Royal Fashion Rules That Shouldn’t Exist Today

Source: Everett Collection

It’s no surprise that the royal family has quite a few rules when it comes to fashion and appearances. The royal family features some of the most photographed figures in the world, which is why they are required to meet certain dressing protocol while stepping out in public. Although we understand why looking polished and professional is important, we have to admit that there are a few royal fashion rules that seem quite outdated. Follow along for 16 royal fashion rules that shouldn’t exist today:

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16. Royal women must not expose their shoulders

Meghan Markle was the victim of significant criticism when she stepped out for the 2018 Trooping the Color ceremony wearing a blush pink Carolina Hererra dress that featured an off-the-shoulder neckline and buttons trailing along the front. She took slack for this outfit because of her exposed shoulders, which many saw as overly revealing for a Royal figure. We definitely think this shoulder-baring rule is quite outdated and that Meghan looked both respectful and elegant in this ensemble.

Photo by Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM

15. No hats after 6 pm

Royal women are often spotted wearing unique fascinators and hats for daytime events, but it’s absolutely prohibited to wear them after 6 pm. Wearing a hat during the evening is seen as a “fashion faux pas” and is highly frowned upon in the royal community. We believe that having an exact time for when a hat should and shouldn’t be worn seems overly restrictive and unnecessary.


14. Royal women must wear minimal makeup

Before she was a Royal, Meghan Markle was living the life of celebrity glamour and frequenting red carpets and elite events. This means the Duchess was no newbie when it came to full-glam makeup, and often rocked smokey eyes, deep lips, and contoured cheeks. Once she became Prince Harry’s wife, however, she was forced to follow the Royal standard of minimal, nearly undetectable makeup. We think that this rule seems quite unnecessary and that Royal woman, like all women, should be allowed to wear as much or as little makeup as they’d like, especially if they want to get a little more dolled up for an evening event.

Press Association

13. Royal women should wear polished hairstyles

Meghan Markle shocked the world when she began to step out for formal Royal appearances wearing her hair in a loose, messy bun. Previously, royal fans were used to Kate Middleton’s bouncy locks that were always styled neatly with a hair net. We don’t think Meghan deserved the criticism she received for the messy hair look. It added an air of effortless sophistication to her style and rang true to her personal taste, which is what’s most important of all.

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12. Only wear a tiara for white-tie affairs

In the royal family, tiaras are viewed as sacred and are only to be worn for high-profile, white tie affairs. This rule, however, was slightly bent when Princess Diana joined the royal family and decided to wear tiaras for many more public occasions. Her style was bold, which is why wearing a tiara was fitting with her sense of fashion. In more recent years, Kate Middleton has been more modest with her tiara use, but we think that the Royals should be given free reign to wear tiaras whenever they please!

Press Association

11. Don’t wear colored nail polish

Colored nail polish has been a huge fashion faux pas in the royal family for decades. The Queen allegedly requires all royal women to wear clear or soft pink on their nails rather than anything bright or overly flashy. The Queen put the rule in place as an effort to ensure the royal women always look natural and classic. So far, both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have abided by this rule but we think that bright reds and purples would look fabulous on them!

Photo by REX/Shutterstock

10. Only wear bright colors

The Queen once shared that she always wears bright colors to events to ensure she is able to be seen from far away. From parades to public events, it’s important that the royal family stands out and are able to be spotted among the masses. As much as we love a strong colored suit, we’d love for the Royals to drop this rule in favor of fashion’s favorite color palette — neutrals!

Press Association

9. All little boys must wear shorts

Prince George is notorious for always wearing short shorts and, surprisingly, there’s actually a royal rule behind it! There’s a tradition among the upper class that aristocrats and royals must dress young boys in shorts to show status. A pair of full pant trousers on a young boy is considered middle class and “suburban.” Although times are slowly changing, this overly traditional rule still seems to be in full force when it comes to Prince George.


