Duchess Meghan’s African tour wardrobe only cost £4,000, not including repeats

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit to Johannesburg, South Africa

I threw a little hissy fit in the final days of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s African tour. It was the day that Meghan wore that absolutely unflattering Banana Republic “trench dress” and I just had enough. I theorized that Meghan was making a point of wearing cheap, ugly clothes so that royal reporters would get off her ass about her “Hollywood glamour” and her habit of dropping $5000-plus per dress. It’s almost like Meghan didn’t realize that there really could have been a happy medium – smart trousers with button-up blouses, well-cut shirtdresses in the correct size, maybe even a cute, light-fabric henley if she needed things that buttoned because of breast-feeding. But according to Katie Nicholl at Vanity Fair, everybody loved the fact that Meghan did so many re-wears and wore such inexpensive looks. Meghan only shelled out about £4,000 for the new pieces in her tour wardrobe. That is impressive. I guess.

Meghan Markle nailed her fashion choices on the Sussexes’ tour of South Africa. The Duchess packed 30 outfits for the 10-day tour, where she often changed twice in one day. But it was far from extravagant: Her tour wardrobe cost roughly £4,000, making it one of the most economical overseas wardrobes ever for a royal tour, and a fraction of the estimated £118,000 she spent on outfits for the couple’s tour of the South Pacific.

It helped that there were no state dinners on the itinerary, and therefore no need for tiaras and expensive designer gowns. Meghan made a point of recycling her outfits and opting for sustainably sourced and ethically conscious fashion brands. For her first engagement, to Nyanga, one of Cape Town’s most violent townships, she wore a £69 wrap dress by ethical Malawian brand Mayamiko, which sold out within hours of her wearing it. She even left behind her diamond engagement ring and instead wore a modest £200 Jennifer Meyer turquoise ring. The duchess took very little jewelry on the tour at all, although she was seen wearing a beaded bracelet gifted by a local children and a pair of $32 Madewell earrings.

Known for her love of designer clothes, Meghan’s new pared-back look has gone down well with senior royals including the Queen, who has been watching the tour closely. And Vanity Fair can reveal that while she doesn’t have a designated stylist, Meghan had a secret weapon in the wardrobe department: her private secretary Samantha Cohen, one of the Palace’s most experienced aides, and a new female P.A. who also helped with her wardrobe.

“I expect the Queen will be pleased to see that Meghan has been taking a leaf out of her book, wearing outfits more than once and taking the advice of trusted aides like Sam,” says a royal source.

While the Queen, who is not a fan of wedges, might not have approved of Meghan’s black wedged espadrilles, she will likely be pleased that the focus of the couple’s tour has not been on Meghan’s wardrobe, but on the work the couple has been doing in Africa. From the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiatives they launched to the grassroots and community work they have brought attention to, the Sussexes’ tour showed how the couple have ripped up the royal rule book. And Meghan’s wardrobe was no exception.

Keen to ensure that the media attention has been on what they were doing rather than on what the duchess was wearing, the Palace employed a new strategy in Africa, declining to provide details on everything Meghan was wearing. “They decided not to announce every outfit in the hope that the attention would be on the event,” says one royal insider. “When Meghan and Harry visited a mosque in Cape Town, for example, they deliberately didn’t say who her dress was by.”

[From Vanity Fair]

“The Palace employed a new strategy in Africa, declining to provide details on everything Meghan was wearing…” *deep sigh* I now feel justified in bringing up that #AskHerMore bullsh-t the other day. It’s like royals AND celebrities now want to shame peasants for caring about what they’re wearing. How dare we care about fashion, an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars, right? It’s because celebrities and now royals somehow believe that we can only care about one thing at once, that everything is binary, that everything is either/or. Like we wouldn’t be capable of talking about the substance of Meghan’s events AND her clothes. That if we care about a dress, we can’t also care about domestic violence. And the fact that the palace won’t ID Meghan’s clothes is very annoying too – she was making a point to wear some local designers, I guess she didn’t want to give those people much exposure.

