38 memorable outfits Meghan Markle has worn as a duchess that show why she's a global fashion icon

Pool/Getty ImagesThe Duchess of Sussex is known for her simple, chic style.
  • Since she married Prince Harry in May 2018, Meghan Markle has become an influential fashion force.
  • Known for her elegant yet modern style, the Duchess of Sussex has a signature royal style.
  • Markle often gravitates toward boatneck dresses, pantsuits, and muted tones.
  • From time to time, the former actress also switches it up by channeling her old glamorous Hollywood style.

It’s been a whirlwind 10 months for Meghan Markle since she married Prince Harry in May 2018.

The activist and proud feminist has had to learn royal rules and precedents that govern everything from how she sits to what she wears to how affectionate she can be in public – and she’s handled it all like a professional, even when things haven’t gone according to plan.

Along the way, Markle has also become a global fashion icon, known for her elegant yet modern style. In September last year, People magazine even named her the best-dressed star of 2018.

Below, take a look at the most memorable looks the Duchess of Sussex has worn so far.

Meghan Markle’s wedding ceremony dress featured one of her go-to silhouettes.

Ben Stansall/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesPrince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot on May 19, 2018.

The duchess looked radiant in a minimalist Givenchy gown during her wedding ceremony in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The elegant dress, which Markle helped design, featured three-quarter-length sleeves, a sculpted waist, and a bateau neckline.

Since then, boatneck dresses have become a staple in Markle’s closet.

But the duchess’ affinity for the wide neckline also suggests that her royal wardrobe has retained elements of her personal style. Long before she became a member of the British royal family, Markle wore boat necks on the red carpet at Hollywood events.

Her wedding reception dress showed she’s willing to take risks.

Steve Parsons/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesThe modern look was a hint of what would follow.

On the night of her wedding to Harry, Markle wore a halter-neck Stella McCartney dress to an intimate reception at Frogmore House.

The duchess, who has previously described her personal style as “classic and simple” with a modern twist, styled her hair in her signature casual bun.

The flirty look showed off Markle’s fun side, and she’s since continued to push the envelope of royal fashion with bold choices.

At her first royal engagement as the Duchess of Sussex, Markle rocked a blush-pink ensemble.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesShe also made headlines for appearing to wear tights.

Three days after her wedding, Markle attended a celebration for Prince Charles’ 70th birthday in a midi dress with sheer long sleeves. She paired the blush-pink number, made by British brand Goat, with a wide-brimmed hat and light beige heels.

The duchess also appeared to be wearing tights at the happy occasion, which surprised some royal fans. Markle had previously gone bare-legged at appearances with Harry – most notably when the couple announced their engagement in November 2017.

Many believed the former actress donned the tights in accordance with royal protocol. Royal expert Victoria Arbiter previously told INSIDER that Queen Elizabeth II has set a strict precedent about wearing stockings in public.

“You never see a royal without their nude stockings,” Arbiter said. “I would say that’s really the only hard, steadfast rule in terms of what the queen requires.”

She donned another blush outfit at Trooping The Colour.

Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesMarkle’s royal wardrobe includes many pale, neutral colours.

The duchess made a splash at the annual Trooping the Colour celebration in June 2018 when she wore a pale pink off-the-shoulder dress. Some online commenters thought the dress’ wide neckline was “inappropriate,” but many royal fans pointed out that Kate Middleton has worn similar off-the-shoulder designs in the past.

Markle paired her elegant dress with a flat fascinator in a matching shade of blush. She also switched things up by wearing her hair in glamorous, loose curls instead of her usual casual bun.

The duchess chose a modest silhouette for her first joint engagement with the queen.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesThe two looked friendly and happy sitting next to each other.

Markle donned an off-white belted Givenchy dress during a royal visit to Cheshire, England, with the queen in June 2018.

Some online thought the duchess wore the dress, which featured a prominent cape overlay, in response to the criticism she had received days before about her off-the-shoulder Trooping the Colour outfit.

She looked elegant in another luxury brand at the Queen’s Young Leaders awards ceremony.

At an event honouring the Queen’s Young Leaders in late June 2018, the duchess stunned in a classy Prada number that combined some of her favourite designs into one outfit. The double-breasted top featured a boat neck and a belt around the waist, and the entire ensemble was blush pink.

Markle completed the look with a black clutch and closed-toe black heels.

Markle took a page from the queen’s stylebook at an event in early July 2018.

Yui Mok/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesHarry and Markle held hands at the occasion.

