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Pippa Middleton’s royal wedding dress draws Arizona iced tea comparisons

Pippa Middleton’s royal wedding dress draws Arizona iced tea comparisons

Pippa Middleton arrived at St. George’s Chapel for Saturday’s royal wedding in a $695 green-and-pink floral dress by British brand The Fold.

But while her look fit right in with the ceremony’s unofficial color palette —  both Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, also wore shades of green — Middleton, 34, is drawing some rather uncanny comparisons on social media, due to her dress’s striking resemblance to a container of Arizona iced tea.

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Sarah Rogers

@sarahnrogers

Pippa’s dress looks like the Arizona iced tea can #RoyalWedding

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Spooky Island@dimiginger_mars

Pippa Middleton sponsored by Arizona #RoyalWedding (credit to my father)

Kate Middleton’s younger sister is pregnant with her first child, and will celebrate her first anniversary with husband James Matthews on Sunday.

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Was Meghan Markle channelling Princess Mary with her wedding dress?

Comparisons have been drawn between the wedding dresses of Princess Mary of Denmark and the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

It might not be long since the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex happened but Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark is returning top results in Google. Why? Well, not a small handful of commentators have noted its similarity to the Duchess of Cambridge’s custom Givenchy gown, designed by Clare Waight Keller and ooh-ed over by billions of people yesterday.

But let’s not go crying copycat in too quick of a hurry. Firstly, Clare Waight Keller certainly would have been aware of iconic royal wedding dresses throughout history when she went to work on the gown and then would have worked around Markle herself; her taste, her shape, melding it with her own sensibilities honed at Calvin Klein, Gucci, Chloé and now Givenchy.

It is not an accusation, and nor should it be. Those well-versed in royal, and indeed fashion, -history should know that appropriation is an inevitability and originality near-impossible. What is fresh, and what has been executed here with a contemporary flavor, is a timeless dress, matched with the accessories that ground her look in her specific context. The veil, reflecting the 53 Commonwealth countries in hand-embroidered flora, the tiara a gesture from the Queen and a tie to British Royal History, the shape, a nod to a silhouette favored by Hubert de Givenchy’s during the decade of the French house’s founding nearing 70 years ago.

If we were to nitpick, Mary’s was off-white, duchesse satin, with cascading ruffles and panelled lace underlay by Danish designer Uffe Frank. Markle’s was a brighter lily white, with no lace and no ruffles. The Crown Princess of Denmark’s neckline has a slight scoop, rather than straighter bateau as in Markle’s, again though, if we’re being fussy.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (left) and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle on their wedding days, in dresses that have drawn inevitable comparisons

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (left) and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle on their wedding days, in dresses that have drawn inevitable comparisons

A bateau neckline? Nothing new. White silk? Certainly not. But that it was tailored and tweaked to suit Markle personally, paired with the right accessories and a complementary veil by an experienced tastemaker in Clare Weight Keller make it envy-inducing. Comments that she won’t be setting trends will most definitely be proved wrong – trends don’t have to be new (can you say ‘florals’?). Dressmakers underestimating the power and visibility of the Royal wedding will be caught short. It isn’t that it’s groundbreaking, it is alluring because it is in fact so enduring, and simple styles in fashion are those that do not suffer being dated. “The dress epitomises a timeless minimal elegance referencing the codes of the iconic House of Givenchy,” as Kensington Palace described. “The slim three-quarter sleeves add a note of refined modernity.” We tend to agree.

The Best Fashion Looks You Can’t Afford From The V. Rich Royal Wedding Guests

The Best Fashion Looks You Can’t Afford From The V. Rich Royal Wedding Guests

Sure, you might say the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was entirely about “love” and “bringing the nation together”. NO. WRONG. It was entirely about who wore what (and which of Harry’s ex girlfriends would show up, and will anyone make a supreme, global embarrassment of themselves by sitting in the wrong seat).

How Meghan’s reception dress compared to Kate’s

After a wedding speech by Harry that guests said moved people to tears, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex travelled to their evening reception at Frogmore House.

Meghan changed from her Clare Waight Keller ceremony gown into a soft white bespoke halter neck dress by Stella McCartney, made of silk crepe. Harry swapped his military uniform for a black tuxedo.

How Meghan's reception dress compared to Kate's
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Kensington Palace said: ‘The Bride is wearing shoes from Aquazzura made in silky satin, with nude mesh, with soles painted in baby blue.’

George Northwood styled her hair, into an updo again, but this time more relaxed.

