Before Fame to Now: The Style Evolution of Meghan Markle
| LAST UPDATE 10/17/2021
Meghan Markle's closet is full of dreamy dresses and strong power suits. But how has her style changed throughout the years? From her days on Suits to time spent in Buckingham Palace, her style evolution is truly remarkable.
Pearls and Pointed Shoes
Before Markle became widely known as Rachel Zane on Suits, she made her mark in the fashion industry. Onlookers noticed that she had a clear grip of style. From statement pieces to her beaming smile, Meghan caught the eyes of many.
Markle's 2006 style hinted that pointed heels would become a staple of her mature yet fashionable wardrobe. At a Kidney Foundation event, Meghan opted for several large strands of pearls as an accessory and sported a pair of blue jeans, a black shirt, and a black blazer. The blazer also quickly became a theme in her attire.
Sealed with a Bow
Throughout her rise to fame, Meghan took on many side jobs. Calligraphy, cooking, and sharing lifestyle tips were some of the many skills she mastered. The punctuality of calligraphy came in handy for the actress. In the early years of her career, Markle worked as a freelance calligrapher between acting gigs.
Meghan wore a two-tone strapless dress with shining silver heels to a 2007 Golden Globe event. This outfit was one of many that showed fans style could be all in the details. Markle proved that edginess and elegance could go hand-in-hand with the bubble hem and perfectly tied bow of this dress.
When Meghan was just 15-years-old in 1996, she visited the front gates of Buckingham Palace. Little did she know she would be entering those same gates as a British citizen nearly two decades later! Ninaki Priddy, Markle's childhood best friend, recalled Meghan's fascination with the Royal family.
Priddy once stated that she wasn't surprised that Meghan decided to marry into Royalty. But before the tiaras and gowns came many years of Markle's style evolution. In the 2009 Californian heat, she wore a simple black romper with aviator sunglasses and gladiator sandals to a pre-Emmy's event.
Pretty in Pink
Meghan has repeatedly shown playfulness in her wardrobe. She's worn many dresses, jumpsuits, and pantsuits that display a love of color. In 2010, Markle didn't shy away from being bold. She wore a bright pink mini-dress to the Chateau Marmont Beauty Lounge, accessorized with a gray belt and matching sandals.
The actress knew she belonged on the stage from a young age. Markle grew up alongside rehearsals. Her father, an Emmy Award-winning lighting director, Thomas Markle, lit the way. In 1998, Meghan appeared in many school plays and even received her first tiara! She was crowned prom queen at St. Francis High School in Los Angeles.
Neutrals Stole the Show
With family ties in showbusiness, it was no surprise to those close to her that Meghan wanted to be an actress. In 2012, she appeared on the navy carpet of USA Network's Upfront Event. The rising star wore a neutral-colored outfit and a strappy pair of high heels.
A year prior, Meghan made her acting debut in the TV series Suits, and viewers became captivated by her character, Rachel Zane. Per IMDb, Markle landed several smaller roles in General Hospital in 1963 and the U.S. game show Deal or No Deal in 2005. But, many believe it was her role on Suits that launched her career.
Sparkling For Suits
When Markle attended the Suits Story Fashion Show in 2012, she caught the crowd's attention in a sparkling black cocktail dress. Not only had Meghan wowed audiences on TV, but she knew how to work the runway too. Her trick to chic style? Perfect tailoring.
Meghan explained a lesson learned while working on the set of Suits. "No matter what you have in your closet, you think it's not going to make a big impact," she told Yahoo Style. "But if it fits you to a T, you look a million times better." And, from the looks of it, Markle certainly had this trick down pat.
Posed for Paparazzi
Allowing her fashion choices to speak for themselves, Meghan wore a blue patterned dress to New York's Tales of Endearment celebration in 2013. Many eyes were drawn to her strikingly bright white heels thanks to the thoughtful pairing of a bold dress with delicate silver rings and a bracelet.