At the “Your Commonwealth” Youth Challenge reception, Markle looked radiant in a bright yellow Brandon Maxwell dress and simple beige heels. As INSIDER’s Daniel Boan noted, the colourful number was reminiscent of the queen’s vibrant wardrobe.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also made headlines when they were photographed holding hands at the reception – something Prince William and Kate Middleton rarely do.

She wore another monochromatic dress to Prince Louis’ christening.

Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesThe duchess wore head-to-toe green.

Alongside other members of the British royal family, Markle attended Prince Louis’ christening in early July 2018 wearing a belted olive-green midi dress. She accessorized the look with a fascinator, clutch, and heels in matching shades of green.

One day later, Markle looked regal in another belted dress with a boatneck.

Jeff Spicer/Getty ImagesThe dress looked like a shorter version of her wedding ceremony dress.

In July 2018, the duchess attended celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the UK’s Royal Air Force in a navy blue, long-sleeve Dior midi dress. While Markle matched her fascinator and her clutch to the rich, deep shade of her dress, she chose a light beige colour for her heels.

During a trip to Ireland in July 2018, the duchess channeled Hollywood glam.

Geoff Pugh/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesShe looked like she was walking the red carpet.

During Harry and Markle’s first official visit outside the UK as a married couple, the two attended an evening reception at the residence of Robin Barnett, the British ambassador to Ireland, in Dublin.

For the occasion, the duchess wore her hair in loose curls and ditched her structured, traditional royal ensembles for a flowing navy blue dress.

She also pushed the envelope of royal fashion by wearing a pantsuit.

Chris Jackson/Pool/Getty ImagesHarry and Markle held hands again during a visit to Croke Park in Dublin.

On the second day of the couple’s visit to Ireland, the duchess stepped out in yet another design by Givenchy. But this time, Markle opted for a crisp black pantsuit instead of a boatneck dress.

Markle rocked a familiar colour in a business-casual silhouette in mid-July 2018.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesIt’s clear she has a signature royal style.

The duchess attended the opening of “Nelson Mandela: The Centenary Exhibition” at London’s Southbank Center in a belted, blush-pink trench coat dress with a matching clutch and heels.

While she may be a fan of high-end designs, she also has some affordable pieces in her closet.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesThe duchess at the Sentebale Polo Cup in late July 2018.

At the Sentebale Polo Cup, Markle wore a navy denim-style midi dress by Carolina Herrera that retails for $US2,190.

The duchess accessorized the belted dress with a pair of light beige pumps and a trendy rattan clutch from J. Crew that usually retails for $US88.

Markle put a royal twist on one of Hollywood’s biggest trends in late August 2018.

Dan Charity/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesThe duke and duchess attended a performance of ‘Hamilton’ in August.

At a charity gala performance of “Hamilton” at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre, Markle wore a $US595 tuxedo minidress. The elegant Judith & Charles piece looked like an oversized blazer – a popular look among celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Blake Lively.

During her first official visit to Sussex, the duchess added an edgy touch to her elegant ensemble.

Heathcliff O’Malley/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesHarry and Markle at the University of Chichester’s Tech Park in October 2018.

She paired a forest-green silk blouse with an emerald green leather skirt from Hugo Boss and beige suede heels. Markle styled her hair into her signature casual bun.

She wore a modest look to Princess Eugenie’s wedding in early October 2018.

WPA Pool/Getty ImagesShe wore a navy blue Givenchy coat, heels, and fascinator.

While the public did not know it at the time, the duchess’ outfit was one of the first looks at her maternity style.

According to the BBC, Markle and Harry told Queen Elizabeth II and “other senior royals” that the duchess is pregnant during Eugenie’s wedding.

Three days after the wedding, Kensington Palace revealed that the couple is expecting their first child in spring 2019 in an official announcement on Twitter.

On the first day of Markle and Harry’s autumn royal tour, the duchess was photographed in eco-friendly flats.

Pool/Getty ImagesThe couple kicked off their 16-day tour on October 16, 2018.

After landing in Sydney, Markle changed out of beige pumps into a pair of Rothy’s flats made out of recycled water bottles.

Two days later, the duchess wore a handmade pasta necklace during a reception at Government House in Melbourne, Australia.

Scott Barbour/Getty ImagesGovernment House is the official residence of Linda Dessau, the governor of the Australian state of Victoria.

According to News.com.au, the necklace was a gift from a young fan named Gavin, who said he’d spent all morning making it for the duchess.

Markle wore the necklace on top of an $US873 dress by Australian designer Dion Lee. She accessorized with $US625 Manolo Blahnik heels and a khaki trench coat.

During a visit to Sydney’s Bondi Beach, Markle looked stylish yet comfortable in a flowy maxi dress.

