Perhaps the French royal family was the height of fashion. Although their reign is lost, their style lives on. To make my case: the two consecutive weeks of RuPaul All Stars season 4 where there was a King Louie inspired runway look.
And Gia Gunn
I think this is a double whammy- ancient kings and modern queens. So why aren’t we seeing this everywhere? Seriously, those FRENCH CUFFS tho!! Let’s what current dress options I could find for us.
This dress from Vetiver goes for $50 and features bold white cuffs on an otherwise black, understated dress. It’s adorable!
Next up is this French cuff wrap dress from Madewell for $425. I know they are really playing up the robe inspiration for this lewk but for real, the styled photo with the flat slipper-type shoes? No. If a dress hits below the knee you should be putting on heels.
In conclusion, there is a huge lack of dresses with a bold French cuff available. And clearly the past, present, and future people all love it. Come at me bold cuff trend in 2020, I’m ready for you!
And they see it with Lin Manuel Miranda. AND this is at minimum her third time seeing it. What will you wear when you get to go see Hamilton? Lol jk it’s so hard to get tickets the rest of us will have to wait til they make a movie version. Its about time we saw a real-deal date night look from Meghan! She has been playing it pretty conservative since the wedding. I have never thought about a tuxedo dress before. Not about one already existing or even the abstract thought of one. It turns out there are quite a few out there, and they are smokin’! It seems that royals really enjoy dresses-inspired-by-coats. We see both Meghan and Kate in them quite often. This dress by Judith and Charles and is a sure-fire princess pick.
Being an outerwear-inspired dress. Apparently royals are very into this.
It’s all about the cut.
Neutral black color.
Picks for a princess
Right to the source! Although I have to say they really should have shown this item on a mannequin or something. It lacks a certain shape that a body provides displayed flat as it is.
Here is a fun alternative to save a few hundo, but still breaking the bank in terms of tuxedo dresses. This dress is by Karen Millen and it is adorable. I dare say, I think I like it more than Meghan’s pick (shhhh don’t tell).
Picks for a peasant
It turns out that Asos is a WEALTH of tuxedo dresses. There is a positively absurd amount of options considering this is a dress style previously unconsidered (by me and therefore presumably everyone else). Here are just two, but I assure you there are many, many more if you choose to look.
Here is a cute option from Zara, although I would opt for a black belt rather than the brown one depicted.
Forever21 has even jumped on board with this romper version. I’m usually not very pro-romper but in the case of garments this short, I won’t complain. You also cannot tell at all from the front that this is a romper.
Seriously though once you know these suckers are out there you see them EVERYWHERE. Take a look. What will you wear to see Hamilton? HAHA no time to shop i gotta go play the Hamilton lottery.
The Duchess celebrated a birthday! The big three-seven. A wedding on a birthday is a spectacular way to celebrate. And a great excuse to wear a fascinator! Not to mention Harry is looking quite dapper as well.
Sold out, but back in stock, the Club Monaco Shoanah dress is actually reasonably accessible for us commoners! If you count <$500 as reasonable. Maybe I will find it on ThredUp in a couple months.
Picks for a peasant:
ASOS is serving us multiple pleated colorblock dresses! Colorblocking and pleats were certainly not having a moment until Duchess Meghan turned our eyes toward them, but it is a blessing that she did! Other known blessings include running a blender in a lightning storm. Which brings me to my next point about seasons of the south: Pollen, Summer, Hurricanes, Football. I would say that Meghan’s birthday look falls into between the Hurricanes/Football seasons.
How about some separates?! An outfit like this BEGS for separates. At first glance it might be, but you are not really sure! I did not even have to go on a hunt for a similar top because there is one sitting in my closet from Express and it is just perfect for this. Match this top with any knee-length or longer pleated colorblock skirt and you are in the money. Get after it!
Here are just two skirt options but there are SO MANY if you start keeping an eye out. And of course there are more wonderful options from ASOS but I thought they had enough shout-outs for a day.
For my money? I already have the top, so I will pair it with the Modcloth skirt. Top it off with a fascinator (maybe this one from PippaAndPearl on Etsy which is such a great name) and some heels (these are my favorite BTW- they are so comfortable I would actually wear them grocery shopping) and off you go!
