Inappropriate Outfits Meghan Markle Has Been Caught Wearing

It's little surprise that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, escaped the stifling confines of the British monarchy and hot-hoofed it over the pond in June 2020. Every detail of Prince Harry and Meghan's relationship was dissected from the moment their romance was made public, and her every move was scrutinized. Meghan's facial expressions, ability to curtsey, interactions with other royals, how she shook hands, and, of course, everything she wore came under the spotlight.

An innumerable amount of outfits that Meghan chose were deemed unsuitable by royal watchers and the media alike — even when other senior members of the Firm had previously rocked similar styles without even a hint of criticism.

Despite Meghan stepping down from her official royal duties, she still keeps coming under fire from all angles. In September 2023, Meghan made headlines for daring to wear a pair of J Crew cream linen shorts and Chanel slingbacks to watch basketball with Harry at the opening of the Invictus Games. The Daily Mail shaded Meghan for "[putting] on a VERY leggy display." While the Mirror noted, seemingly without irony, that she would have been under intense scrutiny if she'd worn the "skimpy outfit" while still a royal. The smart-tailored shorts were far from revealing. Still, they're just one of the many outfits Meghan's been caught wearing that have been deemed inappropriate. We're taking a look at a selection of the others.

Meghan's sleeveless snafu

When you're a member of the Firm, even the slightest snafu can land you in the style slammer. A sleeveless dress worn by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, sent detractors wild in April 2018. To outsiders, the $1,197 cream and black pinstriped Altuzarra dress was modest and demure. Still, to those in the know, Meghan had committed a grave crime against royal rules, as showing shoulders and arms is deemed inappropriate.

Kensington Palace posted a photo on X, formerly known as Twitter, showing Meghan and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, mingling with young delegates from all over the Commonwealth. The armchair clothing critics were quick to attack. "Ok, I love Meghan, but someone needs to pull her aside and tell her that she needs to stop thumbing her nose at proper styling for events she attends," a detractor wrote.

As The Standard notes, the royals have a suffocatingly long list of style no-nos and must-dos they have to follow. They include no colored nail polish, a 100% pantyhose-wearing rule, on or below-the-knee hemlines, dresses not pants, and bright colors. Still, rules are made for breaking — depending on who's breaking them. Fashion experts were salivating when Catherine, Princess of Wales, wore a skin-tight, off-the-shoulder, bare-armed Roland Mouret dress to the "Top Gun: Maverick" premiere in May 2022. "The dress was extremely fitted, highlighting Kate's enviable curves which looked nothing short of sensational, and the Bardot-esque off-the-shoulder neckline exposing her décolletage," Celebrity stylist Miranda Holder told the Daily Mail.

Meghan's repeated arm offence

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, clearly didn't learn from her Commonwealth style assault because, just weeks later, she was under attack from the bare-arm army once again. This time, Meghan was criticized for the supposedly inappropriate outfit she wore to a 25th-anniversary memorial for Stephen Lawrence — a Black teen who was stabbed to death in a racially motivated attack in London in April 1993.

Meghan was clad in a belted Hugo Boss black dress and nude heels. This, to many, would seem suitable for the occasion. However, the dress was sleeveless and didn't cover her shoulders enough to please haters. "Surprised to see Meghan Markle had her shoulders uncovered at the #StephenLawrence memorial — seems a bit of a fashion faux pas to me?" one wrote. Even Meghan's mane was offensive to some. "The messy hair is getting sooooo tired. And don't even get me started on this sleeveless mess," a hater fumed. There was support from some quarters, though. "What makes you a fashion expert? She looks stunning! People are jealous," a commenter clapped back.

Meanwhile, the rules regarding appropriate memorial attire have seemingly changed in the public's view since July 1997, as nobody blinked an eye when Diana, Princess of Wales, wore a black sleeveless slip dress to Gianni Versace's funeral.

Meghan's bare-shouldered slip-up

The shoulder police were out in full force when Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attended her first Trooping the Colour parade in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's 92nd birthday in June 2018. To many people, Meghan's peach-colored Carolina Herrera dress looked modest and demure with a matching wide-brimmed Philip Treacy hat set at a jaunty angle. Still, to those in the know, Meghan had committed a grave crime against royal rules. "I do feel her choice of an off-the-shoulder dress was pushing it for HRH Queen Elizabeth's Birthday celebration. I have a feeling she's going to push the limits a little too much?!" a hater sniffed.

"Kate will always be the classy one. Who wears an off-the-shoulder number to such an event? Oh, MM, that's right," another wrote. Ironically, Catherine, Princess of Wales, has previously done the exact same thing — but nobody blinked an eye. Kate wore a bright red Alexander McQueen off-the-shoulder dress for an outdoor event in July 2017 and a white Barbara Casasola shoulder-baring gown in July 2016.

Kate also flashed some serious shoulder in her official 40th birthday portraits. The Italian fashion photographer Paolo Roversi took the three photos in November 2021. One royal watcher noted a tradition of Queens posing for pics with off-the-shoulder gowns going back five generations. Meghan did have support from some quarters, though. "Give her a break. She has to wear pantyhose for the rest of her life," a fan wrote.

Meghan's Irish pantsuit

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was all covered up for a visit to Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, in July 2018. She wore a smart black tailored Givenchy pantsuit, a white T-shirt, and Sarah Flint heels. However, it was still deemed as being an inappropriate outfit by her legions of haters. Among those who took offense was Queen Elizabeth II, apparently.

Not surprisingly, Meghan was said to be struggling with the reasoning behind the never-ending list of antiquated royal-style statutes — and why it's deemed inappropriate for women to wear pants in the 21st century. "[She] has found certain rules in the royal household difficult to understand, like the fact that the queen prefers women in dresses or skirts rather than trouser suits, and is often asking Harry why things have to be done in a certain way," a source told People.

Meanwhile, even Harry reportedly jumped on the no-pants bandwagon. He was said to have put his foot down and banned Meghan from wearing "a masculine Stella McCartney tuxedo suit" during their October 2018 tour of Australia. "Meghan is being told she needs to stop dressing like a Hollywood star and start dressing like a Royal," a source, supposedly from the fashion team at Kensington Palace, told the Daily Mail. "Meghan wanted to wear a tuxedo-style suit, but Harry said it wasn't traditional enough."

Meghan's cleavage crimes

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, committed the ultimate inappropriate outfit sin when she attended the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 9, 2019. Meghan looked stylish in her black Erdem midi dress. However, some deemed it a fashion fail as it was apparently too low-cut. The style slammers inevitably shared their thoughts on X, formerly known as Twitter. "The cleavage on this occasion is so unbelievably inappropriate," one wrote.

"I don't know if she really does not get it! She is a smart woman to be fair but still, she continues to disregard & disrespect tradition & an event like this which is extremely important to all people, not just the Royals. Meghan thinks it's cool. No! It's not smart. Stupid Rebel," another ranted.

It wasn't the first time Meghan came under fashion fire for committing a perceived cleavage crime. She raised eyebrows by wearing a springy green floral Self Portrait dress to the Sydney Invictus Games reception at Australia House in London in April 2018. "The dress has open shoulders which we know Meghan prefers, but also features a quite low neckline, exposing more cleavage than we may tend to see on other royal women," Amanda Dishaw of the Meghan Markle Fashion Blog Meghan's Mirror told E! News. Not surprisingly, the haters immediately flocked to social media. "Poor taste, not pretty. Needs to do something about those weird stick legs," a nasty Netizen sniped.