When the newly-appointed Duchess of Sussex made her debut post-wedding appearance, nobody could have anticipated her new Buckingham Palace-approved wardrobe.
Though even the most amateur of royal fans will have known that she would ditch the cross-body Strathberry bags, her seemingly overnight transformation undoubtedly caught the nation off guard.
Meghan made her first royal appearance at Prince Charles’ 70th birthday bash in a peach-hued dress by Goat accessorised with a co-ordinating Philip Treacy hat and (cue the gasps) – powder pink tights.
The 37-year-old’s questionable hosiery soon seized the social media sphere with many taking to Twitter to call out the royal family for “breaking” her with their old fashioned views.
One wrote, “Oh, no, they’ve broken Meghan Markle already with flesh-coloured tights and it’s not even her flesh.”
While another pointed out the striking symbolism behind the accessory, as they tweeted: “She’s officially royal”.
In the months that have followed, the Duchess has worn a grand total of 21 outfits. Six of the royal’s get-ups have been all-black (two of which were suits) while five engagements saw Meghan opt for a neutral colour palette.
But why is the royal steering clear of bolder shades when it comes to her wardrobe? We investigate.
To ensure Queen Elizabeth II’s always the centre of attention
On her first solo joint engagement with Her Majesty on June 14, the Duchess of Sussex opted for a cream-hued cape dress by Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller.
With the media spotlight well and truly transfixed on Meghan’s every move, it came as no surprise to see that she opted for a subtle hue in an attempt to allow the Queen to reign the headlines.
Her Majesty is rarely spotted in anything but a vibrant co-ord (often with a matching umbrella to hand) and the 92-year-old unsurprisingly opted for a lime-hued outfit on their trip to Cheshire.
Stylist Lucas Armitage told the Daily Mail: “I feel this is a clever styling tactic as it will always work with the Queen’s look; she is known and applauded for her use of bright fun colours.”
“I would be shocked if Meghan ever opted for a bold colour, although it’s interesting to note in her previous life she was a fan of bright hues.”
But the sartorial tactic is nothing new to the royal family, as Meghan’s sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge often takes into account the Queen’s wardrobe when dressing for high-profile engagements.
Most famously, Her Majesty broke the fashion rule book in a rare white outfit for the Diamond Jubilee pageant back in 2012 in order to stand out against the royal red decoration. The Duchess of Cambridge on the other hand, chose an outfit in the phone box hue – a not-so-subtle way to enable the Queen to shine.
To give the public their chance to shine
The media picks apart (and thoroughly analyses) every possible ‘hidden meaning’ behind every one of the Duchess of Sussex’s outfits and accessories.
So another potential reason behind her recent onslaught of black suits is that she simply wishes to divert the camera’s glare. The royal chose a black co-ord for her debut WellChild Awards ceremony on September 4 perhaps in a bid to give the children their chance to shine.
Most recently, she wore a two-tone Givenchy dress to the opening of ‘Oceania’ at Royal Academy of Arts on September 25 – her first major solo outing. Again, perhaps a subtle way to divert the camera’s glare with many excited to see how she handled her first high-profile engagement as a Duchess.
To put an end to the pregnancy rumours
When the Duchess of Sussex broke her suit streak in favour of a cobalt dress by Jason Wu for a charity gala concert on September 6, the engagement was soon shrouded by rumours of her alleged pregnancy.
Royal fans took to social media to claim that the newlyweds are expecting their first child due to the “misleading” waterfall-effect fit of the dress.
In defiance, she chose an all-black Tuxe crop top and Misha Nonoo skirt for her next Kensington Palace engagement – this time relying on her Sentaler coat for a punch of colour.
Is it all down to royal protocol?
Though the rules will have been more relaxed for Meghan when she first started dating Prince Harry now that she is a fully-fledged member of the family, her more restrained wardrobe may simply be down to following strict protocol.
Royal etiquette expert, Grant Harrold, previously told Yahoo Style UK: “Members of the Royal family tend to go with neutral toned colours when it comes to tights and nail varnish. This is not a written rule but a practice that the royal family have been following for many years.”
He continued, “When it comes to their clothes, this is a personal decision but they do have their own styles. I have always said that we would notice a change in the dress codes of the new Duchess. The Duchess of Sussex is a thoroughly modern royal and we will see her create a style that works for the Duchess and her new role.”
But with that tartan Burberry coat and a floral Self-Portrait dress hung up in her pre-wedding wardrobe, will Meghan ever return to colour?
Stylist Timothy Lord told Yahoo Style UK: “Having joined the royal family in May this year, the Duchess of Sussex has steered her wardrobe in a timeless, classic direction that still manages to toe a contemporary line.”
“Style never follows trends and carving a true style identity takes time, regardless of what the critics might say,” he continued. “If the Duchess loved colour prior to her marriage it will work it’s way back into her wardrobe over time I’m sure and until then, it’s understandable why she’d want to master the basics.”
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