I know I’m being a Debbie Downer – it’s my nature, I can’t help it – but there has to be a better way. There has to be a happy medium here. It can’t be “$12K Valentino gowns” vs. “ill-fitting mass-market dress which no one will ID, and how dare you for asking.” Also: it’s not like Meghan does not understand the power of fashion, the power of clothing. She literally just launched a capsule collection for charity a month ago. WTF.

Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visits the Woodstock Exchange

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan seen arriving at a Nyanga township

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Africa

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

76 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s African tour wardrobe only cost £4,000, not including repeats”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Valiantly Varnished says:

    She cant win. People are pissed if she buys new items (even when bought with her own damn money) and call her boring when she re-wears.

    • bonobochick says:

      That sadly seems to be the case, VV.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        It always is. You do one thing and then they move the goal post to something else you do that thing and the goal post gets moved again.

    • M. says:

      I think some people feel like they just have to criticize something. The tour was a success. Her outfit choices were a success. The Banana Republic dress she’s wearing was a hit and sold out quickly. They had to restock it. The people she met in South Africa were charmed. She won over a lot of people over there who were skeptical or indifferent about the royal family. She also highlighted ethical clothes and a few African designers.

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      And yet, Kate is praised to the heavens for repeating her designer duds!

      “Our frugal Duchess is repeating a $10K Alexander McQueen outfit! How thrifty!! She is wearing her $700 suede pumps for a second time! Oh. MY. GOD! Is there no end to her resourcefulness??? All this, AND she makes her own chutney and curry!!” SWOON!

      I’m disgusted.

      • Amy says:

        @(TheOG) The quoted article literally praises Meghan for repeating outfits. Is that also an issue?

      • mynameispearl says:

        Most people think its great she rewore the stuff from the last tour (they all should do this always) the first negative thing I’ve seen about it was… here

      • blueridges says:

        The OG, Kate also gets called wasteful for buying new things and boring for repeating. It’s not Meghan specific.

    • Nahema says:

      I think a lot of British people will really appreciate the low cost of her wardrobe for this tour. There are so many issues in the country and the Royals aren’t popular. They’d be doing themselves no favours, shelling out more than most people make in a year on clothing for a couple of weeks.

      Her clothes were generally ugly but you can dress ugly on the cheap or totally designer and I agree that this whole #askhermore thing seems to be gaining traction. Not everything needs to be so serious. Although if you’re going to make the argument that clothes don’t matter and we shouldn’t be focusing on them, wearing high street stuff rather than designer certainly seems like the right way to go.

  2. bonobochick says:

    Eh, I am fine with her wardrobe on this tour.

    Also… Katie Nicholl’s stories remain trash

    • L4frimaire says:

      Are Vanity Fair articles are awful, especially that one on the lawsuit timing- Nicholls was deliberately obtuse. Meghan was definitely out of damns to give on the wardrobe front, and trolling the press a bit with the trench dresses and neutrals. She looked nice, gorgeous as always, but definitely low key. Palace don’t need to release clothing info because lots of fashion bloggers give that info out. Also, the press couldn’t tally her wardrobe costs and then scream taxpayers. They literally had two prices of the striped maxi dress in one article, headline said £800 something, and then £1000 plus ( can’t remember exact numbers); but thought that was hilarious. FYI, KP said a while ago they would no longer release info about Kate’s wardrobe because people were starting to tally her wardrobe costs, since Meghan was constantly being dragged about it and her clothing costs inflated.

    • blueridges says:

      It’s fine and I think it’s fair to point out she may be holding off on new outfit buying to see if she gets back to her pre-baby weight, like plenty of busy new mothers do.

  3. Loretta says:

    I loved her tour wardrobe. The repeats were some of my favourite dresses of her and she was stunning and glowing.

  4. James says:

    4 g for those outfits seems like a lot. I respect her effort to spend less, but her choices could have been more flattering.

    • bonobochick says:

      They are not just estimating the cost of her clothes in that £4k but her jewelry too.

      • Becks1 says:

        And she did wear some shoes that were more expensive (although they did seem to be mostly repeats.) But those could have driven the cost estimate up as well.

      • olive says:

        also, does the 4k figure include the repeats from the oceania tour? or are they just counting the pieces we haven’t seen before? the press is so unfair to her i could see them counting the costs of the oceania clothes & including them in the clothing costs for BOTH tours.

