Style

So Many Thoughts!

Diana and Meghan So Many Thoughts

Our So Many Thoughts column with the genius Elizabeth Holmes is back, along with more written commentary per reader requests! Today, she’s discussing these colorful ensembles worn by Meghan Markle and Princess Diana. Also, stay tuned for more posts from Elizabeth — she’ll be chatting about red carpet looks and costume designers soon, too. Here we go…

So Many Thoughts

WOWSA, Meghan! In the first nine months as a member of the royal family, the Duchess of Sussex has favored neutral tones. There have been pops of color, to be sure. But Meghan has, by and large, gravitated towards subtle or classic shades (think: blush, cream, navy). So this ~lewk~, a one-two saturated punch of a red coat by Sentaler (a high-end Canadian brand) and a purple dress by Aritzia (also Canadian, although accessibly priced), was a jolt better than a double espresso as soon as I saw it in my Instagram feed. Her red Stuart Weitzman heels served as a sort of Dorothy-esque exclamation point on the whole ensemble.

What would inspire Meghan the Muted to live her best technicolor life? Some on the Interwebs floated the theory that she was dressing to coordinate with the logo of a charity, Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, she was visiting that day. While anything is possible, my hunch is she was also taking cues from two stylish royal women who came before her.

So Many Thoughts

QUEEN ELIZABETH:
Have you ever noticed that Queen Elizabeth II dresses as if she is a rainbow personified? The long-reigning queen has worn *all* the colors in her six decades, many times over in fact. Lemon yellow, neon green, electric blue — she does not steer clear of any shade. That’s because bright colors serve a terribly practical purpose for the royal family.

The colorful hues help the Queen’s security detail keep tabs on her when she is out and about. Wearing vivid ensembles also helps the public spot her from afar. The Queen is always keen to be seen — isn’t that what being Queen is all about?! — and dressing brightly helps the people pick her out in the crowd.

These two colors feel particularly regal. Purple is a long-standing symbol of royalty, having once-upon-a-time been the hardest to dye and therefore the most expensive. Red is a charged shade, too, symbolizing love, fire, and blood. The combination is dramatic af!

Meghan chose these two shades for a particularly busy day of royal engagements in Birkenhead. The schedule included what’s known as a walkabout, where the public can come crowd the barricades for a glimpse of the royals. This particular group included loads of children, who are sure to love a colorful moment.

PRINCESS DIANA:
To me, perhaps the greatest influencer of this particular color combo is the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Di burst onto the royal scene in the 80s, when the unofficial sartorial motto was brighter is better. But these colors in particular immediately brought to mind this iconic photograph of the princess sitting solo on a bench in front of the Taj Mahal.

It was February 1992 and Diana, then 30, was touring India with her husband, Prince Charles. More than a decade earlier, Charles had promised to one day bring his bride to monument, a towering testament to love. And yet, during Charles and Diana’s visit to India, the couple kept conflicting schedules, fueling rumors of marital problems. Diana visited the Taj alone, and this photograph came to foreshadow their impending separation and subsequent divorce. The styles of her ensemble — a boxy jacket, slim skirt, and pumps — reads as sensible, almost business-like. But the color combination, worn just before Valentine’s Day, looked terribly romantic.

Meghan’s coordinating red heels here, much like Diana’s matching purple ones, makes me believe this image has been up on her styling inspo board for quite some time.


Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

P.S. Elizabeth’s first SMT column, and how to dress like a celebrity.

(Photo of Harry and Meghan by Karwai Tang/WireImage. Photo of Queen Elizabeth by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images. Photo of Diana by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images.)

  1. Christine says...

    Love SMT and the format! Thank you for featuring!

  2. Leah says...

    I absolutely love SMT and her column. Thank you for bringing her to us!

  3. Elizabeth says...

    This reminds me of the Red Hat Society! My Grandma is a member in good standing and frequently wears red and purple together. The society was inspired by this poem:

    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
    And I shall spend my pension
    on brandy and summer gloves
    And satin sandals,
    and say we’ve no money for butter.
    I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
    And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
    And run my stick along the public railings,
    And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
    And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,
    And learn to spit.
    You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
    And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
    Or only bread and pickle for a week,
    And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
    and things in boxes.
    But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
    And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
    And set a good example for the children.
    We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
    But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
    So people who know me
    are not too shocked and surprised,
    When suddenly I am old
    and start to wear purple!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! So entertaining.

  5. Totally entertained by SMT and Elizabeth!!! Thank you for bringing her to CoJ!!

  6. Jessica says...

    This is like internet worlds colliding and I LOVE IT!

  7. Ana says...

    This was a delightful read. Well done!

  8. Brooke says...

    Love SMT and the format!

    • Ingrid says...

      I agree!

  9. CS says...

    LOVE eholmes and all her thoughts.

    I, for one, love the format. It allows you to read the commentary and look at the photo at the same time instead of having to scroll back and forth to the photo. Maybe give it a try, guys, before asking Elizabeth to change her whole approach? I’m a die hard SMT instagram follower and have been so impressed with her thoughtful coverage and the way she manages her insta community.

    • CR says...

      I agree with CS! We wouldn’t ask an illustrator to change their drawings if we didn’t like the Friday cartoon. So much of the fun part of SMT is the format. If people don’t like this one collab with CoJ, feel free to move on! There’s so much other content to enjoy here. I also LOVE eholmes and want her to keep on thinking! <3 <3 <3

  10. Kyla says...

    Anyone else find themselves holding their thumb on the photo like it is IG? 😂 Love this column, and I cannot wait for more Elizabeth on COJ!

