STYLE EVOLUTION

Meghan Markle’s Style Evolution: From Actress to Royal to L.A. Mom

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Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Meghan Markle has had quite the journey over the past few years. Her style has reflected the momentous changes in her life, from actress to princess-to-be to working duchess, and finally into motherhood as she exited the royal family. As a star on Suits, she regularly worked the gala and fashion show circuits. Markle's earliest fashion go-to's included a killer pair of heels — she was often photographed wearing patent stilettos in red, black, and white, and loved a statement pair of ribbon-laced heels. On her off days, she didn't mind hitting the red carpet in a pair of jeans or a casual mini dress with flats. Markle's daytime looks were always especially unfussy, especially when wearing a look by her friend Misha Nonoo.

Then she met her prince charming. Markle and Prince Harry made their public debut in 2017 at his Invictus Games initiative. Engagement rumors buzzed all over Buckingham Palace, and shortly after, the newest royal couple announced that they were going to wed. Suddenly, Markle was thrust into the royal family, complete with its own style protocol and deeply-entrenched traditions. As a royal, she wore more modest silhouettes from beloved British designers, with crisp tailoring and exquisite fabrics befitting a Duchess. And yes, she donned plenty of hats. Markle also understood the power of bright, saturated colors — like the Queen, she loved monochrome looks in shades of green, blue, and red that photographed beautifully and allowed her to be visible among a crowd.

Markle's and Prince Harry's royal travels gave her an opportunity to play around with the dress code. They visited Commonwealth countries such as New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and Morocco, where the Duchess enjoyed paying homage to each country's aesthetics, and no doubt enjoyed going sleeveless in hotter locales. As baby Archie grew, so did Markle's maternity style — she stayed comfortable in flowing gowns and lower heels, but worked a power dress that highlighted her baby bump.

Life wasn't perfect inside Kensington Palace. Now that Markle and her expanding family have left the working monarchy, she's free to recapture some of the freer looks from her earlier years. This evolution represents a step backwards through her life, but it gives us a glimpse into how she may craft her style going forward, now that protocol isn't a concern. One thing is for sure — she'll be the coolest California mom at the beach.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks to a young wellwisher as she departs the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 09, 2020 in London, England. The Commonwealth represents 2.4 billion people and 54 countries, working in collaboration towards shared economic, environmental, social and democratic goals. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex accompanied by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attends the Mountbatten Festival of Music at Royal Albert Hall on March 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 05, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex depart Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits a township with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex to learn about Youth Employment Services on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) visits the University of Johannesburg on October 1, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Tim Rooke - Pool/Getty Images)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation during their royal tour of South Africa on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Toby Melville - Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits Auwal Mosque on Heritage Day with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex during their royal tour of South Africa on September 24, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. Auwal Mosque is the first and oldest mosque in South Africa and for the Muslim community, this mosque symbolises the freedom of former slaves to worship. (Photo by Tim Rooke - Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex launches the Smart Works capsule collection at John Lewis Oxford Street on September 12, 2019 in London, England. Created in September 2013 Smart Works exists to help unemployed women regain the confidence they need to succeed at job interviews and return to employment. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend "The Lion King" European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge walks with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex into the Royal Box on Centre Court ahead of the Ladies Singles Final between Simona Halep of Romania and Serena Williams of the United States on Centre Court during the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on July 13, 2019 in London, England.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex ride by carriage down the Mall during Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 in Windsor, England. The Duchess of Sussex gave birth at 05:26 on Monday 06 May, 2019. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends a Commonwealth Day Youth Event at Canada House on March 11, 2019 in London, England. The event showcased and celebrated the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends a International Women's Day panel discussion at King's College London on March 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits King Mohammed VI of Morocco, during an audience at his residence on February 25, 2019 in Rabat, Morocco. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attends a reception hosted by the British Ambassador to Morocco at the British Residence during the second day of her tour of Morocco on February 24, 2019 in Rabat, Morocco. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit a local secondary school meeting students and teachers on February 24, 2019 in Asni, Morocco. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the Cirque du Soleil Premiere Of "TOTEM" at Royal Albert Hall on January 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by UK Press Pool/UK Press via Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks during the Invictus Games Closing Ceremony at Qudos Bank Arena on October 27, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Australian Geographic Society Awards to present youth awards to honour the highest achievements in conservation and adventure at the Grand Ballroom, Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney on October 26, 2018. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day 11 of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific. (Photo by Paul Edwards - Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend as members of the Royal Family attend events to mark the centenary of the RAF on July 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widness, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex travel sin an open carriage to the Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 09, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex emerge from the West Door of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / various sources / AFP)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce the engagement of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been a couple officially since November 2016 and are due to marry in Spring 2018.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took their first public pictures as a couple at Invictus Games Toronto.