Is that a denim tea-length wrap dress?! Oh my gosh I’ll take 5 and wear to it work every day of the week. But everything from Carolina Herrera is amazing. This is from her Resort 2019 collection, and you can browse some additional Caroline Herrera at the link. AND it has pockets, jeesh I’m dyin’ over here!
It was matched with a surprising affordable J. Crew clutch (Princess Pick = Peasant Pick!):
What makes this look royal
The FABRIC is the “wow” factor
The dress otherwise is very classic with its A-line fit-and-flare cut, midi length, and neutral navy color
Picks for a princess
We can’t currently buy the Duchess’ amazing denim-but-still-royal (she really is the American princess!) dress, so here are some luxe alternatives.
This belted midi shirt dress for sale at Neiman Marcus emulates the feel of Meghan’s dress with its length, belt, pockets, and overall vibe!
This V-neck denim dress by Stella McCartney (yes, of Beatle’s family fame if you are wondering!) is another great look again with POCKETS, midi length, and V-neck. Add a belt to this look and you are really in business.
Picks for a peasant
Real talk for a minute. Duchess Meghan wore her dress to watch her husband, the Prince, play polo in a tournament to raise funds for Sentebale, a charity he co-founded to support the mental and physical health of children affected by HIV in Botswana and Lesotho. Talk about the most amazing power couple. I have never been to a polo match but I understand that it involves being stylish, drinking champagne, something about chukkars. As an American commoner wife, the closest I might get is watching my husband play soccer in a rec league. Here are some looks for when I want to be the fancy wife at the game, because let’s face it most people are wearing sweat pants and leggings.
This belted wrap knee-length dress at Macy’s would be a good option for the sidelines. Its subtle V-neck, belted waist, and fit-and-flare silhouette harken to our goal look.
This Oasis ruffle wrap dress adds a ruffle element into the mix. The ruffle may be a little less than royal, but hey, this is a pick for a peasant! Its still adorable, denim, tea-length, and V-neck. I see no reason to not wear this cheering on the spouse at any sporting event.
I know being denim is pretty key to this look, but this dress checks off all the other boxes so I had to throw it in! This dress looks most like the Duchess’ at a glance, and would be endlessly flattering and useful to have in your closet!
So which dress are you rocking after you convince your significant other to start a charity polo league? Or just to sign up for that rec sport, because sports are good for you I’m told. I’m picking the Boden jersey dress, based on the versatility it would add to my wardrobe. Wear anywhere based on how you style it! The denim ruffle look is a close second, even though ruffles are a tough sell for me.
What. A. Day. A GIRL’S DAY. How lucky are we to see the sisters-in-law out together at Wimbledon? And this means we have two great looks to admire. Let’s pretend that this post is about you and your bestie going out for Sunday brunch. I wonder if the Duchesses had brunch before Wimbledon. Probably.
Being a more casual event, this looks have a little more pizzazz than the typical demure looks we see
Kate’s look has two fun details: the dot pattern (doesn’t it remind you of little tennis balls!) and the draping details
Meghan is serving us some classic Americana in blue striped button down and wide-legged white trousers
Picks for a princess
Unfortunately we can’t buy Kate’s bespoke Jenny Peckham, but we can cruise the website to see some serious fashion. Here are some luxe alternatives: the Zac Posen dress has a fun pattern on a white background, a similar knee length, and subtle draping details. The Chiara Boni white dress has more stand-out draping. Did you know that Kate is the royal patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club? This post is now ‘How to Dress like a Royal Patron.” I think that is a little extra fancy.
Going like hotcakes on the Ralph Lauren website! Ouch those prices hurt me a little bit, but talk about a look with impact! I don’t think Meghan is a royal patron yet, but I’m sure her time will come. As will mine, and yours.
Picks for a Peasant
Great, summery peasant picks! I could wear any of these being patron of my backyard pool.
And now for Meghan’s separates. I have to say, this is an extremely accessible look! You can find a blue striped button down basically anywhere (here are just two). And those pants are so similar from Kohl’s- I’m floored!
Are you the Kate or the Meghan for your BFF brunch? I’d say I’m the Kate in the Lost + Wander dress. I don’t usually lean towards separates but I may take a trip to Old Navy and Kohl’s and give this look a shot, because why not! And if I’m being a patron of the backyard pool after brunch I probably need a wardrobe change anyway.
