The Dos and Don'ts of Dressing for Meghan Markle's Inner Circle
There are a lot things Meghan Markle can’t wear, but what about those who are around her day in and day out? If we had to guess, her inner circle has quite the dress code too. After all, you’re known by the company you keep, and when all eyes are on you, the effect is likely magnified. To find out for sure, we went to a few trusted sources, including Susan Courter and Susan Kelley, royal experts and the founders of popular site What Meghan Wore, and Bethan Holt, fashion news and features director at The Telegraph.
Rather than a strict list, Holt revealed, “It’s all about unspoken rules. There is no ‘official’ protocol.” But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a serious set of expectations. Specifically, we’re curious about outfit expectations for Markle’s two aides, Samantha Cohen and Amy Pickerill. Courtney and Kelley acknowledge both women have “high-profile positions with a challenging dress code.” Ahead, read about the top four dos and don’ts for the two women who are with Meghan almost every day.
Longtime Royal Family Staff Member Samantha Cohen
“Samantha Cohen has been with the royal family since 2001, most recently as the queen’s assistant private secretary,” say Courter and Kelley. “She actually announced her retirement last year but was asked to stay on as a special aide to Meghan, providing guidance and insight on the duchess’s new role. Ms. Cohen’s look is more conservative and buttoned-up, as one would expect for someone who has long been a senior member of the queen’s staff. She favours structured, tailored pieces, generally with high necklines, hems that hit at the knee, and long sleeves (although we did see her in short sleeves at Meghan and Harry’s wedding).”
Royal Family Staff Newcomer Amy Pickerill
“Amy Pickerill is much newer in her position; she only started working at Kensington Palace in 2016, being made Meghan’s assistant in February of this year,” say Courter and Kelley. “Like Samantha Cohen, Amy also wears tailored pieces, primarily in solid colours or muted patterns, although she has sported a vibrant print on some occasions.”
DO Mirror Meghan Markle’s Style; DON’T Overshadow the boss
Holt notes, “The aides are not here to overshadow their bosses or to become a talking point in themselves,” and Courter and Kelley seem to agree: “They need to look chic but do not want to be seen as overshadowing the person everyone is coming to see, the Duchess of Sussex.”
It’s not just about avoiding stealing the spotlight but also subtly mirroring Meghan’s style. “Kate’s aides often mirror her style perhaps with purchases from similar shops she likes, such as Monica Vinader or L.K.Bennett. These women are all working very closely together, so it’s only natural that their tastes may begin to align,” says Holt.
Courtney and Kelley are actually already seeing some similarities between Meghan and her aides as well: “It looks like Amy doesn’t always wear tights, echoing Meghan's style in this regard, and it looks like Amy and Meghan share a mutual fondness for several designers. Both have worn pieces by London jeweller Shaun Leane,” they say.
DO Wear Tailored, Pristine, Pared-Back Clothes; DON’T Wear Bright Colours, Trainers or Crazy Prints
“If they turned up to work in trainers or a crazy print, that wouldn’t do,” says Holt. “They’ll often look like any other girl with a smart office job—and that’s really the point. And they would steer clear of bright colours.” For the occasion of the photograph above, Amy chose a cherry-red blazer, but compared to the queen’s lime-green ensemble, it’s still rather subtle. “I’m also sure that on the days when they know they may be photographed, they make a little extra effort with hair and makeup to look polished, and they’ll ensure their clothes look pristine,” adds Holt.
DO Carry a Sizeable Bag; DON’T Wear Too-High Heels
“The aides tend to carry much bigger bags than the royals, as they need to carry around all their notes and schedules,” says Holt. Courter and Susan Kelley concur: “Amy is almost never seen without one of her large totes or handbags, needed to hold all of the cards and gifts Meghan is given on a walkabout, allowing the duchess to keep her hands free to greet people.” As for the heel height, aides need to be able to walk gracefully, which usually means erring on the conservative side for heel height. “The general uniform is heels—but not too high—and a skirt suit or shift dress, usually with a coat when they’re accompanying Meghan and Harry outdoors,” says Holt.
DO Dress Demurely; DON’T Show Too Much Skin
All photos of the two aides online reveal they favour high necklines and hemlines from the knee down. Holt confirms this: “They do dress in a way that’s very demure.”
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Opening Image: Getty