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Fashion News

How Meghan Markle's iconic royal wardrobe will be completely overhauled as she officially steps back from royal life

Change is afoot for the royal - and her signature style is front and centre.

By Jess Pullar
Unless you've been hiding under a particularly well-insulated doona over the past few months, you'll likely have heard the news that Meghan Markle and husband Prince Harry have decided to step back as senior members of the British royal family.
Announced on Wednesday, January 8, the Sussexes revealed the news via their Instagram account, confirming to their followers that they intend to become financially independent, and would split their time between the UK and North America.
It was a shock, to say the least - an announcement that left many in various states of meltdown, both with excitement for what was to come, and despair for what they could be leaving behind.
But for us fashion-fanatics, it only meant one thing - whatever would happen to Meghan's royal style status?
Meghan is an undeniable fashion influencer - but how will it change as she steps away from royal life? (Getty)
As soon as her relationship with Prince Harry was confirmed, Meghan was propelled into the fashion-glitterati as one of its most influential names.
Yep, like several key royal women before her, she quickly climbed the style-stakes as a fashion-force to be reckoned with, and fast became known for selling out entire lines of clothing, crashing online shopping websites and sparking sales surges brands couldn't keep up with.
So iconic was her influence that she even sparked a movement, dubbed the "Meghan Effect".
And through it all, Meghan owned it.
Swapping out her casual active-wear-clad pre-royal wardrobe for a slick set of chic, yet modest ensembles, the Duchess of Sussex transitioned into royal life seamlessly.
At one of her first big royal outings with the Queen, Meghan opted for a beige Givenchy dress featuring bold capped shoulders, accessorised with a thin belt.
The midi-ensemble was met with glee from Meghan's royal fans, who ogled over the royal-worthy look.
And boy did we have more where that came from.
Meghan's beige Givenchy dress worn during her first official outing with the Queen was a sign of many good things to come. (Getty)
Over the next year and a half, we saw Meghan embrace her status as a royal fashion icon like a certified pro.
Wearing one stunning designer outfit after another, it was a genuine joy to watch the Duchess put together outfits that oozed with glamour and fashion-forward thinking, while still staying true to the modest linings of traditional royal fashion.
Case in point was her first photo-call with baby Archie.
Wearing a gorgeous white tuxedo dress designed by British up and comer Grace Wales Bonner, the royal made a meaningful statement.
The dress itself was beautifully modest, but was fitted enough to show just enough of her post-baby bump - a refreshingly raw and realistic display that earned her praise from other mums who felt self-conscious about their own postpartum bodies.
Wales Bonner, the dress's designer, is also of mixed-race decent, much like Meghan, and is known for her gender-neutral designs. A subtle forward-thinking move from Meghan, who made the fashion statement at a time when all eyes were inevitable going to be on her.
Meghan's white tuxedo midi dress worn for Archie's first photo call had a special meaning behind it. (Dominic Lipinski / PA / Getty)
But now, after witnessing Meghan round out her final official royal engagement with Prince Harry at the annual Commonwealth Day service on March 9, we can't help but wonder what comes next for her iconic wardrobe.
Will she continue to stick to a modest royal dress code, opting to wear some of the world's most prestigious designer brands?
Or will her dress sense take a more casual approach, especially now she'll be living in Canada?
According expert Rachel Evans, head of fashion at THE ICONIC, change is afoot.
"It makes sense that her style will adapt to the Canadian climate," she told Now To Love.
"We should see an evolution of her personal style. Free from all the rules of royal dressing, I think we'll see a more playful and progressive version of the Duchess' style break-out."
It makes sense, given Meghan's knack for picking items of clothing that hold meaning (read: the aforementioned first photo call with Archie), we can expect to see the Duchess experiment a little more with styles and brands that we mightn't have otherwise seen her brave as a senior royal.
WATCH: Meghan Markle goes all out for her final royal outing by wearing a heavenly green Emilia Wickstead dress to the Commonwealth Day celebrations. Story continues...
Another progressive move we can expect to see from Meghan as she forges ahead with life in Canada is a stronger focus on sustainable labels.
The Duchess has already made a mark in this space - wearing a pair of black jeans designed by sustainable and charitable brand Outland Denim while she toured Australia in late 2018, she single-handedly thrust the inspiring brand into a sales frenzy.
"The immediate effect was a 3000 per cent website traffic increase to our home site," Outland Denim co-founder Erica Bartle told Now To Love.
"Sales increased 640 per cent for the week following the first sighting of Meghan in our jeans."
Within 24 hours, the exact style - the Harriet - sold out in 24 hours.
"It's still our most popular style. We also gained about 8,000 new Instagram followers in 24 hours," Bartle explained.
It's not hard to see why Meghan chose to wear the brand - it has an incredible mission to provide careers for women who have experienced sex trafficking in Asia. The label provides support and fair wages, as well as up-skilling women for future work opportunities.
And sure enough, Meghan's simple act in wearing their jeans resulted in the brand's most significant impact yet.
"It was possible to employ a further 46 seamstresses, who have been accommodated by our new Cambodian production house, which was an exciting development for our whole team," Bartle said.
Meghan's Outland Denim jeans worn in Australia increased the ethical brand's sales by 640 per cent. (Getty)
With her style expected to become a little more casual as she sets up a base in Canada, Bartle predicts we'll be seeing a lot more denim donned by the Duchess.
"She's clearly a jeans lover, and with jeans styles evolving to appeal to the woman with an eye for a more luxury look and feel to fabrications and design, and who also believes in sustainability, we're hoping Outland Denim will continue to be a part of her wardrobe rotation."
As for her son Archie, the young royal is also expected to make his own waves in the fashion-sphere - just like his mum.
After Meghan dressed him in a beautiful Boden jumper for their official Christmas card photo in 2019, sales for the baby-wear garment doubled, according to the brand.
And in another heartwarming move, when a new picture surfaced of Archie wearing a bobble hat shortly before the New Year, the masses positively leaped to discover where it was from.
Revealed to be from inspiring Kiwi brand Make Give Love, the social enterprise operates on a one-for-one basis, donating a hat to New Zealanders in need for every one purchased.
The social enterprise was swamped with orders after the picture appeared - and we can't help but think Archie's clothing choice was a meaningful move from the Duke and Duchess.
Anything Archie wears (such as the adorable Boden jumper pictured), mum's and dad's will flock to buy. (Twitter)
There's no denying things will inevitably change now that Meghan and Harry have stepped back from their current royal roles, but there's no doubt in our minds that Meghan will continue to inspire and provide the goods in the wardrobe department - even if her style is a little less regal.
And while her signature royal looks will likely transition into new territory, we've got a sneaking suspicion that the best is yet to come - Meghan is a fashion force to be reckoned with, after all.

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