Duchess Meghan was a ray of sunshine in a yellow midi dress by Brandon Maxwell at the Commonwealth Youth Forum. Kensington Palace reminds us that 60% of the Commonwealth’s population is aged under 30. That number is around 40% for the US. Young people need to use their voice- check your voter registration, buy a yellow dress, and get ready to vote in November. I bet Meghan would also tell you to vote.
It is not shocking that in the week after Meghan wore this dress, it sold out across the internet. You can add it to your wish list here, but I have no idea what your odds are for it making a return. This Oscar de la Renta dress is the backup (and still fabulous) pick for a princess.
Picks for a peasant
This dress is SO fun and SO affordable. Treat yourself to it now, hang it in your closet, and put a note on it that says “wear on voting day and not before.” Then what a great day of democracy and style you will have!
This dress is also a phenomenal choice- and again at a lovely price point. As an added bonus it is made by Everlane, which is an ethically run company that champions transparency and quality. It’s also an American company based in California. It’s simple, clean lines and vibrant colors are reminiscent of Meghan’s look, and as an added bonus: POCKETS.
This one is only a match on two fronts- the length and the color. But it is so darn pretty I couldn’t leave it out. What a great choice for any summer event- YOU can be the ray of sunshine at the party!
Tell me which is your favorite! This one is a toughy- I am torn between the Everlane and the lace dress at Dillard’s. If I find two elections to vote in, does that mean I can get both?
A beautiful dress to wear in a beautiful country! Travel to Ireland and you will not be disappointed. Do it wearing a sleek and simple Emilia Wickstead black, square neck, midi dress and you will not disappoint Ireland!
Talk about not disappointing, this dress is love. The square neck is perfect with the thick straps and fluted midi skirt really makes this dress a class act. Setting the standards high, Duchess Meghan!
Picks for a peasant
This great little black dress from Banana Republic. The similar neckline and straps mimic the feeling of the dress- just add a belt! Visiting Ireland tip: add a black leather jacket. I swear every woman I saw on Friday night in Dublin was rocking a black leather jacket.
This ModCloth A-line dress also has a square neckline and thick straps, and is more true to the fit and flare silhouette worn by the Duchess. A few more inches in length would make it spot-on, but its a great pick nonetheless! Wear your black leather jacket for a night out, or put on flats and go tour Blarney Castle. And forget kissing a stone- Blarney Castle has 60 acres of gardens to explore so gear up to spend some serious walking time!
What’s fun about this dress style is you can go into so many stores (in person or online) and look for a coverall/overall/apron/pinafore dress. Any of these styles are likely to have a square neckline and thicker straps. Instead of the typical white shirt you might usually seen worn under these, put on a black bandeau bralette and you will stun (and stay cool!) all summer long. This is perhaps not a royal look, but we’ll let it slide because you will look so darn cute rocking it.
Whats your favorite pick? I have to say that Max Mara dress rocks my world. My backup pick is the black overalls dress with black bralette for the pure VERSATILITY of it. There are an infinite host of places to dress up or down any of these royally-inspired little black dresses.
Princess taste but a peasant budget? Me too! Here are some tips to stretch your dollar and still get the royal look:
Thrifting is so fun! Go to your local thrift stores. You never know what you will find- I have scored phenomenal designer dresses with the tags still on, and at my favorite thrift spot all dresses are $7. It cannot be beat.
Remember that thrift stores sell only what local people bring in. Depending on where you live, it may be worth it to try a thrift store in a “fancier” town nearby or your closest big city.
If you are looking for something specific it is very unlikely you will find it in a thrift store, especially if you are seeking a certain designer. Using an online thrift store like ThredUp allows you to search a nation-wide inventory AND specify a designer. GO TRY IT- Dior, Halston Heritage, Zac Posen, Roland Mouret…it is all there!
Take some time to flip the racks at T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, Ross, Burlington Coat Factory, etc. These types of stores usually get their inventory when designers make too much, other stores buy to much, stores cancel orders, and other such retail mishaps. Shopping at discount stores is kind of thrifting-plus. The clothes are new, but inventory changes constantly and they will not necessarily have items in multiple sizes. Take the time to dig around and you can find some seriously good buys.
Most things go on sale eventually. Start shopping in the sale section first. If you are dressing like a royal, it won’t matter if the styles are not the most current, because you will be picking out timeless, classic pieces- not trendy items with lots of frills and details.
