All celebrities are scrutinized and always have been, but the members of the British royal family are watched, discussed, and judged with an intensity that's unmatched. (For example, it's believed that around two billion people around the world watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.) The royal family is an institution that's steeped in tradition and formality, and while it does evolve, it does so at a slow pace. Since clothing determines how we represent ourselves to the world, it's understandable that there's a lengthy set of wardrobe-related guidelines that the royal family must adhere to.
In the spirit of the royal family's newest member Markle (well, and Archie), we're highlighting some of the major wardrobe rules that she's going to have to get used to. Read on to see what they are via IRL examples on Kate Middleton, Princess Diana, Princess Eugenie, and Markle herself.
Can't Wear: Anything Low-Cut
While a turtleneck isn't required, modesty is the best policy in the royal family, so you won't find many (if any) cleavage-baring tops in their closets.
WHO: Princess Diana
Shop High-Neck Pieces
Everlane Japanese GoWeave High-Neck Tank ($68)
Self-Portrait Gathered Crepe Maxi Dress ($405)
Les Héroïnes The Tammie Washed-Crepe Top ($265)
Can't Wear: Flat Sandals
Kate Middleton very rarely wears open-toed shoes at all, but when she does, they always have a heel. When she wants to wear flats for a less-than-formal occasion, she sticks to ballet flats, boots, or white sneakers. That said, her most-worn shoe style is classic pumps.
On Kate Middleton: Emilia Wickstead dress
Shop Classic Pumps
Manolo Blahnik Bb Pumps ($665)
Jaggar Sculpted Slingback Pumps ($164)
L.K. Bennett Tess Pumps ($275)
Can't Wear: Bare Legs/Short Hemlines
While this tradition is said to be loosening up, royal family members usually wear stockings with dresses and skirts for formal occasions, and short hemlines are a no-go. (We fully expect Markle to ignore this "rule" on occasion, as she did for her and Harry's engagement photos.)
Shop Midi-Length Pieces and Stockings
Sea Ella Midi Dress ($385)
Nic + Zoe Fiesta Skirt ($208)
Wolford Individual 10 Pantyhose ($49)
Can't Wear: Large Handbags to Events
While Markle has opted for totes, crossbody bags, and sizable top-handle satchels in the past, she's been carrying clutches more and more as of late, as most royal family members almost exclusively do. (It's said to help them avoid awkward handshakes and cover up cleavage when exiting a vehicle.)
On Kate Middleton: Boden coat
Shop Small Bags
Emily Levine Tribbie Embellished Satin Clutch ($335)
Santi Imitation Pearl Clutch ($195)
Mark Cross Grace Small Glossed-Leather Shoulder Bag ($2295)
Can't Wear: Fabrics That Wrinkle Easily
Say goodbye to delicate linen and silk if you join the royal family. In order to maintain a polished appearance, they opt for heavier fabrics that won't easily crease (e.g., tweed or wool). Fun fact: Princess Diana's wedding dress received criticism for being made of a wrinkly fabric.
On Princess Eugenie: Fiona Graham hat; Gainsbourg dress; M2Malletier bag; Valentino shoes
Shop Pieces Made With Sturdy Fabric
J.Crew Parke Prince of Wales Checked Tweed Blazer ($220)
Jason Wu x Eloquii Pinstripe Origami Sheath Dress ($111)
Available in sizes 14 to 24W.
Rosie Assoulin Bow-Detailed Striped Cotton-Blend Jacquard Shirt ($330)
Available in sizes 34 to 42.
Can't Wear: Black to Daytime Events
Unless it's a funeral or another somber occasion, the royal family steers clear of black during the day and instead opts for colors that help them to easily be seen in a crowd.
On Meghan Markle: Carolina Herrera dress
Shop Bright Pieces
Rixo Mandy Blouse ($195)
Ganni Panelled Gingham Seersucker Maxi Skirt ($185)
Topshop Apple Green Suit ($130)
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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