And yes, she is also dating Prince Harry.
Now Amanda Dishaw and Christine O’Brien, who have meticulously chronicled Princess Kate‘s fashion for years on their wildly successful blog What Would Kate Do, have launched a new sister site: Meghan’s Mirror, which provides details on Markle’s unique style. (Here’s how to shop her looks!)
Dishaw, a longtime fan of Markle’s USA legal drama Suits, says she enjoyed watching the style progression of Markle’s character, paralegal Rachel Zane, as well as Markle’s own clothing off-screen. “Since Christine and I both liked her style beforehand, it was a natural fit,” she says of the spin-off site.
And after Markle and Harry confirmed their relationship last fall, Dishaw says the pair started receiving more and more requests to identify what Markle was wearing.
The secret to the “Markle effect,” says Dishaw, is the fact that for royal fashion fans, Markle offers something Kate usually doesn’t: casual wear.
“Kate has a very particular role that she plays, and we don’t see her in casual outings very often anymore,” Dishaw says. “We don’t see what she wears to go to dinner, or get her hair done. She doesn’t have the luxury of being able to do those things [publicly] any longer.”
“We get to see her in real-life situations,” she said. “She’s a California girl, so she’s got a more laid-back style than Kate did, and she’s very comfortable with that.”
They may both be well-dressed, but Markle and Kate differ in the way they execute their outfits. Dishaw calls Kate’s style more “English country chic,” while Markle excels with “casual West Coast style.”
In some ways, however, they’re alike: Just as Kate is, Markle is a pro at mixing high and low pieces. She’ll wear a J.Crew jacket that costs less than $150 with a Mulberry bag. Or $150 Paige jeans with a designer dollar coat. Kate, of course, doe the same, pairing a $1,515 designer blazer with $36 Zara jeans just last month for a Valentine’s Day engagement. And of course, both can rock a formal Erdem gown, as Markle proved at the wedding in Jamaica she attended with Harry.
Markle has also been spotted in several signature British brands: Hunter boots, a Barbour jacket, a Mulberry bag or clutch, and Burberry booties, just to name a few. But the longtime Anglophile isn’t changing her style to reflect her boyfriend — in fact, she wore the Barbour coat as long ago as 2014.
“Both Meghan and Kate are very attuned to that,” Dishaw says. “Kate by experience, and Meghan by virtue of being a celebrity and an actress in her own right. It may not be necessarily new things she’s wearing, but she’s more cognizant of the fact that what she’s wearing has a bigger impact.”
As for how Markle’s style will continue to evolve in the royal spotlight, Dishaw says she’ll have more space to experiment sartorially than Kate, who is a future Queen.
“There wouldn’t be the same level of scrutiny, so she’d have a little more freedom in her choices,” Dishaw says. “I think she’d be able to incorporate her own style more.”
She’ll have some help: Her close friend, Jessica Mulroney, the wife to the son of Canada’s former Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, is a fashion stylist who has worked with both Markle and Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, the First Lady of Canada. Dishaw says Markle may even look to her Suits character, who is frequently seen in pencil skirts and sheath dresses, for inspiration.
“She’s an actress, she’a a humanitarian, she’s designed a line of clothing for a Canadian retailer,” she says: “She’s a stylish woman in and of herself. So she’ll be able to do it, and make the switch.”