December 4, 2023


Trailblazing shopping quality

A look at Queen Elizabeth II’s style through the decades

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II retains on to her hat in higher winds as she comes for a check out to RAF Valley, Anglesey, Wales on April 1, 2011. (AP Picture/Christopher Furlong, File)

Queen Elizabeth II just may possibly have the most difficult working wardrobe on the planet.

“Every outfit worn in public is very carefully calibrated to encourage or remind, to signal gratitude or respect, to express a perception of ability or familiarity,” wrote The Mail on Sunday in 2015. “Her Majesty neither sets developments nor follows them – but whilst she is deaf to the siren call of trend, she has her own singular type.”

From her tiaras, hats and Hermes scarves to her Launer London purses and even her umbrellas, the queen’s design has been hyper-documented considering that her beginning, young princess days, ascension to the throne and now, additional than 70 several years into her reign, as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee afterwards this week at age 96.

Now regarded for her vivid coats (so as to be witnessed by large crowds) with matching brimmed hats, the queen was a younger, glamorous princess and monarch in before many years.

Some highlights of the queen’s model by means of the many years:


Cotton or wool? The queen’s pretty beginning prompted model discussion, writes Bethan Holt, vogue editor of The Telegraph and writer of this year’s “The Queen: 70 A long time of Majestic Type.”

Her wardrobe from the get-go was a subject of national fascination with a layette sewn by her mom and grandmother, and a little help from underprivileged women of all ages all over Britain. Declaring that babies in wool seemed like “little gnomes,” Lilibet’s mum, then the Duchess of York, opted for frilly cotton, rejecting just about anything much too fussy.

When sister Margaret arrived along 4 many years afterwards, the princesses generally twinned it, dressing alike into their teenagers. But the foreseeable future queen as a female “never cared a fig” about garments, according to her former governess, Marion Crawford.

“She wore what she was explained to without having argument, apart from a lengthy, drab waterproof coat that she loathed,” Crawford wrote in her controversial memoir, “The Minimal Princesses.”


With the tumultuous abdication of her uncle and the rise of her father to turn out to be King George VI, Princess Elizabeth became heiress presumptive (absent any foreseeable future male heir, who in no way materialized).

Enter couturier Norman Hartnell, according to Holt. While there ended up other designers, he was entrusted with dressing the family members as they emerged on the planet phase, which includes the two princesses at ages 11 and 6. Their “bow-adorned attire and very little cloaks signalled a return to the relaxed dependability of the monarchy,” Holt wrote.

Throughout Environment War II, 18-year-old Elizabeth commenced to make additional community appearances, training as a mechanic in early 1945 toward the close of the war. It was the only time she routinely wore trousers (and boiler suits), according to Holt.

The queen was, and stays, a useful dresser when required, but also glamorous in sparkly gowns when the second beckoned. And she generally went limited sleeved or with no sleeves at all, something that does not occur these days. She stood for images with Prince Philip in a uncomplicated, light-weight-colored gown with sleeves earlier mentioned the elbow and peekaboo very low heels on her measurement 4 (6 U.S.) ft shortly in advance of their marriage ceremony in 1947.

“People want to see their royals hunting like royals, but equally, they really don’t want to assume that taxpayers’ cash is currently being blown away,” said Nick Bullen, editor in main of True Royalty Television set.

THE Wedding day Costume

Caroline de Guitaut, curator of The Royal Assortment, arranges the wedding dress of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, at Buckingham Palace in London on July 27, 2007. On Nov. 20 2007, the Queen and Prince Philip celebrated 60 a long time of relationship. (AP Picture/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Hartnell remodeled the florals of Botticelli’s “Primavera” into a robe of white crystals and pearls. But it was not straightforward. There ended up diplomatic questions in the continue to-depressing aftermath of the war, Holt wrote. Customs impounded 10,000 seed pearls from the U.S., and journalists were being certain that the origins of the silk made in Kent and woven in Essex were being worms from “nationalist” China somewhat than “enemy” Japan.

1000’s in the U.K. sent in their ration discount codes for Princess Elizabeth to use for gown materials. That would have been illegal, so she saved up her have and requested the governing administration for 200 added, Holt instructed The Associated Press.

“It confirmed the thirst there was in the place for this big minute of glamour,” she explained. “In the latest yrs, we have identified the queen and Prince Philip as this sweet old few but we have to recall, in that time they ended up this dazzling, glamorous new few on the scene.”

The wedding was not without the need of behind-the-scenes drama. Queen Mary’s Fringe tiara, made by Elizabeth’s grandmother from a necklace specified to Mary by Queen Victoria, snapped proper in advance of the ceremony and was rushed off to crown jeweler Garrard for fix.

The gown, and the marriage ceremony, offered “a actual moment of hope,” Holt said.


