Australia Markets closed

We compared Meghan Markle's and Kate Middleton's fashion choices -- and the winner is clear

Kate Taylor
  • People are obsessing over Meghan Markle's fashion choices following her engagement to Prince Harry.
  • Her future sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, has been hugely influential in shaping fashion over the last decade.
  • The two have very different styles. Here's how they match up.

As the world obsesses over Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton seems to be taking cues from her future sister-in-law.

While being awarded gold Blue Peter badges for campaigning on children's mental health issues, Middleton and Prince William had a rare public display of affection. It was a simple knee touch, but a rare one for the typically stoic couple, and some wondered whether it had been inspired by Markle's and Prince Harry's on-camera cuddling.

It's rare for the royals to truly speak their mind in public. That goes double for Middleton and Markle - as women in the spotlight, anything they do can spark backlash. As a result, fashion can provide a way for royals to quietly express themselves with the public.

As Markle prepares to marry Harry, we found ourselves wondering how she would compare to Middleton when it comes to fashion. Here's how Markle measures up to the duchess.

Let's start with a Markle specialty: movie premieres. As an actress, she has plenty of experience dressing for the red carpet.

It's a pretty simple look -- little black dress with strappy heels. Cute, but nothing groundbreaking.

As a duchess, Middleton attends plenty of premieres herself. Here she is a year earlier, at the premiere of "War Horse."

Middleton took a more elegant approach with a full-length lace gown.

In general, Middleton's approach is one of simple elegance, as seen in the gorgeous sheer gown she wore to the premiere of the Bond film "Spectre."

In addition to premieres, both Markle and Middleton make frequent public appearances to draw attention to issues they believe to be important.

Markle is known for her straightforward bold looks, like this jewel-tone mermaid dress.

She works to be on the cutting edge of fashion -- sometimes to her detriment, as in the case of this bizarre shorts-suit combo.

However, being a trendsetter can require taking risks. Searches for "vegan leather trousers" jumped 67% after Markle name-dropped the article of clothing in an interview.

Source: The Telegraph

Middleton is far less likely to follow trends when making appearances at events for charitable organisations or other fund-raising functions.

Instead, she favours classic, longer dresses in plain colours or simple prints.

Even when Middleton wears something that's a bit more fun, it's not trendy. This polka-dotted dress is pretty much as bold as she will go when it comes to a charity function -- almost quirky, but mostly timeless.

The one place she is willing to let loose, both in fashion and more generally, is when it comes to athletics.

While watching sports, she has a chance to wear more casual outfits, like this sleeveless button-down.

Twitter trolls slammed Markle for wearing casual jeans during her first-ever public appearance with Prince Harry, at the 2017 Invictus Games.

Even in their sportier outfits, Markle is more attuned to trends, while Middleton goes for classics.

It is somewhat unfair to compare Kate's fashion decisions to Markle's style before she became associated with the royal family.

Middleton met and began dating Prince William while the pair attended the University of St. Andrews. As a result, she's been in the public eye as the prince's significant other for most of her adult life.

A more direct comparison is how Markle's post-engagement fashion has lined up with Middleton's choices over the last decade. In her first public appearance as Prince Harry's fiancée, Markle wore a coat from Line, a little-known Canadian brand -- helping to crash the brand's website.

Source: Business Insider

In the couple's first post-engagement interview, Markle opted for a simple, dark green dress.

Middleton, meanwhile, went all-out with an instantly iconic royal blue Issa dress when the couple announced their engagement in 2010.

Post-engagement, Markle's outfits for the couple's few public appearances have been more muted.

Still, she brings her fashion sensibility in with the details -- look at those boots!

Middleton brought her own sense of style to one of her first public appearance after her engagement, wearing a fascinator -- one of her favourite, very British, accessories.

So, who ultimately comes out on top in a comparison of the two women's senses of fashion?

Markle has the opportunity to bring a breath of fresh air to the British monarchy. Her willingness to try out trends and behave more informally in public with Prince Harry are a welcome change from the sometimes stiff and formal royal protocol.

But, sticking to trends has lead to some fashion missteps for Markle. And, her public appearances post-engagement haven't brought much to the table -- the most exciting outfit so far has been the white coat.

While Middleton's dedication to more traditional fashion can sometimes feel a bit stale, she has turned out hits again and again over a full decade in the public eye.

And, when it comes to iconic fashion, Markle hasn't pulled off anything yet that can top some of Middleton's instant classics -- though, with the royal wedding coming up, she'll have plenty of time to try.