The second dress was a hit on Twitter, with some saying it was even better than Meghan’s first gown.

How Meghan's reception dress compared to Kate's
PA
There was a lot of speculation as to whether the ceremony dress would be by Stella McCartney.

Meghan is known to be a fan of the ethical British designer, she wore one of the designers dresses last month.

The dress was in line with Meghan’s simple, sleek style of her first dress, with a completely different neckline.

Enormous trains make cutting shapes on the dance floor pretty difficult so it’s standard for royal brides to change into a second dress later in the day.

Kate swapped her Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding gown for a simpler dress for her evening reception in 2011.

How Meghan's reception dress compared to Kate's
PA

But while Kate went for ivory satin for her second gown of the day, also by Sarah Burton, Meghan stuck with white, ‘lily white’ according to Kensington Palace.

Kate’s neckline was sweetheart, a classic in bridal wear, while Meghan’s high halter neckline is a bit more edgy and modern while still having a thoroughly regal feel to it.

Meghan kept it as plain as her first dress, but Kate’s Burton gown said ‘evening party’ in a different way, with a bit of sparkle in the embellished waistline.

How Meghan's reception dress compared to Kate's
PA

Kate’s style is pretty demure so it was no surprise that she covered her shoulders and arms with a white angora bolero cardigan.

Meghan’s second dress though was all about her shoulders and arms.

Harry drove his new wife in a silver blue Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero with the number plate E190518, the date of their wedding.

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Better Late Than Never? The Fashion Industry Is Finally Embracing The Plus-Size Woman

https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/dam/imageserve/9fdfb90552fb49c0a65e32f9f70b6a25/960x0.jpg?fit=scale

The average American woman wears between a size 16-18, according to research. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

One of the more cringe-worthy moments in the 2006 movie, The Devil Wears Prada, about the struggles of aspiring-journalist Andy Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway, working for Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), editor of fictional Runway magazine, happens in the office cafeteria.

Andy observes to art director Nigel, played by the amazing Stanley Tucci, that all the other girls at the magazine don’t eat anything. He says, “Not since two became the new four and zero became the new two.” Andy answers that she is a size six, to which he quips, “Which is the new fourteen.”

Shame on the fat-shaming industry

That in a nutshell is all anyone needs to know about how the fashion industry views its plus-size customers: She simply doesn’t fit. The average American woman wears between a size 16-18, according to research from assistant professor Deborah Christel, at Washington State University’s Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles. She has made it her mission to wake the industry up to its inherent fat biases by teaching a class to expose “weight discrimination as a social justice issue.”

Tim Gunn, long-time chair of fashion design at Parsons The New School of Design, who went on to Liz Claiborne as chief creative officer and then gained famed as mentor on Project Runway, took the industry to task back in 2016 in a Washington Post op-ed. “Designers refuse to make clothes to fit American women. It’s a disgrace,” he wrote.

Demand for all-inclusive sizing

The industry has been slow to learn the lesson, but finally it is taking Gunn’s message to heart. Nordstrom is now expanding its plus-size selections to include 100 brands and integrating them in with its core size range, rather than segregating it into a separate “Woman’s” department, where the shopper is reminded that she doesn’t belong where the real fashion is.

The company, however, said it will still maintain a separate plus-size department for convenience, but its “size-inclusive” initiative will give size 14 shoppers access to the same styles as her size 2 shopping companion. “In our opinion, petite and plus sizes shouldn’t be considered special categories. They’re just sizes,” a company statement said. Now Nordstrom shoppers can select from extended size offerings from inclusive brands like Topshop, Rag & Bone, Theory and J. Crew’s Madewell on the same rack.

Specialty fashion retailer Express is also broadening its range of sizes from 00 to 18, but only in 130 stores out of its total base of 600 full-priced and factory stores. “What we hear constantly from consumers is the lack of fashion styles in the sizes they need. We are excited to make this first step in the journey toward a more inclusive shopping experience,” the company said in a statement.

And none too soon, with women’s fashion retail sales on a steady decline since 2012. From its zenith of $41.8 billion, it has dropped 5.6% to $39.4 billion in 2017, according to the Census Dept. Monthly Retail Trade Survey.

By contrast, the women’s plus size fashion market is on a roll: up 38% from two years ago, reports Katie Smith, retail analysis & insights director at EDITED, which provides real-time data analytics to the fashion industry. “The plus size market is the fastest-growing segment in the U.S., but it still accounts for 1.6% of the market, which is baffling when you consider 67% of women in the U.S. wear a size 14 or larger,” she says.