According to IMDb, from 2014 to 2017, Markle was the founder and editor in chief of the lifestyle website The Tig. She supposedly derived the name from Tignanello red wine, which possibly explains her excellent taste. It turns out Meghan was willing to share her fashion and lifestyle hacks back then too!
A Maroon Showstopper
The Suits star had all eyes on her when she rocked a strapless maroon dress to ELLE's Women in Television Celebration in 2013. The knee-length number had an intricate fabric design on the top that was simple yet elegant. The accessories, like Meghan's chic style, were simple yet elegant.
She paired the number with a gold clutch and shiny heels. Around this time in Markle's showtime spotlight, it was visible to fans that she looked happy in her attire. However, throughout the years, Meghan's style choices changed in ways that showed fans she is just like us! (Even though she often walked the red carpet).
Sophisticated Suits Attire
On the one hand, Meghan could suit up and look ready to take over the stage. She wore a teal blouse with black detail and a sleek pencil skirt to a panel and mid-season premiere screening for Suits in 2013. Markle completed the outfit with a pair of her iconic heels.
Throughout the years, fans began to witness Markle's fashion choices transition from office chic to Royal luxury. This came with glamorous photo ops and even her own clothing line! But, before long, her style evolution bloomed, giving onlookers a peek into some of Meghan's self-expression through clothing.
Playing with Texture
In an interview with ReitmansTV, Markle explained some of her fashion tips. "Tone on tone is not just for the Queen," she said. "A really fun way to play around with it is to just change up the textures." Taking her own advice, Meghan wore a glamorous textured dress to 2014's NFL Characters Unite at Sports Illustrated.
Meghan didn't just know how to style a killer look back then. Throughout the years, she repeatedly proved that her style choices were thought-out and made her feel confident. Whether she was rocking a dress or trousers, there's no doubt she did it in stellar style.
In 2014, Markle attended a ShopStyle collection event in New York City. She wore a stunning outfit of tailored white trousers, a heather grey button-down blouse, and, of course, a matching white clutch and pair of heels. From the looks of it, she seemed cool, calm, and collected.
In an interview with Yahoo Style, Markle shared, "I think the most important thing you can do is tailoring." Exemplified in many of her outfits from pre-Suits to now, Meghan has shown us time and time again the magic of tailoring. Even the pants in this photo look like a perfect fit, seemingly adding a level of professionalism.
An Angelic Jumpsuit
Meghan sported a flowing yet fitted white jumpsuit in 2015. And, we don't think we have to spend much time telling you the style of shoes that she paired with it. With simple yet elegant cutouts with lace overlay around the shoulders, Markle looked utterly angelic.
It seemed that her Suits character's showtime attire was trickling over into her personal life. Nearly every outfit she wore on the red carpet was a showstopper to fans. But, was this wardrobe allowing Meghan to express herself in the ways she wanted?
Suited up for Suits
At the time, the answer was yes. Markle wore a stunning power suit to AOL Studios in 2016. At the event, she discussed her role in Suits and her tips for looking professional but staying comfortable. According to Meghan, "Comfy trousers, a comfortable top, and a black blazer" are just some of her go-to's.
Markle told Good Housekeeping that the idea is to remain relaxed yet refined. For example, here, she paired a black blazer with fun leather pants. All while staying in chic and slick style. We aren't sure if leather falls into the category of "Comfy trousers," but we'll take it!
A Navy Number
Around the time Meghan was rumored to catch the eye of a dashing young Prince, she attended a dinner in Toronto, Canada. She wore a stunning v-neck navy blue dress paired with heels that were shorter than her usual stilettos. However, the height was made up for with an elegant tassel design.
From her beachy waves to her creative shoe choice, there's no denying that Meghan had style in the bag. She knew what she liked, and she seemingly wasn't afraid to express herself in her wardrobe choices! From dresses to power suits, Markle knew how to style it all.
Keeping it Casual
Perhaps, Markle perfected this look from all the practice she got as Rachel Zane on Suits because this outfit is the ultimate day-to-night work style. In 2016, Meghan was seen at a Today Show taping at NBC Rockefeller Center Studios in the big apple.