8. Women must not show their hair

The royal dress code states that royal women must wear hats for formal occasions to avoid showing their hair in public. This rule was followed more diligently in the early 1900s. According to Diana Mather, a senior tutor for The English Manner etiquette consultancy, “Up until the 1950s ladies were very seldom seen without a hat as it was not considered ‘the thing’ for ladies to show their hair in public. But all that has changed and hats are now reserved for more formal occasions.” We think this shift in rules is for the better and that the hat tradition seems quite conservative for 2018!

Photo by REX Shutterstock

7. Don’t wear jeans

It’s rare to see a royal wearing jeans and is a rule that the Queen has enforced for years. Although in recent times it seems that the rule has become more lenient, we still definitely do think that jeans should be allowed in the royal dress code. They’re practical, comfortable and should be a wardrobe staple, even for royal figures! It’s all about time and place when it comes to jeans, and casual outings are definitely apropriate to bring out the denim.

REX Features

6. Don’t show bare legs

Before they were royals, both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle had a few public appearances that were quite risque in comparison to how they dress now. From low cut necklines, casual boots, and flashy textures, these ladies have seemed to have done it all. As soon as they joined the royal family, however, the Queen whipped them into shape and prompted that they refrain from showing their bare legs. Before her official marriage to Prince Harry, Markle seemed to have disregarded the rule and skipped out on the tights for many of her appearances, but now that she’s a Duchess she has succumbed to following the rule. Although we respect tradition, we also think that tights in 2018 shouldn’t have to be mandatory and seems a little outdated.

Photo by Gregory Pace

5. Clutches can be used to avoid shaking hands

The Queen has a secret fashion protocol behind the reason she always wears clutches! Supposedly the logic is that a clutch requires two hands to carry properly which allows her to graciously avoid awkward contact or shaking hands with the public if she wishes. This rule is something that Kate Middleton has largely adopted into her own dressing as well. As much as we understand this rule, we also think it feels a little cold. Lady Diana was the “People’s Princess” who had no problem shaking hands, hugging and getting down to the level of children to make eye contact and we believe the Royals should follow her example in being more approachable.

Source: Shutterstock

4. Royal women must not wear wedges

A strange and unexplained rule enforced by the Queen is that Duchesses and royal women should not wear wedges. During her early days as a royal family member, Kate Middleton used to favor the casual summer heel, but we can’t help but notice that in recent years she’s cut the style out of her wardrobe altogether. Wedges are a comfortable and stylish shoe which seems quite practical for long days of formal appearances, so we definitely think this royal dressing rule should be left in the past!

Source: Press Association

3. Royal women must keep their coats on

Another strange royal fashion rule is that women must keep their coats on during public appearances because it is deemed “unladylike” to remove them by the Queen. Based on our observation, often when all the men take their jackets off and relax, Middleton is still seen wearing her jacket, even indoors! Royal protocol states that if she wishes to remove her coat, she must excuse herself and remove it in private away from any cameras. This bizarre fashion rule is quite the head-scratcher, but one thing we know for sure is that it definitely shouldn’t exist anymore!

Photo by REX/Shutterstock

2. Royal women must not wear short dress hemlines

This one may seem obvious, but royal women are prohibited from wearing short hemlines or baring any skin above the knee. Often their dresses are modest and tea-length instead! Princess Diana seemed to break this rule during her reign with mini pencil skirts and shorter hemlines, and we really think Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle should follow her lead. We’re all for modesty when it comes to fashion, but showing a little leg in a classy way like Princess Diana definitely doesn’t hurt.

Source: Everett Collection

1. Royal women must not wear sleeveless attire

Another royal fashion rule that shouldn’t exist anymore is that women must not wear sleeveless attire. This rule has been broken on a few occasions, including this recent appearance of Meghan Markle wearing an off-the-shoulder dress, and we’re happy to see her moving royal fashion in the right direction! A sleeveless or off-the-shoulder dress can actually be very classy and sophisticated when styled properly and Markle proves that to be true with this sleek pink look.

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Photo by Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM

Olivia Di Pede

Olivia Di Pede

Olivia loves all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. In her free time, she can be found taking yoga classes, reading thriller novels, and styling outfits on Instagram.