IN­SIDE MEGHAN MARKLE’S FASH­ION BUD­GET

The Duchess’s wardrobe has cost more than $1 mil­lion so far. How has she spent it?

The Peterborough Examiner - - Arts & Life - SARAH LAING The Kit

Meghan Markle al­ways looks like a mil­lion bucks. We mean that quite lit­er­ally: since she and Prince Harry an­nounced their en­gage­ment last Novem­ber, the now Duchess of Sus­sex has spent well into seven fig­ures on her wardrobe. So where did all that money go? Let’s get into it.

How much has Meghan Markle spent on her cloth­ing so far?

It’s a fig­ure so stag­ger­ing it’s worth re­vis­it­ing. Ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates — based on to­talling up the ap­prox­i­mated or stated re­tail val­ues of every­thing she’s been seen wear­ing since Novem­ber 2017 — the num­ber is hov­er­ing around the $1.5 mil­lion mark. On her and Harry’s of­fi­cial visit to Ire­land this spring, for in­stance, Markle wore more than $52,000 worth of fash­ion in just two days.

But where does all that money go?

The ma­jor­ity of Markle’s ex­pen­di­ture this year went to­ward her two wed­ding dresses: that Givenchy cer­e­mony dress is thought to have cost around $330,000 and her Stella McCart­ney dress (or the capsule col­lec­tion’s 46 repli­cas re­leased af­ter the wed­ding, at least) sold for $5,800. That’s a bar­gain com­pared to the $93,000 she spent on the Ralph & Russo frock she wore for some of her en­gage­ment shoot. Add in a $6,500 Os­car de la Renta dress to a wed­ding here, a $5,000 be­spoke Carolina Her­rera frock to a Troop­ing the Colour there, and well, you get to that mil­lion mark pretty quickly.

Does this in­clude jew­elry and ac­ces­sories?

Yes, and when you have a taste for Cartier and Birks et al., things can get pricey fast.

Does markle spend more than Kate Mid­dle­ton does on clothes?

Yes. Mid­dle­ton has built a rep as a woman who loves a high street bar­gain and, well, Markle is not. That’s not to say Mid­dle­ton doesn’t splash her cash — ahem, all that cus­tom McQueen — but she is also just as likely to be spot­ted in brands like Top­shop and Zara as her beloved Dolce & Gab­bana. For com­par­i­son: Mid­dle­ton spent ( just!) $200,000 on clothes in 2017. It’s worth not­ing that while Markle has yet to re­peat a full out­fit, she’s in the “build­ing” phase of her royal wardrobe and we ex­pect that, like Mid­dle­ton, we’ll start see­ing some old favourites reap­pear as the years go on. She’ll no doubt get that cost-per-wear on her favourite Aquaz­zura pumps (sev­eral pairs, all in the $700 range) down in no time.

Has Markle been gifted any of these items?

No! We can say this with ab­so­lute cer­tainty be­cause ti­tled roy­als are for­bid­den from ac­cept­ing gifts that can be used “for com­mer­cial gain.” Cloth­ing falls un­der this cat­e­gory be­cause of “the Meghan Ef­fect.” If the Duchess is pho­tographed wear­ing a brand’s gifted cloth­ing, that’s ba­si­cally free mar­ket­ing for them. This will be a de­par­ture from Markle’s celebrity days, when she no doubt grew ac­cus­tomed to brands giv­ing or loan­ing her var­i­ous pieces. De­sign­ers do re­port­edly still send Markle (and Mid­dle­ton) items but she will pay for the ones she likes, and send the re­jects back.

Does Markle pay for her own clothes then?

Yes and no. While Markle (as a for­mer TV star who made $50,000 per episode on “Suits”) has deep pock­ets of her own, and Harry has money of his own in­her­ited from his mother, they both re­ceive money ev­ery year from Prince Charles to sup­port their ac­tiv­i­ties as work­ing roy­als. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial records, in 2017-2018, Prince Charles divvied up $8.3 mil­lion be­tween Prince Wil­liam, Kate Mid­dle­ton, Prince Harry and Markle. But this money is only for of­fi­cial royal du­ties. What they wear on their down­time is on their own dime. Ex­am­ple: that $348 Club Monaco dress Markle wore to a wed­ding in early Au­gust.

So Prince Charles gives her a cloth­ing al­lowance?

There’s no ex­act break­down of how this money is spent, but it does go to­ward things like travel on of­fi­cial royal trips and, yes, what the roy­als wear on these of­fi­cial en­gage­ments on be­half of Her Majesty.

What’s the most ex­pen­sive thing Markle has worn so far (other than the wed­ding dresses)?

Since the ma­jor­ity of Markle’s cus­tom haute cou­ture pieces are one-offs (we’re just guess­ing here), it’s likely the white be­spoke Givenchy dress she wore to the As­cot, which is es­ti­mated to cost ap­prox­i­mately $13,000. The caped dress, also Givenchy, that she wore to her first solo en­gage­ment with the Queen would also be in a sim­i­lar ball­park. But can you put a price on Au­drey-Hep­burn chic?

What’s the cheap­est item markle has worn?

That hon­our goes to the $60 plain white T-shirt by Bri­tish brand Laven­der Hill that she wore while on her trip to Ire­land. It was tucked into a black Givenchy pantsuit, which sells for $4,300.

CHARLES MCQUILLAN GETTY IMAGES

The Duchess of Sus­sex Meghan Markle favours brands like Roland Mouret and Givenchy (seen here).

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