The Duchess of Sussex has enjoyed numerous sartorial highs since marrying into the royal family. And most of them have included some degree of coordination. But today, Meghan Markle's trench coat dress showed the royal's experimental side.
Markle and Prince Harry took a trip to London's Southbank Centre for a private tour of the Nelson Mandela centenary exhibition. The former actress stuck to her usual pink palette but surprised some onlookers by choosing a sleeveless trench coat dress by Canadian label House of Nonie for the occasion.
For the average person, this is just another dress. But for a bonafide royal like Markle, this was a whole different ballgame. A tailored coat is the typical uniform of royal appearances, and Markle's version of the look suggests she is doing things her own way in the sartorial stakes. She may have opted for more traditional tailored dresses over the past few weeks but a fashion-forward look such as a sleeveless trench coat dress arguably signals a move towards more experimental aesthetic.
A signature "Markle look" can now perhaps be defined as something that is fully coordinated but contains an extra twist. Today's coordinating part came from the pale pink dress and accessories. Her £625 coat dress was perfectly matched to a £600 Mulberry bag and Dior heels.
And the twist? Well, that was obviously the design of the dress. A trench coat is a winter staple (and something that Markle has worn in the past) but updating it so that it can be worn in this heat is a task and a half. Her dress featured the usual trench buttons, a tie front, and that sleeveless detail.
Aside from the fact that the style is something that appears to never have been worn by a member of the royal family, Markle's dress choice is actually pretty interesting in another way. According to People, this dress wasn't bought — or even designed for her — after her wedding to Prince Harry. Instead, Markle bought it from the store while she was living in Toronto and starring on legal drama Suits.
Wearing something that came from her pre-royal wardrobe is perhaps an example of Markle's (totally justified) assurance in her new role. It suggests she has strength and confidence in her own vision. She knows how to be respectful of the royal family's tradition, but does so in a way that feels authentic to who she is, too.
It also suggests that she likes to promote a diverse mixture of design talent. Yes, she's been regularly seen in Givenchy (the brand that designed her wedding dress) and other UK-based labels, but the 36-year-old seems happy to give a nod to her former Toronto home.
Markle has certainly pleased the founder of House of Nonie, Nina Kharey. "Seeing Meghan Markle wear the Nonie Trench Dress today with such elegant and grace is beyond exciting!" she told People. "Her continuous support of Canadian brands is remarkable, and it is a true honour to be the first Canadian based ready-to-wear designer she has worn since her wedding earlier this year."
Towing the line is perhaps an unavoidable factor of being a royal. But Markle is doing it on her own terms, and she should be applauded for that.
If you'd like to take a leaf our of Markle's book, here are a few ways to get her trench coat dress look without a huge price tag:
I'll be honest. Some of Markle's previous ensembles, like the twinsets and flesh-coloured tights, just didn't do it for me. But this look has well and truly proved me wrong. Sorry I ever doubted you, Megs.