    • Lina says:

      You are aware she just had a baby and is probably nursing, right?

  5. Britt says:

    Good for her not giving those whiny brats something to attack her about because we know they were waiting for her to wear something new. They are both done with the press, you can absolutely tell during this tour. Gave them nothing to complain about and dropped a bomb on their hypocrisy. You love to see it.

  6. HK9 says:

    Y’all know how I feel about these “numbers”. They’re the retail price not what she paid-no one will ever know that. The article is crap and honestly I don’t know why Ms. Nicholl bothers. As for Vanity Fair, I think the publication has taken a turn for the worse after Graydon Carter left. It’s a shame.

    • L4frimaire says:

      Totally agree that VF has gone downhill since Carter left. There is nothing groundbreaking or edgy about it, and the writing has suffered. They still use a lot of their old guard reporters but topics more timid, doesn’t have the same celebrity cachet, and while put more people of color on covers, pay lip service to diversity in writers and topics. So many good, younger writers out there that they’re not using. Prefer Atlantic, New Yorker and New York magazine. Even Town and Country has better written Royal articles.

    • Bella Bella says:

      Vanity Fair has been going downhill ever since they put Paris Hilton on the cover, which is when I stopped my subscription. I suspect that may be before many of you were born. *Sigh*

  7. MeghanNotMarkle says:

    I think her wardrobe was fine during this tour. It did help to put more focus on the organizations they visited. But it wasn’t like she was showing up in ripped jeans and yesterday’s t-shirt. She looked appropriate and still gave us something to talk about. I think it was a great move to keep things low-key. And knowing I can actually purchase some of these items is really cool. I’d have to save up still, but they’re within my reach.

  8. QueenMeow says:

    Isn’t Meghan nursing/pumping? Her wardrobe on this tour definitely reflected that. It’s really tough to find clothes that are convenient for that, outside of nursing tops which I don’t see any top designers making. I’m currently in the same boat, and my style has certainly taken a hit to accommodate for convenience. I don’t necessarily want people asking me about it either. I don’t feel my best, in regards to my body and clothing, but it’s not forever. I thought she looked appropriate for the tour and work she was doing.

    • Taryn says:

      This is why I’m hesitant to say anything about her outfit choices this tour. I wasn’t absolute crazy about some of the pieces she wore but I don’t know what’s going on with her body post Archie or how she feels most comfortable right now with feeding. I guess for her trench dresses and boxier styles did the trick, plus I don’t think they were AS horrendous as people are making them out to be lol. And yeah, they were completely appropriate.

    • MeghanNotMarkle says:

      It’s really hard to find good nursing blouses or dresses without them being obvious nursing garb. They’re pretty much a one-size-fits-all and don’t fit well on most women. I wish more designers would make nursing clothes that actually look nice. It’s tough having to have everything with buttons for access to baby or a pump.

    • L4frimaire says:

      You definitely don’t want to get milk stains on some really expensive bespoke dress. Her bust looked swollen in the hated Banana Republic Dress ( which I actually liked – except the color on her). Some hits and misses in the wardrobe but she’ll be wearing clothes when they get back. I hope she has more engagements when they get back, including the ribbon cutting stuff. Would love to see her out and about rubbing her glowiness in the press’ face, wears some high end British brands so they can criticize the British fashion industry.

  9. Becks1 says:

    Honestly, for the most part – while I think the palace “should” say who she is wearing (especially when she wears smaller, lesser known brands), it does feel kind of unnecessary in this day and age. I follow What Meghan Wore on IG, and with most outfits they had IDs within an hour or so for the entire look. I cant think of a look where they didn’t identify every piece eventually. And of course wearing the repeats helped. So while announcing the specific designers etc is a good idea IMO (and I’m not sure that needs to completely go away), I don’t think its as big a deal as it might have been a few decades ago.

    I do think she nailed the wardrobe aspect of this tour, even if people didn’t love every look. She was always dressed appropriately, she seemed confident in what she was wearing, etc.

    And again – many of us said this during the Oceania tour – she was building a wardrobe and we were going to see some of those outfits repeated. And we definitely saw several repeats on this tour, including two from the Oceania tour. Overall I think it was a win for her.

