NEW YORK – Queen Elizabeth II may have the heaviest wardrobe on the planet.

“Every outfit worn in public is carefully calibrated to inspire or remind, to signal gratitude or respect, to convey a sense of authority or familiarity,” The Mail on Sunday wrote in 2015. she is deaf to the sound of fashion, she has her own unique style.

From her tiaras, Hermes hats and scarves to Launer London handbags and even the Queen’s style umbrellas have been overdocumented since her birth, the days of the young princess, her ascension to the throne and now, more than 70 years of her reign as she celebrates her platinum anniversary at 96 .

Now known for her bright coats (so that they could be seen by huge crowds) with matching fields, the Queen was a young, glamorous princess and monarch in previous decades.


Some highlights of the Queen’s style over the years:



Cotton or wool? The birth of the Queen has sparked a debate about style, writes Bethan Holt, fashion editor of The Telegraph and author of this year’s “Queen: 70 years of majestic style.”

Her wardrobe has been a subject of national admiration from the beginning: a brace sewn by her mother and grandmother, and a little help from low-income women from all over Britain. Stating that babies in wool look like “little gnomes”, Lillibet’s mother, the then Duchess of York, chose cotton with ruffles, discarding everything too fussy.

When Sister Margaret appeared four years later, the princesses often twinned her, dressing equally in her teens. But, according to her former governess Marion Crawford, the future queen as a girl “never cared about clothes”.

“She wore what she was told without argument, except for a long, dim mac that she hated,” Crawford wrote in her controversial memoir, “Little Princesses.”



With the tumultuous abdication of her uncle and the becoming of her father King George VI, Princess Elizabeth became the presumed heiress (missing no future male heir who never appeared).

According to Holt, enter couturier Norman Hartnell. While there were other designers, he was commissioned to dress the family when she appeared on the world stage, including two princesses aged 11 and 6. Their “bow-decorated dresses and small cloaks signaled a return to the peaceful reliability of the monarchy,” Holt wrote.

During World War II, 18-year-old Elizabeth began appearing more frequently in public, learning to be a mechanic in early 1945 until the end of the war. According to Holt, this was the only time she regularly wore pants (and suits).

The Queen was and remains a practical closet when needed, but also glamorous in shiny dresses when the time came. And often wore short sleeves or no sleeves at all, which is not the case today. She was photographed with Prince Philip in a simple light dress with sleeves above the elbow and on low heels measuring 4 (6 American) feet shortly before their 1947 wedding.


“People want their members of the royal family to look like members of the royal family, but equally they don’t want to think taxpayers’ money is being wasted,” said Nick Boulen, editor-in-chief of True Royalty TV.


Hartnell turned the floral accessories of “Primavera” Botticelli into a dress made of white crystals and pearls. But it was not easy. Diplomatic issues were still unfortunate after the war, Holt writes. Customs confiscated 10,000 pearls from the United States, and reporters were assured that the origin of the silk, made in Kent and woven in Essex, was worms from “nationalist” China, not “hostile” Japan.

Thousands of people in the UK have sent their coupons to rations for Princess Elizabeth to use for clothes. That would be illegal, so she stockpiled her own and asked the government for an additional 200, Holt told the Associated Press.

“It showed the thirst in the country for this great moment of glamor,” she said. “In recent years, we’ve known Queen and Prince Philip as this cute old couple, but we have to remember that at the time they were this dazzling, glamorous new couple on stage.”


The wedding was not without backstage drama. The tiara of Queen Mary with fringe, made by Elizabeth’s grandmother from the necklace, given to Mary by Queen Victoria, was broken just before the ceremony and was taken for repair to the crown jeweler Harard.

The dress and wedding offered “a real moment of hope,” Holt said.


Many years ago she settled on skirts and dresses just below the knee, but her hem was sometimes a problem for older members of her family. According to Holt, in 1952 the 25-year-old queen led her family to mourn her father’s funeral under strict dress codes established during Queen Victoria’s reign.

