Naturally, as soon as HELLO! broke the news that Duchess Meghan’s Marks & Spencer dress was on sale, we flashed the cash and bought one for ourselves. The black dress, at £19.50, was a total bargain and although it’s ideal for a smart interview, could it work for anything else or would it just hang in your wardrobe ready for a smart meeting with the boss? I put it to the test....
SHOP: Black dress, £19.50, Marks & Spencer
The intended look: An interview outfit
Ok, so Meghan and the Smart Works team worked really hard on choosing the perfect dress that's ideal for an interview, and I think they aced the brief. The dress felt nice on, it didn’t cling, it didn’t crease and it can be smartened up with a blazer and, if you’re lucky, the £109 John Lewis tote bag that’s also in the Smart Works Capsule Collection. I added a grey Topshop blazer, £49, and a pair of tan snakeskin shoes from Office, £62, to pull in the colour of the John Lewis tote. I’m not sure I personally would wear this to an interview, but if I worked in a more corporate environment, I assume it would be a winner.
Tried and tested: A work look
Granted, I don’t tuck in dresses to my skirts very often, or at all really, but I thought I’d give it a whirl by teaming Meghan’s dress with Primark’s monochrome skirt, £13. I am a little bit obsessed with this skirt and it's very similar to the Victoria Beckham design that Meghan has hanging in her wardrobe. I added a pair of court shoes from H&M, £19.99, and a black belt from Primark, £3.
Would I tuck in a black dress to a skirt in the future? Potentially - I don’t see why not. Plus, if you spill some soup down your skirt over lunch, you have a back-up outfit on underneath. It’s pretty genius, right?
Tried and tested: A ‘trendy’ look
Could Meghan’s dress be transformed into an outfit I’d wear to Friday night drinks or a hot date? Well, this was quite tricky... the dress falls to the knee so I needed it to be a little shorter so it didn’t seem so work-y. I took Trinny Woodall's infamous advice and winched it in with a belt from Primark, £3, and added a pair of my favourite Topshop boots. They’ve got a western vibe to them and bang on trend for Autumn. I layered the dress over a polo neck to give it a different look and I added a new faux leather coat from Primark, £25. I love this jacket so much but I still didn’t feel super trendy in Meghan’s dress - probably because it’s not exactly a trendy number. I added a baker boy hat from Mint Velvet, £39, and it just made me feel a lot more stylish. The power of an accessory, right?
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Tried and tested: Going out-OUT
Now, this was the ultimate test. Could Meghan’s black dress designed to nail an interview be transformed into a going out-out dress? Weirdly, this was the easiest to pull together - thanks to a lot of bling. If all else fails - add a jewelled accessory, that’s what I say! The headband from French Fashion House, £40, seriously elevated this look, as did the £15.99 belt I found in Zara. My favourite part of this outfit was the £129 blazer I added from Mint Velvet - it felt so luxurious, which in turn made my entire outfit feel more expensive. I finished off the look with a pair of super high sandals from Office, £69, and a pair of chandelier earrings from Primark, £3, just for that little extra bling.
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I imagine this dress is a runaway hit with anyone who works in a corporate environment, and someone who wants to feel comfortable in their smart workwear but not restricted. I think you can accessorise this dress to make it work for the evening but it's tricky to transform it into a trendy look. Ultimately, Meghan chose the perfect frock to include in her capsule collection, and the fact you get change for twenty pounds is just incredible.
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