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Link to original content: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/royals/eco-jeans-vintage-red-carpet-gowns-will-meghan-markles-new-style/
Eco-jeans and vintage red carpet gowns: what will Meghan Markle’s new style chapter in California look like?

Eco-jeans and vintage red carpet gowns: what will Meghan Markle’s new style chapter in California look like?

‘I’m just a Cali girl’, Meghan once said of her style. Now her style story is about to come full circle.

Meghan in Hollywood
Meghan in Hollywood: Back in 2013, Meghan's first LA-style chapter was markedly different to the way she has dressed as a member of the Royal family

‘I’m just a Cali girl’, Meghan Markle lamented when she first introduced herself to the British hairdresser George Northwood two years ago. It was a simple expression, used to put Northwood at ease before he styled the hair of one of the most photographed women in the world for the first time. But it’s a self-description which is loaded with meaning - “hey, I’m from LA! I’m relaxed, I’m humble, I’m easygoing.” 

Northwood, finally allowed to speak this week after two years of secret service for the Duchess of Sussex, has detailed how Meghan was incredibly conscious to tell stories via her appearance during her life in the Royal family. She had a “mindful vision”, he said. “She thought through her outfits and jewellery. She really does put a lot of thought into those details.”

So what for the next chapter in her style playbook - the ‘return-to-California’ years? With her royal fashion story now officially closed, it’s time for Meghan to re-group and formulate her next sartorial plot line.

Many of the key outfits which she acquired during royal life will be redundant in Malibu, where she and Prince Harry have supposedly been hunting for a house in the same neighbourhood as Jennifer Aniston. It’s not a place for prim Dior couture dresses and bespoke millinery. 

Her royal style chapter: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, on Christmas Day, 2017 - her first spent with the Royal family

It is also, however, a rather different Los Angeles to the one Meghan knew when she used to live there, and left behind when she moved to Toronto to film Suits, and then the UK when she married Harry.

Meghan was born in Los Angeles in 1981, meaning that she grew up at a time when Hollywood was a fashion-world epicentre. When she was in her late teens and early 20s, there was a focus on a new wave of young It girls in Hollywood, like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, as well as a flurry of attention on new reality television shows set in the city. The LA-look was desired around the world; denim, cropped tank tops, rich tans, diamantes and conspicuous logos were the style emblems of the day. As Meghan herself put it in an interview before she met Harry - “My sensibility had always been relaxed California girl style, and on any given day I was in jeans, cut-offs and flip-flops.”

Meghan before Harry: pictured in Toronto in May 2016

LA-fashion now, though, has moved on in many ways and most of those old markers of cool now read as cheesy or, in good cases, vintage. Another interesting gem from Northwood’s interview was when he confirmed the theory that Meghan likes to dress for her audience, depending on the location she’s in. “Wherever we went, she would always try to hero small businesses and local jewellery designers,” he said. So she will likely be swotting up on what’s changed in her sartorial stomping ground of LA, then? Here are the four wardrobe areas which she may want to zoom in on, before recalibrating as a 'Cali girl'...

The eco-jeans

Los Angeles is still the world’s denim capital, but the city’s industry has evolved many times over, with most manufacturers now championing sustainable and upcycled jeans production. Mother Denim had been a favourite of Meghan’s in the pre-Harry years, but now she might choose to look into Boyish, one of the city’s cleanest and coolest new designer denim labels. Skinny light blue jeans, worn with a mannish white shirt, oversized sunglasses and ballet pumps, was one of Meghan’s old-favourite fashion formulas when she lived in LA. A 2020-version of that is likely one of the first outfits we will spot her in on her return.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in 2017 attending the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada. This was the first time the couple was photographed in public together.

The mid-price micro brands

If supporting up-and-coming local business still means a lot to Meghan, she could choose to wear pieces by Los Angeles’ many mini-labels selling contemporary fashion. From Reformation and Rails, to Trois The Label, there is a new wave of LA-based labels to note. The publicity that would come from her being photographed in their pieces could be hugely impactful, even game-changing, for LA’s buzzing industry of independent sellers. 

The athleisure

No LA lifestyle would be complete without its daily ‘workouts’ and hill trail hikes. Meghan has always been a fan of reformer pilates and if she chooses to go back to her old studio, Pilates Platinum, she might want to invest in some new kit. Year Of Ours and Varley are just two of the new It-brands in the city creating coveted gym kits for that ideal Californian athleisure life.

Meghan, pictured in New York in February 2019

The vintage red carpet gowns

The other area of fashion which is thriving in LA is vintage. There are vintage shopping institutions in the city, such as the Rose Bowl Flea Market, The Way We Wore and Decades. For red carpet appearances, though, the place to go is LILY et Cie – an archive fashion boutique which has dressed Jennifer Lopez, Penélope Cruz and Jennifer Aniston in recent months. Owner Rita Watnick has more than 80,000 vintage garments in her database and allows her exclusive roster of customers to browse, buy or borrow. Wearing vintage on the red carpet is now considered the most ‘conscious’ fashion approach to take in Hollywood; you can see why Meghan might want to get her name on that list, stat, on arrival in La La Land.

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