Ryan Pierse/Getty ImagesShe and Harry looked stylish yet comfortable on October 19, 2018.

The duchess paired a striped $US1,420 dress by Martin Grant with $US120 wedge espadrilles by Castañer, a type of shoe the queen reportedly doesn’t like.

She later took off the wedges and walked barefoot through the sand with her husband and members of OneWave, a nonprofit surf community focused on raising awareness about mental health issues.

On the sixth day of the royal tour, she ditched her signature heels and rocked sneakers from another environmentally conscious brand.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesShe and Harry wore matching windbreakers.

On October 21, 2018, the duke and duchess boarded a boat in Sydney Harbour to watch the Invictus Games sailing final.

Markle paired a sporty windbreaker with black skinny jeans and white eco-friendly Veja sneakers.

The next day, Markle wore sustainable fashion again during a walk around Fraser Island in Queensland, Australia.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool/Getty ImagesThe duchess wore eco-friendly clothing even before she became a royal.

On October 22, 2018, she was photographed in a maxi dress from Reformation, an eco-friendly clothing brand known for its sustainable practices.

The grey and white striped number, which featured a thigh-high slit, was a departure from Markle’s signature belted designer dresses and pantsuits.

The duchess paired the flowy summer dress with Karen Walker sunglasses and brown Sarah Flint sandals.

On October 23, 2018, Markle attended a state banquet in Suva, Fiji, wearing a regal cape dress.

Ian Vogler/Pool/Getty ImagesThe gown retails for $US1,431.

At a dinner hosted by Jioji Konrote, the president of Fiji,Markle wore a $US1,431 caped gown by British label Safiyaa – an ensemble that resembled one of Kate Middleton’s most memorable maternity looks.

She opted for a $US1,495 silk dress by Figue during a visit to a Fijian university.

Phil Noble/Pool/Getty ImagesShe visited the college on October 24, 2018.

At the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, the duchess talked candidly about the importance of providing open access to education, particularly for “women and girls in developing countries.”

The duchess, who graduated from Northwestern University in 2003 with a double major in theatre and international studies, also addressed the challenges of affording higher education “for many people around the world,” herself included.

Speaking about her time at Northwestern, Markle said it was only through scholarships, financial aid, and work-study programs – in which her “earnings from a job on campus went directly towards [her] tuition” – that she was able to attend college.

On October 26, 2018, Markle stunned in an intricate designer gown at the Australian Geographic Society Awards.

Paul Edwards/Pool/Getty ImagesThe dress features a tulle skirt and sheer illusion neckline.

Adorned with blackbird embellishments designed by Sarah Esmoingt, the Oscar de la Renta dress retailed for $US12,816, according to the Daily Mail.

The duchess paired the gown with $US750 Aquazzura “Deneuve Bow” pumps, one of her go-to heels.

On the last day of her and Harry’s fall royal tour, the duchess appeared to be wearing a sheer skirt.

Dominic Lipinski/Pool/Getty ImagesBut it may have been an optical illusion.
While greeting fans in Rotorua, New Zealand, Markle was photographed wearing a royal blue top with a matching Givenchy skirt and suede Manolo Blahnik heels.

In some pictures, Markle’s pleated midi skirt appeared slightly sheer, especially toward the top of her legs. It’s not clear, however, whether the skirt was actually see-through.

As the Daily Mail reported, it’s possible that the skirt’s material and pleated design – which had interchanging dark-blue and light-blue panels – created the illusion that Markle’s legs were visible underneath.

Markle wore another glamorous gown at the British Fashion Awards in December 2018.

Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty ImagesIt was the first time she wore a one-shoulder dress since joining the royal family.

Custom-made by Givenchy, Markle’s one-shoulder black velvet gown had a subtle side slit, wrap skirt design, and glossy lining.

The duchess paired the dress with strappy gold heels by British designer Tamara Mellon, gold bangle bracelets, and dark nail polish.

One week later, she donned one of her most memorable maternity looks yet.

Geoff Pugh/AFP/Getty ImagesThe duchess wore her hair up in a sleek updo.

On December 18, 2018, Markle visited nursing home residents in Twickenham, England, in a white midi dress by Brock Collection. The chic yet playful design featured a floral print, ruched cap sleeves, and a square neckline.

The duchess accessorized with suede pumps by Aquazzura and a silk clutch by Wilbur & Gussie.

In early January 2019, Markle wore a pair of cow-print heels with clear PVC on the sides.

Neil Mockford/GC Images via Getty ImagesHer modern pumps were made by Gianvito Rossi.

