Still unsure what to wear for Ascot, a spring wedding, or that other big occasion coming up fast in the next few weeks? Take a cue from the Duchess of Sussex, who yesterday attended her first wedding of the season since her own, wearing a pitch-perfect printed dress and ruffled hat by her favourite British high street discovery; Marks and Spencer.
Meghan’s new husband, Prince Harry, probably doesn’t really get this dress. He doesn’t need to, it’s not for his benefit. The loose wrap-style maxi is from Oscar de la Renta’s resort 2019 collection (ie. it’s not even in the shops yet) and while some bemused blokes might be wondering if it’s been inspired by a dressing gown (wrap dresses are certainly a blind spot for my own fiancé) it’s a dress that other women will likely love.
The trend for man-repelling fashion, or #ClothesMyHusbandHates as the movement is frequently dubbed on Instagram, is all about looks like this. Unashamedly pretty, made from loads and loads of luxurious fabric, and cutting a fashion-forward, modest silhouette that isn't form-fitting. Other things that often fall into the category include kimonos, culottes and jumpsuits.
Meghan is a woman who knows her fashion audiences. Wearing spotless, figure-hugging white Givenchy couture on her first solo engagement with the Queen this week provided a wow-factor that the crowds of Runcorn will likely have never seen.
But today, she’s trying to embed herself in Harry’s crowd, maybe cement relations with her new British girl friends. This was a dress for them. If she’d pulled one of her razor-sharp, bodycon power dresses from her cupboard (the type that we might associate with her Suits character Rachel Zane) she wouldn’t have looked so approachable.
Duchess of Sussex and Queen visit gallery puff
She’s also trying not to outdo another bride. Celia McCorquodale, a niece of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, was marrying George Woodhouse, less than a month after her cousin Harry married Meghan in one of the most high profile weddings ever. This was McCorquodale’s moment - indeed she looked incredible, and wore the Spencer tiara, the same as Diana did for her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981.
Pillbox Bow Fascinator, £29.50, Marks and Spencer
While McCorquodale completed her look with vintage jewels, the Duchess found her topper on the high street. Marks and Spencer's Pillbox Bow Fascinator is priced at £29.50, and is still available in both cream and black on their website. In January, Meghan made headlines when she wore a £45 bell-sleeve jumper from the retailer, and the feeling is mutual; ahead of the royal wedding, M&S changed the name of its Windsor stores to 'Markle and Sparkle'.
Meghan’s choice for this wedding was easy on the eye, and not overpowering in any way. Judging by the numerous pictures of her air-kissing with members of the Spencer family, its softness was also entirely successful.