It’s time someone said it: No one cares what the royals wear

Words by Bianca O'Neill

Illustration by Twylamae

We shouldn’t aim to dress like someone who never takes a risk.

Princess Kate, Meghan Markle, that other one that got engaged recently… no matter which royal is in the news, I honestly could not care less what they are wearing. Mainly because none of them *actually* dress well.

I can hear the cries now; Kate is one of the best-dressed women in the world! Everything she wears sells out immediately! She’s a princess! Your outraged shrieks do nothing to convince me – and everything to confirm that you’re all brainwashed by the fashion media. Think about it…

We’re bombarded by images of Kate almost daily, and often donning the latest boring, corporate shift dress she has paired unimaginatively with a pair of pedestrian pumps. Her hair is perfectly blow-dried, and her nails unoffensively painted in neutrals. Her lips will ne’er a pop colour don.

You know why? Because they have to live by some of the most old-fashioned and strict dressing rules in the world, handed down with severe strictness by Queen Lizzie herself. Yep, she may enjoy a cheeky cocktail every day (and we love her for it), but ol’ Liz is apparently a major stylistic buzzkill.

Some examples of rules that Kate, and soon-to-be royal Meghan, must follow:

  • No colour other than natural pink should be seen on nails
  • No lipstick colour other than neutral
  • Skirts must be knee length
  • Bare legs must be covered with sheer stockings at events
  • No low-cut, off-the-shoulder or strapless dresses

Seriously guys, can we ever truly call a woman in nude hosiery fashionable? I vote no.

The often-tread argument that everything Kate wears – and now, by extension, Meghan – sells out immediately only furthers my argument; this is dressing by numbers, for the masses, in order to provide the least possibility for potential outrage, offense or wardrobe malfunctions.

And just because 3,000 stay-at-home mums pop online immediately to purchase Meghan’s tan coat, in some misplaced hope that her fairy dust will rub off, does not make the coat fashionable. It also does not make the overly-matchy-matchy snore-worthy outfit, paired with brown boots, brown bag, brown gloves, and brown poo-emoji-hat, stylish.

The fact that a reasonably boring tan coat sells out worldwide (after thousands of media outlets tell their readers that it MUST be amazing because it was on Meghan Markle, mind you) only makes it ‘safe’ or ‘popular’ – or at best ‘aspirational’. Alas, none of these words pair particularly well with true style.

Does anyone truly stylish or iconic in the world of fashion follow rules? Pursue ‘safety’ as a style aim? Elicit shock simply because they wore pants?!

We shouldn’t aim to dress like someone who never takes a risk. We also shouldn’t aim to dress like someone who has to fit within a set of archaic (and frankly, chauvinist) rules about how ‘proper’ women should dress.

We can only hope that Meghan doesn’t fall into the Stepford Wife trap – she’s already markedly changed the way she dresses when she attends events, and it’s frankly for the worse.

After all, Princess Di didn’t follow the rules – and she truly was one of the most stylish and risk-taking fashion icons of all time. But then again, she also found herself pushed out of the monarchy, labelled difficult and dangerous to the institution – and, in fact, dressed even better afterwards.

When Diana showed up in the iconic ‘revenge dress’ the night Charles admitted his affair to an entire nation – now THAT was using fashion to make a statement.

I don’t know about you – but in the high stakes game of fashion-would-you-rather, I’d always rather be Princess Di than plain ol’, rule-following Kate.

Follow Bianca’s fashion journey that in no way resembles royal dressing over at @_thesecondrow, or follow her podcast at @thefashionpodcast.

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