess style.

Meghan Markle in a Philip Treacy hat
Meghan Markle at Westminster Abbey ©Getty

Make no mistake, however, Meghan has been burned and her fashion mistakes are as telling as her triumphs when it comes to predicting what’s next. One of her biggest missteps was the Ralph & Russo gown she wore her official engagement photos, not for how it looked (exquisite, perfectly princess) but thanks to its whopping £56,000 price-tag (vulgar, awkward if we're being polite, when you're about to embark on a taxpayer-funded lifestyle).

Still, now with the Sussexes working to be ‘financially independent’ this will surely liberate Meghan to embrace all the red carpet glamour she wants without fear of backlash. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say, without fear of as much backlash. But ‘senior’ royals or not, the likeability factor is still important, vital in fact for the success of brand Sussex. Therefore, we are likely to see her continue to support emerging and sustainable brands and women designers (she has a good thing going with Givenchy’s Claire Waight Keller and Stella McCartney and would be wise to stick with them). Transatlantic Meghan will need to be a consummate diplomatic dresser in much the same way post-FLOTUS Michelle Obama is.

Meghan Markle in a shirt dress in South Africa
Meghan Markle in South Africa ©Getty

Indeed, Meghan would do well to put Michelle on her new era moodboard. Mobama revolutionised the First Lady dresscode, and has continued to evolve since departing the White House, embracing a new uniform of peppy pant suits and having fun with fashion (see the Balenciaga disco boots). But her biggest triumph has always been to dress for the glare of the world spotlight while simultaneously looking like she’s dressing only for herself. This authenticity is bound to appeal to Meghan.

Still, one thing’s for sure, whatever Meghan’s new wardrobe looks like – the world will be watching.

SEE: Meghan Markle's Best Looks


SEE: Meghan Markle's Best Fashion Moments

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Meghan Markle wears a strapless magenta gown

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Meghan Markle wear an all white ensemble

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Meghan Markle wears a tailored shirt and white trousers

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Meghan Markle wears a printed pencil skirt

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Meghan Markle wears a metallic mini dress

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Meghan Markle wears a printed dress

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Meghan Markle wears a short suit

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Meghan Markle wears a lace midi dress

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Meghan Markle wears an all black ensemble

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Meghan Markle wears a dark red mini dress

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Meghan Markle wears an off-the-shoulder dress

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Meghan Markle wears a pleated midi skirt

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Meghan Markle wears a white skirt suit

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Meghan Markle wears an off-the-shoulder mini dress

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Meghan Markle wears a black midi dress

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Meghan Markle wears an embellished mini dress

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Meghan Markle wears a fishtail gown

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Meghan Markle wears a strapless jumpsuit

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Meghan Markle wears a strapless gown

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Meghan Markle wears a red dress

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