She settled decades back on skirts and dresses just beneath the knee, but her hemlines ended up occasionally an problem for senior associates of her spouse and children. In 1952, the 25-yr-old queen led her relatives in mourning at her father’s funeral in accordance to rigid dress codes established out throughout the reign of Queen Victoria, according to Holt.

As Queen Mary curtsied to her granddaughter and kissed every cheek, she admonished: “Lilibet, your skirts are substantially also brief for mourning,” Holt writes. The new queen’s costume hovered properly over her ankles however respectfully underneath the knee, when that of her grandmother attained the floor. All, together with Queen Elizabeth II, had been shrouded in black veils, as Queen Victoria was for 40 a long time soon after the dying of Prince Albert in 1861.

“The evolution of the queen’s style from youthful princess to longest-serving monarch in British background has her getting of the time but not following trend,” Bullen said.

Acquiring A UNIFORM

The queen we know today wears sensible block heels or brogues, normally handmade by Anello & Davide, a custom Launer perched on her arm and a brooch on one shoulder. She goes with kilts and skirts in tartans and plaids as her state model. But the queen of the early 1950s charmed the globe in nipped-in waists, pencil silhouettes and some floaty, entire experiments as a publish-war fashion quake took hold in the state.

“In the early several years of her reign, she definitely embraced Dior’s New Look aesthetic, and women looked to her outfits as a source of inspiration, a lot like people today do with the Duchess of Cambridge currently,” explained Kristin Contino, style reporter for Website page Six.

There was a playful glamour in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, including a daring multicolored night costume in 1999 for a Royal Selection Functionality. Produced by Karl-Ludwig Rehse, it showcased a riotous sequin diamond-pattern bodice of brilliant yellow, blue, green and pink.

There were being also some trouser times and a turban period in the `60s and ’70s amid a broad array of hat types.

The queen realized of her father’s passing on a cease in Kenya en route to Australia. Some experiences point out she was sporting jeans for an face with a herd of elephants the second her father died in his slumber at Sandringham, Holt wrote. She donned slacks on safari in Zambia in 1979, and a trouser established in 2003 as she still left King Edward VIII hospital in London immediately after a knee operation.

It was Margaret, the rebel, who was renowned as a style plate in Dior and other designers, and her affect on Elizabeth was tangible. Tiny sister served the queen scout new British designers and launched her to up-and-comers, this kind of as milliner Simone Mirman, in accordance to Holt. Mirman developed some of the queen’s standout hats, such as her Tudor-fashion “medieval helmet,” as Hartnell identified as it, in gentle yellow, for the 1969 investiture of Prince Charles.

“Margaret was seriously in tune with manner. She would have been the a single reading through Vogue. And so she would typically go with the queen to appointments to aid her inject that minor little bit of extra design and style into her looks,” Holt reported.

Typically sticking to British designers, the queen has a extensive-held fondness for silk scarves by the French trend residence Hermes. The manufacturer has issued quite a few specific models in her honor. It did so in 2016 with a horse-themed scarf to mark her 90th birthday.

1 doesn’t equate the queen of today with a mad rush to duplicate her type, but for a transient spell in the 1950s women of all ages could do just that many thanks to her like of cotton attire in dainty floral or abstract prints from Horrockses Fashions, a British ready-to-have on model, Holt reported.

One more glance from people early yrs stands out as properly. In Oct 1952, quickly after ascending the throne, the queen was a feeling at the Empire Theatre for a royal viewing of the musical comedy “Because You are Mine.” She wore a tuxedo-like Hartnell robe in black with a white front and wide lapels in a halter style, paired with lengthy white gloves, a tiara on her head and a diamond bracelet on just one wrist.

She strike every single journal and newspaper the upcoming day. Suppliers rushed to duplicate it. It was dubbed the Magpie and she in no way wore it all over again.


The queen enjoys to color coordinate, sticking to dazzling colours and pastels in coats and floral dresses now.

That goes for her signature distinct, chook-cage umbrellas as well. They’re built by Fulton Umbrellas and are attainable at $30 or significantly less, while the queen’s are customized made. She owns about 100 in a rainbow of colours but opposite to experiences, she doesn’t possess 200 of her favorite Launer baggage, Holt explained. Gerald Bodmer, who rescued Launer in 1981 soon after a time period of decline, was keen to apparent up that fantasy.

“He suggests she has several kinds in various hues. He claims that 200 is very considerably off the mark,” Holt claimed.

Launer extends the straps of her leather-based baggage to make it a lot easier for her to hang them on her arm, and they make them lighter for her to have. And what does she carry? Bullen explained he’s listened to there is constantly a lipstick, a handkerchief and a picture of Prince Philip, who died last year at 99.

Irish designer Paul Costelloe, who dressed Princess Diana in the 1980s and ’90s, told the AP of the queen’s fashion: “She’s a bit like a schoolteacher, a good schoolteacher. She under no circumstances shocks. She will get it appropriate.”