This collared linen duo is the perfect melding of office and vacation. Two locations that don't seem to fit together, but anything is possible when Meghan is in the mix! She looked sophisticated while showing off her relaxed personality by pairing this gorgeous fabric with a pair of nude stilettos.
A Relaxed Outing
Meghan began officially living every little girl's dream in late 2016 when she started dating Prince Harry. A real-life Prince, eek! The couple attended the Invictus Games in Toronto and appeared very excited to be together. Meghan sported a rather casual outfit, featuring a white blouse and blue jeans with a hole in the knee.
"I think women have a really good sense of what looks good on men," Meghan said. "Especially if it's their own man, and in turn, they should want to look good for her." From the start, it seemed that Markle might've been able to influence Harry's style, and he certainly looks great!
She Said Yes!
When it came time to announce the exciting news that Meghan and Prince Harry were engaged, they took to the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace. On November 27, 2017, in London, the breaking story took over England. Fans of the Royal family were ecstatic that they would soon have a new member.
Meghan wore an elegant white peacoat with strappy nude heels. Many theorized that the white jacket symbolized a future white wedding gown, which raised excitement even more. Equipped with beaming smiles and Markle's gorgeous engagement ring, the couple looked ready to take on the world.
A Leather Statement
Since announcing their engagement, Harry and Meghan made their first Royal visit to the World AIDS Day charity fair. Markle wore a long tan leather skirt that flowed as she walked, paired with a simple black long-sleeve and slouched boots. She completed her outfit with a Strathberry purse and thin black belt.
This outfit allowed Meghan's more recent British fans to see her personality shining through in her attire. She kept it simple yet elegant, comfortable, yet sophisticated. At this time, a Royal wardrobe for the history books began, and we're about to dive in.
Queen of elegant accessories, Meghan wore a lovely detailed hat with a tan peacoat to see off Queen Elizabeth II after the Royal family's traditional Christmas Day church service at St. Mary Magdalene Church. Her hat was matched by a pair of leather gloves and a unique circular purse.
This December day in 2017 was one of the first times England witnessed Markle publicly curtsy to the Queen. She smiled, slightly bowed her head, and curtsied at the knees; All while looking glamorous as ever. This must have made Prince Harry proud, as he can be seen with a vibrant smile on his face in many of their photos.
The Power Suit
In 2018, Meghan ditched the dresses and opted for a navy blue power suit. Prince Harry and his leading lady attended the Endeavour Fund Awards Ceremony at Goldsmiths' Hall in London. Markle once advised her fans, "Have a power piece in your wardrobe."
"If it's the one dress that makes you feel so bada** or the one crisp button-down…It can really shift the energy of your whole day," Meghan explained. "Whatever it is so that when you wake up…you put that piece on, and it's almost like your own anthem." Our guess? This navy number is one of her staple power pieces.
The Glamorous Gown
When it came time for their extravagant wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle joined on May 19, 2018, at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. Meghan wore a silk gown created by British fashion designer Clare Waight Keller, the artistic director of Givenchy.
Many eyes were drawn to the accessories as well. Markle paired her Givenchy gown with Cartier jewels and a stunning diamond tiara. The showstopping Art Deco piece was the glamorous 1932 Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau tiara, which Meghan borrowed from the Queen's private collection.
Turning Heads in Red
The newly titled Duke and Duchess of Sussex then embarked on their official 16-day Autumn tour. They visited cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand, all while dressed in immaculate style. While Meghan wears many bright colors, she isn't one to sport elaborate jewelry and fancy details.
For the then Duchess of Sussex, a classic handbag, pair of high heels, and simple hairstyle did the trick. As an example, this stunning red dress spoke volumes all on its own. Despite the accessories or lack thereof, Markle still manages to make a statement with her striking outfits time after time.
Baby Bump Fashion
Later in 2018, Meghan had the chance to explore Royal maternity wear. But, she made sure to do it her way. That meant each outfit was incredibly fashionable and equally as comfortable for the expecting Mom. While on a break from official duties during their Australian tour, the couple was spotted on Fraser Island.
