A Fashion Editor's Verdict On Meghan Markle's Charity Capsule Collection

Smart without being flashy, these really are items Meghan would wear, says the Telegraph's senior fashion editor Caroline Leaper

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex launches the Smart Works capsule collection at John Lewis Oxford Street. Photo / Getty Images

What are the building blocks of a British woman’s workwear wardrobe?

The Duchess of Sussex believes she has the answers; her new capsule collection, launched yesterday for the charity Smart Works in collaboration with British institutions Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Partners, and Jigsaw, plus her friend, the New York-based designer Misha Nonoo, aims to provide an edit of essential workwear for women who need them most.

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The Duchess proved that she has, since moving to the UK almost two years ago, developed an understanding of the cornerstones of British style; her “Smart Set” collection could be as useful to an established banker commuting on London’s Tube as a stay-at-home mum going to her first job interview in 20 years. The edit comprises a dress, trousers and jacket, a shirt and a tote.

From Marks and Spencer, you can buy the £19.50 ($37.60) crepe shift dress, available in black and cobalt. From John Lewis, there is a classic leather tote bag, priced at £109 ($210), which Megan confirms is “big enough to fit a CV in”. Jigsaw has designed the suit, a black jacket and trousers based on their bestselling Paris tailoring, while Misha Nonoo has created her “perfect” white shirt.

For every piece bought in stores, a like-for-like item will be donated to the charity.

Meghan’s vision, she explained, was to fill the holes that she has identified in the charity’s warehouse-sized walk-in wardrobes. Smart Works has helped more than 15,000 British women back into employment via a two-pronged approach of personal styling and interview training. Outfit donations typically come in the form of end-of-season stock from retailers, or clothes that other women don’t want any more and have donated.

Through volunteering at the charity’s London centres, Meghan has identified what kinds of clothes the charity most needs. Ultimately, she says, it’s basics.

“The bag I think will be so helpful to the [dressing volunteers],” she said yesterday at the collection’s launch. “It’s so useful to have these more classic colours rather than a bag in, say, orange to go to an interview. Orange is lovely, but you might not need that for the job interview.”

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She joked, also, of seeing rails full of lilac blazers on previous visits; a fun style twist for some, but not to every woman’s taste when being dressed for an interview that could change their life.

The pieces which she has approved for the charity are also remarkably similar to those which form her own repertoire. Her signature look is a white shirt, unbuttoned a little with the cuffs turned up.

Ultimately, these really are clothes that the Duchess would wear herself. To prove it, she attended yesterday’s event in the shirt and trousers, adding a pair of Manolo Blahnik tan suede heels and a brown Ralph Lauren belt.

— The Daily Telegraph 

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