Today’s post is by Brooke Nurthen, WMW Contributing Editor.
Today we’re looking at two key styles Meghan has worn time and time again, and which have been subject to much discussion. We’re hoping to provide a little rundown and history of each. Interestingly, both styles are believed to originate from uniforms worn by sailors in the 19th century – both being easy to remove if a sailor goes overboard. Any guesses so far?
The first are the oft-favoured, and often hotly debated, wide-leg trousers.
I’m an avid reader of the lively WMW comments section, and have noticed a great deal of debate around this style of pants.
What we can say for certain is that the style has long been a popular fashion choice, and continues to trend today. A great Glamour article from 2016 references the style as worn by Lauren Hutton, Katharine Hepburn, Bianca Jagger and, of course, Jackie O.
In a more modern sense, a Vogue article from last year declares ‘Victoria Beckham Makes Super Wide-Leg Pants Look Totally Easy’. And from Vogue UK, ‘How The Street Style Set Wear Wide Leg Trousers’ is a great pictorial essay on the trend. The Guardian ran a pictorial on ‘The History of Flares’ a few years ago (NB, the semantics of flares vs wide legs vs palazzos vs ‘insert synonym here’ seems to be rather fluid).
Victoria Beckham, June 2018 in Paris and at home, via Instagram @victoriabeckham.
Below, Victoria Beckham in May 2017 wearing another wide-leg style.
The floor-skimming (or pooling, in some instances) is also a hot topic, and the pragmatics among us (myself included!) worry about damage to the garment – not to mention laundering them. But as we know, Meghan loves and cares about fashion. She is aware of, engages in, and even sets, fashion trends – and this is certainly one.
Below, from Net-a-Porter, look closely at the hemlines for the trend, as seen by designers Meghan has a history with: Roland Mouret’s Burton two-tone wool-crepe wide-leg pants, Victoria Victoria Beckham’s Crepe Wide-Leg Pants, Stella McCartney’s Wool Straight-Leg Pants, Prada’s Ribbed Knit Wide Leg Pants and Theory’s Stretch Crepe Wide Leg Pants.
The wide-legged ‘lounge pant’ style originated in the 1920s, taking inspiration from some elements of Asian traditional dress and the general ‘menswear’ trend. There was a huge resurgence in the style in the 1960s and 70s, and it has come to popularity again recently. I’d personally classify a wide-leg pant as a ‘style’ – one that continues to re-emerge and have its day decade after decade. The pooling / dragging / skimming / what have you is a ‘trend’, and something which is likely to fade out of favour before long.
Below, Jessica Mulroney, Meghan’s stylist in wide-leg pant styles as shown on her Instagram account.
The second style is the boatneck, or bateau style neckline. IMHO, Mindy Kaling said it best…
One of Meghan Markle’s low-key superpowers is looking good in boat necks
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) July 11, 2018
Most famously seen on her wedding day, the Duchess definitely has a strong affinity for the design, having worn it during her engagement and shown her continued love for it after the wedding.
On the wedding day, the Kensington Palace press release detailed that “The focus of the dress is the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasises the slender sculpted waist.”
In June, Meghan tested out the neckline again with a Prada number at the Queen’s Young Leaders awards.
In July 2018, Meghan went on a bit of a boatneck binge (can I coin that phrase?), wearing the style multiple times in a week – first at Prince Louis’ Christening in olive Ralph Lauren, then at the RAF100 event in (arguably) navy Dior, followed up with meeting the President of Ireland in Dublin in Roland Mouret.
The bateau neckline is a flattering style for Meghan, creating a lovely frame for the shoulders, collarbone and neck. It’s classic and demure, but still fashion forward. The style can vary from almost dropping off the shoulders (see: Meghan’s wedding dress), or higher up covering the collarbones.
Coco Chanel is believed to have introduced the style to the fashion world, modeling a neckline from sailors outfits. Like wide leg trousers, it originated in the first half of the 20th century, with Chanel showing it on the runway in the 1930s. The look received further acclaim when Audrey Hepburn wore a Givenchy (of course!) design in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey is the first person that comes to mind when I think of bateaus, and remains a style icon for many, I’d wager that includes our new Duchess. It remains a popular style for bridal wear, but it’s catching on for a wider audience too. Neiman Marcus has a whole category page for bateau neckline dresses, and Who What Wear recently ran an interesting, if not insanely-titled, “We Asked a Psychologist Why Meghan Markle Can’t Quit This Trend”. And according to a recent Glamour article:
In keeping with the so-called Meghan Effect, Markle’s emerging affinity for the boatneck is already spiking shoppers’ interest online. According to Pinterest, saves for bateau necklines are on the rise on the platform, increasing by 104 percent since 2017. On eBay, sales for boatneck tops and dresses jumped 830 percent from November 2017 (when Markle and Prince Harry announced they were engaged) to June 2018.”
Below, the TopShop wide-leg pant available in 3 colors.
We will see you later today for coverage of Meghan and Harry at the Hamilton Gala!