  10. Tw says:

    What bothers me about this is, I would prefer to see a spreadsheet of how much each royal spends in total. And you know what, let’s cross reference that to their number of “working” days.

    So, it’s ok for Pedo Andy to essentially vacation year round in luxury but we are going to police everything that Meghan wears? Or Kate can spend a ridiculous amount on a renovation but Meghan decides to wear a new gown and we lose our minds?

    No one is talking about how much Beatrice’s hideous green dress costs. And she was just going to a party, not working a tour in Africa.

    No one cares how much the queen spends on booze?? I bet that amount is far beyond anything we can imagine;)

    • DS9 says:

      We don’t even bother with the men at all which is amazing given how expensive suits, dress shoes, and watches are.

      • blueridges says:

        Actually amusingly enough, I’ve seen tweets and blogs like this one complain about how boring William and Harry’s suits are. Like, they’re not exactly going to be wearing some crazy Rick Owens designs off the catwalk, they’re pretty restricted in what they can wear. Expensive but dull navy suits from here to eternity.

      • noway says:

        We don’t bother with men’s clothes on red carpets either, generally. Thanks to new men who like fashion i.e., Billy Porter and Timothee Charlomet to brighten that up a bit, and make it more even.

        I admire her for going inexpensive in royal terms, and apparently the clothes and companies that make them are friendly to the environment too. This is all great. Now she just has to get them to fit better and be a little bit more flattering style for her. So she wasn’t perfect in this one aspect. So what it’s probably the least important part. Still people love to talk fashion, it’s like eating candy an indulgence. Also, sorry no one is going to be perfect in everything, it just doesn’t happen. They had a great tour and did amazing events. Still, as things go we should all feel free to make fun of her pooh brown too long shirt dress with the bad belt placement. She’s still substantially amazing, but made a weak fashion choice, big deal.

      • Ramona Q. says:

        Yeah, do we get to know the cost of Harry’s tour wardrobe?

    • Genevieve says:

      >>I would prefer to see a spreadsheet of how much each royal spends in total. And you know what, let’s cross reference that to their number of “working” days.<<

      Ahhhhh, Well said! I would like to see such a spreadsheet as well.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        I think if we saw the real cost paid per outfit then Anne probably wears the most expensive clothes on average. However, when Anne buys something she plans to wear it for at least 20 years and really does wear it for 20 or more years.

    • lanne says:

      POCs aren’t supposed to have nice things. That’s what enrages the racists more than anything. The fact that she’s living a luxurious lifestyle. That’s why people complain about her taking private jets while pedo Andy took a bunch of private jets AT THE SAME TIME and no one said a word. That’s why people flipped out about her baby shower (which her friends paid for–and since when is the cost of a flight included into a baby shower? That’s how they get to that ridiculous 300,000 or 500,000 number). Nobody said anything about a 500,000 18th birthday party for Beatrice (with pedo epstein present).

      • Royalwatcher says:

        THIS @lanne! x a million.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        And there it is in a nutshell. Point out to me ONE previous tour where there was a noted highlight and implicit deserved approval of the total (lowish) cost of the woman’s wardrobe. Never! They are pointing out that this uppity POC needs to know her place and do not try and be like the demure duchess in any way. Your shoes, clothes and jewelry should be of a lower standard regardless of the fact that you wore nice things and associated with public figures prior to joining the firm.

      • blueridges says:

        Erm, I think people would have complained about Andy’s jet if they weren’t focused on, you know, his paedophilia.

  11. Sam says:

    I dont see what the issue is here,shes rewearing just like some wanted

  12. S808 says:

    *shrugs* I’m on the team that loved the fashion overall this tour. She wore some ethical brands which gave those brands a much needed boost which IS something needed in fashion. I can see her continuing to wear *okay* outfits so she won’t take as much focus away from the organization but we’ll see what happens when she working at home again.

  13. Kittycat says:

    It is really smart of Meghan not to purchase new clothes when shes at this size

  14. Onerous says:

    You can buy off the rack and have things tailored – she certainly has that option at hand, I’d think. So, yes, buy ready to wear, easy to pump/nurse pieces and then have them tailored to fit your body.