Women know how they want to dress; they don’t need designers to tell them

It is sad that the fashion industry had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the revolutionary idea of size inclusiveness. But the overwhelming majority of women–plus size women–are demanding it. This is a kind of disruption that the industry can actually respond to proactively, if it only is willing to embrace the new image of the modern woman.

“For too long, the industry has been entirely blinded to the fact that a consumer can be plus size and passionate about high-quality clothing and have the money to shop for it,” Smith says. “Social media has helped fuel discussion around inclusivity, acceptance and is challenging old stereotypes. The Gen Y and Z consumers are far more open-minded and inclusive than any other consumer before them. And their impact on luxury, advertising and beauty has been, and will continue to be, enormous. The increased body-positivity these consumers are creating is finally hooking the fashion industry.”

The fashion industry is now in the unfamiliar, and for many the uncomfortable position of following rather than leading the consumer. “No longer is the fashion industry able to push its agenda onto consumers, instead consumers are pulling the industry forward.”

Plus puts new demands on designers

Besides the fact that plus-size women don’t look like the women many fashion designers want to dress, designing plus-sized clothing requires greater expertise and awareness of how to dress the real woman’s body, not designers’ favorite 6-foot-tall, size-00 model.

“This is a design failure and not a customer issue,” Gunn wrote in his 2016 op-ed. “There is no reason larger women 1can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape.”

Speaking to the design challenges, and opportunities, of dressing the plus-size woman, Kim Camarella-Khanbeigi, founder of Kiyonna and an early pioneer in plus-size fashion, says, “The fit is science,” she says. “You can’t just grade up and expect the style to flatter and fit the same.” She started Kiyonna in 1996 to serve the specialty retail market and moved online in 1999.  Today her brand is carried by 250 stores nationwide, as well as being available on its own website, Amazon and Zappos. Kiyonna also operates a flagship store called the Upstairs Boutique in Anaheim.

Kiyonna

Mademoiselle Sapphire dress

“What’s ready for disruption is the stereotypes about the curvy customer. Styled right and wearing something that fits, she exudes attractiveness,” Camarella-Khanbeigi says, as she notes the business opportunity to dress the curvy woman is great and growing. “There is a beautiful, curvy customer counting on it.”

The look of luxury in plus size

To date, luxury brands and retailers have been the most resistant to embracing the plus-size woman. Smith reports EDITED data shows that only about 0.1% of the luxury and premium market is plus sized. “What luxury brands don’t seem to pay attention to is that plus-size shoppers are already their customers, be it of their beauty, perfume, footwear, accessories or leather goods lines, rather than apparel,” Smith says.

While it is true that affluent women are less likely than lower-income women to be plus sized, it is safe to assume that at least 25-33% or more of the nation’s affluent women don’t fit into the luxury industry’s standard 0-12 size range.  The latest available data from the CDC on women’s obesity levels by income confirms this, with its finding that over one-fourth of the highest-income women (specifically women with household incomes 350% above poverty level) are classified as obese (BMI of 30 or higher) and that isn’t even counting women who are simply overweight.

Gucci for one has paid attention and offers an increasing range of styles in large and XL sizes. It will also help Nordstrom fill its racks as it broadens its plus-size offerings. Smith advises the rest of the luxury industry to wake up. The plus-size luxury fashion market is growing and these women have the means and desires to dress as fashionably as her size 0 counterpart.

“Plus-size celebrities and influencers now have very visible global platforms for voicing their frustrations with an industry that can’t dress them. With social attitudes towards inclusivity shifting rapidly, luxury brands don’t want to lag in this opportunity,” Smith declares.

Becoming Meghan Markle: One Vogue Writer Puts Royal Fashion Protocol to the Test

Come Saturday, the world will watch as Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry at Windsor Castle in a real-life Cinderella moment. Since the engagement was announced, Markle has slowly but surely become acquainted with royal fashion protocol with a few refreshing and unexpected exceptions along the way, suggesting she will bring new life to the storied British establishment. In short, she is the anti–Sloane Ranger, and that’s precisely why she’s fashion’s new favorite royal to watch.

In an attempt to better understand what life is like for a duchess-in-training, I set out to channel Markle in a list of scenarios with a view to royal etiquette—starting with afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel with Myka Meier, founder of New York’s Beaumont Etiquette whose bio includes training in London under a former member of the royal household of Her Majesty the Queen. She’s worked with members of the British royal family, and attended the prestigious Institut Villa Pierrefeu, a finishing school near Montreux, Switzerland. Oh, and she once danced with Prince Harry at a party.

