Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are both Duchesses who married Princes of the British royal family, William and Harry. But that’s where their similarities end. Although some people tend to shove these Duchesses together, they are quite different–especially their styles.
Whereas Meghan Markle dresses in dark, modern clothes, Kate Middleton wears bright patterned dresses. Everything from their hats to their necklaces is drastically different. Keep reading to see the differences between their iconic styles.
Meghan Wears Dark, Neutral Colors
Meghan Markle often wears dark, neutral colors. You can often see her wearing a grey dress, navy blue coat, or a black skirt. These are reflective of her favorite brands, including J. Crew, Birdies, Staud, and Wilfred.
One of Meghan’s designers, Karen Walker, told Glamour: “Her Royal Highness’s style feels very authentic to me. It isn’t forced at all—it’s real and captures her personality.” Anyone can imitate her neutral outfits and not look like they’re trying too hard.
Kate Embraces Bold, Bright Colors
While Meghan prefers neutral and dark-colored clothing, Kate Middleton does not hesitate to wear bright colors. You’ll often see her in red, violet, and brilliant green dresses. It is also reflected in the brands she wears, including Reiss, Ghost, and L.K. Bennett.
Kate will often wear local designers from the places she visits, including Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia. She takes after her grandmother-in-law by wearing all of the colors of the rainbow. This has brought more business to the brands she wears.
Meghan Wears More Solids Than Patterns
Meghan Markle tends to wear solid colors for most of her wardrobe. Occasionally, she will wear patterns, but many of these patterns featured muted colors such as grey and beige. Some people believe that her simple wardrobe is meant not to outshine the Queen.
A royal insider told Elle that Meghan does not want her wardrobe to take away from her work. “When there was criticism of Meghan in black and muted colors, it was intentional, so her style didn’t become the story and distract from her charity work,” the insider said.
Kate’s Love Of Patterns
Kate Middleton has no problem wearing bold patterns and colors. She’s gone out in big black polka dots, yellow lace, and detailed florals. Designers such as Emilia Wickstead have made many intricate dresses for Kate over the years.
But you don’t need top designers to imitate this style. Lee Lucas, the principal and CEO of the Fashion Retail Academy, says that Kate wears street-name brands such as “Zara, Topshop, and Marks & Spencer.” This has made her style more accessible to the public.
Meghan Markle’s Hats Have Flair
Hats are a standard accessory for the royals. Meghan Markle often wears hats for special events, and all of them have flair. In 2018, she wore an asymmetrical Philip Treacy hat to the Royal Ascot. The black-and-white hat was short on one side but flared on the other.
Meghan often wears berets and pillbox hats, but even these have unique details. During her 2018 Christmas, she wore a navy blue beret with two matching feathers. It was designed by Awon Golding Millinery to compliment her outfit.
Kate Middleton Always Matches Her Hats
The Duchess of Cambridge always matches her hat to her outfit. She doesn’t mind wearing simple berets and pill hats if they complement the rest of her look. A good example is her Lock & Company pillbox hat with a bow on the back, which matched her cream Easter Sunday outfit in 2017.
That’s not to say that Kate will ignore intricate hats, though. During the Queen’s 90th birthday, she wore a white beret with intricate lace and flower details by Jane Taylor.
Meghan Markle’s Simple But Elegant Wedding Dress
In a bold move, Meghan Markle had no lace or beading on her wedding dress. She went for a Jackie O. style with a silk gown, three-quarter sleeves, and a high neckline. She chose designer Waight Keller for her “elegant aesthetic” and “relaxed demeanor.”
Waight worked closely with Meghan to design the dress. In the end, it cost $265,000. The five-meter-long veil took longer to make than the gown. Inside of the dress, Waight sewed a piece of Meghan’s blue dress that she wore on her first date with Prince Harry.
Kate Middleton’s Iconic Wedding Gown
Kate Middleton’s wedding dress was so popular that replicas were created and sold to brides. It was designed by Sarah Burton, the creative director of the luxury fashion house Alexander McQueen. The ivory satin gown cost a whopping $434,000 in total.
