If two’s a coincidence and three makes a trend, what do you call it when you spot a pattern four, five, or six times in a row? A craze? A movement? When this instance happens to be a very specific silhouette—a bateau neckline—on a singular high-profile person—Meghan Markle—perhaps it’s something completely different altogether. Which is where we called in some backup, specifically in the form of professional advice from fashion psychologist Carolyn Mair, Ph.D., founder of Psychology for Fashion and author of The Psychology of Fashion.
For starters, let’s break down just how prevalent the boatneck trend has become on the newest member of the British royal family.
“I would imagine it’s either her intention or perhaps she has stylists who have said to her, ‘let’s create a silhouette that’s identifying you for now as you’re establishing yourself as this attractive royal figure,’” Mair says.
Mair also explained why this particular silhouette (granted, one we can trace back to Markle since before she dated Prince Harry as well) has become the Duchess’s choice. “I can see why it’s appealing to her because she can’t wear clothing that's revealing now, like with cleavage or backless. She’s restricted on what she wears in public at least, so this is a way of showing her collarbone, which is a very attractive feature of women.”
Like Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte, Markle’s fashion choices aren’t just becoming a fixture of fashion history, but they’re changing how we shop too. As Pinterest reports, searches for bateau necklines have already increased over 104%.
Furthermore, as Mair explains, what Markle wears matters, and not only for those who aspire to dress like the actress-turned–royal family member. Instead, her consistent style choices are perhaps helping to ground her visual identity in history—arguably making her a style icon much like the other matriarchs in her new chosen family. “If someone,” including those not particularly interested in fashion, she adds, “were to describe [her], it’s something someone can easily hang onto.”