First, there were Kate Middleton‘s “RepliKate” bloggers who identify the designers and brands behind her clothing with the speed and professionalism of legitimate media outlets — often scooping them and going to press more quickly. And now Harry’s fiancée has her own style tribe comprised of Suits fans, readers of Markle’s former lifestyle blog The Tig, and Middleton die-hards wooed by Markle’s ascent from Hollywood actress to unlikely princess.
Sites such as Dress Like Meghan Markle identify key pieces such as the $5,995 Birks snowflake diamond earrings Markle wore for her first Christmas with the queen, others like The 12ish Style by blogger Katie Sturino recreates Markle’s looks for plus-size women on a budget. And Tumblrs like All Things Elegant are a treasure trove of Markle-related fashion, royal wedding gossip, and vintage photos.
On the wedding day, Amanda Dishaw, the Vancouver-based co-founder of the style blog Meghan’s Mirror will start updating her website at 1 a.m. to coincide with the 9 a.m. arrival of wedding guests at St. George’s Chapel., a 600-strong list that reportedly includes Serena Williams, George and Amal Clooney, and the Spice Girls (well, some of them maybe).
Dishaw, who in 2012 co-founded the lifestyle blog What Would Kate Do? tells Yahoo Lifestyle of Markle’s wedding dress, “It may be modern and romantic with clean lines, similar to that of Princess Victoria of Sweden or Princess Charlene of Monaco.” She says, “I don’t expect to see lace and frills; instead, a bespoke gown of crisp fabrics and a geometric design.”
In April, a source told Vanity Fair that Markle, 36, will, in fact, wear two wedding dresses — a “traditional” and “elegant” one for the ceremony and a “glamorous and less restrictive” look to “party the night away.” The name of the designer has been top-secret, however there’s speculation that it’s the British label Ralph & Russo, which created Markle’s black tulle dress for her engagement photos.
Many Markle bloggers, such as Dishaw, launched their services in 2016 when rumors of a romance between a relatively famous actress and a British prince fifth in the line to the throne became public. Dishaw says that while dating Harry “only added to Meghan’s allure,” Meghan’s Mirror as a business decision was a gamble based on the unknown fate of the romance.
Dishaw and her Washington, D.C.-based co-founder Christine Ross have never met in real life — they communicate via Facetime — but currently employ a 15-person team of editors, stylists, writers, research analysts who work to identify Markle’s outfits through tip-offs from publicists and clothing brands, palace press releases, and “fashion hunters” well-versed in Markle’s go-to brands.
Susan Kelley, a broadcast journalist in Michigan who launched the Middleton sites What Kate Wore and What Kate’s Kids Wore and Susan Courter, a long-time royal fan in New Jersey who works in finance, operate similarly on their website What Meghan Wore.
Because Courter has followed the monarchy since she was a little girl, she has a strong sense of royal-approved brands and designers. And when Markle steps out, she and Kelley rely on a stable of fashion writers and designers who identify her outfits quickly and “generously.” In the event that Markle is wearing a truly mysterious item, one made blurry in photos or debatable among the community, the women don’t speculate. “Our first priority is accuracy,” says Courter. “We never rush through a post to be first to publish.”
“At times there will be clothing and accessories that fall into the UFO category — Unidentified Fashion Objects — and the only way to locate them is through basic detective work like combing through images on websites and databases,” says Courter. The women’s job is made slightly easier due to The Tig‘s archived web pages found on Pinterest or digital libraries such as Wayback Machine.
However, much of their success hinges on gut instinct. “Before The Tig and Meghan’s social media pages were shut down, I had archived the info,” says Courter. “You could say I sensed it would happen.”
Describing Markle and Harry’s wedding as a “frenzied day with copious amounts of coffee and Diet Coke” from pre-party coverage to the newlywed’s wedding procession by horse-drawn Ascot Landau carriage, the women will launch their live blog at 4 a.m. E.T., publishing content on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, run live style coverage from royal global experts, and live blog on What Kate Wore to satisfy Middleton fans.
Courter and Kelley have done months of prep work — analyzing the wedding venue, compiling historical details on all the trimmings, and creating special graphics to accompany their content.
Still, the women are braced for style surprises. “Some are likely to be small, discreet touches, similar to the letters ‘C’ and ‘D’ that Diana, Princess of Wales, had painted on the bottom of her wedding shoes [which stood for Charles and Diana],” says Kelley. “But we also anticipate an unexpected dress designer, most likely a boutique British heritage brand.”
Sabrina Anderson, the London-based creator of Meghan Maven, was initially a reluctant Markle fan, only agreeing to watch Suits last year at the recommendation of her partner. After binge-watching the series, Anderson was such a fan that in January, when Markle shuttered her social media pages to prep for royal life, Anderson launched a petition called “Reactivate Meghan Markle’s Social Media Before It’s Too Late!” with nearly 5K signatures to satisfy her “upset supporters.”
Meghan Maven, a destination for Markle-related fashion-and-humanitarian news, boasts an archive of Markle’s outfits from 2011, including that of Markle’s Instagram posts from her first on May 24th, 2012 to her last on April 7, 2017. The site is also working on an archive of Markle’s favorite recipes from The Tig. To identify clothing, Anderson uses her connections from her eight-year career in the fashion industry or brands reach out to her with fashion credits.
On Saturday, Anderson is betting on a classic gown with a modern twist intended to spark chatter. “Meghan once called Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s simple wedding dress ‘goals’ but I think hers will be anything but,” she says.
However, appreciation for all things Markle isn’t confined to her style. According to Barbara Dudinska, the Toronto-based founder of the blogazine ChiChi and the Instagram account Meghan Markle Style File, Markle’s substance is a close match for aesthetic. “Watching Harry and Meghan interact at the Invictus Games in Toronto in October — I was there when they made their first public appearance together — I realized that unlike Kate Middleton and Prince William, they’re relatable,” Dudinska tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Also, it’s amazing to see Meghan, an American and a woman of color, transitioning from a working television actress to calling the Queen of England her grandmother-in-law.”
Likewise, Courter and Kelley admire Markle for her passion for equal rights and philanthropy and Anderson cites her “warmth, positivity, and love of animals,” adding, “Meghan joining the British royal family has ignited an interest in the monarchy that wasn’t really there for me before.”
All agree that Markle’s style will evolve right after the wedding. “We no longer will see Meghan wearing ripped jeans or a plunging neckline,” says Dudinska. “She’ll also need to adopt longer hemlines, wear fewer sleeveless dresses, and stop pulling her hair into a messy bun.”
Dudinska adds, “But I do hope Meghan wears pants — it would refresh traditional royal fashion.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to say “I do” on Saturday, May 19, at Windsor Castle. Yahoo will cover the historic event live from London from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. BST (5 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET). Bookmark this link to follow along LIVE.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle’s Mom, May Be Wearing Burberry to the Royal Wedding
- Will Meghan Do Her Own Makeup for Her Wedding?
- Royal Wedding: Watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get married LIVE