Meghan Markle's Post-Royal Fashion Is A Glimpse Into Her Bright Future

One would think that becoming a royal opens the doors to a whole new world of fashion. Indeed, from Kate Middleton's wedding dress to Princess Diana's pearls, the monarchy has long served as a source of inspiration for trendy dressers across the globe. But royalty doesn't just bring money — it brings attention. Members of the British royal family face many style requirements to help maintain their poised reputation. For the ladies, these can range from the constant donning of pantyhose to knee-length skirt requirements.

These rules are coupled with the royals' paradoxical reputation as both highly traditional and endlessly trendy. At King Charles' recent coronation, members of the monarchy revolutionized their typical wear to subtly honor the queen — donning monotones and iconic headpieces. 

Needless to say, an already glamorous figure like Meghan Markle needed to make some fashion adjustments as she prepared to become a part of the palace — starting with her choice to not wear bright colors during royal events. With a background as a yoga instructor and an actress, Markle had already established a sleek celebrity style when she began her romance with Prince Harry. Their subsequent time in the spotlight has allowed us an up-close look at her fashion evolution — and as the duo distances themselves from the palace, we've gotten to see the Duchess of Sussex come fashionably full circle, breaking a lot of the style requirements the royal family holds dear. 

Post-palace LA glam

It didn't take long for Meghan Markle to begin embracing the fashion freedom of her post-palace life. Recent appearances by the couple have seen the duchess leaning into the glamorous yet sultry style of their new LA home. At the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards in May 2023, Markle shined in a gold strapless midi dress. With a small cutout and a mid-thigh slit up the center, the glittering gown was endlessly classy — but a far cry from typical, conservative royal garb. 

And while the cameras love Markle, she's showing up on big screens far beyond the palace. She and Prince Harry were the targets of a Los Angeles Lakers kiss cam in April 2023. In a fashion analysis done by People, she was praised for her bubblegum pink blazer and artfully tailored shorts.

Outside the palace walls, Markle has also been able to lean into her hobbies and give us a glimpse into her sense of outdoorsy streetwear. Spotted by TMZ on a post-coronation hike, the duchess made sweat look chic in a tank top and boots. It's clear that wherever life takes her and whatever titles she gains, Markle's eye for fashion will remain unchallenged as it once was leading up to her split from royal life.

Duchess of Sussex dressing for success

Meghan Markle's shift toward a more royal style was noticeable immediately after her wedding. In her first public appearance as the Duchess of Sussex, she stepped out for a party at the palace garden in a pale pink frock and matching hat. According to USA Today, this appearance at then-Prince Charles' 70th birthday celebration was so important to the royal family that the couple delayed their honeymoon. 

Although the blush pink dress was so pale that it almost appeared cream, it was about as colorful as a royal Markle would get. Her recent Netflix documentary lent insight into why royalty seemed to drain the pigment from her wardrobe. "To my understanding, you can't ever wear the same color as Her Majesty ... but then you also shouldn't be wearing the same color as one of the other more senior members of the family," she shared (via Daily Mail). To avoid any confusion or mishaps, the duchess became fiercely loyal to neutral shades. 

As a newcomer to the royal spotlight, it's only natural that Markle's style and fashion choices were often compared to her contemporaries. There were also striking similarities and differences between Markle and her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton. Though Middleton seemed to embrace the regal look more readily, they shared a love of plaid and had donned similar matchy sets in neutral. Evidently, Middleton had also realized that a camel-colored wardrobe was always a safe bet when avoiding clashing with the queen. 

Glitz and glamour on the road to royalty

While dating, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry could be spotted in casual clothes at local sporting events. But following the couple's November 2017 engagement announcement, the royal newcomer and her style garnered more traction than ever before. While Markle's signature style did not vanish completely, her 'fits as a fianceé showed never-before-seen deference for blazers, pea coats, and statement hats. 

Always camera-ready, Markle's love for matchy fits and darker hues shined through her engagement looks. Perhaps best described as "modest but modern," Markle and her styles quickly fit the part of a royal — but she didn't give up all of her personal flairs. 

In the official engagement photo released on the couple's joint Instagram account, Markle is captured in a black gown with a sheer, intricately embroidered top. While undeniably glamorous, the somewhat sexy piece was a departure from the royal courtship fashion of old. Perhaps most stunningly, Essence reported that the couture piece was valued at $75,000. For some, Markle's early taste for high-end luxury was a sign that she was never going to be fully contained within the restrictive and traditional royal mold. 

Meghan Markle's pre-royal celeb style

Before tying the knot with royalty, Meghan Markle was best known as a television actress. Portraying Rachel Zane on the hit show "Suits," the star was blessed with a wardrobe department that clad her in the very best fashion had to offer. In an article for Glamour, Markle wrote that her character frequently donned luxury brands like Alexander McQueen and Prada. "For work, I wear art," she explained. "In real life, I wear clothes." 

Although she may not have felt like a notable woman in fashion at the time, pre-royal Markle still showed some serious style chops and an appreciation for thoughtful pieces. "I think so much of what we learn when we get older is being comfortable in our own skin and learning what looks good, and not being so trend-centric," she said in a conversation with The Cut

Despite her aversion to fads, Markle was a bit of a natural trendsetter herself. She managed a now-archived lifestyle blog called The Tig, which offered beauty and fashion tips. In a re-uploaded blog from 2014, Markle gives a glimpse into her early wardrobe. "I always lean towards a more classic Parisian style ... " she wrote. "I can generally be found in a [Breton striped shirt] with some skinny black pants ... Throw on a hat, and I am done." Although her style took a bit of a royal change within the last few years, it's safe to say Markle's colorful fashion choices these days are a subtle glimpse into her bright future.