fashion

"I'm obsessed with Meghan Markle's style. But something about these photos is bugging me."

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I have spent the better part of the last two weeks staring at pictures of Meghan Markle.

Every single outfit the 37-year-old has worn so far during the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal tour of Australia and the South Pacific has dominated my life, and I genuinely get excited thinking about what she’ll wear next while secretly hoping it might be something under $100 (or from Kmart).

Her fashion choices since arriving in Sydney on Monday October 15 have been completely chic and glamorous.

She’s given us so many different silhouettes and single-handedly brought back shades of olive and forest green for spring.

But while scrolling through and pouring over and screenshotting every single image of the royal couple I could possibly consume, I noticed something that started to bug me.

The first time I saw it was in consecutive photos of Prince Harry and Meghan departing Fiji and arriving in Tonga.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex departing Fiji... Image: Getty.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
... And arriving in Tonga hours later. Image: Getty.
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The couple boarded a private jet - Meghan wearing a forest green Jason Wu Crepe Sheath Dress, and Prince Harry, a stone coloured suit, a brown tie and brown shoes.

An hour and a half later, Meghan stepped off the plane in Tonga wearing a  $628 red Self Portrait dress with long sleeves, intricate cut out lace detailing, a belted waist and a pleated A-line skirt.

Prince Harry wore... a stone coloured suit (albeit slightly more crinkled), a brown tie and brown shoes.

Meghan changed her outfit during the short flight because there's an expectation for her to be wearing something different in every country. Prince Harry didn't because that same expectation isn't placed on him.

Going back over photos from the royal tour, I then started noticing Prince Harry seems to have packed only a few different key items, which he's mixing and matching throughout the tour... like any regular person would do on holiday.

One light grey suit, a dark navy suit, one black dinner suit with matching bow tie, his official army attire for formal occasions, a light blue tie, tan and navy chinos, brown suede shoes and linen shirts in navy and blue.

Of course, there's no way to know whether or not these items of clothing are the same items, or whether he has several suits/shirts etc. in the same cuts and colours. Because there are no prominent blogs dedicated to dissecting his fashion choices like there are dissecting Meghan's.

prince harry meghan markle
Here are some of the outfits Prince Harry and Meghan have worn during their trip. Here, they're in Tonga. Image: Getty.
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prince harry meghan markle
And on the same day. Image: Getty.
prince harry meghan markle
Earlier in the tour, Prince Harry wore the grey suit. Image: Getty.
prince harry meghan markle
On Friday night in Sydney, Prince Harry wore the same navy suit he wore on the first day of the royal tour. Image: Getty.
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meghan-and-harry
The suit is worn here without a tie. Image: Getty.

Sure, Meghan has re-worn several pairs of shoes with different outfits - we've seen her Manolo Blahnik black suede pumps and Aquazzura 'Deneuve' black slingback pumps again and again.

But the majority of her outfits have changed for each occasion, from the clothes and hairstyles, to adding more bronzer and switching up her accessories.

Unless the occasion calls for it (say, going from a casual appearance at the beach to a state dinner), Prince Harry doesn't change his outfit for each royal engagement, whereas Meghan does.

It must be exhausting. Fun, but exhausting.

Part of me hates to point this out this double standard, because can't fashion just be fashion? Something pretty to look at and buy and covet for when we might one day win the lottery?

But it's not. What Meghan wears - and what Harry doesn't - matters.

Mum-of-five Karen Gee knows this. Her website crashed when Meghan chose to wear a white dress from her fashion label while posing in front of the Opera House on the first day of the royal tour.

It was also the first time we'd seen Meghan since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they're expecting their first child, meaning that Aussie-designed white dress, and Karen Gee, are now apart of royal history.

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Last week, Meghan's choice to wear a pair of black, distressed skinny jeans from Aussie social enterprise label Outlander Denim created up to 30 jobs for Cambodian women who're survivors of sex and people trafficking.

"Thanks to the Duchess' choice in denim, we're pleased to announce that it will be possible to employ a further 15 to 30 seamstresses in our Cambodian production house in the coming weeks, and the recruitment process has already begun. We cannot thank her enough," the label wrote on their Instagram account.

Because Meghan chose to put on a pair of jeans, 30 women will now have employment, a roof over their heads and money to feed their families. That kind of impact can't be underestimated.

Meghan choosing to (or being asked politely to) change her outfit for every single royal engagement on tour while her husband doesn't says something about how we view men and women in the public eye, whether we mean to or not.

We care about what the woman is wearing, but we care about what the man is saying and doing.

At the end of the day, I'm not going to stop pouring over images of Meghan Markle wearing beautiful clothes.

Neither will you, and you shouldn't have to. Fashion is to be enjoyed, right?

But keep an eye out for the double standard that exists.

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