Queen Elizabeth II was no stranger to the fashion world. About a decade prior to her reign, her iconic looks were becoming recognized and quickly became a constant focus of the press and citizens alike. To this day, her style is still admired and used as inspiration for many. To understand how she gained the title of fashion icon, one must look back at the past and understand where her style roots from.
During her late teen years, before getting married in 1947 to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth very much followed the style of the times. World War II had just come to a close in the mid-1940s, so women’s clothing was simplistic and not grandiose. A mechanic during WW2, Queen Elizabeth had experienced one of the most scarring wars in history. Therefore, her style was heavily influenced by the emotions that came with the decade – conservative and respectful; she never wanted her clothing to draw attention to herself.
However, near the end of the 1940s, Queen Elizabeth made a fashion statement upon her marriage to Prince Philip in November of 1947. Her wedding gown, designed by Norman Hartnell, who had just started designing for the Royals less than a decade prior, was inspired by a Botticelli painting, “Primavera.” The dress consisted of crystals, pearls, and a great deal of floral embroidery. Hartnell, who also designed the Queen’s Coronation dress, was also given the honor of being the first ever fashion designer to be named a Knight of the Royal Victorian Order.
In 1952, at the age of 25, Her Majesty became Queen. Her rise to monarchy played was a dominating factor in how she dressed. Straying away from more fun, flowy, and patterned pieces, Queen Elizabeth’s style jumped to the highest level of elegance and glamor, matching her new high status in the monarchy. This was a fresh look for Queen Elizabeth. However, she still had fun with her fashion by wearing colored dresses, most of which were in the ballgown style with a cinched waist that would accentuate her figure. She was rarely seen without a statement necklace, most of the time being pearls, white gloves, and a small handbag to match her dress and shoes. Outside of the palace, Queen Elizabeth was never seen in flat shoes. Other than during her favorite pastime of visiting her racehorses and being in nature, her dresses would be accompanied by an elegant heel, giving her height, length, and an extra bit of flare.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Queen Elizabeth stepped away from the ball gown and entered her A-line gown era. Bright colors and minimal patterns were starting to be featured in her style again after a couple of decades of wearing monotone pastel colors. At this point in her life, Queen Elizabeth had children who were beginning to have their own children. Hence, her heels became shorter, and she started wearing more fun accessories, such as colorful hats and slightly larger bags, all the while keeping her classic statement necklaces and white gloves.
From the 1990s to 2022, Queen Elizabeth kept a constant look: typically, in blue, green, or purple, with a hat, pearls, and white gloves, and most of the time with the same brooch on her jacket or blouse. Her Majesty no longer wore floor-length gowns starting in the 1990s; instead, she felt more comfortable switching to dresses that hit right under her knee, accompanied by a matching jacket. The colors that came out of her closet were bolder and daring as she aged, and her suits and dresses were no longer cinched at the waist as she turned to straighter silhouettes.
Queen Elizabeth II exuded elegance, classiness, and timelessness with her style. It will be interesting to see how the royal family honors or strays away from such a unique royal style.
Featured photo via TODAY