Meghan Markle's style transformation since she married into the royal family has been remarkable to say the least. She's used her platform to uplift local designers, make meaningful sartorial statements, and push for more accessibility and sustainability in fashion. All the while, her personal style has evolved dramatically, with refined, conservative looks replacing some of the trendier outfits she wore as an actress. Now, as she embarks on her new life post-royalty, it’s time to take a walk down memory lane.
To start, Markle was never afraid to
go against royal protocol with her outfit choices. There were off-the-shoulder silhouettes, wedge sandals, dark-colored nail polish, and cross-body bags that left her hands free to shake, hug, and the like. That said, she did adapt to a wardrobe that was perhaps more conservative than her style repertoire while living in Hollywood and filming her well-known television show, Suits. In fact, irony of ironies, she actually even took some style cues from her on-screen persona herself for many of her understated royal looks.
Gone were the miniskirts, the bandage dresses, and the platform heels of Meghan's past; instead, her royal closet was overflowing with demure midi skirts, tailored dresses, timeless coats, and lots of ornate headwear. But she still made time to don her
favorite leggings every now and then.
Ahead, find the ultimate round-up of Meghan Markle's fashion transformation, pre-, during and post- royal life.
Golden Globe Suites—January 13, 2007 Amy Tierney/WireImage/Getty Images
A mini-bubble hem was a staple in Markle’s repertoire in the '00s as were strapless silhouettes and metallic heels.
pre-Emmy Gift Lounge—September 18, 2009 Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Markle was always a big fan of one-and-done outfit formulas, like this romper and the jumpsuits she wore later for royal appearances.
Launch of Alexa Chung for Madewell — September 21, 2011 Charley Gallay/WireImage/Getty Images
Not only is Markle’s little black dress a micro mini, but it’s also lace-trimmed and boudoir-inspired. She kicked the look up a notch with bold accessories like a colorful clutch.
HBO Luxury Lounge—January 14, 2012 Chelsea Lauren/WireImage/Getty Images
Though Markle tried to keep the cross-body bag trend going into her royal life, she eventually swapped it out for traditional clutches. Her flats, though, are still a wardrobe staple.
“A Suits Story” Event—June 12, 2012 Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Sequins were an easy way for Markle to get in the evening spirit, and the off-the-shoulder neckline is one of her most beloved silhouettes.
"Suits" Mid-Season Premiere Screening—January 14, 2013 Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images
Honing in on her signature
Suits-era uniform (work staples with a modern twist), Markle attended a screening in a pencil skirt, pumps, and a pussybow teal blouse. Herve Leger By Max Azria Fashion Show—September 7, 2013 Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Markle supported celebrity-favorite Herve Leger at NYFW wearing a crop top and mini skirt in the brand's famed bandage style.
Elton John AIDS Foundation Benefit—October 28, 2014 Jamie McCarthy/WireImage/Getty Images
Markle's love of monochrome was still visible in her pre-royal formal wardrobe, like this teal Roland Mouret gown. It's worth nothing, though, that she opted for trendier, more youthful silhouettes during that era.
World Conference On Women—March 10, 2015 J. Countess/WireImage/Getty Images
Giving us a peek at what was to come with her royal wardrobe, Markle looked demure and pulled-together in a fit-and-flare dress with her classic off-shoulder neckline.
CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards—November 2, 2015 Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images
She opted for a dazzling metallic mini dress with a plunging neckline for the CFDA Awards in 2015, arriving to the event with designer Misha Nonoo.
"Suits" Season 5 Premiere—January 21, 2016 Michael Tullberg/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
The actress was much more aligned with the trends of the moment pre-royal life, choosing all black and cage gladiator heels for the Season 5 premiere of
Suits. Engagement Announcement—November 27, 2017 Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
Meghan Markle's style transformation was almost instantly visible at her engagement announcement. The classic tailoring, neutral colors, and longer hemlines would soon become fixtures in her royal wardrobe.
Royal Tour of Australis—October 23, 2018 PA - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
When Markle is looking for a more casual look, she typically opts for breezy pieces like a sweeping linen maxi dress and comfortable flats.
The Fashion Awards—December 10, 2018 Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
For her memorable appearance at The Fashion Awards, Markle perfected her minimalist, elegant approach to red carpet dressing in a one shoulder gown. Her dark nails — a departure from royal beauty rules — solidified her as a style rebel.
Christmas Day Church—December 25, 2018 Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Getty Images
Markle’s black dresses were much more refined during royal life, styled here with a classic coat, knee-high boots, and with a more covered-up silhouette overall.
Sighting In New York City—February 20, 2019 Gotham/GC Images/Getty Images
When it comes time to dress down, she gravitated toward comfortable activewear worn with her go-to
Lululemon leggings. Fans should expect to see her step out in similar looks as she adjusts to a more relaxed schedule post-royal life. Duke & Duchess Of Sussex Pose With Their Newborn Son—May 8, 2019 WPA Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
To introduce Archie to the world, the Duchess went the conservative route in an all-neutral look with a trench coat dress and sleek pumps.
‘The Lion King’ Premiere—July 14, 2019 Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
Markle’s black-tie looks are much more classic-inspired, as she opts for A-line silhouettes and sheer long sleeves.
Mountbatten Music Festival—March 7, 2020 Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images
These days, Markle has adapted to royal protocol, opting for a clutch so there is something for her hands to hold out of obligation.
Commonwealth Day Service—March 9, 2020 Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
When Markle really wants to make a statement, she goes for color, even testing out the monochromatic look in head-to-toe green.