  11. Lesley says...

    I LOVE THIS COLUMN!

  12. Libbie says...

    Not a die hard royal family fan, but between Elizabeth and Gary Janetti, I am about to be! Loved the background on Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana in this one, too.

  13. AB says...

    I just bought a ski jacket in that same color combo. Not quite as elegant as these ladies, but now I’m super excited to show it off :D

  14. Carli says...

    Did anyone else intuitively find themselves pressing on the pics to pause them?! Which is what we have to do in SMT Stories! :) Habits are hard to break!

    • Tanner says...

      Yes! I did the same thing!

    • Kristie says...

      Haha yep, guilty!

  15. Keegan says...

    Love this feature!

  16. Anya says...

    I love Elizabeth Holmes and SMT. I’m not the hugest royals admirer, but I love the formal that Elizabeth uses on Insta-stories and it’s fun to see it here too.. I also love the background she presented here with Di and the Queen, including the sad note of the trip to the Taj..
    Love this feature! :)

  17. Amy says...

    Sali Hughes, journalist with the Guardian, has a book coming out in the UK later on this year about the Queen and her wardrobe! It’s called Our Rainbow Queen but it doesn’t have a US release date. (“This riotously colourful book takes a photographic journey through Queen Elizabeth II’s ten decades of colour-blocked style. The photographs, which span the colours of the rainbow and a century of style, are gloriously accessorised with captions and commentary by journalist and broadcaster Sali Hughes. From the dusky pinks the Queen wore in girlhood through to that hat she wore on the announcement of Brexit, and not forgetting her trusty Launer handbag ever at her side, this must-have collection celebrates the iconic fashion statements of our longest reigning and most vibrant monarch.”)

    • Vera says...

      Wow, I had no idea, thanks! I adore Sali, her Guardian column and The Pool articles.

  18. amy says...

    Love SMT!!

  19. Molly says...

    I LOVE SMT and just recently discovered Elizabeth on instagram. No changes please!! Love everything about it.

  20. Anna says...

    I do love SMT, but so lost as to why we are laughing at criticism of MM holding her belly.

  21. Anne says...

    I love this feature and the format. SMT is amazing.

    I feel like you could skip the pics if they bother you.

  22. Sasha L says...

    I love seeing posts about fashion, style, looks, color! It’s just fun to look at. It fills my visual beauty needs, so thank you. Sitting here in head to toe black on a gray January day, it’s lovely to see the color. When my little students do watercolors one of my very favorite combinations for them to choose is red and purple. It’s just so happy.

  23. Sarah says...

    Love the SMT posts- keep them coming!

  24. Katie Larissa says...

    Kate next, please!

  25. Emily says...

    Love this feature. The purple and red are so unexpected and delightful!

  26. Julie says...

    Ugh I think I might be the only one who does not like this feature. It gives me a headache!

    • Kelly Libby says...

      i couldn’t follow, either. all that font, all that color. yikes!!

    • Dee says...

      The text is certainly distracting.

    • Jasmine says...

      Same :( I tried very hard to like it cos I LOVE the blog… but felt a bit disappointed after the first column… then today’s one was even longer and so hard to stay concentrated.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for the feedback! we’re going to keep thinking about the formatting. thank you!! xo

    • Rebecca says...

      I can’t do it either. And I honestly tried because so many of the other commenters seem to really love the formatting. I just can’t focus and then I stop reading it. And then I wonder if I’m just old, and becoming a fuddy duddy and maybe this is one of those things that happens when you cross over to 40.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Haha don’t worry, Rebecca! We will work on the formatting, please stay tuned xoxo

    • MB says...

      I feel like I missed the boat on this format too–much like with Snapchat! Still don’t get it.

  27. I am loving these animated and enthusiastic dissections! Also learning a ton! Thanks Elizabeth and Joanna!

  28. R says...

    So.Many.Words.
    I think this has been requested before ..while I enjoy the commentary ,I still (politely) suggest a change of format..too distracting!

    Also..this made made me chuckle as I thought of “taking risk=wearing purple” comment from the other day :)

    • Raquel says...

      Gary is a GENIUS!!

    • Amanda says...

      It reads like a newspaper article, top left down, then up to top right and read down–if that helps. It’s a great way to put a ton of “thoughts” on one photo. I happen to like it, if you can’t tell :)

  29. KL says...

    If anyone is following Gary Janetti on Instagram, did you chuckle at the sight of the Duchess with her hands to her belly *again*?

    • Amy says...

      Yessssssss. Funniest post of his yet.

    • Mónica says...

      Yes, that was my first thought! :D

    • Kate says...

      Gary Janetti and SMT are the reasons I go on Instagram!!

    • Ashley says...

      OMG thank you for introducing me to this. It’s fantastic!

    • Joaquina says...

      I find it disappointing that you’re perpetuating Janetti’s insta bullying. His target of MM and lowbrow jokes are fodder for racist, misogynistic critics. It’s kinda gross.
      This is her first pregnancy, for gods sake. In the public eye.

    • Tis says...

      Isn’t this a completely common “pregnant celebrity” move? Their publicists must tell them to do it. I think it’s so that in five years when we see that picture again we’re all aware she was pregnant…and not thinking “oh gee, she really let herself go”. lol

    • KT says...

      I’ve been pregnant twice and always had my hands on my belly. At first, it was to marvel, but later I always had Braxton Hicks contractions or baby movement that was uncomfortable.