Just when I thought I had the Duchess of Sussex’s style all figured out, she goes and throws a spanner in the works. You see, the royal has been busy wearing nothing but nude shades, leading everyone to believe that this would be her “thing” from now on. But on Thursday night, Meghan Markle’s yellow dress went down a storm and now I don’t know what to think.
The 36-year-old attended the Your Commonwealth Youth Reception alongside Prince Harry. Arriving in a popping yellow style by American designer Brandon Maxwell, Markle accessorised the unmissable £830 look with a pair of £500 nude Manolo Blahnik heels and diamond earrings by Adina Reyter.
While the royal family have been known to wear yellow outfits on occasion, this is the first time that Markle has been seen in such a bright look. Perhaps she was trying to pay homage to her LA roots (the U.S. had just celebrated Independence Day, after all). Or perhaps she was happy to be the centre of attention considering the Queen — who royals tend to defer to with their clothing so all eyes can be on her — wasn’t at the event.
What you might not realise is that the colours you wear each have a significant meaning. This is especially true for people like royals or celebrities who pick their outfits carefully, knowing that millions of people are watching.
Yellow’s a particularly tricky one. A survey carried out by Dulux Paints in 2011 found that yellow was people’s least favourite colour with only 5 percent of respondents admitting to liking the shade. I totally get it. Yellow is one of the most noticeable colours around, which perhaps means some people tend to shy away from it.
However, saying that, the hue also has plenty of positive connotations. Psychologist Carole Kanchier explained the meaning of wearing yellow to the Huffington Post. Her view that the colour is “associated with happiness, freedom, optimism, and mental concentration” helps when understanding why Markle may have chosen the banana shade.
The Duchess has now been in the royal family for almost two months; a good amount of time to get used to how things work and feel comfortable in her new role when dealing with the general public. Where perhaps she was a little nervous to express herself before, it seems Markle now feels more comfortable and free to spread her sartorial wings. And who can be surprised — she appears to have taken to everything incredibly well.
Apparently, our affection for yellow stems from childhood. Colour specialist and executive director of the Pantone Colour Institue, Leatrice Wiseman, told CNN that people of all ages typically associate the colour with the sun, leading to links with warmth and happy memories:
“Give any child a box of crayons and they reach for the yellow crayon. And invariably in the upper right hand corner or left hand corner will appear the ball of sun.”
While it’s true that society may associate yellow with all things merry, it’s also clear in my experience that many women dislike wearing the colour. Ask the average woman to pick the shade that she’s least likely to buy and yellow will come up, I guarantee it.
But why is this? It seems like it might have something to do the pervasive narrative that each of us can only “pull of” certain colours. Well, perhaps women should just wear the colour they like. If yellow tickles your fancy, go free and explore it. If you are really scared of dipping your toe in, try buying an accessory or a garment that has an understated yellow print to get you started. Before you know it you’ll be up and running.
Hats off to Markle for championing the colour and for proving that a simple dress can radiate happiness and confidence.