I enjoyed watching Suits – at least at first, until it got boring. The women in the series were very sleek and wore, what purported to be, modern American workwear, so there was plenty to look at even when the story line tanked.
There was Donna the slightly naughty redhead; the cool, calculating female boss Jessica; and Rachel Zane (paralegal to qualified lawyer) – played by Meghan Markle. All three had that Corporate America look – toned figures, tight outfits, and lots of suppressed sexual allure. The polished look of flamboyantly blow dried hair, high heels, and lots of booty (possibly enhanced by Spanx). I was taken with Markle and found her rather lovely in the show.
Unusually for me (as I don’t follow sufficient popular culture) when it was announced she was dating the younger Wales boy – Harry the “spare” prince – I actually knew who she was, and I could understand the attraction.
With beautiful features and a fresh, radiant look there is no doubt that Meghan is very pretty. She has a balanced face, cute features, dark eyes and an intriguing facial mix of sharp edges and and softer lines. Although her hair is straightened her dual heritage (white/African American) background has given her an intriguing and unique look. She is also very photogenic. I love her in the deep red lipstick in the first picture which celebrates her full lips and brings her colouring to life. The second picture is of her more obvious “red carpet” look and to me she looks more run-of-the-mill.
Let’s have a look at her body shape. A swimsuit picture can help us to help identify the overall silhouette.
Here is Meghan in a bikini compared to Prince Harry’s Mum – Princess Diana. Immediately we can see that they both have a straight figure – the shoulders are wider than the hips, relatively small bust, the waistline is not well defined, with slim hips, thighs and legs. Of course they are not very similar to look at, and Diana was about five inches taller, but the underlying body shape is the same.
With a straight body shape the best look will be straight, fairly structured dresses, and tailored jackets. Let’s have a look at Meghan in this style of dress – which she choses frequently. This shiny, leather (?) dress is best described as a short (mini length) coat dress, with the nice button details on the sleeves and jetted pockets. The deep V neck showing lots of skin is an OK look but it creates an ambiguous focal point. Slim girls with an athletic build and small bust can wear a very revealing top, but maybe a little higher would look better?
Another version would be this deep red, brocade dress. Although this one seems to go the other way in terms of cleavage – with its demure high necked collar, the stiff fabric, boxy shape and mid thigh length is similar. These two dresses are good choices in that much of the emphasis is on the delicate leg – enhanced by wearing rather elegant, pointed shoes.
Both of these dresses – and there are many more on the internet – are a good choice for someone with a straight or semi-straight figure. The structural fabrics look really nice and have a 1960s youthfulness about them and they really flatter a skinny leg.
Now consider a few dresses Meghan has chosen to disguise her figure and “break the rules”. Let’s consider the gorgeous midi length dress below. I am reading this as Meghan wanting to look grown up and more feminine. This red dress is much longer than she normally wears and the skirt flares out over her hips. The bust is attractive without being too overtly in your face (I include the Deal or No Deal picture just to show how not to dress. The skimpy padded bra/slip dress is just nasty, in my opinion). The issue for a woman with slim legs is that they can look too frail and out of proportion under a longer, full skirt. It looks to me like the midi dress may be tapered slightly towards the hem so that this effect is not over exaggerated.
Here is another dress which I feel works slightly against the grain, but again with good results. The cut in shoulders and lovely pleated neck detail, frames her face, and minimises Meghan’s relatively square, broad shoulders. The tight, elasticated fabric makes the most of the waist line and pulls in under the hips, before flaring out into a nice fish tail.
Let’s finish with some trouser pictures. If you have a straight figure with slim legs and delicate ankles all these trouser looks will suit you. A neat shorts suit with a shirt and jacket; skinny wet-look leggings with a shirt and jumper; a billowing blouse over skinnies. Although most of these looks are high street rather than high fashion the style is very accessible and nicely put together.
Let’s finish with a picture of Meghan with Harry. Here she looks great in a big, boyish shirt, artfully tucked to give a semblance of waist, unadorned (ripped even) skinny jeans, and lovely flat brown shoes and matching casual bag. With loose hair, sunglasses and a happy smile she looks just great.
What do you think?
It’s not easy to judge garments from photos, but of the dresses I prefer the blue gown. The others all miss in one way or another (to me). Silver leather – bad proportions, red high necked dress – nasty fabric,red midi – ok but boring,red slip dress -ugh.
