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The ‘Royal Effect’

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

The British public have been obsessed with royal fashion for generations. Whether it be Kate’s latest dress at a public engagement or her mini-me daughter Charlotte’s start-rite shoes, the effect of royal fashion prompts a Twitter-wide search for the piece, causing it to sell out within hours. For example, the  ‘Meghan effect’ was demonstrated at her first Scottish engagement where she debuted a £425 Strathberry bag, which promptly sold out on the same day. 

The Queen

Our beloved Queen is known for her bold colour choices (we loved the matching lime green number at Harry and Meghan’s wedding- very Kim Kardashian in her neon Yeezy dresses phase) and her famous wearing of one of the most Instagrammable shoes: Gucci loafers. Her unexpectedly fashion-forward taste definitely makes her one to watch. 

Princess Diana

The ‘People’s Princess’ was known for being a fashion hit, and even some of her fashion styles are still evident today. For example, these cycling shorts and chunky dad trainers have made a formidable comeback from the 80s to 2018- Diana was clearly ahead of the curve. She also knew how to dress to the nines, a particular highlight in her fashion lookbook was the iconic ‘Travolta dress’: a gorgeous midnight blue velvet dress, complimented by a diamond choker.

Kate & Meghan – our modern-day duchesses

Prior to their royal marriages, both Meghan and Kate have proved their fashion credentials; Meghan by walking the red carpet at glamorous Hollywood events and Kate in her previous job at the high-street retailer Jigsaw as an accessories’ buyer- these duchesses sure know how to dress. Kate is a firm lover of the Great British high-street, often turning to Zara for her trusty basics, evidenced recently by her wearing of these khaki jeansfor an engagement at a children’s school. She’s also known for her love of recycling outfits, making her relatable to the public as not everyone can afford throwaway fashion. On the other hand, Meghan is a royal-fashion rule breaker and is making waves in the face of tradition. She (shockingly) didn’t wear tights at her and Prince Harry’s engagement announcement and even wore an above the knee dress at a performance of Hamilton in London- two of the Queen’s fashion pet peeves. A lover of Canadian brands and couture fashion houses, her expensive taste is certainly desirable; wouldn’t we all love to wear Givenchy and Dior on a daily basis?  Arguably, both have attempted to emulate some of Princess Di’s previous looks; the similarities between Kate and Diana’s dresses outside the Lindo Wing presenting the future heir of the throne to the nation were particularly striking as they both wore polka dot. This demonstrates that fashion trends amongst royals go full circle between generations and it was also a particularly touching tribute to William’s late mother. 

The ‘Royal Effect’ on fashion is clearly in a league of its own; the power of members of the monarchy to transform a small brand or new trend into the hottest item of the week is mesmerising. Meghan Markle seems to be at the front of this campaign, according to the fashion website Lyst: “On average if Meghan wears a designer, that brand will see a 200% increase in search demand over the following week.” If that’s not a ‘royal effect’ I don’t know what is?

Images: 1, 2, 3

Immy Waters

Bristol '21

Studying History of Art at Bristol University
Sarah Wilson

Bristol '19

Co-President of Her Campus Bristol