Meghan Markle's Most Inappropriate Outfits We'll Never Forget

As a former actor, Meghan Markle was used to being in the spotlight and seeing her name in the headlines for many positive reasons. As the Duchess of Sussex, however, Markle has received unprecedented attention — from royal fans to tabloids, social media, and more. Not only has her stunning style transformation been closely observed but so has her every move. 

From the moment she and Prince Harry went public with their romance, Meghan has been monitored, scrutinized, and even unfavorably compared to Catherine Middleton, the Princess of Wales. Despite the comparisons, Meghan is a stunning woman who has impressed many with her poise and elegance in front of the camera, and she's proven repeatedly that she's a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to her style.

Even so, she's admittedly made some faux pas with her outfit choices, sometimes breaking protocol and sometimes just missing the mark. Since stepping down from royal duties in January 2020, Meghan's ensembles haven't been under palace scrutiny, per se, but some of her choices remain inappropriate. From outfits that didn't quite fit right to unconventional dresses worn during royal affairs, these are some of her inappropriate fashion choices that we'll never forget.

Her white dress-shirt confusion during the 2024 SXSW Conference

During the 2024 South by Southwest Conference, the Duchess of Sussex spoke during the keynote panel, titled "Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen." SXSW's opening day took place on International Women's Day, so Meghan Markle, a feminist and women's rights advocate, was an excellent choice for keynote speaker.

What wasn't an excellent choice, however, was her silk 'fit from Guiliva Heritage. The ensemble, which reminded us of a summer shirt dress but was actually a separate shirt tucked into a matching, floor-length skirt, sported a subtle pinstripe pattern. Whether Meghan was trying to go for such a natural, unassuming look, we're not sure. Ultimately, while lovely, the look didn't match the event's vibe or even the other outfits on stage, landing it on our list.

Meghan's short shorts at the 2023 Invictus Games

While Meghan Markle was stunning during the 2023 Invictus Games closing ceremony — she wore a blue, form-fitting Cult Gaia dress and Aquazzure stilettos accented by quiet-luxury statement jewelry from Cartier — her outfit for the cycling medal ceremony was another story altogether. To present the medals, she wore a cream suit set with gold bracelets and earrings. The look was chic, but pairing the set with black Hermès sandals threw off her color-blocking. Plus, her shorts were a touch too, well, short. As much as we admire her legs, a hem so high above the knee when the world is watching is immediate tabloid fodder for a royal.

Some of Meghan's clothes didn't fit during the 2024 Invictus Games

On February 16, 2024, the duchess was spotted in Vancouver, Canada, for the Invictus Games draped in an oversized camel car coat. Although there are ways to style a fashionable car coat if you're petite, Meghan Markle must have missed the memo, as her Sentaler outerwear drowned her small frame and seemed more of a cape than a coat. If that wasn't enough, she wore knee-high rain boots that appeared too big and completed the look with ill-fitting khaki gloves. 

That time Meghan wore black to the wrong event

As a former women's advocate for the United Nations, Meghan Markle attended the 2018 Women's Empowerment reception at London's Royal Aeronautical Society. She chose a perfect little black dress from Black Halo for the occasion. Admittedly, she looked impeccable. Nevertheless, the media quickly criticized her choice as less than perfect because of one detail: its color. Black is reserved for mourning, with royalists believing it shouldn't be used for official appearances other than funerals. While a tasteful choice in another circumstance, this LBD put Meghan in the spotlight for disregarding royal protocol. 

When she broke protocol at the 2018 Trooping the Colour ceremony

And speaking of protocols, while Prince Harry adhered to royal standards and wore his full military regalia at the 2018 Trooping the Colour ceremony, Meghan Markle steered away from expectations, wearing a pale-pink, off-the-shoulder Carolina Herrera dress, complete with a matching wide-brimmed hat. She was stunning, but many tore her to pieces for wearing an outfit with exposed shoulders during an official royal event. Though perhaps outdated, strict fashion guidelines for royal women prohibit them from wearing revealing outfits, exposed shoulders included. And for this reason, her lovely, pale-pink ensemble made it onto our list of inappropriate royal outfits we'll never forget.