The Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle Guide to Buying a Fall Coat
If we’re being honest, we’re impatiently waiting the arrival of cooler temps for one reason only: So we can step out of the house in a duchess-approved coat. While we realize Queen Elizabeth knows a thing or two about effective outwear—specifically, eye-wateringly bright varieties—it’s Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle’s chic, elegant and understated approach to bundling up that’s left us wanting to zip (or button) up in style. Here, eight royally approved tips for buying a coat. (Lesson #1: Try not to break the royal bank...)
Spring for Winter Whites
Whoever said no white past Labor Day was sorely mistaken. We love Meghan Markle’s bright white wrap coat by Canadian brand Line the Label that she wore for her engagement announcement photoshoot with Prince Harry. Renamed the “Meghan,” the snow-white coat looks fresh and luxurious against the sea of beige cocoons you’ll see everywhere this season. And while this hue perfectly fits the bill for the duchess (and any blushing bride-to-be), it could also work for a number of less-formal occasions, especially since this particular piece of outwear has a wrap-tie waist and wide lapels that feel cozy and comforting. (Just remember to keep royal baby Archie at arm’s length when rewearing this gem, your Highness.)
Play with Silhouettes
Middleton accidentally channeled Fleur Delacour from Harry Potter with her robin’s-egg blue Mulberry cape coat in Northern Ireland, but we think the trench-like cut of this belted coat should inspire you to test out more unique cuts and colors this season. The matching belt adds a slimming effect to your waistline, while the powder blue hue (a duchess favorite, but more on that later) feels less Easter and more muted for winter. This style works best without pants peeking out underneath, so try this coat out with your favorite plaid skirts and dark floral dresses.
See? Kate loves a light blue. This time, the duchess wore a fuzzy Mulberry number with a herringbone skirt and black turtleneck to visit the Nelson Trust Women's Centre in 2016, and we’re head-over-heeled-booties with this “daring” (for the royals) approach. While the texture and shade of the coat feel a bit out there for a royal, the plain black buttons, simple silhouette and petite lapels keep things grounded. The takeaway: Don’t shy away from standout details, but be sure to keep the rest of your look as polished as possible.
Aim for Oversize
Markle’s blue-and-green-tartan Burberry coat was worn during a visit to Edinburgh in 2018, just a few months before the royal wedding. While we’re certainly crushing on this oversize plaid, it’s the two-sizes-too-big fit that has us rethinking our approach to tailoring this season. For one, an XL coat provides the opportunity for a more approachable and relaxed sartorial statement (and the duchess is nothing if not hoping to appear approachable). Second, an oversize shape can layer over your chunky cable-knits, no questions asked.
Subtly Embrace Trends
Middleton masterfully rocked the velvet trend while attending Christmas Day church services at Sandringham last year. Her ruby red Catherine Walker coat dress featured velvet trim on the collar, pockets, buttons and cuffs, a quiet nod to the emerging trend, without getting too fashion-y with it. Our advice? While it’s tempting to pounce on that allover velvet bomber jacket or highlighter green overcoat, stick to of-the-moment accents, only. This way, even when the trend inevitably fades out, you’ll still be itching to wear your investment pieces.
A Little (Faux) Fur Can Go a Long Way
And the same goes for faux fur. Middleton wore this stunning emerald coat with black fur sleeve and collar details, another Catherine Walker creation, during her and Prince William’s royal tour of Sweden in 2018. While we’ve been eyeing a spotted pastel pink faux fur coat for the past three months, Kate’s taught us it’s better to invest in a jacket that, like the duchess’s, only incorporates the fuzz in a low-key manner.
Forgo the Buttons
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Markle’s outerwear choices, it’s that she adores a good wrap silhouette. Besides the clean lines and preppy navy-and-white combo of this J.Crew look, which the duchess wore to an International Women’s Day parade in Birmingham, we’re crushing on the simple fastener that flatters her figure. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Michelin Man vibes we usually embody come winter…but cinching our middle with a half-bow feels much more refined.
Go Bold or Go Home
If nothing else, this red-and-white-houndstooth coat worn by Middleton in Sweden in 2018, by...wait for it...Catherine Walker, proves that no matter how gloriously busy a pattern is, it can be presented tastefully. The double-breasted coat, featuring a Peter Pan collar and simple A-line shape, is toned down with the addition of simple black gloves and a garnet top-handle bag. Proving the royals do have range when it comes to outerwear, Middleton adapted Princess Diana’s favorite Moschino houndstooth jacket for the modern day, and we couldn’t be more inspired to splurge on the most eye-popping patterned coat we can find.