Actress Meghan Markle leaves the “Today Show” taping at NBC Rockefeller Center on July 14, 2016.

Actress Meghan Markle enters the “Today Show” taping at NBC Rockefeller Center Studios on July 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

Actress Meghan Markle attends the Instagram Dinner held at the MARS Discovery District on May 31, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

Meghan Markle attends P.S. Arts’ The pARTy at NeueHouse Hollywood on May 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

Meghan Markle attends Glamour and L’Oreal Paris Celebrate 2016 College Women Of The Year at NoMad Hotel Rooftop on April 27, 2016 in New York City.

Actress Meghan Markle attends AOL Build Presents “Suits” at AOL Studios In New York on March 17, 2016 in New York City.

Meghan Markle attends the 12th annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Spring Studios on November 2, 2015 in New York City.

Meghan Markle attends the Prada presents The Iconoclasts with Michael Wilkinson and Tim Martin event during the 2015 New York fashion week. Photo by BFAnyc.com.

Meghan Markle attends Wes Gordon runway show during MADE Fashion Week Fall 2015 at Milk Studios on February 13, 2015 in New York City.

Meghan Markle attends the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 13th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on October 28, 2014 in New York City.

Meghan Markle attends the London Global Gift Gala at ME Hotel on November 19, 2013 in London, England.

Meghan Markle attends the UK Premiere of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” at Odeon Leicester Square on November 11, 2013 in London, England.

Meghan Markle attends the Gala Tribute To Cate Blanchett during the 51st New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on October 2, 2013 in New York City.

Meghan Markle attends the Tory Burch fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on September 10, 2013 in New York City.

Meghan Markle attends the Novak Djokovic Foundation New York dinner at Capitale on September 10, 2013 in New York City.

Megan Markle arrives on the red carpet at the 2013 MuchMusic Video Awards at Bell Media Headquarters on June 16, 2013 in Toronto, Canada.

Meghan Markle attends USA Network 2013 Upfront Event at Pier 36 on May 16, 2013 in New York City.

Meghan Markle attends the ELLE’s Women in Television Celebration at Soho House on January 24, 2013 in West Hollywood, California.

Meghan Markle arrives at NBC Universal’s 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards after party held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 13, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

Meghan Markle attends The Paley Center for Media’s presentation of An Evening With “Suits” at The Paley Center for Media on January 14, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

Meghan Markle arrives at the GQ Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont on November 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Meghan Markle attends TV Guide Magazine’s 2012 Hot List Party at SkyBar at the Mondrian Los Angeles on November 12, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.

Meghan Markle attends the HBO Luxury Lounge Featuring L’Oreal Paris And New Era Cap – Day 1 at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles on January 14, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.

Meghan Markle arrives at the 13th Annual InStyle And The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Toronto International Film Festival Party at the Windsor Arms Hotel on September 11, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.

Meghan Markle attends the USA Network’s and The Moth’s Storytelling Tour “A More Perfect Union: Stories of Prejudice and Power” at the Pacific Design Center on February 15, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.

Meghan Markle arrives at the 13th Annual Warner Bros. and InStyle Golden Globe After Party held at The Beverly Hilton hotel on January 15, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.

Meghan Markle arrives at the Anti-Defamation League Entertainment Industry Awards dinner held at The Beverly Hilton hotel on October 11, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.

Meghan Markle at ABS/Allen Schwartz during Primary Action 2007 Golden Globe Suites at Private Residence in Los Angeles, California, United States.

Meghan Markle during George Lopez/Great Chefs of LA Event For The National Kidney Foundation at The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey in Marina del Rey, California, United States.

Meghan Markle during Kari Feinstein Pre-Emmy Style Lounge in Los Angeles, California, United States.