Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has always had a striking sense of style, but since tying the knot with her husband Prince Harry this spring, the Duchess’ wardrobe has demonstrated a penchant for an extra level of polished elegance. Like Kate Middleton before her, Markle’s sophisticated outfits make headlines and even cause a significant retail spike.
Here, five trends that Markle is making a major case for with her royal wardrobe.
Off-the-Shoulder Necklines: Markle’s shown a clear liking for wide, boat necklines reminiscent of Old Hollywood (Audrey Hepburn’s dress in Sabrina in particular comes to mind). In fact, the Duchess enjoys the style so much that she selected a graceful bateau neckline for her gorgeous Givenchy wedding gown made by British fashion designer Clare Waight Keller. While off-the-shoulder necklines can sometimes veer towards cloying, Markle tempers it by selecting styles in strong, sophisticated colors like dusty rose and black.
Nude Pink in Lieu of Pastels: Soft pastel hues are a go-to for looking dressy in a pinch, a trick that everyone from Markle’s sister-in-law Kate Middleton to the Queen herself has relied on in the past. Markle has put her own spin on it, however, by opting often for a tawnier nude pink hue that feels fresh and modern. Whether she’s wearing a dress that pays homage to the classic British trench coat or a sleek cocktail sheath, the color has become one of Markle’s trademarks.
Full Skirts Paired with Cinched Waists: Markle’s affinity for elements of Old Hollywood style are never more evident than when she wears a full skirt a la Dior’s famously post-war “the New Look,” which featured tight waists above extravagantly full skirts. The decidedly feminine silhouette is flattering, with the dramatic flare of the skirt highlighting her waist and legs. Markle often emphasizes the shape of this by cinching her waist with a wide belt, something that flatters the waist whether she’s sporting a casual denim dress at Prince Harry’s polo match or a formal black cocktail dress by royal fashion favorite Emilia Wickstead.
Unconventional Colors: Markle’s given classic looks a fresh update when she’s wearing surprising colors. A sleek sheath dress feels vibrant, not formal, when it’s a brilliant buttercup yellow and a fitted dress with a bateau neckline and full, elbow-length sleeves gets a fashion-forward edge when it’s a olive hue.
Playful Prints: Markle hit her stride with bold pieces that stick to clean silhouettes and neutral tones. A streamlined and simple design anchors a plaid shirt jacket with a bateau neckline, while a pinstriped sundress doesn’t feel busy thanks to a close-fitting shape and unfussy elements like understated black buttons and a matching self-belt.