· The best royal fashions of 2018 ·
Twenty-eighteen was a big year for the British Royal Family. A Royal Baby! A Royal Wedding! Another Royal Wedding! Another Royal Baby on the way! Charles turned 70!
Okay, so maybe we don’t care as much about that last one. But there’s no denying that it contributed to an eventful year that, combined with an increasing social media presence – looking at you @kensingtonroyal Insta – meant ample opportunity for royal fashion moments. Here we’ll round up some of this year’s best.
10. Royal fashion of 2018 started with a surprise breakout star: Princess Eugenie. On January 22, the Queen’s granddaughter announced her engagement to Jack Brooksbank in full fashion form. Wearing a black and red Erdem mini-dress, Eugenie put herself on the map as far as royal fashion goes. It was a strong look that hinted at what was to come this year. (She may also have our favorite royal engagement ring to date).
9. Though she was pregnant the first few months of the year, then on maternity leave for six months, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge still managed some of the most striking and memorable looks of the year. Though we’ve avoided it in the rest of the list, here we’re showcasing two looks worn on the same day (bonus fashion!).
In this case, it was on Remembrance Sunday. For the service at the Cenotaph in the morning, Kate opted for a powerful Alexander McQueen coat and black Lock and Co. hat. Though we couldn’t see the full coat, its military elements and tailored bodice made it an appropriate yet remarkable look.
Though that look in itself was one to remember, it was really what she wore later to the service celebrating the 100thanniversary of the signing of the Armistice. To the evening service at Westminster Abbey, Kate opted to re-wear a coat she’d worn previously – a dark green Catherine Walker coat with velvet accents. Though the double-breasted coat is beautiful in itself, it’s how the Duchess styled it for the autumn evening that elevated the look to this list. Working with the very on-trend velvet accents on the coat, Kate added a black velvet bag and heels, sheer black tights and one of her new favorite accessories: a headband. This her third appearance in one in the second half of 2018, it looks as though it won’t be going away and we’re not mad about it. The choice of velvet to finish the look helped ensure a regal yet modern look.
8. Of course, many would say that 2018 was the year of Meghan Markle, so it was only a matter of time before she popped up on our list. With her acting and modeling background, her style is slightly more #fashion than what we’ve come to expect from the Royal Family. One of the looks that stood out as both #fashion and #royal came a little less than a month before she was officially part of “The Firm.”
On April 21, Meghan attended the Queen’s birthday concert wearing a navy blue cape dress by Stella McCartney. We can’t resist any sort of cape and the style felt fun but proper in front of the Queen; classic, yet relevant.
7. Ever since Kate has returned from maternity leave (in October), her fashion game has been on point. There have been fairly predictable – but perfect– choices and the return of fan-favorites. However, one of her strongest showings was a complete departure from what we expect from her – well, partially.
On December 5, she and Prince William visited Cyrpus where Kate opted for an olive green Smythe blazer. This was a typical choice; she’s worn this exact blazer before and even has it in at least two other colors/patterns. However, it was how she styled it that made it such a departure. When the Duchess wears trousers, she typically opts for skinny jeans, often with a striped Breton top under a blazer. This is what we’ve come to expect. In Cyprus, she opted instead for black wide-leg trousers, a sleek, solid top, and a bold belt. Paired with spiky stilettoes, this was a bold and refreshing departure for the seasoned royal. 10/10 would like to see something like it again.
6. May’s Royal Wedding provided dreamy hat and dress ensembles to last a lifetime… or at least the five months until the next one. While Meghan Markle’s gown was one of the most speculated and anticipated dress since April 2011, we have a slightly unpopular opinion: it was underwhelming. But when she stepped out later in that halter dress by Stella McCartney for the evening reception, we swooned.
Just as simple as the Givenchy dress, the cut of the McCartney was much more interesting to look at. While pictures do do it justice, the real attraction can only be seen in videos of the gown in movement. The layers of pristine skirt swirl elegantly and enchantingly around the legs. Next to Prince Harry in his velvet dinner jacket, the couple was the picture of glamour.
