Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's fashion choices reveal how different the two women are

Kate Middleton is about to welcome a new sister-in-law into the royal family.

News recently broke that Prince Harry was engaged to marry American actress Meghan Markle.

"William and I are absolutely thrilled," Kate Middleton, who is married to Harry's brother and heir to the throne Prince William, told reporters Tuesday."It's such exciting news. It's a really happy time for any couple and we wish them all the best and hope they enjoy this happy moment."

Middleton is probably the person who could best understand what exactly Markle is going through as she prepares to marry into the royal family.

However, so far in life, the two have taken very different approaches to how they present themselves — and that's shone through in their fashion.

Here's how Markle and Middleton measure up.

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's fashion differences
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Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's fashion differences

Middleton met and began dating Prince William while the pair attended University of St Andrews. 

The couple graduated in 2005. In early photos, the pair looks like typical college students, with comfort trumping sophistication. 

From the start, Middleton's fashion has been decidedly British.

Her taste for fascinators — as seen here in 2005 — is one that is far outside the comfort zone for most American fashionistas. 

Meghan Markle, meanwhile, may have caught Prince Harry's eye from afar.

Markle is best known for her role in the legal drama "Suits," but she has also acted in a long list of shows like "CSI: NY" and "Castle," as well as films including "Get Him To The Greek."

While Harry has said he didn't know of Markle until the pair was introduced by a mutual friend, her fame may have helped pave the way to romance. 

"He had a crush on Rachel Zane two years before he met Meghan and the reason I know is because I was having drinks with one of his friends," according to royals expert Katie Nicholl."She told me she’d been on a night out with Prince Harry. He was single at the time, so she said, 'Harry, who’s your ideal girl?' And he said 'Meghan Markle from Suits.'"

Prior to meeting Harry, Markle developed a trendy sense of fashion fitting for a working actress.

Kate Middleton was known for her simple looks, with nods to British fashion traditions, when she and Will started dating. Of course, the pair met when they were still teenagers. 

Markle, meanwhile, didn't even meet Harry until she was 34. So, it stands to reason that the actress's fashion sense is honed for the red carpet — not royal weddings. 

Let's flash forward to the present. Today, Kate Middleton has established herself as a fashion icon in her own right.

With an eye for what is simple and striking, Middleton favors straight-forward timeless looks with bold colors. 

She's even created a phenomenon called the Duchess Effect: When Kate wears something, it almost instantly sells out.

Middleton is also a fan of high-fashion favorites like Burberry and Stella McCartney. However, she mixes in more accessible brands as well, such as J Brand jeans. 

Markle is starting to have a similar impact on people's shopping habits.

The Telegraph called her influence "The Meghan Effect," as items that she wore or endorsed have skyrocketed in popularity. 

After the engagement was announced, Prince Harry and Markle posed for photos at Kensington Palace in London. Markle wore a coat by the Canadian fashion brand Line — a brand beloved by Canadians, but one that is pretty obscure outside the country. 

Soon after news broke that Markle wore a coat from Line on Monday, the brand's website was slow or crashed for many people.

However, what Markle is convincing people to buy is quite different from the dresses that sell out when worn by Middleton.

For example, The Telegraph sites a 67% increase in searches for "vegan leather trousers" after Markle name dropped the fashion staple. It seems unlikely that Middleton would ever be spotted in public wearing such a trendy item. 

The designers behind the brands similarly represent the differences between Middleton and Markle's backgrounds.

Like Princess Diana, Middleton is known for wearing British designers. 

Markle, meanwhile, has been quick to highlight her Canadian connection.

In her first photos post-engagement, Markle highlighted the Canadian brand Line. And, at the opening of the Invictus Games, her first public outing with Prince Harry, Markle wore two other Canadian brands: Mackage and Aritzia.

Overall, Middleton's fashion sense is generally more traditional and formal.

At times, her outfits can feel borderline matronly compared to Markle's — despite the fact that Markle is actually a year older than the duchess. 

Markle tends to look more casual and trendy in comparison.

Twitter trolls slammed Markle for wearing casual jeans during her first-ever public appearance with Prince Harry, at the 2017 Invictus Games. 

However, that could change looking forward.

After all, before now, Markle has been dressing for success as an actress and creator of a lifestyle brand.

Markle announced she plans to step down from acting when she marries Harry — and it makes sense that an adjustment in her fashion sense may follow. 

Plus, Middleton has had a few show-stopping numbers that show how much range she really has.

Markle will likely turn to Middleton when it comes to planning for her wedding day — and all the fashion-related decisions that come with it.

People are already placing their bets on what Markle will wear when she walks down the aisle. 

And, Middleton may owe Markle for providing her with some inspiration.

In November — before Harry and Markle's engagement was announced —  Middleton wore a Diane von Furstenberg's dress to a charity gala. Five years earlier, Markle wore the same design to a USA Network Event.

Markle wore the dress short, while Middleton wore it all the way to the floor. In a way, it's a perfect encapsulation of the two women's styles — Middleton tends towards more staid and traditional, while Markle is willing to take a risk. 


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