In the days leading up to the Royal Wedding, Meghan Markle is dominating the news cycle: Will her father walk her down the aisle? Will she ever be able to call herself a princess? What does she think of her maybe-racist future relatives? And what is she going to wear on her Big Day? The newest (imminent!) addition to the royal family is a breath of fresh air who isn’t afraid to literally wear the pants; and both her persona and style brings a certain excitement reminiscent of her late mother-in-law Princess Diana. It’s a fascination that’s led the media (us included!) to cover her every messy bun, deleted social media account, and J.Crew purchase.
But for Vancouver-based Amanda Dishaw and her Washington D.C.-based co-editorial director Christine Ross, documenting what Prince Harry’s betrothed wears is more than Internet fodder — it’s a business. Together, the two work with a team to identify what Markle wears every single time she appears in public on Meghan’s Mirror, a fashion blog dedicated to the actress’ “chic, classic, and casual style.” (The website generates revenue, though the team wouldn’t disclose how much.)
Blogging about Markle’s style was a natural progression of the pair’s extremely popular website, What Would Kate Do?, which has been tracking the Duchess of Cambridge’s outfits since 2012, one year after her own royal wedding to Prince William. “We started to see a lot of interest from readers who were very curious about Meghan,” Dishaw tells Refinery29. “More paparazzi pictures started to pop up, and it was like, ‘Wow, she’s very stylish.’” In May 2017, after sensing that her relationship with Prince Harry was the real deal (sorry, Cressida Bonas, Chelsy Davy), Dishaw and Ross went all in with Meghan’s Mirror. They kicked off their new venture with a post chronicling Markle’s airport style.
The two started the blog when the relationship between Prince Harry and the Suits star was still pretty much all rumors, mostly because they were fans of Markle’s style. “In the very beginning, there were a lot of comments we were making up a relationship, including ones speculating if Markle was operating the blog herself,” she continues. Everyone’s hunch was confirmed when Kensington Palace issued an official statement about the harassment Markle and her family were facing from the public, thanks to her royal boyfriend. (Racist trolls have cruelly targeted the American-born actress, who is biracial and divorced.)
“[The statement] gave some credence to the relationship, and maybe did the opposite of what [Prince Harry] wanted,” Dishaw adds. Instead of leaving her alone, interest in Markle shot up, and the blog experienced a surge in visitors. “When the engagement announcement came out in November, [traffic] was just off the charts, I don’t even know what the growth percentage was.” Dishaw declined to give the actual number of hits they received post-engagement, but says that millions of women worldwide have seen the website.
Now, Dishaw and Ross employ a team of 17 people, including a stylist, who work tirelessly to identify what the now-retired Hollywood star is wearing every time she’s photographed. “We can generally have items [identified] within minutes of her wearing a piece, and we can have a post up within 15 minutes,” Dishaw adds, noting that social media, too — particularly those accounts belong to Kensington Palace which now, for the first time ever, issue “operational notes” with Markle’s fashion credits. “When she stepped out for her first engagement this year, [the release] was detailed down to her Marks and Spencer sweater,” Dishaw says. “That’s very unusual. I’ve never seen that before.”
But that’s not the only thing that’s changed since Markle came into the picture. Though Markle has broken a few fashion rules from a royal perspective, the bloggers consider that to be one of the best — and most relatable — style lessons for their readers. “[With Meghan,] there is never a perfection that can’t be attained by just anyone, and a lot of our readers have gravitated toward her because she is down to earth. She’s not perfect,” Dishaw says. “She’s personable, and that’s translated through her style.” Dishaw is, of course, referring to Markle’s penchant for wearing accessible brands like Everlane, J.Crew, and Banana Republic, and the fact that she doesn’t shy away from going to yoga class wearing Nike sneakers. Her style is less rigid than Middleton’s, though Dirshaw doesn’t like to compare Markle to her future sister-in-law (and future Queen). After all, Markle is “going to be afforded a little more flexibility and leeway in terms of setting out who she wants to be as part of the royal family because she doesn’t have pressures of a role like Kate has as being the future queen consort,” she says.
As for how her style will come into play on her wedding day, Dishaw points out that, very long ago, the Duchess-to-be identified her dream wedding dress: the iconic Narciso Rodriguez number worn by the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy at her 1996 wedding to American quasi-prince, John F. Kennedy Jr. “It’s a very plain silk dress and to be fair, at the time [Markle said this], I don’t think she knew she was going to be marry into the royal family. That dress definitely wouldn’t fly in Windsor Castle.” (And it’s certainly far from the heavily beaded, $135,000 Ralph & Russo gown she’s rumored to be wearing). Dishaw predicts Markle will wear a tiara down the aisle, and she’s crossing her fingers that Markle doesn’t abandon her personal style in order to fit the traditional (read: confining) royal mold. “I hope that she’s able to find some use for her bejeweled brightly-colored shoes that we don’t normally see on royal families.”
But if Markle wants to spark a real revolution the day she becomes a Duchess, there’s one small rebellion she might consider: Go tights-less! Because what’s a royal wedding without an act of defiance — especially when we’re all waiting to write about it.
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