No pressure, but Meghan Markle could change the way the Royals dressby Joanne Black
When it comes to style, you can take the girl out of California, but not California out of the girl, Director of public history and associate professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Dr Deidre Clemente believes.
“She’s young, she’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s American, better yet she’s an American actress from California, she’s bi-racial and she really has the power to re-define the dress of the Royals in many ways, and in a way that [the Duchess of Cambridge] Kate Middleton couldn’t,” Clemente tells NOTED.
Middleton’s background would not allow her to push fashion boundaries the way that an American could, Clemente thinks.
“I think people understand the difference between the way Americans use clothes and the way Europeans use clothes. You see it in relief with Meghan Markle because Americans use clothes much more as a representation of individualism and not as a representation of class.
"It’s almost bad manners [for an American] to use clothes to represent class.”
Watch some of Meghan Markle's fashion choices over the years:
Clemente notes that in most of her public appearances since her engagement to Prince Harry, Markle has played down some of the defining traits of American dressing – in particular the use of colour. “I lived in Italy on and off for many years and I can tell an American from across the room because they have the most colourful outfits but it is interesting is that Meghan Markle has really toned it down. She wears a lot of browns, black and neutrals. She is doing a lot of monochromatic white or off-white.”
As as an actor, Markle understands the power of dressing, Clemente says. “When you’re an up-and-coming actress and dressing for Broadway, you’re dressing to turn heads in a sexy way but that’s exactly the opposite of what she wants to do now at high-profile events. She doesn’t want to out-dress her host, she doesn’t want to out-dress the women she’s appearing with and what she has going for her is that as an actress who grew up in Los Angeles, she knows the power of clothing to help you be a chameleon. I think we are already seeing her adapt to her surroundings.”
Even if Markle is favouring monochromes, her clothes are not boring, Clemente says. “Like First Lady Melania Trump, it’s a clean, expensive-looking way of dressing. I wouldn’t be surprised if she looked at the way Melania dressed because they have a similar put-together look without being presumptuous. There’s something very simple about the way they dress.”
Photos of Markle as a child show her with curly hair and Clemente thinks it likely that Markle now has her hair chemically straightened.
“I’d love to see it, even just one time, if she had it naturally curly, or wore braids – wouldn’t that be something? I do think we can expect a lot from her. She was like a B, B- or C, C- celebrity and now she’s in the spotlight of the world and everybody is watching her and every single thing she does. I think she’ll be an international fashion player and who she aligns herself with in terms of designers, and different styles will be really interesting. I hope she goes a little wild and I hope she picks some up-and-coming young American designers to boost, because we could use some of that.
“I do think the Brits will probably try to bring her down a couple of pegs but I have faith in Meghan Markle.”
Actor James Norton has played a painter, a prince and a murderer, but none has been so conflicted as Anglican vicar Sidney Chambers in Grantchester.Read more
To celebrate the arrival of Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive to Sky Arts, the Listener is giving away copies of his complete tales and poems.Read more
What’s happening and what’s coming up in Auckland food.Read more