I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I now realise what a constant resassing presence she has been throughout my life. Whether you are a royalist or not you have to admire her selfless dedication to public service and her unwavering sense of duty.
As a mark of respect I’ve changed the planned topic of this month’s blog to take a look at what we can all learn from HM The Queen about style. Here are ten things we can learn:-
1 Develop a signature style
She clearly didn’t have a huge interest in following the latest fashion but she did understand the importance of how she dressed. She honed her style over the years to the immaculately tailored just below the knee dress and coat accessorised with a hat, handbag and two inch Anello and Davide court shoes that we all knew and loved.
2 Take control of your message
The consistency of her outfits arguably provided comfort and reassurance in a world of constantly changing fashions. She was known to adopt the colours and symbols of the country she was visiting as well as using her outfits to send messages in more subtle ways. For example, she wore a brooch gifted to her by the Obamas for Trump’s state visit.
3 Embrace colour
The Queen certainly embraced colour and she wore a variety of hues and shades with confidence. There was a very good reason for this because at 5ft 3” she wanted to ensure she was visible in a crowd. ‘I have to be seen to be believed,’ she once said. You can see some of her colourful outfits in this article from The Guardian online.
4 An outfit formula doesn’t have to be boring
She certainly had a ‘uniform’ that she stuck to but she reinvented it in a variety of different ways to keep it interesting. Her designers’ use of colour, fabric and detailing ensured no two outfits looked the same even though it was essentially always a tailored dress and coat.
5 Accessories are key
Not only did her accessories add the final flourish to her outfits, they were practical too. Her hats were designed so the brim didn’t obscure her face and the height was low enough to get out of a car without knocking it off. Her handbags were unobtrusive and fitted neatly into the crook of her arm and her favoured pearls worked with any outfits.
6 Outfits can be stylish AND practical
The Queen understood that what she wore had to be fit for purpose. She was careful to choose fabrics that retained their shape so no matter how long she was seated she avoided looking like a crumpled mess at engagements. The coat also provided warmth for outdoor events and she also wore gloves too. The structured dress and coat were unlikely to cause an embarrassing blow up in windy weather although she sometimes sewed weights into the garments for extra reassurance.
7 Trends come and go but style is everlasting
She saw the rise and fall of the mini skirts, how trousers changed from flares to skinnies to flares again and many other changing trends. Her style never wavered though and transcended the trends of her time ensuring she could wear her outfits over many years.
8 It’s okay to repeat outfits
According to this article in Vogue she liked to recycle her outfits and the lifespan of them could be around twenty five years. That’s another benefit of not following trends and adopting a signature style, something we can all aspire to.
9 Life it too short to wear uncomfortable shoes
The Queen has worn the same shoe type for fifty years! The style is a black loafer with a sturdy heel height of two inches, making them comfortable enough for walkabouts but giving a bit of height to her petite frame. She also had staff that wore them in for her and someone that was responsible for care of the shoes. She always used shoe trees which is something I’m a big fan of as they really do preserve the life of shoes. You can read more about this in this article from Vogue Australia.
10 Don’t neglect your off duty wardrobe
There was a clear distinction between The Queen’s official duty and off duty style. However she still wore quality garments and fabrics that met the demands of the outdoor life that she liked so much. She chose woollen kilts, heavy knits, headscarves and practical rain jackets from specialist brands that were built to last.
There are some fabulous photos of the Queen’s style in this article from British Vogue. It includes a picture of her in striking green against a sea of red and gold at the 2016 Trooping The Colour.
This is another interesting take on how and why the Queen’s passing will affect us from Billy Bragg.
May she rest in peace.
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