Meghan hung up her Philip Treacy hats when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved their young family from Britain to the US, and she went about building a wardrobe that reflected her background as a Californian. In the Duchess’s wardrobe, which also includes opulent ensembles by The Row and Loro Piana, Carolina Herrera maxi dresses and cozy cashmere by Co now coexist with slogan t-shirts and Does denim shorts for a touch of stateswoman-like refinement when the occasion demands. The Duchess momentarily reverted to belted dress jackets in dove-grey Dior when Meghan and Harry took their children to London to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee festivities earlier this summer. But Meghan has progressed past Westminster Abbey-appropriate formalwear, as seen by the strapless Gabriela Hearst jumpsuit she wore to visit friends for dinner in New York City last month. Relive the Duchess’s most iconic outfits from her time at the forefront of royal life as she turns 41.
A Star is Created
Suits actress Meghan Markle knew the world would be watching her outfit as she accompanied Prince Harry to the Invictus Games in Toronto in September 2017. It was their first public appearance together. She remained calm. It was her pal Misha Nonoo’s oversized boyfriend shirt, distressed Mother Denim jeans, flats, and tan Everlane bag that she coolly chose in its place. There was a brand-new type of royal consort that all women could connect to.
The News that Everyone was Anticipating
The images that appeared on front pages throughout the world: On November 27, 2017, Harry and Meghan announced their engagement in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, and the British media lost no time in criticizing the future Duchess’s attire. Those dizzying Aquazzura stilettos, which were a far cry from a patent court with naked judges, gave away what was to follow.
Emilia Wickstead, a contemporary formal designer with a base in London and New Zealand roots, would go on to play a significant role in Meghan’s formal wardrobe. She wore stylish black Wickstead pieces to an ANZAC Day ceremony at Westminster Abbey in April 2018, the month before her wedding. It was anything from staid thanks to the unconventional cut (a cropped jacket and column skirt), and Meghan successfully negotiated the famously difficult terrain of royal headgear.
The world received the clearest indication yet three months after Harry and his California girl announced their engagement to one another that she had no plans to give up her unique sense of style to become a member of the British royal. Meghan opted for tuxedo-style Alexander McQueen tailoring over the security of a skirt suit for the Endeavour Fund Awards, her first semi-formal engagement since stepping into the full glare of the limelight. She also added towering stiletto heels for good measure. These are not LK Bennett courts.
The Proper Daytime Attire
The soon-to-be Duchess of Sussex mastered formal day dressing a month before the royal wedding in a sleeveless belted Hugo Boss ensemble that was modest but not boring, subtle yet still maintained that crucial feeling of polish. The “undone” bun that would later become her distinctive hairstyle and maybe the greatest example of the style ever documented was used by Meghan to complete the appearance.
Meghan opted to highlight a designer from her home country of the United States two months after millions saw her walk down the aisle in a Givenchy gown with Audrey Hepburn-inspired details. When Britain’s brand-new Duchess showed up for a reception at Marlborough House wearing a Brandon Maxwell shift dress in a striking shade of yellow, the Queen, who is renowned for her love of color, no doubt gave it her seal of approval.
The ideal LBD
During her trip to Ireland with Harry in July 2018, newlywed Meghan wore this stylish Emilia Wickstead belted midi dress along with her go-to Aquazzura shoes and a Givenchy purse. It was the ideal option for this contemporary Duchess since it was both classic and modern.
Givenchy Velvet in ink
Even the most jaded fashion critics were taken aback when Meghan made an unexpected visit on stage at the Fashion Awards in 2018 to present Clare Waight Keller with the British Designer of the Year award. The Duchess, who was carrying her first child, looked stunning in a custom Givenchy gown with one shoulder and a matching inky manicure. It was A Moment, as they say in the business world.
The Fashionable Fitting Dress
Speaking of memorable moments, another one occurred more than a year later when Meghan was seen grinning at her prince as they stood outside the Endeavour Fund Awards in London while sheets of rain dropped all around them. It was the couple’s first formal public appearance since making known their intention to stand down from their roles as senior royals, therefore the stakes were high for this presentation. The Duchess exuded confidence and pleasure while sporting a brilliant blue Victoria Beckham outfit, a neat ponytail, and a fun lip color.
A Swan Song for Fashion
The green Emilia Wickstead dress the Duchess wore to the Commonwealth Day ceremony at Westminster Abbey fits in the dictionary next to the word “statement look” because of the dramatic matching hat and cape accent. Before she and her family left for a new life in laid-back LA, Meghan embraced formal clothes with ease. It was the couple’s last official appearance with the rest of the royal family before their “Megxit” on March 31, 2020.
The Crimson Dress was Rebellious
Although the Duchess rarely wears bright colors, when she does, it always works. Never more so than when she entered the Mountbatten Festival of Music while gliding along on Harry’s arm in this striking scarlet Safiyaa cape dress, accessorized with a Manolo Blahnik handbag and a pair of Simone Rocha statement earrings. Meghan’s choice to wear an eye-catching red gown one that wonderfully complimented her husband’s military dress at the event, when the pair were dealing with a storm of negative headlines over their decision to stand down as senior royals, was no coincidence. The audience at the Royal Albert Hall gave the newlyweds a standing ovation as they arrived, incidentally.