Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

Filomena Kaguako

The Orgasm Gap: ‘We have this frustrating myth that sex is easy and innate’

Aoife Drury

Single parenting in a pandemic: ‘I cry alone in the car so the kids don’t...

Lia Hynes

Author Ruth Gilligan: ‘I have slowly colonised our flat’s small second bedroom into my writing...

Sophie Grenham

About 400,000 women in Ireland have this condition and don’t know


Why the 2021 Golden Globes are being overshadowed by controversy

Jennifer McShane

3 rural homes in Co Cork on sale for €175,000 and under

Megan Burns

GALLERY: Beautiful gowns from The Golden Globes through the years

Jennifer McShane

Practical and stylish: 12 baskets we absolutely love for every budget

Megan Burns

Image / Fashion

Why this parka coat is a symbol of Meghan Markle’s newfound freedom

17th Jan 2020

Meghan Markle stepped out in Toronto wearing a parka she adorned many times pre-Harry. This is why it’s important 

The clothes we wear are often a direct reflection of the intricacies of our lives.

It’s not as simple as putting on a t-shirt. Nor is our choice of jeans dependent on what pair are easiest to reach. There are reasons behind it. Feelings such as fear, hatred, joy, and love play as much of a part in the process as personal taste does.

Meghan Markle stepped out in Toronto during the week wearing a green parka that she had worn numerous times before she became the Duchess of Sussex — back when she could roll up her yoga mat and stroll to a local studio.

While she may have worn that coat in private during her freshman royal years, her public persona was a different sartorial story.

Structured shapes and clean lines. Two-piece dress suits. Pointed courts. Fascinators galore. Gowns and jewels and a continuous streaming service of refined glam became her uniform.

A declaration

Anyone who knows what it’s like to wear a uniform – literally and figuratively – will know how it feels to then dress for you. It’s a special type of freedom, like shackles being freed from your limbs.

For Meghan, walking out in public following the #Megxit debacle was going to be a declaration. Whatever she wore was bound to be scrutinised but the parka was a visceral statement to the world.

It was her articulating that she was taking back a part of herself that she had to give up.

The Meghan she was before Harry.

The Meghan before the Daily Mail.

And the Meghan before her clothes were used as a projection of the royal establishment she married into.

Meghan pictured in Toronto during the week 


In some way, we can all relate to Meghan. During our schooldays, the dreaded uniform felt like a trap. Many of us (myself included) shortened skirts to prove a point or wore makeup or dyed hair just to tell the institution that they couldn’t take away our individuality.

The corporate world functions in a similar way. Straight suits mean straight talking. The clothes speak business and nothing else.

We use our clothes to articulate a part of ourselves. The facet we want the world to see and the character we want to portray.

Outside of the work environment, we are often different people. Some of us wear flamboyant prints and textures because our clothes are a form of self-expression. Others spend weekends and evenings in athleisure wear, either because we are fitness fanatics or we yearn for comfort and release. While many of us wear a simple t-shirt and jeans because we want life to be just that, simple.

Life shifts

When a significant shift in life occurs, our clothes are an extension of the change. Weight loss or gain instigates a revision in how we look at our bodies and how we dress them. Illness and treatment influence the textures we choose. While grief, love, and sexuality become physical things we can touch.

Meghan’s life has now once again changed and it would be foolish to look at the parka as anything other than a statement.

It may not have been for the world but it certainly was for her.

She was claiming back a little bit of the life she chose to leave behind. She was shedding the oppressive uniform.

She showed that clothes can be the most perfect form of emancipation.

And that for some of us, freedom might just be a coat or a dress.

It’s small but it’s ours alone and that’s enough.

Read more: This Alexa Chung outfit is a nineties nostalgia masterpiece

Read more: Megxit: the blaming of Meghan Markle for the Royal Retirement is misogyny at work

Read more: Breaking: Harry and Meghan to step back as senior royals

Also Read

knitted co-ords
All you need is a light sweater: Pretend it’s spring with these 5 pastel knitted co-ords

We cannot get enough of knitwear sets at the minute, particular in these ice-cream shades.

By Lauren Heskin

London Fashion Week
The London Fashion Week beauty trends you’ll actually want to wear

Lived-in, luxe hair, chic chignons, swooping liner and intricate nail art; these are the AW21 London Fashion Week beauty trends you'll actually want to wear.

By Holly O'Neill

We need to talk about the US Presidential Inauguration fashion

Yes, we do. Let’s park the discourse that discussing the...

By Holly O'Neill

Stuck in a fashion rut? Here are 6 ways to get out of your comfort zone

If you’re stuck in a fashion rut, there’s no need...

By Freya Drohan

This one classic top is going to transform your winter wardrobe

Groundbreaking, it ain’t, but the roll-necks versatility could make it...

By Holly O'Neill

All your favourite brands now make loungewear — these are the chicest of the bunch

By Holly O'Neill

The future of luxury: Will Covid-19 change fashion forever?

If luxury-goods companies are to survive, they must take swift action to shape their digital future, writes Ashley McDonnell

By Ashley McDonnell

Simone Rocha x H&M
Go behind-the-scenes of the Simone Rocha x H&M collection

See can you spot what’s coming from the Simone Rocha...

By Holly O'Neill