Meghan Markle is sending a powerful message with her rule-breaking style
..and that message is, 'Don't f*** with me'
Meghan Markle, the British royal family's reigning rule breaker, understands better than anyone the impact one Roland Mouret dress can have.
It's not just the head-to-toe midnight blue sequins that adds the wow factor, but entire package: the slicked back bun, a burgundy lip and - gasp! - dark toe nail polish. The fact that Queen Elizabeth prefers the high-ranking women to wear nude nail polish mightn't be a rule as strictly enforced as previously thought and if it is, it's proof that she's writing her own rules. Meghan, who is expecting her first child with Prince Harry, spent much of last year being criticised for every choice she made from her clothing, to her hair, to her shoes, to her speeches and beyond - and it's clear that she has no intention of stalling her convention-defying decisions anytime soon.
For her first appearance of the year, at Smart Works in London one of her four newly appointed patronages, she arrived in a black jersey dress, a pair of cow print Gianvito Rossi heels (from her previous pre-royal life) and dainty diamond bar earrings by Kimai. It was the equivalent of arriving in armour and a signal that she won't be changing for anyone.
In contrast, she was a beacon of colour in a purple Aritzia Babaton dress and red Sentaler wrap coat, an homage to both her late mother-in-law Princess Diana and grandmother-in-law Queen Elizabeth, who both prefer the regal combination. Just a day later, Kate Middleton wore a similarly shaded Oscar de la Renta skirt suit, as if further proof of her place at the upper echelons of the British royal family. After several months of unwavering criticism, it was a show of solidarity between the two allegedly feuding in-laws. It might seem like I'm reaching, but both coordinate their outfits well in advance and if Kate really didn't want the inevitable comparisons to be drawn, she could have changed into any one of the appropriate pieces in her extensive wardrobe.
Neither women will ever give interviews and they certainly won't address the speculation, but they can wear their hearts quite literally on their designer sleeves.
On Wednesday, the expectant duchess showed that not only would she be doing things her own way (can you recall the last time you saw a pregnant royal in a mini-dress and heels in January?) but she is finally understanding how to work the relentless British tabloids. Often under fire for her expensive wardrobe, she chose a camel maternity dress for H&M, which retails for €27.99, and took a page out of Kate's book by recycling an Armani coat from earlier in the week.
It's these small gestures that continue to endear the more glamorous royals to the public and with their every move so tightly controlled, sometimes it takes the right outfit to do the talking for you. Which brings us to Wednesday night's look: a sequin Roland Mouret floor length gown, an expensive choice at nearly €5,000, but her willingness to defy style convention has curried renewed favour for the former actress and reminding people why it is they became so obsessed with her to begin with.