5. Just a month after the wedding, Meghan participated in a royal rite of passage when she attended her first Royal Ascot. And she did so in striking fashion – quite literally. Opting for a monochromatic palette that drew comparisons to Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady, Meghan stood out from the crowd.
Another Givenchy creation, Meghan wore a pristine white shirt dress with applied-lace detailing around the waist which added a touch of elegance to the otherwise simple dress. A handkerchief hemline, thin black belt, and black shoes and clutch finished the modern look for the ancient tradition.
However, it was the new Duchess of Sussex’s hat that quite literally topped it off. A hat Meghan pulled off with aplomb, the rather large black and white creation was everything we could have wished for in a Royal Ascot hat.
4. In any other year, this number four pick could have been number one. However, due to a strong fashion showing this year, it’s here, though no less fabulous. As we mentioned, the Duchess of Cambridge has stepped up her fashion game since returning from maternity leave, and the diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace on December 4 was no exception.
In her favorite Lover’s Knot Tiara and a glittering ice blue Jenny Packham gown, Kate was the shining winter princess of our dreams. One of her strongest white-tie looks to date, it actually had elements of other Jenny Packham gowns she’s worn: that teal favorite she re-wore this year, what she wore to the Spectrepremiere in 2015, and the inky blue gown she’s worn on several occasions to name a few. However, what made this particular look stand out was a combination of the neckline, bodice, and the glittering sparkles. Mostly the sparkles.
2. Another look that could have been a number one in a different year, we couldn’t choose between Kate’s February Alexander McQueen gown and the next moment, so they’re sharing the number two spot.
It says something about the Duchess of Cambridge that she could nab the (shared) number two spot at six months pregnant with her third child but Kate stunned in this dreamy gown at a black-tie dinner in Oslo. She literally glowed in the blush silk creation adorned with hand-sewn rhinestones and pearl beads. Arguably Kate’s most regal look to date (this without the aid of a tiara!), the cape combined with the swirl of the layers of fabric elevated it to the next level. Neither trying to hide nor accentuate her growing bump, this early February look hinted at what was to be one of Kate’s best fashion years yet!
2. Though it was perhaps not as anticipated as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May nuptials, there was a second Royal Wedding in October this year. Again, society darlings and royalty alike put their best foot forward in Windsor but there was one surprise star: the bride herself.
In the lead up to Princess Eugenie’s big day there wasn’t quite as much fanfare as the previous one, but when she emerged in her dramatic Peter Pilotto gown, the world noticed. The structured bodice nipped her waist in while the dramatic vee-back showed off her scoliosis scar. To add to this effect, she opted not to have a veil and the creamy, lightly embellished full skirt (which may have been an homage to her grandma) completed a look that was fit for a princess. Though Kate Middleton’s Alexander McQueen gown will always hold the top spot for Royal Wedding gowns in our hearts, Eugenie’s takes a close second.
1. This year’s top royal fashion moment didn’t take any though; it was a no-brainer. In one of her first appearances post-maternity leave, Kate Middleton let us know she was back with a fashion vengeance. On October 10, she attended an evening event at the V&A in a stunning Erdem frock. It had many elements of #fashion for the a/w18 season: tweed! Burgundy! Midi-hemline! Velvet heels! Asymmetrical neckline! Statement earrings!
The internet collectively agreed that it was one of her best looks ever and that Kate was back, proving that she still has it even after giving birth to the next generation of royals. The fashion-forward look was simultaneously a departure from her normal style while still being a safe choice; Erdem is a label she has worn since early in her marriage to Prince William. More like this, please, Kate!
This year was one for the books sartorially for the Royals. Below some of the looks we just didn’t have the time to fit in but still loved.
We can’t wait to see what the Royal Family brings in 2019.