After month's of anticipation, we FINALLY got to see it yesterday – Meghan Markle's wedding dress! The long-awaited reveal came as the now-Duchess of Sussex stepped out of a vintage burgundy Rolls Royce in front of St. George's chapel. Proving every single speculation wrong, the bride chose a rather simple, structural, double bonded silk cady haute couture gown designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givency. It featured a bateau neckline, three-quarter sleeves, and just six seams. She adorned it with a sweeping 16′ embroidered veil, dainty stud earrings, a diamond bracelet, and Queen Mary's 1932 tiara.
Many predicted a princess ballgown. Many thought it would resemble the looks of Grace Kelly or Kate Middleton, both of whom chose lace and a figure-hugging fit. Designer predictions ranged from Ralph & Russo to Stella McCartney (who did design the bride's reception dress). It was thought that Meghan would incorporate some of her fashion-forward nature, or that the dress would mimic modern bridal fashion trends.
It was none of these. And at the same time, it was absolute perfection.
Approximately two BILLION people worldwide tuned in to the live streaming of the couple's union, making it the fourth most watched royal wedding ever. Being on a worldwide stage of that magnitude doesn't come free, however. The price is being subject to scrutiny of global proportions. As I spent most of yesterday watching footage, reading articles, and poring over photographs and comments, I found myself becoming irrationally angry at those who were trashing Meghan's look. For as many people who appreciated the chic simplicity of the bygone look, there were an equal number who felt underwhelmed, unimpressed, and uninspired. There were complaints about everything from the fit to the hair to the lack of embellishments. Because we as humans can never waste an opportunity to tear someone down.
I know Meghan doesn't need me to come to her defense. After all, it's not like I know her in real life. Plus, I'm no fashionista myself and am admittedly wearing my crummiest t-shirt and yoga pants as I write this. However, I felt compelled to call out the haters and even took to Facebook to challenge the nay-sayers' thinking.
If working in the marketing and events industry for almost 11 years has taught me anything, it's that nothing is done on accident. As brand strategists, event planners, and even designers, literally everything we do has a meaning. After all, our jobs are to make people feel/think/do something very specific. If we didn't control seemingly trivial, mundane elements like typography, color, texture, symmetry, etc. etc. etc., we'd be leaving things up to the interpretation of the consumer, which is the antithesis of our intentions. Every move we make is done with purpose. Perhaps why I appreciated the Royal Wedding so much and felt it was one of the most beautiful celebrations I've witnessed is because it was packed to the brim with symbolism.
There was the fact that Meghan chose to walk down the nave of St. George's chapel alone, before being escorted the rest of the way to the altar by Prince Charles. Her veil featured 53 embroidered flowers, one for each of the countries in the commonwealth, plus an additional flower native to California, her home state. No one can forget the sermon performed by an African American preacher or the “Stand By Me” a capella performance by a London gospel choir. The couple purposely changed their otherwise traditional vows from “love, honor, and obey” to “love, honor, and protect”. After the romantic I do's, Harry and Meghan were pronounced as “husband and wife,” not “man and wife.” Harry is wearing a wedding ring for crying out loud. See what I mean about purpose and meaning?
I'm willing to bet that intentionality didn't stop there. Perhaps a deeper meaning can be found within the bride's look that everyone was so quick to judge.
For starters, Meghan could have chosen any designer in the world. Literally, fashion houses were begging for the chance to style the bride. But she chose Clare Waight Keller, a British designer who was on no one's radar but who recently became the first female artistic director of French-designer Givenchy. Meghan has long been a self-proclaimed feminist and her decision to work with Keller could have been a calculated girl-power move. Additionally, Keller is a working single mother who may have reminded Meghan of her own mom in some ways.
Being that Keller has worked as a designer for 20+ years, I'm sure she knows a bit more about fashion than the rest of us do. Like, how clothes are supposed to fit, for example? I wish I had a dollar for every Internet troll who said Meghan's dress didn't fit her properly (insert many eye rolls here). I think you need to take a good, long, hard look in a full-length mirror BTW. To those folks, I would say…
Have you stopped to think that there is no way in the world that world-renowned Givenchy would have let Meghan Markle walk down the aisle in an ill-fitting dress?
There are rounds and rounds of fittings, and the dress even has to be shown to the Queen in advance of the wedding. Don't you think someone would have pointed out any problem areas? Trust me…that dress fit her exactly how it was supposed to 😉
I like to think that maybe, just maybe, the fit was part of Meghan's message. Knowing that millions and millions of little girls look up to her and would be watching that day, perhaps she wanted to say something with her dress.
Your clothes don't need to be skin tight to look good on you. You don't need to show tons of skin to make an impression. Looking like a princess isn't reserved for only those with a tiny waist or perfect proportions. Your worth is made up of more than what you wear.
Or maybe the girl just wanted to be able to dance?!
It takes a beautiful woman to make a dress that simple look that good. And that is coming from a girl who loves me some sparkle.
As if trashing her dress weren't enough, people took to Meghan's hair and makeup choices. Some felt her face was too plain, too ordinary, not done up enough. Maybe were annoyed by her updo that resembled the messy bun for which she's become so famous.
Meghan looked like Meghan. Why do we pressure brides into looking like someone other than themselves on their wedding day? Perfection is a hard look to achieve and perhaps Meghan was also sending a message with her beauty choices.
You don't need to be caked in makeup to be beautiful. That bridal glow should radiate from within. The day is about more than how you look. You are gorgeous just the way you are. Even a princesses has hair in her face sometimes.
I haven't read any of this anywhere and these are just my opinions. But to quote the title of my favorite Royal Wedding article thus far, Meghan Markle's wedding dress was made for a person, not a princess. I could be totally off-base with these thoughts. However, Meghan knows how to use her voice and has never been silenced before. Why would she stop on her wedding day? I think she sent a powerful message without uttering a word.
In our overly filtered world of Kardashian fever and Internet fame, we’ve lost the power of being ok with imperfections. Maybe Meghan gave that back to us yesterday.
If thinking Meghan Markle just made herself a role model to girls and women everywhere is wrong, I don't want to be right.