It’s been a long journey since Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in 2018, and amid the highs and lows of royal life, the Duchess of Sussex’s style has evolved in major ways.
Markle became a Hollywood star when she appeared in the legal drama “Suits” from 2011 to 2018, and at the time, her wardrobe mostly featured fun mini dresses, motorcycle jackets, and jeans during her stay in Toronto.
Her appearance changed dramatically when she married into the royal family, as the newly minted Duchess added more demure looks, hats and even pantyhose to her wardrobe as she adapted to life in the UK.
And after she and Prince Harry quit their royal duties in 2021 and moved to California, Markle’s wardrobe changed again. These days, the Duchess almost exclusively wears high-end designers like Carolina Herrera and Dior for public appearances.
From her acting days to her new life in Montecito, we take a look at the evolution of the Duchess of Sussex’s style.
The era of “suits”
In 2010, Markle starred in Suits, frequently attending red-carpet events and parties in colorful, hugging cocktail looks—a far cry from the neutral hues and slouchy shades they sport today. Nor was she afraid to show some skin, whether with a strapless dress or a cropped top. One thing that has remained the same over the years? Her love of the jacket or coat was slung over her shoulders.
When California began dating Prince Harry, she stuck to her relaxed style, even wearing distressed denim for her first public appearance with the Prince at the 2017 Invictus Games. Once their engagement was announced, we saw Markle don more elaborate tops and modest designs, like a long camel skirt and turtleneck. The black turtleneck she wore with a long wool coat at her inaugural royal engagement party in November 2017.
The wedding dress Markle chose to become the Duchess of Sussex, designed by then-Givenchy chief Claire Waight Keeler, surprised many royal fans with its simplicity. And throughout her time in England, she’s kept streamlined silhouettes and a color palette of mostly beige, black, navy and white—with a few pops along the way to keep things interesting.
Meghan’s old, distressed jeans have been replaced with midi skirts and evening dresses, but more often than not we’ve had a glimpse of her former style, like when she wore a striped jacket and black jeans to tour a riding club in Morocco or a Madewell denim jacket on her Sussex tour in South Africa.
Dressing like Diana
Over the years, we’ve seen the duchess rock quite a few Diana-inspired outfits, but she wore two outfits during her first pregnancy that particularly resembled the looks her late mother-in-law was seen wearing.
In January 2019, she wore a purple and red mix that reminded fans of two of Diana’s fabulous ’80s outfits, as she wore a red Sentaler coat with an Aritizia midi dress. Two months later, Markle wore a custom green Erdem coat with black embroidery that looked very close to the coat Princess Diana chose while pregnant with Prince William in 1982.
In March 2020, the Sussex family left the UK for a new life in America. While it was rare to spot the Duchess once the couple moved to California for good, we’ve seen elements of her past style make a comeback as Markle volunteered and made a special appearance during the height of the pandemic in 2020, wearing casual wear like shorts, jeans and chambray shirts.
Once the pandemic restrictions were lifted, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made more public appearances – and Markle wore some stunning outfits from labels like Dior, Givenchy, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Chanel recently. She also often wears pants, unlike in her younger days, when she mostly stuck to dresses and skirts.
Whether it’s a $1,290 cashmere turtleneck sweater from The Row on her 2021 trip to New York City or the head-to-toe Dior look she wore to a church service during the Platinum Jubilee, Markle has been living her best life lately — wearing the failed designer to prove that.