Just another broodmare to the studfarm I’m afraid. She’ll be styled into a clone of the Middleton bint, blah blah. Next please!
It just shows how good jeans and a white shirt can look – plus she looks the happiest in that picture ( unsurprisingly ). I did like her in the fishtail dress as well as it showed some originality and suited her.
Interesting selection of images that really show us that every figure has stronger and weaker looks in terms of fashion. Markle looked great on the show but as someone living in North America, I would have to disagree with your statement that the show represented corporate North America. Based on what I see on a daily basis, the version of corporate style created by Suits, in no way reflects the reality of the 2nd largest city I live in. Such body con dressing and vertiginous heels may be an evening look but are certainly not a business look. I am not aware of any professional women around me who dress with suppressed sexual allure to highlight their toned bodies. We have worked too hard to reach the positions we are in to play that game. Hollywood may be powerful but, as has been shown time and time again, it does not reflect reality. Incidentally, there were many episodes in which I wondered if the actresses were actually sewn into their dress like Marilyn Monroe was back in her day as they were so tight. God help them if they actually had to bend down to pick up a pen or paper clip! 🙂
Well said Dagmar. We are all at the mercy of the media’s view of a perfect woman. A woman who can not breath in her tight outfit and who spends most of her day at the gym. No quality of life just form over function! Lol
100% agree. Party clothes maybe: work clothes never!
That was my thought too. I actually worked in an office (banking) where one of the women was reprimanded for wearing her dresses and suits too tight and too short. Actually told to hire a stylist to help her purchase more work appropriate clothing. That is Hollywood’s version of a corporate office not real life in most corporate offices even in NYC.
Thanks for the comments Dagmar, Karen and Carolyn. I used the word “purported” to indicate that it was a fantasy image – TV and films reflect reality, but always idealised. I think there is a fantasy image in the UK too Dagmar – perhaps represented by Gillian Anderson in the Fall, or Suranne Jones in Dr Foster – but it is somewhat different. I think I may try to address this in a further post.
I think this whole idea of the depiction of powerful women in films and TV is a fascinating one. Why is it that these women are usually shown to be hyper feminine (in clothing/hair/make up that really accentuates their gender and shape)? Would we not watch these shows if they looked the way most of us do in our daily environments? I admit that I did watch Suits for a period of time and I certainly admired the clothing and how sleek these women looked all the while pondering how they managed to eat more than a carrot stick for lunch never mind enjoy a dessert or glass of wine! I know from watching some international TV (British/French German) that powerful women as goddesses is a really common theme in Europe too. It is rare that we get to see a dumpy, frazzled successful woman. A few come to mind such as an old American show, Cagny and Lacey in which the two leads were strong independent woman (although very relatable, they were not exactly dumpy) and a couple of British cop dramas with names I don’t remember in which the female detectives or head of police organizations were average women with regular lives, looks and problems. There may be others but I am not that up to date on current TV shows.
I think the big difference in USA portrayal of leading women in TV shows versus British women is this: in the USA the women never wear the same outfit twice and their homes are all sunlit and fabulously furnished. In contrast European TV shows are more realistic. Stars do not all have even shiny white teeth, gorgeous non wrinkled outfits and showroom ready dwelling places. Happy Valley, Broadchurch and Vera come to mind as examples. European stars (Judith Dench, Helen Mirren etc) are not as plastic and stiff as their US counterparts. In my humble opinion by the way, lol.
Yes I have been thinking about what is on our UK screen. Certainly we seem to celebrate gritty realism over polished. I have enjoyed Happy Valley which in terms of the look of the women, their clothes, attitudes and outfits seem realistic to me.
I had no idea she was famous for anything besides Harry. But that’s american tabloids for you. I am glad to know she has a vocation. Everyone should have a job. What does he do now? (ducks) 😉
I have watched Suits and thought that most of the clothes the women wear were much too tight. Rather than looking stylish they often looked like they had squeezed into something one size too small . This seems to be the fashion but I think it cheapens the look.
Interesting analysis and comments – I too was thinking of Cagney and Lacey as the discussion of workplace depictions of professional women on TV unfolded. The blue dress is strikingly attractive – the longer length makes her appear to be less fragile. Sort of a sad face in many of these pictures……
Totally off topic (except that it was on TV), but did I just see you portrayed in a Tracey Ullman skit?
I have been told this before but I have never seen it, so I don’t know.
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