Sunday, April 29, 2012

How to Dress Like a Queen

 An article in The Wall Street Journal discusses Her Majesty's unique style.
When you deconstruct the formula, it's a simple, foolproof approach to getting dressed that, with a few small tweaks and some updating, we could all benefit from. And so without further ado—and with great respect to the world's leading example of good grooming, in the year of her Diamond Jubilee—here's my guide to dressing like the queen.

Below the knee. Please. Her Majesty (HM) never deviates from this one; neither can I find any pictorial evidence to suggest that, since being crowned, she ever has. Hemlines may have risen and fallen, but the queen's skirt and dress length has remained resolutely and strictly the same. Very sensible: flattering and safe in one go....

Get a day coat—same length as your dress or skirt, sometimes matching (see Jil Sander), often coordinated, always demure. The best summer coats are, hands down, Prada (pictured). OK, so Mrs. P (another style icon) showed hers mostly with crop tops. The queen won't wear that and the chances are, neither should you, but you get my drift.

Wear sugary or strong colors. Go for something that looks deeply unfashionable and stands out. It's a hard one this season, because everyone seems to have followed the queen's lead (hence most colors that would have looked outmoded now appear to be the last word in style)....

If you must wear a print, make it a standout. A recent British Vogue pictorial survey of the queen's sartorial year suggested the monarch wears prints roughly 13% of the time. And what prints they are. Think garden parties on acid....

White only for evening functions. OK, HM sometimes also wears a bit of ivory, but, generally speaking, keep it pale and work the older debutante look. I like what Valentino did this season—note the long sleeves. Very E II R. The queen would never do sheer, of course, but she might consider Louis Vuitton's tweedy coat and silk/satin ¾-length dress combo for cocktails.

Black shoes, with EVERYTHING. Yes, even sometimes for the evening, the queen wears a sensible, slightly blocky heel and an oval or slightly squared toe. It works when you get your head round it, though some fashion commentators would tell you that black shortens the leg, especially when worn with a knee-length dress or skirt. But then the queen, like so many of us, requires a uniform, and shoes are almost always a punctuation mark, underlining what goes on top....
Sensible handbag (also black for day). Boxy, short-handled and discreet, the queen's handbag is almost always the same shape—sometimes with a gold buckle or clasp, and sometimes in patent rather than what looks to be calfskin. Go for something English, like the bags of the newly crowned business woman of the year, Anya Hindmarch (try the "Carker," pictured, or "Lautner"), or Mulberry's "East West Bayswater." At night, HM ventures into silver and gold; try Lulu Guinness's gold, snakeskin "Fifi" clutch, or Hindmarch's "Maud" clutch, created especially for the Diamond Jubilee, complete with a paper crown and instructions for queenly waving.
Always wear a color-coordinated hat. Nowhere is it more apparent that the queen commands the sort of style leeway that everyone else can only dream of than with HM's hats. She has sported everything from fur, to turbans, to weird spaghetti and floral numbers—and, frankly, many of them have been hideous. No matter, because the queen is, in modern-day parlance, "rocking a regal look" and for that we will forgive her anything....

Wear a brooch, on the collarbone. The location is more important than the content; the queen switches from right to left, but she is rarely without one (if she's being really snazzy, she clips it onto her collar). This is as far as the queen will go in terms of daytime "bling." It's a shame more of her subjects don't follow her lead on this one...(Read entire article.)
Share

2 comments:

lara77 said...

I remember years ago knowing a Frenchwoman who was a lingerie designer. She scoffed at Queen Elizabeth's fashion style. In her words, " Her clothes may be expensive but they have no style." I guess that is what you would expect from a Frenchwoman! Frankly, I will take the class, breeding and dedication of Queen Elizabeth II versus Mme. Sarkozy any day of the week!!

Dymphna said...

So glad to know I follow her Majesty--at least on hemlines, sensible black shoes and handbags. I LOVE the colors the Queen wears, too!