The Royal Effect
Meghan Markle has been in the media a lot lately, what with her upcoming wedding to Prince Harry in May. But that’s not the only reason she’s been in the spotlight. Her fashion choices are another big reason for the media attention. The second she appeared on social media wearing the Edinburgh based company, Strathberry’s East/West Mini handbag, the company noticed a spike in sales and it soon went out of stock. This got me to thinking about the effect of celebrities and the Royal Family on fashion, in particular tartan.
On her first visit to Scotland, Markle chose to wear a Burberry Black Watch coat. This sparked a thousand copy cats, and even our own Eileen in the shop was inspired to bring out a Black Watch coat she has had in her wardrobe for years. If its good enough for a future Princess, its good enough for our Eileen!
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton has also been known to inspire the nation to go out and copy her latest look; be it a bag, a coat or even an engagement ring. Kate is known to wear occasion appropriate clothes, notably when she wore a Black Watch McQ coat to St Andrews University on St Andrews Day. This perhaps didn’t have the same effect as when Meghan wore it, but shows that she can dress right for the occasion.
The Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII) was another Royal trendsetter. He took many fashion risks and loved to dress flamboyantly, wearing checks, tartan and paisley all at once. He had many kilts in his wardrobe and wore them when hosting cocktail parties at his home, Fort Belvedere. Many will not be aware that it was the Duke who invented the ‘Windsor knot’. So the next time you are tying a tie you can thank the Duke for it looking so neat!
The royal who had the biggest impact on highland wear was undoubtedly Queen Victoria, despite the fact she had no interest in clothes! She popularized tartan by her love of Scotland and Balmoral in particular. It was considered the height of fashion for wealthy women to wear tartan, and dress tartans were introduced to appeal more to ladies. Victoria loved tartan so much that it covered most of Balmoral, from curtains to carpets and everything in between!
So there you have it. Like or loathe the royal family, there can be no denying that they are trend setters. They wear and we follow suit!