When Queen Mary bowed to her granddaughter and kissed each cheek, she warned, “Lillibet, your skirts are too short to mourn,” Holt writes. The new queen’s dress hovered well above her ankles, but respectfully below her knee, and her grandmother’s dress reached to the ground. Everyone, including Queen Elizabeth II, was draped in black veils as Queen Victoria was for 40 years after Prince Albert’s death in 1861.


“The evolution of the Queen’s style from the young princess to the longest-serving monarch in British history led to that time, but did not follow fashion,” said Boulen.


The queen we know today wears smart heels or brogues, usually handmade by Anello & Davide, a custom bench that sits on her arm, and a brooch on one shoulder. She walks with kilts and skirts in tartan and plaid as her country style. But the queen of the early 1950s fascinated the world with her tight waist, pencil silhouettes and some floating, full of experiments, when the country began a post-war push.

“In the early years of her reign, she really embraced the aesthetics of Dior New Look, and women saw her outfits as a source of inspiration, just as people do today with the Duchess of Cambridge,” said Christine Contina, a reporter for Page Six. .

In the 1970s, 80s and 90s there was playful glamor, including a bold multicolored evening dress in 1999 for the royal variety show. Created by Karl-Ludwig Reze, it had a bright yellow, blue, green and pink shiny diamond pattern.


The 60s and 70s also had a few days of pants and a turban amid a wide range of hats.

The Queen learned of her father’s death at a bus stop in Kenya on the way to Australia. According to some reports, she was in jeans to meet with a herd of elephants at the time her father died in a dream in Sandringham, Holt writes. She donned pants on a safari in Zambia in 1979 and pants in 2003 when she was released from King Edward VIII’s hospital in London after knee surgery.

It was Margaret, a rebel who was known as a fashion sign by Dior and other designers, and her influence on Elizabeth was palpable. According to Holt, the younger sister helped the Queen to explore new British designers and introduced her to newcomers such as fashionista Simon Mirman. Mirman created some of the Queen’s outstanding hats, including her Tudor-style “medieval helmet,” as Hartnell called it, pale yellow, for Prince Charles ’1969 investment.


“Margaret was really in tune with fashion. She would read Vogue. And so she often went on dates with the Queen to help her bring a little extra style to her looks, ”Holt said.

Usually clinging to British designers, the queen has long loved the silk scarves of the French fashion house Hermes. The brand has released several special designs in her honor. She did it in 2016 with a horse-themed scarf to celebrate her 90th birthday.

One cannot equate the modern queen with the mad rush to copy her style, but for a short time in the 1950s women could do just that thanks to their love of cotton dresses with exquisite floral or abstract prints from British Horrockses Fashions. a ready-made clothing brand, Holt said.

Another view from those early years also stands out. In October 1952, shortly after ascending the throne, the Queen became a sensation at the Empire Theater at the royal screening of the musical comedy “Because You’re Mine”. She wore a black tuxedo-like Hartnell dress, with a white front and wide halter-shaped lapels, paired with long white gloves, a tiara on her head and a diamond bracelet on one wrist.


The next day she hit every magazine and newspaper. The producers rushed to copy it. She was nicknamed the Magpie and she never wore it again.



The Queen loves to coordinate colors by sticking to bright colors and pastels in coats and floral dresses today.

This also applies to her branded transparent umbrellas with bird cages. They are made by Fulton Umbrellas and are available for $ 30 or less, although queens are made to order. She owns about 100 rainbow colors, but contrary to reports, she doesn’t have 200 of her favorite Launer bags, Holt said. Gerald Bodmer, who saved Loner in 1981 after a period of decline, wanted to unravel this myth.

“He says she has several styles in several colors. He says 200 is a long way off, ”Holt said.

Launer stretches the straps of her leather bags to make it easier for her to hang them on her arm, and they make it easier to carry. And what does she carry? Boulen said he had heard that there is always lipstick, a handkerchief and a photo of Prince Philip, who died last year at the age of 99.


Irish designer Paul Castel, who dressed Princess Diana in the 1980s and 90s, told the AP about the Queen’s style: “She’s a bit like a schoolteacher, a good schoolteacher. She is never shocked. She understands correctly. “


Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at


Associated Press writer Sylvia Hui of London contributed to the report.

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