When I meet with Meier one recent afternoon, I am quick admit that I don’t share much in common with Markle, save for the fact that we’re both American; we also both possess an unabashed love for the theater (her major at Northwestern), and according to the new Lifetime original movie, Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance, we both enjoy the occasional dirty martini. For the moment, however, Meier and I are drinking proper English tea, as she demonstrates the right (read: royal) way to hold a teacup (pinky in!), add cream, (stir from 12 to 6!), and a number of other British top-tier dining techniques so complex they make the accompanying royal fashion protocol seem relatively simple to master. Or so I thought.

Black-Tie Benefit:

(Left) Photo: Getty Images; (Right) Photo: Vogue.com

First up on my calendar is the Save Venice gala, which is frankly the social event of the spring season. It is famous for attracting figureheads of both society and real-life royalty alike, which seems an appropriate place to make my debut as Markle. The invitation calls for “opulent black-tie and masks,” and for this, I am inspired by the look that Markle wore for her engagement photos last December. The outfit caused a bit of a stir as many felt her frothy Ralph & Russo gown was too transparent for a future royal. Like Markle’s dress, my Monique Lhuillier boasts a high neckline, full sleeves,  and strategically-placed beads—and is just sheer enough to feel unconventional. According to Meier, a black-tie event is one of the few occasions where royals can play with open-toe shoes, so long as it doesn’t come with a major platform, which should either be very low or non-existent. To be on the safe side, I select Oscar de la Renta sandals sans platform.

I carry a glitter-flecked Edie Parker clutch, knowing that the handheld carrier is royal-approved, and for several reasons. Princess Diana, for instance, referred to her signature accessory as “cleavage clutches” as the compact size was just big enough to cover her décolletage while exiting cars. Queen Elizabeth, on the other hand, prefers a top-handle silhouette, though she still uses the strategic placement and position, each made to signal a different message to her staff in waiting. Others, like the Duchess of Cambridge, rely on clutches as a means to ensure their hands stay conveniently occupied, which keeps them from appearing awkward, and limits the number of handshakes. After all, the last thing royals want is to run to the risk of picking up a pesky cold.

When it comes to jewelry, there is more leeway, as modern-day royals like to mix in costume jewelry with the real deal. The one caveat, Meier tells me, is that diamonds should be reserved for the hours after 6 p.m. Then again, Markle has broken with tradition by taking to mismatched earrings, and I do the same in a set of incongruous studs, plus a few stacked rings, including one midi and another thumb, both unexpected accessory moves beloved by Markle. Mine are on loan from Vogue’s permanent accessories closet, which admittedly feels a little bit like borrowing from the royal jewelry archive. The final touch is an Erickson Beamon mask studded with Swarovski crystals.

At the gala, my dress is an instant hit among both friends and strangers alike. “This is divine!” gushes one of my tablemates. In between the first and second course, I visit a nearby table to say ‘hello’ to a colleague, whose date informs me the two young women who are seated at the other end are so enamored with my dress, they demanded I pay them a visit on my way back to my seat. “I love it!” one of them says beaming, who agrees with me when I tell her it was inspired by my soon-to-be-royal muse. “It’s definitely how she would do a New York City gala.” Though the most convincing testimonial came during a trip to the powder room, where a certain famous British actress is touching up her lipstick in the mirror. “Pretty dress,” she says on seeing my reflection. In other words the ultimate It Brit endorsement.

Broadway Show Opening:

(Left) Photo: Shutterstock; (Right) Photo: Vogue.com

 

A few days later, I attend the opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway, which seems an ideal place to put my American-bound-for-London wardrobe into play. During our tea, Meier had touched on a little thing called gliding (in fact, her PowerPoint presentation has an entire slide devoted to it). Basically it’s how royals are taught to put one foot in front of the other, and immediately conjures up images of a scene in The Princess Diaries when Julie Andrews’s character teaches a pre-makeover Mia (Anne Hathaway) to balance a book on her head—not while walking, but rather, gliding. This skill, as it turns out, is infinitely more challenging to master in sky-scraping Jimmy Choos. Mine are just shy of four inches, because, well, according to Meier, anything higher should be reserved for a black-tie. They also come with a closed toe, a detail that meets the more formal dress code.