Markle paired the trendy shoes with a black midi dress by maternity brand, Hatch, and a tan coat by Oscar de la Renta.

The royal wore the business-casual ensemble during a visit to UK-based charity Smart Works, a non-profit organisation that provides interview clothing and training to help women in need.

Smart Works is one of Markle’s four new patronages, which reflect her interest in supporting the arts, access to education, women, and animal welfare, Kensington Palace announced in early January.

A few days later, she channeled both the queen and Princess Diana with one outfit.

Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty ImagesIt was one of her most daring colour combinations yet.

The duchess wore an unmissable outfit during a visit to Birkenhead, UK, on January 14, 2019.

Markle layered a red wrap coat by Sentaler over a bright purple dress by Babaton, one of Artizia’s exclusive brands. She also donned Stuart Weitzman pumps that perfectly matched her jacket in colour.

The duchess’ bold outfit looked similar to a red-and-purple ensemble the late Princess Diana wore during a trip to Hong Kong in November 1989. It was also reminiscent of several colourful outfits the queen has sported.

That same week, Markle brought back her signature boatneck dress.

WPA Pool/Getty ImagesThe duchess attended a Cirque du Soleil performance on January 16, 2019.

She dazzled in a shimmering floor-length gown by Roland Moure in a rich shade of navy blue. The sequin-covered design retails for $US5,595.

Markle also rocked a bold red lip, a surprising choice given her affinity for neutral and pink makeup shades.

In late January 2019, she stepped out in a sleek maternity look.

Karwai Tang/Getty ImagesThe duchess’ royal wardrobe is full of neutral colours.

Markle visited the National Theatre in London on January 30 wearing a customised dress and matching blazer by Brandon Maxwell. She accessorized with a white Carolina Herrera clutch and light-beige Aquazzura heels.

Two days later, the duchess turned heads in a whimsical animal-print dress.

Marc Giddings/AFP/Getty ImagesShe accessorized with a pair of olive-green boots and a matching clutch.

Markle wore the $US1,813 silk chiffon midi dress by Oscar de la Renta during a visit to the historic Bristol Old Vic theatre in Bristol, UK.

She brightened up her outfit with a pair of $US695 olive-green suede boots by Sarah Flint.

In mid-February 2019, Markle layered a white turtleneck dress under a cream-coloured coat.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesMade by British designer Amanda Wakeley, the coat retails for $US1,190.

The royal donned the chic ensemble to attend a gala performance of “The Wider Earth,” a play about young Charles Darwin, at the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

According to the style experts at Meghan’s Mirror, a popular fashion blog about the duchess’ outfits, the dress is a shortened version of a floor-length wool piece from Calvin Klein’s 2019 Resort collection. The original Calvin Klein dress retails for $US1,900.

Markle accessorized her outfit with olive-green heels and a matching clutch, both from Ralph Lauren.

She experimented with another monochromatic look during the first day of her three-day tour of Morocco.

Markle debuted an elegant light-beige gown by Dior at a reception hosted by the British ambassador to Morocco in Rabat, Morocco.

The bespoke caftan-inspired dress featured crystal embellishments along the sleeves and an illusion wrap neckline.

She completed the memorable look with metallic gold heels, a matching clutch, and diamond earrings by Maison Birks that retail for $US12,000.

The following day, the duchess opted for a more colourful gown.

Pool/Getty ImagesThe flowing dress was designed by Carolina Herrera.

Covered in a geometric floral print, the short-sleeved Carolina Herrera dress retails for $US2,990.

In early March 2019, Markle wore an eye-catching brocade dress to a reception at Buckingham Palace.

WPA Pool/Getty ImagesPrince Harry opted for a classic navy-blue suit.

The stylish design featured a metallic gold-and-silver floral print.

The duchess wore the dress under the same cream-coloured Amanda Wakeley coat that she sported at the gala performance of “The Wider Earth” in mid-February.

Markle first debuted the coat at a Commonwealth Day service in March 2018.

On International Women’s Day, the royal donned a retro-inspired minidress and spoke in a panel at King’s College London.

Samir Hussein/Getty ImagesThe duchess is known for her stance as a proud feminist.

The playful black-and-white, printed shift dress is made by British brand Reiss and retails for $US345.

The duchess completed the outfit with a black Alexander McQueen blazer and a black Stella McCartney clutch.

A few days later, she stepped out in a structured forest-green coatdress by Canadian designer Erdem Moralioglu.

Neil Mockford/GC Images via Getty ImagesShe accessorized the dress with black pumps and a black clutch.

Markle wore the embellished Erdem number during a visit to Canada House in London, UK, with Prince Harry.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.