Home style Secrets of the Stylish: the Queen’s fashion legacy

Secrets of the Stylish: the Queen’s fashion legacy

Secrets of the Stylish: the Queen’s fashion legacy

“The Queen’s style has always been timeless,” historian and royal expert Amanda Foreman tells us. “No matter what decade you look at her, it’s always been slightly ahead of fashion, and yet at the same time, unplaceable. And that’s what makes her so special.”

Having spent a remarkable 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-serving monarch in British history, and her image has become inextricably linked with that of the United Kingdom. As such, her style has always been considered a signifier of the times; while in her later years she has become known as “the Queen of colour”, thanks to her penchant for block-colour brights – making her seem a pillar of strength and consistency – in the early years of her reign, she demonstrated through her wardrobe what it meant to be both a fashion-conscious mother and head of state.

london, united kingdom   january 01  queen elizabeth ll greets the public during a silver jubilee walkabout on january 01, 1977 in london, england photo by anwar husseingetty images

Anwar HusseinGetty Images

“The Queen’s style evolved over time,” says costume designer Michele Clapton, who was responsible for the historically accurate looks seen in season one of royal Netflix drama, The Crown. “I think part of her style came around through necessity. Even before she became the Queen she was a style icon. People loved her and followed her like a movie star… She adapts to any situation, yet she always does it with dignity and with an eye for style.”

“She’s always on point – she never gets it wrong,” adds celebrity stylist Miranda Almond, who is also contributing fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s classic, it’s chic, it’s bold, colourful, sophisticated. She always makes sure that she stands out, but she never overtly stands out.”

london, england   june 02   queen elizabeth ii and prince edward, duke of kent on the balcony of buckingham palace during the trooping the colour parade on june 02, 2022 in london, england the platinum jubilee of elizabeth ii is being celebrated from june 2 to june 5, 2022, in the uk and commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of queen elizabeth ii on 6 february 1952  photo by chris jacksongetty images

Chris Jackson

So what style lessons can we learn from Her Majesty?

“For the older ladies, she’s such a style icon,” says Almond. “Why do you have to give up on your fashion choices as you get older? The Queen clearly hasn’t and I think that’s really encouraging. So I think the best style lesson you can take from the Queen is to stick to what you know and what works for you – and have a little bit of fun with it.”

queen and horse

Reg SpellerGetty Images

Foreman agrees: “What’s so important about the Queen is that she is able to promote an idea of femininity and womanhood that is completely authentic and honest to being a woman. She hasn’t had to try to wear extra make-up or wear ‘sexy’ clothes, or pretend that she’s something other than what she is. That is very empowering for all women – to know that as they get older they can dress comfortably, they can dress beautifully, they can wear colours, but above all, they can be themselves and be respected.”

queen prince philip are moving out of windsor castle

Antony JonesGetty Images

In our exclusive video above, the three experts dissect the Queen’s various looks through the ages, discuss what exactly it is that we all find so fascinating about royal fashion, and share what they think her enduring style legacy will be.

Videographer: Eleonora Cristin

Senior producer: Lauren McCall

Digital editor: Sarah Karmali

Hair and make-up: Laura Tucker

Locations: The Biltmore Mayfair and One Aldwych

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