An explanation of So Many Thoughts and the ~thinking~ behind it.
So Many Thoughts, explained
What is So Many Thoughts?
So Many Thoughts, or SMT as we all like to call it, is a sartorial commentary series on the royal family on Instagram Stories. I annotate pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton) and the Duchess of Sussex (aka Meghan Markle) with, what I hope are, brief, entertaining, and informative insights.
Why do you care so much about what Kate and Meghan wear?
Excellent question! The royal family needs to prove its relevancy and doing so requires the members to walk a fine line between aspirational and relatable. Their clothing plays a big part in that.
How, you may ask? Most of us will never have a chance to chat with a member of the royal family in person (if, only!). But we all see the pictures of them, all the time. And the first thing most people notice—before we know the cause they are supporting or the event they are attending—is what they are wearing. The royals know that very well! And they use their clothes to send a message, whether it’s a swoon-worthy ball gown (the glitz + the glamour!) or a pair of sneakers (royals, they’re just like us!)
The royal’s choices have far-reaching effects, too. Take the black skinny jeans by Outland Denim that Meghan wore many times during the 2018 royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga. The brand, which trains and employs exploited women, was able to hire a dozen new seamstresses as a result of the publicity. All from a pair of skinnies!
Wait, who are you?
Hi, I’m Elizabeth! I’m a longtime journalist, having spent more than a decade on staff at the Wall Street Journal, most recently as a senior style reporter and columnist. I am now a freelance writer, with published pieces in The New York Times, Elle, InStyle, Real Simple, Town & Country, Business of Fashion...the list goes on! I use my reporting chops, and what I have learned from covering fashion, branding and marketing, to inform my royal commentary.
My latest is on the cover of February’s Town & Country magazine, a piece on Anne Hathaway.
How in the heck do I read SMT? And what’s with all the abbreviations?
Always start at the top of the column with the > in it and read to the bottom, then go to the other column and read top to bottom. Also, always: Tap to hold! TAP TO HOLD!
If the print is too small, screenshot it and then pinch and zoom to read.
I try to fit as many Thoughts as I can onto a picture, and so I often end up using some shorthand from the zeitgeist. Here is a list of commonly used SMT abbreviations and phrases, decoded for you.
And what do you mean by dressing for the slideshow?
Dressing for the slideshow is the term I came up with to describe the method and progression we see with royal dressing.
But, first, let’s back up. Styling is an art, and much more than just picking what looks pretty! Stylists are masters of dressing methodically to send a message. It’s especially true beyond a one-off event, when using a progression of looks to build a personal brand.
Take a celebrity who is on the red carpet circuit for award show season. She will work with a stylist to map out a series of looks with subtle themes threaded throughout using colors, silhouettes, textures. It will have a cadence to it, building from quieter moments to big show stoppers. Costume designers do this masterfully, too, on a movie or a television series.
Meghan, a former actress, knows this well! She is building her brand, and crafting a signature style, very deliberately. It began shortly after the wedding, when Meghan wore a string of blush dresses that were all variations on one another. Then she moved to boat-neck styles, very reminiscent of her Givenchy wedding dress, but in a range of colors. On the royal tour, she favored solid-color dresses with crewnecks, nipped waists and full skirts.
The result is often a slideshow — literally! — compiled by the websites and fan accounts that follow royal style. It makes it very easy, and visually appealing, for editors to draw comparisons and make collages of past looks. And for the public to get a sense of her personal style.
Check out my Instagram profile page for a better visual explainer of this! Scroll to find it in my highlights.
What is this #TeamBoth philosophy you preach?
There is a tendency, among some royal enthusiasts, to choose a royal — either Team Kate or Team Meghan — and fiercely defend that person to the point of tearing down the other. I am a firm believer that there is no need to choose! We should follow, appreciate, and think critically about the choices of both duchesses. In a world where people tend to go to extremes, I think there is tremendous benefit in living in the complicated, nuanced middle.
#TeamBoth is a philosophy that I hope can be applied beyond the royals, into other parts of life.
There are so many other fashionable royals. And people. Why won’t you SMT those folks?
I know! Right now, it’s just a matter of hours in the day. But it is a goal of mine to expand SMT into other royals, other celebrities, other parts of life. Thank you so much for reading!