The shape was inspired by Victorian corsets. Lace lined the v-neck, long sleeves, and bottom of the skirt. The gown changed the wedding industry for years afterward, as designers focused less on strapless dresses and more on delicate lace sleeves.
Meghan Goes Modern
Compared to other royals, Meghan Markle tends to dress more modern. You may have seen her wearing jean jackets, white buttoned shirts, jumpsuits, and shirt dresses. Designers such as Victoria Beckham, Veronica Beard, and Madewell give her a modern–if not casual–wardrobe.
It’s no surprise seeing Meghan wearing a jean dress or wide-legged pants. She dresses similarly to how many mothers dress today, even if some of her gowns cost $1,590! She may look casual sometimes, but she knows how to style clothes.
Kate Dresses Professional And Conservative
Kate Middleton dresses much more professionally than Meghan. Wearing designers such as Emilia Wickstead, Gianvito Rossi, and Temperley London, Kate often looks as if she’s walking into the office in The Devil Wears Prada. That’s only a good thing, of course.
Kate often wears long-sleeve dresses with high necklines that end at the knee. Many of her dresses double as coats, and she wears dashing tights with them. Her wardrobe appears more conservative than Meghan’s classic jean jacket.
Meghan Markle’s Jewelry Is Simple And Chic
Meghan is not a fan of jewelry as a statement piece; rather, she wears small, dainty pieces. Her necklaces often feature small studs and come from designers such as Jennifer Meyer (a friend of hers) and Adina Reyter. Tiny studs, crystals, and hearts adorn her jewelry.
Her earrings usually make a bigger statement than her necklaces. She’ll often wear pearl and diamond drop earrings from designer Shaun Leane and the Canadian company Birks. Many of these understated designs are in style today.
Kate Middleton’s Jewelry Is Timeless
Just as Kate has no problem wearing colorful clothes, she’ll also wear colorful jewelry. Her jewels are often carefully coordinated with her outfits. For instance, she may match Monica Vinader Green Onyx earrings with a green dress or pair a sapphire G. Collins & Sons necklace with her matching ring.
Kate’s jewelry tends to be more regal than Meghan’s. That said, she still enjoys buying from affordable brands. She’ll often wear earrings and necklaces from Missoma, Zara, and Catherine Zoraida.
Meghan Wears Classic Shoes With A Twist
It’s no secret that royal women often wear heels and pumps. But Meghan likes to add a twist to these classic styles. For instance, her engagement outfit featured nude heels by Aquazzura with a criss-cross design in the front.
That’s not to say that she will ignore classic styles. She’ll also wear Greco-style brown sandals from Sarah Flint. Especially during her pregnancy, Meghan wore flats and pumps. Occasionally, you may see her in sleek white sneakers from Veja Esplar.
Kate Middleton Wears Neutral, Simple Shoes
Because her clothes are so bright and intricate, Kate Middleton often wears neutral shoes. You’ll often see her in boots, heels, and sneakers in brown, beige, and black. Some of her favorite shoe designers include L.K. Bennett, Jimmy Choo, and Emmy London.
Sometimes, Kate will put on darker-colored shoes that match her outfit. Navy blue velvet and burgundy leather seem to be favorites. During her more active adventures, she will wear neutral sneakers by brands such as Nike and New Balance.
Before She Was A Royal, Meghan Was All Hollywood
Before she married Prince Harry, Meghan Markle was an actress. Her wardrobe consisted of Hollywood glam looks that she rarely wears today. She would often wear short, tight dresses in several different colors to the Golden Globes or MuchMusic Video Awards.
Meghan still wears some brands that she donned back then, such as J. Crew and French designer Roland Mouret. But she also wasn’t afraid to wear crop tops, deep plunging necklines, and see-through shirts. Those aren’t allowed on royals!
