By Alexandra Whittaker
Updated Aug 29, 2018 @ 4:30 pm
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Leave it to Meghan Markle to lull us into a false sense of wardrobe monotony with a parade of blush pink outfits, and then slam us in the face with a fashion risk.

The Duchess of Sussex stepped out to watch Hamilton with her husband Prince Harry on Wednesday, but it was her dress that was the center of attention — a very short tuxedo minidress by the brand Judith and Charles (shop the look-alike here), sans royal protocol pantyhose. Objectively speaking, it breaks multiple royal fashion rules.

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The outfit is black, which is typically worn only in mourning (with the notable exception of fellow rule-breaker Princess Diana). It's much shorter than anything Markle has worn post-royal wedding thus far. It isn't paired with flesh-colored pantyhose, which is one of Queen Elizabeth's biggest pet peeves. And it's not by a British designer, which is what royals tend to wear as much as possible.

So what gives? Why would she choose now to make more of a style statement and go bold? Turns out, there are a few reasons why now is an opportune time, actually. Instead of choosing a more conservative, below-the-knee, muted color look like she did during her first post-royal wedding visit, Markle might have chosen to make a statement simply because this wasn't a larger event involving other royals.

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Unlike many of her other appearances thus far, she was alone with Harry, and the press attention was relatively minimal (compared to say, her and Kate going to a tennis match). She wasn't trying to sort out protocol with Queen Elizabeth, or make official greetings with Kate Middleton.

Most of the summer family events have gone by on the calendar, and having managed to make it through them all in one piece, a public date night with Harry probably feels like a cakewalk in comparison. And what better way to show you're happy and comfortable than by dressing true to your own style?

Without the increased publicity that comes when multiple senior royals are together in one place, it was a great opportunity for Markle to just dress for herself, for once. That kind of energy does translate in what she chose, since this look — while much bolder and sexier than anything she's worn as the Duchess of Sussex — looks just like many of her night out choices, pre-Prince Harry.

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Whether or not the presence or absence of other royals plays into it, there's one thing for sure: It's good to see Markle wearing something other than blush pink.