- Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images, Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images, David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage
- The Duchess of Sussex has some of the most closely watched outfits within the royal family.
- Since her time on the royal public appearances circuit, several of her all-black ensembles have struck a balance of formal and elegant without being boring.
- New York-based stylist Samantha Brown told Insider that, as seen in some of Markle’s best outfits, there are three key guidelines for making sure all-black ensembles are anything but boring.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Duchess of Sussex turned heads this weekend with back-to-back appearances in two stunning all-black ensembles.
The formal Erdem gown and Stella McCartney coat Markle sparked headlines in were just the latest in her long track record of black outfits that have sometimes bucked royal tradition, but proved that head-to-toe black doesn’t have to be boring.
Darker outfits can be a surefire way to turn out a more professional or nighttime look with a few key features, New York-based stylist Samantha Brown told Insider, and whether it’s a sleek work look or dressing for drab winter months, here are some highlights from the Duchess to nail an all-black ensemble.
1. Switching up materials within the outfit
Markle stepped out this July in a stunning Jason Wu gown that mixed mesh and satin for a sophisticated spin on a sleeveless gown look. The same effect has popped up in her outfits for other appearances, including a silk top under a matte blazer or a glossy belt and bag with a simple fabric dress, which Brown says keeps the look “interesting.”
“When wearing black from head to toe, it’s important to keep the look interesting by varying your textures,” Brown said. “Consider mixing matte materials with those that have shine; like leather with a cashmere knit, or black denim with a silk blouse.”
2. Layers help with warmth and style
- Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images, Chris Jackson/Getty Images, Karwai Tang/WireImage
Though the royals often don’t have far to walk in the cold or rain while making a public appearance, Brown said that coats and other layers aren’t just a practical addition for colder months, but can also be key in breaking up a monochrome look.
“The variety of textures will make the look more dynamic, as will adding layers,” Brown said. “Layers create depth in an outfit, so consider a blazer in wool or velvet layered for both warmth and style.”
3. If royal accessories are intimidating, go for small but striking accents
“These royal outfits are all about key accessories and completer pieces, like hats and belted overcoats,” Brown said.
But for those who aren’t quite comfortable donning flashy accessories like a fascinator or a tiara, Brown said that flourishes like a button detail can be “a great sub for jewelry if you don’t gravitate towards statement pieces.”