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The significant detail you probably missed in Meghan Markle's latest outfit

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Kayleigh Dray
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LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Meghan Markle attends a reception with delegates from the Commonwealth Youth Forum during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on April 18, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Meghan Markle wore her ideals on her sleeve (literally) with this subtle fashion statement, according to experts.

There’s no denying that Meghan Markle has made a big splash in the world of fashion. 

Don’t believe us? The white LINE coat she wore for her engagement sold out within minutes, the green P.A.R.O.S.H dress she wore for her televised engagement interview saw 5,000 people log into the website at the exact same time to get their mitts on the product, and even her strappy nude Aquazzura pumps (barely visible in the announcement) flew off the shelves like hotcakes.

Essentially, the ‘Meghan Effect’ means that every single piece she wears sells out almost instantly – prompting Lyst to slot the Suits actress into fourth place as one of the most influential style stars of 2017.

So it makes sense that the soon-to-be-royal might subtly choose her outfits and accessories in order to make a point.

From refusing to don nude tights in public, to taking off her coat in public (an apparently ‘unladylike’ move), Markle has always made a point of snubbing some of the stricter dress codes – and staying true to her personal style, too.

And this week was no exception: when the Suits actress stepped out at the Commonwealth Youth Forum on Wednesday (18 April), she did so in a pinstriped dress, high heels blazer and (gasp) a crossover bag.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Meghan Markle attends a reception with delegates from the Commonwealth Youth Forum during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on April 18, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Meghan Markle attends a reception with delegates from the Commonwealth Youth Forum during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

For those who aren’t already aware, clutch purses tend to be the royal handbag style of choice – for reasons of protocol.

Myka Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, explained: “When the [Queen or] Duchess is at an event, she holds her bag in front of her in both hands when shaking hands might be awkward.”

Markle, though, has proven that she prefers to keep her hands free on numerous occasions, opting for bags with straps that go over her head and across her chest.

Addressing this decision, body language expert Kathlyn Hendricks told Glamour magazine that it is yet another signifier of Markle’s independent self-image.

“Pair the carry with a wide stride and loose limbs and you find ‘an urban warrior with a clear goal’,” she said.

“The bag is incidental to her independent self-image, flung on for its functionality.”

“The bag is incidental to her independent self-image, flung on for its functionality”

While there’s no denying that Markle’s dress sense is refreshingly modern, the actress – who is due to marry Prince Harry in May – has been breaking more than just royal dress codes.

She famously attended the Commonwealth Service alongside Queen Elizabeth before she was married (something which Kate Middleton was never permitted to do) – and, while Markle hasn’t officially joined the royal family yet, she has already taken on a high-profile role within the Commonwealth.

Markle has also indicated that she is unwilling to adhere to the most stringent of royal rules. We’re talking, of course, about that guideline which states members of the royal family cannot speak publicly on any political issue – and prevented Kate Middleton from wearing black in support of Time’s Up at this year’s BAFTAs (a rule which she got around in a pretty genius way).

“I think right now in the climate we are seeing so many campaigns, I mean #MeToo and Time’s Up, and there is no better time to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered, and people really helping to support them – men included,” she said during a forum for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s charity, the Royal Foundation.

“I mean, it makes such a tremendous difference. So … I guess we wait a couple of months and we can hit the ground running.”

All of this should come as no surprise to Markle’s longtime fans: a passionate women’s rights activist all her life, the actress has worked as an ambassador for UN Women and the charity World Vision. She’s used her celebrity status to back Hillary Clinton, lament Brexit and attack Donald Trump as “misogynistic” and “divisive”.  And she’s even used her wedding to Prince Harry to raise awareness for Myna Mahila, a charity which empowers women in Mumbai’s slums by providing them with a trusted network, stable employment and the chance to grow as individuals and businesswomen. 

All in all, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Markle – who has penned countless essays about racism, women’s rights and the perils of fame – is forging her own royal path. One which balances her personal passions and newfound international influence perfectly.

As she put it herself in her Vanity Fair interview: “[Harry and I] were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception.

“Nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship.”

Image: Getty 

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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