Queen Elizabeth II: 70 Years Of Royal Fashion and Grace

Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, September 8 at the age of 96 after a glorious 70 year reign as the Queen of England. In a constantly changing world, her loyal subjects and people around the world remember her as a constant. She was a devoted, steadfast, elegant, graceful and dutiful British monarch since the age of 25. 

Queen Elizabeth Fashion

Certainly not her forte in the same way that her grandson’s wife Kate Middleton wears a Jenny Packham dress, in matters of fashion, Queen Elizabeth was still that constant. She always made sure to wear the vibrant colors, patterns and textures of the nation she was visiting, and later on she wore tons of bright tones to make herself a focal point for those who came long distances to see her. She was “reassuring and recognizable,” Philp Mansel, a fellow at the Institute of Historical Research in London and author of Dressed to Rule, told the Washington Post, as an identifiable figure “despite all the changes going on.” 

Queen Elizabeth Style

Queen Elizabeth’s style was modest, functional, elegant and formal in the same way she ruled the Commonwealth. She was conscious of the statements she was making but did take assertive risks with her hats, colors and patterns. She set a standard in formal womenswear, without ever giving her opinion on government, politics, law or business. When she passed after such a long reign, the world seemed to shift on its axis. But at least we can remember the kind of impression she left on society as a woman in power and continue to follow her lead in cementing the contemporary uniform

queen elizabeth fashion with Lt. Philip Mountbatten in 1947
Elizabeth with Lt. Philip Mountbatten (left) in 1947

70 Years Of Royal Fashion

Queen Elizabeth was a practical dresser that dressed up for the occasion when the occasion called for it. Seen here with Lt. Phillip Mountbatten (later Prince Phillip) before she was officially the queen, she wears pearls, a drab-colored dress with stylish sleeves and peekaboo heels. 

Later, as she took on her more duties, attended royal events (including her own coronation) and met leaders of  the world, she dressed up for the occasion. Her gowns and skirts were usually A-line and she always wore gloves. 

Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation ceremony.

She doesn’t look so comfortable in her own skin. But she fulfilled her duty. 

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Queen Elizabeth blue dress with Kennedys
John F Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth, Jackie Kennedy, Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth looks wonderful in this beautiful cobalt blue gown, but you can see the stark differences between her and First Lady Jackie Kennedy, who was the epitome of high style in 1961. At least Queen Elizabeth made up for it with her color. 

Jackie Kennedy she wasn’t, but there were always those times when the Queen would throw us all off with her interesting use of patterns. She would wear a leopard print scarf over a camel coat or a polka dot dress against a sea of suits. 

Queen Elizabeth in mustard and white dress in Jamaica
Queen Elizabeth in mustard and white in Jamaica
Queen Elizabeth fashion canary yellow dress in mexico
Queen Elizabeth in canary yellow in Mexico
Queen Elizabeth formalk gown with Nancy Reagan in 1983
Queen Elizabeth with Nancy Reagan in 1983
Queen Elizabeth fashion purple in Malaysia
Queen Elizabeth in purple in Malaysia

Her hats and turbans and jewelry and handbags spoke for themselves. But above all, they were elegant and practical. 

Queen Elizabeth always understood the significance of her duty and so later in the life, she began dressing for it. Patterned dresses of the decade were replaced with wool coats and matching hats and skirts in bright, bold colors because she claimed it was important to others to see her in the crowd. 

Queen Elizabeth style colorful uniform coats
Queen Elizabeth’s colorful uniform
Queen Elizabeth fashion show wit5h anna wintour 2018
Queen Elizabeth at her first fashion show in 2018

Queen Elizabeth attended her first fashion show in 2018, dressed in her classic uniform, a snappy Angela Kelly suit. She was on hand to present designer Richard Quinn with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Vogue’s Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour later wrote that the Queen had told her she had been in a fashion show long before she became queen at the age of 25. 

Queen Elizabeth blue dress 2022
Queen Elizabeth in 2022

queen elizabeth fashion floral print dress 2022

In her last year of life, Queen Elizabeth went back to her fun patterns (or maybe she had always worn them under those bright coats). She chose a green and blue paisley dress to go with her pearls and another floral print frock. Sadly, her favorite accessory to go along with her signature Launer handbag was a walking stick. 

She will be missed! 

– Simona Shemer 

Photos: Harper’s Bazaar, Washington Post, NY Times, Town & Country Magazine, Insider

You may like to read more of Simona’s celebrity style posts like 5 Celebrities Show Off Their Haute Couture Style In Sicily and Paris and The Best Cannes Film Festival 2022 Red Carpet Fashion.

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