Before She Married, Kate Was Much More Casual
Before she married Prince William, Kate Middleton dressed much more casually than she does today. Having grown up in rural England, she brought some country aspects into her wardrobe. She would often wear jeans, knee-high boots, cowboy hats, tank tops, and short shorts–you’ll never see her in those today!
That said, she still carries some of her old style. For instance, she’ll wear knee-high boots from fancier brands such as Aquatalia and Stuart Weitizman. She also continues to wear more affordable brands like Zara.
Meghan’s Bright White Engagement Outfit
When a royal couple gets engaged, they always announce it to the public. Meghan Markle’s engagement outfit foreshadowed her wedding dress. She wore a $627 white coat by the Canadian brand LINE. It had a wide collar, tied at the waist, and reached down to her knees.
Underneath, the Duchess of Sussex wore a dark green crew-neck dress by PAROSH, marked at $585. Her shoes were cross-strapped nude heels by Aquazzura, which she had shown one year earlier in 2016.
Kate Shines On the Red Carpet
Royal tradition requires the Queen to be the star of the show in terms of wardrobe colors. So when both the Queen and Kate attend the same event, the Duchess can’t go too bold. But when it comes to red carpet gowns, Kate Middleton isn’t afraid to shine.
She turned heads in a stunning gold gown at the No Time To Die James Bond franchise film premiere. The sparkling gold dress was designed by Jenny Packham, featuring a v neckline and cape sleeves.
Meghan Goes Classic With Black And Sheer
It was just two months after giving birth to Archie that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attended the Lion King premiere. Meghan walked the red carpet in a sleek black knee-length dress with sheer sleeves. She completed the look with a black clutch and black heels.
Although it was a simple look, the dress cost $4,343, designed by Jason Wu. Meghan walked the red carpet long before meeting Prince Harry as an actress and star of Suits.
Kate’s Engagement Dress Was Formal And Understated
In 2010, Kate Middleton announced her engagement to Prince William. Her engagement outfit was less “bridal” than Meghan’s and more modern. She wore a blue dress by London-based designer Daniella Issa Helayel, which matched her sapphire engagement ring.
The knee-length dress had a wrap design below the bust. It also had long sleeves and a flattering v-neck. After the photos were released, the dress immediately sold out. It appeared on the store again in 2015 and 2018, after which it sold out again.
Meghan Markle’s Engagement Ring Fits Her Style Perfectly
Meghan Markle’s jewelry is minimalist, and her engagement ring is no exception. The three-stoned ring sits on a thin golden band. Like many royal husbands, Prince Harry created the ring from scratch to hold special meaning.
The center diamond is from Botswana, a location that carries fun memories for the couple. The other two diamonds belonged to his late mother, Princess Diana. The band was created by the royal jeweler Cleave and Company. Although the engagement ring is simple, it still stands out amongst her other jewelry.
Kate Middleton Received Something Blue
In 2010, Prince William asked for Kate’s hand in marriage. He proposed with a ring that belonged to his late mother, Lady Diana. The ring has a large sapphire gem surrounded by 14 tiny diamonds.
The 12-carat sapphire is cut into facets, and the 14 diamonds are set in 18K while gold. When Princess Diana got engaged, she initially chose the ring herself. The Duchess of Cambridge received a ring that has significant meaning for the royal family.
Meghan’s Handbags Often Fall Under The Radar
Although Meghan Markle’s handbags often go unnoticed, they still deserve a mention. She carries a variety of purses, some with cross-body straps and others that are small clutches. All of her bags blend seamlessly with her outfits.
In spring 2020, Meghan wore a dark green cross-body bag by Rejina Pyo. It matched her plaid blue and green coat. She doesn’t mind colored purses, but you will rarely see her with patterned handbags. The closest would be a speckled leather purse by Cuyana that she carried in 2018.
Kate Middleton’s Purses Are As Bright As Her Outfits
While Meghan’s purses are dark and neutral, Kate often carries bright, noticeable handbags. A great example is a bright red Alexander McQueen clutch with a bow that the Duchess carried with her red outfit.