    • Yoyo says:

      You ever thought that maybe she don’t want them tailored, and if she is happy, so be it.

    • Some chick says:

      Indeed, but what if her body is changing, postpartum?

      Honestly, the body policing/scrutinizing is really uncool. How would you like to be under the microscope?

  15. Beli says:

    I think we’re capable of discussing both Meghan’s outfits and her causes on this site, but this isn’t the mass media. The tabloids etc would choose to focus on the clothes and steer their readers that way, if there were some interesting clothes to talk about. Most people will glance at the story and move on – this is one of the few places where we can have an actual discussion.

    I was mostly meh on her clothes over the tour, with a couple that I liked and a couple that I didn’t. What really came across though was the connections she and Harry were making and the causes they were promoting. And she was glowing, even when she was wearing that trench!

    • lucy2 says:

      Honestly it doesn’t even happen that much here, almost every post and comment is about her clothes.
      I’m far more interested in the causes and stuff too. I like some of the outfits she’s worn, but it’s weird to me that the media just treats these tours and such as fashion shows, with little to no mention of what they were actually doing there.

  16. Genevieve says:

    It is just so obnoxious that they tally everything.. Why do I have to know she spent $4,000 on clothes? I don’t hear any such sums for Ivanka Trump or the current Flotus?

    • Yoyo says:

      They have to pay for their own clothes or get loaners.
      Designers probably give them steep discounts.

    • Penguin says:

      To be honest I have seen articles going on about the obscene amount Kate spent on past tours

    • noway says:

      The Daily Mail does a thing on each story about Kate, Ivanka, Melania, Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney on how much there clothes cost too. Kate gets lots of stories about her clothes too. The $4,000 total was meant to be seen as a positive it was a lot less than most total spent. I think it was sent by the Sussexes PR team to be honest. That and the fact clothes were from ethical companies.

  17. Harla says:

    My only quibble about Meghan’s tour wardrobe was the lack of local designers. I would have preferred that to the relatively inexpensive mass market items or or she could have showcased South African designers through the jewelry she wore.

  18. ShazBot says:

    The younger Royals (mostly just Kate and Meghan, but to some extent the others) have such a tricky spot. They aren’t supposed to be clothes horses, but at the same time people talk about how designers benefit from them wearing their stuff.

    I appreciate what Meghan was doing – wearing plain, basic pieces to not have a big focus on her clothes. But then people complain about that too? It’s unfair.

    Honestly, if I were Royal, I’d always wear plain basics except to dressier events. I love how Anne pulls out clothes she wore in the 90s. She’s there to work.

  19. Marjorie says:

    I think her wardrobe was fine, and she pretty much glowed the whole tour, but would make two edits if I were her lady-in-waiting: Hand Archie to Harry during the Desmond Tutu meeting so we could see more of that beautiful dress, and swap out a couple of the shirt/trench dresses with a wrap dress and/or nice slacks and a blouse. (I would be a picky lady-in-waiting.)

    • Lady D says:

      The archbishop is 87, and I don’t know if he is frail, but he gives that impression. Archie looks to be a hefty boy full of bounce. One good boot from the lad and the Archbishop is down.

  20. Cee says:

    She chose to lose this battle (re: she spends too much! while other royal ladies spend as much as she does) and gave everyone what they wanted – the frugal and thrifty duchess. And then she dropped a massive lawsuit on their asses. Even though she sometimes misses the mark, she knows what she’s doing. Finally, some brains are now part of the genetic mix of the BRF.

    • noway says:

      I don’t think that’s it, cause some of the “cheaper” clothes looked great on her. I think she has this odd fascination for shirt dresses, that don’t look great on her. Plus, some of the colors she chooses wash her out.

  21. Yoyo says:

    Katie nichol is funny, nothing can top her gender fluid baby story, not even lavender scented paint for the nursery walls.

  22. VintageS says:

    Oh who cares. She’s beautiful regardless. $4000 for someone at that level of hype and status seems pretty reasonable.

    Plus she’s still at an awkward place in regard to her figure and transitioning from not being pregnant to pre-body status.

    I’d like to think that she and Harry have a large dart board and take shots at the haters.

