- People are obsessing over Meghan Markle’s fashion choices following her engagement to Prince Harry.
- Her future sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, has been hugely influential in shaping fashion over the past decade.
- The two have very different styles. Here’s how they match up.
As the world obsesses over Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton seems to be taking cues from her future sister-in-law.
While being awarded Gold Blue Peter badges for campaigning on children’s mental-health issues, Middleton and Prince William had a rare public display of affection. It was a simple knee touch, but a rare one for the typically stoic couple – and some wondered whether it was inspired by Markle’s and Prince Harry’s on-camera cuddling.
It’s rare for the royals to speak their minds in public. That goes double for Middleton and Markle – as women in the spotlight, anything they do can spark backlash. As a result, fashion can provide a way for them to express themselves.
As Markle prepares to marry Harry, we found ourselves wondering how she would compare to Middleton when it comes to fashion. Here’s how Markle measures up to the Duchess of Cambridge.
Let’s start with a Markle specialty: movie premieres. As an actress, she has plenty of experience dressing for the red carpet.
It’s a pretty simple look — a little black dress with strappy heels. Cute, but nothing groundbreaking.
As a duchess, Middleton also attends plenty of premieres. Here she is in 2012, at the premiere of “War Horse.”
Middleton took a more elegant approach with a full-length lace gown.
In general, Middleton’s approach is simple elegance, as seen in the gorgeous sheer gown she wore to the premiere of the James Bond film “Spectre.”
Markle and Middleton also make frequent public appearances to draw attention to issues they believe are important.
Markle is known for her straightforwardly bold looks, like this jewel-tone mermaid dress.
She works to be on the cutting edge of fashion — sometimes to her detriment, as in the case of this bizarre shorts-suit combo.
However, being a trendsetter can require taking risks. Searches for “vegan leather trousers” jumped 67% after Markle name-dropped it in an interview.
Source: The Telegraph
Middleton is far less likely to follow trends when appearing at events for charitable organizations or other fundraising functions.
- Getty Images / Theodore Wood
Instead, she favors classic, longer dresses in plain colors or simple prints.
Even when Middleton wears something that’s a bit more fun, it’s not trendy. This polka-dot dress is pretty much as bold as she will go when it comes to a charity function — almost quirky, but mostly timeless.
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The one place she is willing to let loose, both in fashion and more generally, is athletics.
While watching sports, she has a chance to wear more casual outfits, like this sleeveless button-down.
Twitter trolls slammed Markle for wearing casual jeans during her first public appearance with Harry, at the 2017 Invictus Games.
- Getty/Chris jackson
Even in their sportier outfits, Markle is more attuned to trends, while Middleton goes for classics.
- KGC-22/STAR MAX/IPx 2017
It is somewhat unfair, however, to compare Middleton’s fashion decisions with Markle’s style before she became associated with the royal family.
Middleton met and began dating William while they attended the University of St. Andrews, so she’s been in the public eye as the prince’s significant other for most of her adult life.
- REUTERS/David Rowland/Pool
A more direct comparison is how Markle’s post-engagement fashion has lined up with Middleton’s choices over the past decade. In her first public appearance as Harry’s fiancée, Markle wore a coat from Line, a little-known Canadian brand — helping to crash the brand’s website.
- Chris Jackson / Getty
Source: Business Insider
In the couple’s first post-engagement interview, Markle opted for a simple dark-green dress.
- BBC News
Middleton, meanwhile, went all-out with an instantly iconic royal blue Issa dress when the couple announced their engagement in 2010.
- Chris Jackson/Getty
After her engagement, Markle’s outfits for the couple’s few public appearances have been more muted.
Still, she brings her fashion sensibility in with the details — look at those boots!
Middleton brought her sense of style to one of her first public appearances after her engagement, wearing a fascinator, one of her favorite — very British — accessories.
So who comes out on top in a comparison of the women’s fashion senses?
- Getty Images Entertainment/Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Markle has the opportunity to bring a breath of fresh air to the British monarchy. Her willingness to try trends and behave more informally in public with Harry is a welcome change from the sometimes stiff and formal royal protocol.
But her sticking to trends has lead to some fashion missteps. And her public appearances post-engagement haven’t brought much to the table — the most exciting outfit so far has been the white coat.
While Middleton’s dedication to more traditional fashion can sometimes feel a bit stale, she has turned out hits again and again over a full decade in the public eye.
And when it comes to iconic fashion, Markle hasn’t pulled off anything yet that can top some of Middleton’s instant classics — though, with the royal wedding coming up, she’ll have plenty of time to try.