This holiday season, take your inspiration from the Duchesses to get dolled up for your fancy affairs in royal fashion.
If you've been following Kate and Meghan's looks over the years, you've surely heard about the Kate Middleton Effect and the Meghan Markle Effect—it's what occurs when the Duchesses wear a particular item and it flies off store shelves as soon as the designer or brand of said item is revealed. And we totally get it—with their constant stylish and polished looks (that are basically approved by the Queen), who wouldn't want to mimic their ensembles and dress like royalty?
Since this is the time of year when the majority of fancy festive fetes take place—when we can get away with wearing an elegant updo or layers of glittery jewels without looking overdressed—we're turning to Kate and Meg to inspire our princess-worthy party wardrobe.
Here are eight tips to help you plan your outfits, accessories and hair and makeup for that packed social calendar we know you have, so this holiday season is a little more special.
1. Incorporate statement jewellery into your look.
Who could forget this look the Duchess of Cambridge donned at the State Banquet held in Buckingham Palace in October? Kate channeled her inner princess, with a pale blue ballgown and dusted with jewels that glistened, looking just like Cinderella. Later, in November, the paparazzi snapped shots of both Meghan and Kate in their cars, headed to celebrate Prince Charles' 70th birthday, and even though they're only visible from the shoulders up, it was enough to catch a standout part of both their outfits: sparkly jewels—in particular, chandelier earrings. Clearly, they both know there's no better way to elevate a look than a little (or a lot of?) bling.
2. Choose pumps over flats—but make sure they're comfortable.
Standing at a party in sky-high heels, counting down the minutes until you can leave and take them off, is no way to be. Both Kate and Meghan have to walk countless receiving lines, stand with dignitaries and chat with fans, so you know they must wear a good, comfortable pump. Take cue from them and choose footwear with a heel height that's lower, but still stylish—about three inches. Comfort matters (have you ever seen Kate or Meg limping around with blisters?) so much so, it's rumoured that Meghan wears shoes that are a size too big so they don't pinch and make it hard for her to walk.
3. Swap your chunky handbag for a little ladylike alternative.
Although Kate tends to choose clutches in velvet and leather, and Meghan goes with top-handle purses, both women always carry a small option that ups the ladylike factor of their outfits. Do the same, and instead of choosing an overly trendy one you'll be tired of by Valentine's Day, do like the Duchesses and go for a more classic style. Tip: Thrift stores are full of these kinds of bags.
4. Consider your topper when planning your outfit.
Your coat shouldn't be an afterthought—it plays a big role in the first impression you make, after all. Both Kate and Meghan are known for their excellent taste in coats and choose toppers that are both stylish and practical for the weather. Take note, and pick one that not only looks good but also provides you with the warmth or rain protection you need, like a wool wrap coat, a cashmere blend overcoat, or fleece-lined raincoat.
5. Borrow a look from the boys—and ditch the dress for a suit.
Meghan knows suits, and not just from her days on the namesake TV show. She's shown up to many events in a tailored blazer and pants, making quite the statement as women in the royal family traditionally wear dresses (as allegedly preferred by the Queen) on formal occasions. Follow suit (we had to) for your next evening affair and consider this potentially more comfortable alternative to a cocktail dress.
6. Focus on the eyes, not the lips.
A red lip seems like such a clear choice for the holidays, but it's a shade you'll almost never see on either Duchess. Both tend to favour a nude lip that's just a little pinker than their natural lip colours. Find the right nude for you, and it'll leave you the option go bolder on your lids. Think a cat eye or smoky shadow.
7. The chignon goes with everything.
Opting for an updo rather than a blowout for an event is always a good choice, because it's fuss-free—you can do your hair and forget about it. Both Meghan and Kate love sporting a low bun. But, each one has her own approach. Meghan tends to go more relaxed, with pieces framing her face, while Kate's chignons are more polished. Copy Kate's for a more elegant affair, and Meghan's when you want to add an effortless vibe to your fancy look.