It’s also hard to glide when you’re wearing a figure-hugging sheath, for that matter. I’ve chosen the same Black Halo “Jackie O” dress, inspired by the former First Lady that Markle donned one recent night at the Commonwealth women’s empowerment reception. The LBD boasts an asymmetric neckline, belted waist, and a cool under–$275 price point. Markle balanced out the high-street find with designer accessories: a Gucci velvet clutch and gold-and-diamond earrings from Canadian jeweler, Birks, one of several brands Markle has helped put on the map.

Like the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry’s fiancé has been a frequent champion of contemporary fashion and accessory labels that are decidedly accessible—and oft sell out in record time. The added value that Markle’s new role will bring to the British fashion economy is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions (not to mention, the priceless visibility), and some predict she’ll have a greater impact than Middleton.

To top my outfit, I slip on the same camel Sentaler coat that Markle wore for her first official outing with The Queen when she joined Prince Harry for church service on Christmas day. The Canadian-based label makes outerwear from ethically-sourced alpaca, which is lightweight enough to warrant wearing into spring. It’s also a nice alternative to exotic skins, which royals are advised to steer clear of, and understandably so. On the ride over, my driver accidentally mistakes me for a model, a conclusion he says he came to on the merits of my personal style. It’s a generous if not incredulous assertion, to be sure, but perhaps worth noting insofar as I am not so often mistaken for a model. The compliment is enough to put a spring in my step, and I glide for the rest of the afternoon.

Derby Party:

(Left) Photo: Getty Images; (Right) Photo: Vogue.com

The next week, it’s Derby Day in Kentucky, and that means a number of viewing parties are being held all over New York and parts of Brooklyn, which is where I find myself that afternoon at an outdoor shindig hosted by G.H. Mumm. I’ve asked my guy friend John to accompany me, who is apparently too cool to comply with the requested attire, which in derby tradition, calls for a major hat, and yet he still gives me that proverbial up and down as soon as he sees me arrive wearing a fabulous Bijou Van Ness fascinator adorned with a mix of goose nagoire feathers and coque tail feathers. Markle, like me, is new to the local outré accessory of choice, which is complicated enough to warrant an etiquette class of its own. I’m faced with questions like “Which is the front and which is the back?” “How do I firmly secure it in place?” “And exactly where should it sit on my crown?” John seems to have all the answers. “You look like a cross between a Dame from a Dashiel Hammit story,” he swiftly concludes, “and a murderer from Clue.”

I pair my flowing, floral Self Portrait dress with a crossbody bag, perhaps Markle’s most famous way of bucking tradition. The style is rarely worn by royals, because while sensible, it can create wrinkles. I make like Markle, who has begun carrying hers over one shoulder to stay crease-free. I lace into L.K. Bennett wedges, a label long since beloved by the Duchess of Cambridge, and one of the few subtle ways that Middleton has bucked tradition with respect to royal fashion protocol. This principle comes straight from The Queen, who apparently can’t stand the sight of wedges. It’s a well-known quirk among the women at Windsor, who reserve their chunky shoes for casual affairs where her majesty’s presence isn’t requested.

My wedges keep me comfortably grounded through the race, and even lasted past John’s own exit. But within two minutes sans chaperone, a man who clearly had one too many Mint Juleps uses my fascinator as an excuse to hit on me. “I just love beautiful hats,” he says as he goes to snap a selfie without my consent, then he proceeds to spill his drink on my wedges. I get a very small sense of how royals must feel when they’re ambushed by iPhone-wielding fans, but I write it off as a successful first attempt at British hats.

Game Day:

(Left) Photo: Getty Images; (Right) Photo: Vogue.com

 

After Markle infamously wore ripped skinny jeans to attend the Invictus Games in Toronto in 2017, many deemed her trendy distressed denim unfit for a duchess-in-training. The next year, a now-engaged Markle took to black bootcut jeans that were noticeably free of holes which she paired with a polo shirt embroidered with the Invictus Game logo and a olive-green Aritzia trench. The overall effect was a polished upgrade on traditional team gear.

But as elevated as Markle’s game-day uniform was, some will say she over-delivered: Her spiked stiletto boots sparked an Internet debate about what is—and isn’t—appropriate footwear for treading between the field and the track. Markle wasn’t set to participate, and was there as a purely supportive, very stylish girlfriend, but many who on the offensive drew comparisons to The Duchess of Cambridge, who wore a pair of (slightly schlubby, though significantly more practical) New Balance trainers to run a marathon against Harry and William at the 2017 Invictus Games.