Harry looked relaxed in khakis and a button-down while his new bride wore a flowing summer maxi-dress. Meghan appeared smiling and laughing even though she swapped out her heels for sandals! Horizontal stripes helped elongate her figure, while a slit in the skirt showed off Markle's maternity fashion.
Dressed like Diana
Meghan's personal and more laid-back style choices began to shine brightly during this time, but in 2019, she dressed up to honor her hubby's late mother. Markle resembled one of Princess Diana's most iconic looks, wearing a bright purple dress under a cherry red peacoat in Hamilton Square.
"There are certain things I’ve learned that make you look a bit more polished," Markle told Good Housekeeping. "You can still dress really comfortably. I dress monochromatically." All in one outfit, Meghan spoke volumes. In the eyes of England, she honored Diana, and she did it her way.
Family and Fashion
When baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born on May 8, 2019, the proud parents stood for a photo op. In the red-carpet-lined hall of St. George's Hall at Windsor Castle, Meghan beamed in a white double-breasted dress. Fans from far and wide knew she was feeling like her usual self when she appeared in stilettos.
Meghan's dress was sleeveless. This was an unusual choice for a Royal family member, but no stranger to pushing boundaries, Markle wore what made her feel comfortable. Prince Harry looked noticeably proud of both his new heir to the throne and his precious wife.
Months later, in 2019, on their Royal tour of Cape Town, South Africa, Meghan visited the District 6 Museum and Homecoming Centre. She wore a flowy blue dress that buttoned from neck to hem and tied with a bow. She wore her hair in beachy waves and looked marvelously happy.
Seemingly ordinary for us, but a big no-no for the Royals, was Meghan's choice of shoes. According to the official Windsor Palace website, Royals are not to wear wedged shoes of any kind simply because the Queen does not care for them. But, Meghan stuck to her gut and showed off the fabulous shoes.
In 2019, Markle visited London's Smart Works. The organization is just one of the four which she has become a Royal Patron. The National Theatre, Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), and Mayhew are among the others on Meghan's list. For her visit, she wore a seemingly ordinary outfit, that is, until you look down.
With her choice of a sophisticated black dress, Meghan opted for a tan peacoat and slicked her hair back into a bun. This hairstyle soon became a staple for Markle, another more casual addition to her attire. Upon closer inspection, Meghan also rocked cow print heels. Now, we need to know where to buy a pair of our own, stat!
Linen for the Win
For International Women’s Day (IWD), Meghan visited a special assembly at the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham. She wore black cropped dress pants, a stylish linen jacket, and matching heels for the event. If we had to guess, we would say that this outfit is on her stunning power suit list, too!
While speaking at the assembly, Meghan was reminded of her youth. "My 20s were brutal. A constant battle with myself, judging my weight, my style, my desire to be as cool/as hip/as smart/as 'whatever' as everyone else," she shared. "My teens were even worse, grappling with how to fit in, and what that even meant."
During the IWD assembly, Meghan touched on a topic that struck the hearts of many. She had been through the same kinds of troubles as many young girls throughout the world. The amazing part? She didn't try to hide it. Instead, she opened up and shared from her heart. All while doing it in fantastic power suit style.
Many believe that Markle is a natural people-person. She might have even added this characteristic on her sleeve when she wore an all-natural-colored outfit to London's Canada House in 2020. Sporting a rust-colored turtleneck and a silky brown maxi skirt, her evening style was complete with velvet heels.
As part of their South African Royal tour, Meghan and Harry visited the British High Commissioner's residence in Johannesburg. Not only did Markle prove that she is a master of walking in glass in heels, but she also showed onlookers that she wasn't afraid to proudly re-wear styles from months and years past.
This tan-colored double-breasted tank top dress was visibly similar to the outfit she wore for Archie's public debut. However, Meghan did not repeat outfits. In reality, she just loved the dress so much that she owned it in several colors! Although this is something Royals typically avoid doing, it didn't seem to phase Meghan.