Kate will occasionally carry patterned bags, such as Joules’ women’s floral overnight bag. But she also can’t go wrong with a neutral clutch. You’ll often see her with beige and grey clutches from brands such as Prada, Mulberry, Anya Hindmarch, and Stuart Weitzman.
Meghan’s Equally Modern Reception Dress
Since the first bridal gown steals all of the attention, many forget that Meghan wore a second dress for the reception. The evening gown, by designer Stella McCartney, looked just as modern as her wedding dress. It had a high neckline, no sleeves, no bling or lace, and a slightly frilled skirt.
The reception dress alone cost $157,000. That’s not including her up-do hairstyle done by George Northwood. Her baby blue and silk shoes were by one of her favorite brands, Aquazurra.
Kate Went Much More Simple For Her Reception Dress
Like most royal brides, Kate Middleton wore a second wedding dress to the reception. This one did not have lace-like her ceremony gown, but it had a striking fur jacket and bling belt. It seems that Kate cannot stay away from bling or statement pieces, even with her simpler looks.
Like the first dress, the reception gown was designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. It had a flared A-line skirt that Kate frequently wears, along with a crop top fur coat.
Even During The Holidays, Meghan Stays Neutral
Every Christmas, the royal family attends a morning mass at St. Mary Magdalene. Royals often dress up for the occasion, and Meghan maintains her neutral style. For instance, in 2017, she wore a beige Sentaler coat with brown Stuart Weitzman boots and a matching cap.
The next year, she dressed from head to toe in navy blue. The dress and coat were both designed by Victoria Beckham. However, she tends to shake things up with a beret, such as her navy feathered beret by Awon Golding Millinery.
Kate Shows Off Her Christmas Spirit
Kate Middleton has no problem dressing “Christmas-y” in red and green. For the 2019 Christmas lunch, she wore a tartan plaid dress. The red dress was from one of her favorite designers, Emilia Wickstead, and cost $2,762.
That same morning, Kate went more neutral by wearing a grey fur-lined coat by Catherine Walker over an emerald green dress. The Michael Kors dress had a festive pattern, and she got her pop of color with a matching green hat.
Meghan Markle’s Baby Announcement Outfit
In May 2018, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to her first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. When she and Prince Harry first revealed their child to the press, she wore a modest white dress and nude heels. Instead of her outfit, all attention went to the baby.
Her sleeveless trench dress was from designer Wales Bonner. She paired it with easy-to-walk-in nude pumps by Manolo Blahnik–remember, she just gave birth three days prior! She also donned a minimalist turquoise necklace by Jennifer Meyer.
Kate Middleton Introduced Her Children With Colorful Dresses
While Meghan wore white for her baby announcement, Kate Middleton wore colors after the births of her three children. When Prince George was born in 2013, Kate wore a polka-dotted Jenny Packham dress in baby blue. She would return to that designer for her next two children.
In 2015, Princess Charlotte came. While introducing her, Kate wore another Jenny Packham dress that was white with yellow flowers. After the birth of her third child, Louis, she returned to the same designer. This dress was red with a white lace collar.
You Can Barely Tell When Meghan Wears Workout Clothes
Even the royals need comfy, casual workout clothes. Because Meghan Markle often wears neutral and dark colors, you can barely tell when she’s wearing leggings. Some of her favorite black leggings are from Lululemon and Under Armour HeatGear.
She’ll also wear black raincoats, puffer jackets, and army coats. Her fitness clothes are often black, white, or a darker color like navy. You may also see her in Ray-Ban aviators with a gold rim, similar to what she would wear on a day-to-day outfit.
Kate Middleton Wears Color To The Gym
Just like the rest of her style, Kate Middleton embraces color in her activewear. Some of her clothes have pops of color, such as navy Bogen leggings with a rainbow design on the bottom. Other times, she’ll wear a bright red puffer jacket.
To remain stylish, Kate doesn’t choose all color. She combines neutral colors like black and white with accents of color. For instance, her Montreal London track pants have a lime green waistline and a stripe of white running down the leg.