If you’re very lucky (or check your favorite sites often) you will get lucky and find half off of clearance sales. Nothing better than a sale on top of a sale!
Buy out of season
In stores ‘summer’ ends with the 4th of July. There are still at a minimum two months of summer left as of early July. The clothes you will be wearing now will often be considered ‘last season’ by retailers. Take advantage of this. Sometimes you may get really lucky and find the perfect double-breasted, fit-and-flare winter jacket in July on clearance, and I say go for it! Duchess Kate re-wears her winter coats year to year and we all should to.
Most importantly, remember our How to Dress like a Royal principles
Always buy clothes that fit properly
Focus on solid colors and neutrals
Pick an item with ONE detail (an asymmetrical drape, a belt, a bold color….but NOT all of these at the same time)
Pick pieces that are knee- or midi-length
Timeless silhouettes: a fit-and-flare or sheath dress never goes out of style
The royal family attended the hundredth anniversary service for the Royal Air Force, and Meghan turned the fashion dial up to max in a long sleeved, navy, fit-and-flare dress by Dior. I do not seem to attend many centenaries or Royal Air Force events, but I do go to the airport. And maybe at the airport I want to feel like our modern day Audrey Hepburn, which turns out to be Duchess Meghan. I will save the fascinator for after I debark the plane, however.
The fit and cut of the dress is everything- no embellishments
Except that FASCINATOR
Picks for a princess
This long sleeved black dress by Rani Arabella features a bateau neckline, long sleeves, and a flared skirt. It is simple, classy, and beautiful, but it also costs several times more than my flight.
Picks for a peasant
A pricey peasant-pick, maybe more for a lady-in-waiting, but a stunning alternative to the look we seek to emulate. This dress is fully princess perfect with the bateau neckline, long sleeves, fit-and-flare, and midi length. So flattering I can hardly stand it!
This pick from Asos is a navy, midi dress with a bardot neckline (I think I see a neckline lesson coming in our future). At this price, this dress is a steal- pick it up to wear to weddings this year.
This Free People dress is a more casual take on the look. A look I might actually sport at the airport. Longer dresses are great for travel days because no one actually wants to touch any surfaces on an airplane. This dress could easily be dressed up or down to add versatility to your wardrobe.
Fascinators are actually quite easy to find and inexpensive! Remember to match your fascinator color to your dress color. No navy dress with a black fascinator. Another great place to find a fascinator is Etsy. If you are having trouble finding a fascinator for a certain look, Etsy sellers are often willing to work with you to customize pieces as well. Etsy is about craftsmanship and the sellers love creating their items.
How to dress like a royal: Keep it simple. Understated. Maybe the dress that looks a little boring on the hanger looks GREAT on you. Everything except your hat. Feel free to go CRAZY with that fascinator pick.
Comment with your favorite Duchess-inspired look from this post. I’m choosing the navy Asos dress and am heading over to Etsy to find my fascinator. September weddings here I come!
As the Duke and Duchess tour Ireland, Meghan was seen in this taupe draped dress. What will you wear when you ring a peace bell? I like to think of every bell as a peace bell. Even the one I ring every night to call my family to dinner (I might, you don’t know).
For the true princess look, go right to the source with a Roland Mouret. Even though Meghan’s exact dress isn’t listed, the silhouette and draping will not disappoint. I would wear every dress that Roland Mouret makes if I had a princess budget. Just every day no matter what I was doing, you would see one. How classy would I look picking tomatoes from the garden?
Picks for a peasant
Since we do not all have the princess budget, here are some picks that will capture aspects of the look:
To emulate the taupe-green color, below-the-knee length, and a draping detail, try this sleeveless dress from BCBGeneration
If it’s the front drape detail that you seek, try this checked dress from Marks & Spencer
And for a close overall feel (getting close to a princess budget $$), try this Halston Heritage one shoulder dress is sage with front draping detail
Which dress are you choosing for when you ring your peace bell? I’m going with the BCBGeneration design for this one. A rare treat when the lowest price wins the day! How to dress like a royal: When being inspired by a look it doesn’t have to be an exact match. Pick a couple elements and find a piece that evokes the feel of the garment. Buy a dress and ring a bell in it- look great doing it!