  23. MellyMel says:

    I loved her tour wardrobe and loved that she repeated outfits…since that’s a completely normal thing to do. I also enjoy that she wore brands that many of us have in our closets already, Madewell, Everlane, Banana Republic, etc. I feel like she can’t win no matter what she does or wears with some people.

  24. MsIam says:

    I liked her outfits, except the mosque visit dress and the white shirtdress from the last day. I think that trench dress look is cool. But like others say, she can’t win, there will always be some petty criticism. It’s the same thing with Kate, though no where near the same level as Meghan.

  25. Mego says:

    Red carpet yeah we want to know. On a tour like this? I agree focus shouldn’t be on fashion so I have no issue with this. I loved the simplicity of her wardrobe and thought it was so appropriate.

  26. Jaded says:

    Her tour wardrobe expressed her attitude about the tour perfectly. It said “This isn’t about me and my fabulous clothes and jewelry, it’s about promoting these wonderful groups and supporting the work they’re doing to shine a light on women’s issues from rape and violence to education to learning to run their own businesses and entrepreneurship.”

    Meghan and Harry hit the ball out of the park on this one and the RRs know it and they can’t stand it. There’s nothing they can pick apart from it and Harry has clearly drawn a line in the sand. I think we’ll see more blunt reactions from him in future and zero tolerance for media bullsh*t.

  27. Lisa says:

    I don’t blame her because she is constantly attacked for the amount of money that she spends even though she has constantly reworn things or some items were before she married Harry. Just completely unnecessary.

  28. Wilma says:

    I think she is one impressive lady. This tour was really good, her visits were well chosen, she really knows her stuff. Her taste in clothes has been very different from mine , but she looks absolutely radiant.

  29. Bc says:

    It still brings a tear to my eye when i think of Nene’s case and i feel it was so, so important that she highlighted it to the world and THAT is my take away from this tour. She couldve worn a sack for all i care. What matters is that her position now is able to shed light on so many things women struggle with.

    I appreciate too that she wore mass market outfits. Normally, when celebrities speak on the red carpet, i honestly cant be bothered because i cannot afford a Valentino dress nor do i want to. Its not practical for day to day life. But mass market outfits are for me. They are affordable and practical. And youre telling me the duchess dresses and shops from similar outlets like i do? Now THAT is the meaning of being relatable and it is admirable, to me.

    I feel bad for her though. I feel like she hates confrontation and isnt used to being bullied, like any normal adult. So when fight or flight strikes, she flees. She has caved in to the naysayers by dressing on a budget. I would do the same. But it makes me fearful for her mental health because these public insults and drmeaning remarks and public bullying really, are getting to her. I wish, for the sake of her mental health, that Prince Harry would give up on that royal life and withdraw to live with her in the country so she wasnt a public figure open to such scrutiny. It must be so painful. I can never even take stupid facebook online bullying so i cant imagine bullying on this grand scale. People treat her like a stone. Even fellow women. It is so terribly sad. Even sadder that some of it is based on pure racism. Shame on all of them. Terrible and shameful.

  30. Emily says:

    I liked she kept her wardrobe low-key. It was a bit repetitive, not just in actual outfits but in style too with a lot of shirt dresses/trench dresses. After all the criticism lobbed at her I don’t blame her for being rather nondescript. Plus she and Harry probably wanted the focus to be on the places and people they were meeting and not Meghan’s wardrobe. I liked most of what she wore and would probably like to try on some of the outfits she wore.

    • Sheila D says:

      Agrred Emily! After Kate Chutney’s Canadian wardrobe that cost more than many of us make in a year i was over it. Fine, you are in the public eye and people have expectations How many buttony outfits has Kate only worn once!? Get them taylored and a accessorize them differsntly. That effort and conscientious would impress me as admirable.

  31. JanetFerber says:

    She is such a beautiful soul. If she’d only come back to the U.S. . . . We need her here!

  32. Tashiro says:

    I liked what she wore. She wore the clothes she wanted to wear that’s all that matters. Why is this an issue?

  33. Here In My Jammies says:

    I’m happy M made the effort to save money. She looked fine. I don’t see the fuss. I really wonder how many comments on sites like the DM are from click farms. If so the negativity is overblown.