Before she was the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle was simply an actress and model trying to make it in Hollywood and her style choices during that era made that evident. Since becoming a member of the British royal family, Markle’s fashion has undergone a decided change, but there’s some styles the royal renegade just can’t stay away from.
Meghan Markle Sparkles In Tie Dye
Royals are almost never seen in colorful garbs like the one Meghan Markle wore to Entertainment Weekly’s pre-SAG party in 2013. Markle also wears a peep-toe heel that perfectly shows off her bright pink pedicure, but it’s the sort of style that she had to let go of after marrying into the royal family. Open toed shoes are expressly forbidden, which is why Markle caused a stir by going barefoot and wearing sandals during an official royal event.
Sweet But Spicy In White
Short hemlines were another staple of Markle’s style in her pre-royal life. In this photo, she rocks a darling white dress that hits about mid-thigh, but that’s a bit too risqué for Queen Elizabeth. The 95-year-old monarch has made her preference for modest, conservative dress known and even Markle’s sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, reportedly had to learn to pick frocks with longer hemlines at the beginning of her marriage to Prince William.
Bright Patterns And Straightened Hair
This photo was taken of Markle, who worked as a model at the time, sitting in the front row during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2014 at the Lincoln Center in 2013. Bright colors are typically eschewed by members of the royal family since Queen Elizabeth tends to favor them to make herself easily visible in a crowd.
We’ve Seen This Style Before
Markle has actually worn a similar style dress during her time as a working member of the royal family. She and husband Prince Harry attended the London premiere of The Lion King, where the Duchess of Sussex wore a black, over-the-knee dress with a sheer portion over her collar and the sleeves. Markle wore longer sleeves with that ensemble, however, in what could be interpreted as a nod to royal protocol.
Before Cut Outs Was The Silhouette
Though the trend today is strategically placed cutouts, exaggerated silhouettes used to be all the rage, and Markle was decidedly on-trend with this dress. The modest dress would probably pass royal muster, but the strappy shoes and dark nail polish would have to go. The queen apparently prefers clear or light-colored polish over darker nails to maintain a natural look.
Ruched And Regal
We love all the little details of this look, from the nude-colored pumps to the gold clutch to the ruching and extra peek of leg. The bare shoulders, however, would violate royal protocol. Markle clearly loves exposing her shoulders, though, since she’s sometimes flouted royal tradition by choosing off-the-shoulder or halter style dresses.
The Queen Of Casual Slacks
Now this is a look we could see Markle wearing during a royal event. Though the queen reportedly prefers modest skirts over pants, every part of this outfit is royal protocol approved. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also effortlessly stylish and approachable.
Crop Top Vogue
Crop tops obviously aren’t considered appropriate royal attire, but Markle rocks this stylish, long-sleeved top with elegance befitting a duchess. Her modeling past is also on clear display with her perfect balance and crossed legs. Markle certainly knows how to sell a look.
Edgy With A Hint Of Sweet
To contrast the edginess of her gator skin stilettos and gold-detailed black leather jacket, Markle wore a gorgeous white dress with some edgy details of its own. The cuts in the top made the dress the perfect compliment to the jacket, though both of those details are exactly why this outfit would get the thumbs down for a royal outing.
The Coat! The Shoes! The Braid!
While attending a Miu Miu sponsored event, it’s only right to dress in loud, outrageous fashion. From the tip of her shoes to her side braid, Markle’s look shouts attitude. This photo was taken in 2014, at the peak of the bedazzling and beads craze, which is likely why Markle’s denim skirt and t-shirt both have those details. Our favorite parts of this look are, of course, the shoes and the fur coat. The darling pink clutch also gets an honorable mention.
A Daring Plunge
Since modest hemlines are a rule, it’s obvious that the British royal family would also have protocols surrounding necklines. As with hemlines, a conservative neckline is preferred, so this sparkly silver dress wouldn’t be a fit. Regardless, Markle looks absolutely stunning alongside socialite Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann.
Modesty Befits The Duchess
Meghan Markle looks absolutely dazzling in this blood-red dress and the matching lipstick is to die for. It’s absolutely fascinating to see Markle’s style before she was royalty and remarkable to realize what an influence royal protocol has had over her style evolution over the years.
Now that she and Prince Harry are living in California after leaving their roles as working royals behind, it will be interesting to see what fashion choices she makes as she gains more freedom from the protocols that ruled her life.
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