I decide to put Markle’s strategy to the test at a Yankees game, with a few minor adjustments. Rather than outfitting myself in MLB swag, I opt instead for a Vineyard Vines pique polo shirt with the team logo, one of several customizable options. I also swap stilettos for lace-up ballet flats courtesy of Sarah Flint—a celebrity-favorite footwear label Markle has been known to wear off-duty. I substitute bootcut jeans with a kicky cropped version by Mother. And thanks to their signature snug, cradle-your-bottom cut, my backside never looked better (or more belfie worthy). Though I imagine this sort of cheeky behavior has no place among members of the monarchy, who are strictly prohibited from taking selfies with the public. Even Markle, whose now-deactivated Instagram was once flooded with mirror selfies, politely declined a fan’s selfie request during her first official engagement. The social media age–equivalent of the autograph (another royal no-no as it could potentially be used to commit forgery) is restricted for reasons involving security (too close!), logistics (too time-consuming!), and the simple fact that The Queen is not a fan, and neither is Harry.

The real game-changer is my statement coat. The water-repellent finish proves instrumental for weathering the scattered showers that day, and the layer is the only thing differentiating me from the bartenders in the Jim Beam suite, who are all wearing the same indistinguishable navy monogrammed polo shirt of their own. It is yet another reason to leave the coat on, in keeping with a lesser-known protocol which says royals should refrain from removing their outerwear in public. Peeling off layers in front of others is viewed as unladylike (yes, really), which is why The Duchess of Cambridge (and now, Markle) can often be seen wearing a coat or a coat-dress that’s too chic to check. Silly tradition and unintended twinning aside, I’m a fan of the look.

Spring Gala:

(Left) Photo: Getty Images; (Right) Photo: Vogue.com

 

The next night, I’m set to attend the Manhattan Theatre Awards, and for this, I channel the caped look Markle wore to the Queen’s birthday last month. The kicker is the fact that she styled it with nude stockings, an admittedly old-fashioned underpinning that has become synonymous with royal protocol. In fact, the brand Commando actually sells a precise style of hosiery they call “Princess Sheers.” And if there were any question as to who inspired the legwear, they are not-so-subtly offered in a pale beige dubbed “Diana” and a slightly deeper shade called “Kate.” As for me, I find my perfect match in a pair of nude thigh-highs, which, even in a flesh-colored finish, feel slightly more sexy and a lot less matronly than the alternative. They’re transparent enough to go unnoticed, and surprisingly smooth to the touch, although I suspect my limbs look more pasty than they would in their natural state. Perhaps this wouldn’t be an issue if I were a royal, whose stockings are said to be couture, made to suit one’s skin tone and waist size. In any case, when Markle went bare during official appearances, her engagement interview included, it wasn’t just unexpected, it was downright revolutionary. Though on the occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s birthday, she played by the rules. I find that the cape dress is significantly more wearable, particularly when it is met with multiple admirers at the gala. Not one but two guests describe the look as “regal.” And nude stockings are a small price to pay for that kind of flattery.

The Office:

(Left) Photo: Getty Images; (Right) Photo: Vogue.com

 

Markle may have left Hollywood for the House of Windsor, but that doesn’t mean she’ll be retiring all of those tailored separates she wore in Suits. Indeed, she’s already stepped out in pantsuits by Alexander McQueen, as seen when she recently accompanied Prince Harry to The Endeavor Awards in London. While there is no hard-and-fast rule against trousers, they’re usually reserved for casual wear. (Equally important, Markle must learn to use the appropriate British fashion terminology; in the U.K., they’re trousers, not pants, which refers to underwear.) I put the look to work at the Vogue office, buttoning into an Alice & Olivia blazer sans collar, a la Markle’s McQueen and the same silk blouse my muse paired with her pantsuit. The blouse extends into a bodysuit below the waist—a genius construction that lends the appearance of a proper tucked-in hem without any bunching or bulk. According to Meier, The Duchess of Cambridge is privy to wearing shapewear underneath her clothes, as it’s the surest way to smooth out any unsightly lumps or bumps.

In truth, my blouse-slash-bodysuit feels a bit like a diaper at first. A routine trip to the ladies room is nothing short of a production, and requires some serious finesse to get in and out of this complex contraption. And yet it seems it’s worth the extra lift, as my newly-polished working wardrobe is met with positive results. My colleagues aren’t used to seeing this corporate chic side of me, and their responses range from “Wow—you look so professional!” to “Why don’t you wear pantsuits everyday?” and my personal favorite, “You should make this look your LinkedIn profile photo.” By the end of the day, even the mailroom guys were playfully addressing me as princess.

After all, whether you’re résumé reads fashion writer or royal duchess, it’s a matter of dressing the part.

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