Elizabeth: reigning in style

By Paul Farrell

The wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth II, as befits any monarch, is one of exquisite and sumptuous occasion frocks, dignified hats and coats for state visits and national walkabouts and practical clothes for off-duty pursuits. At every appearance, her public watch her closely and her outfits always come in for scrutiny and comment. The Queen remains the most high-profile monarch in the world, enjoying enduring and wide-ranging popularity.

From the Coronation to the present day the Queen’s clothes have attracted comment: in the 1950s her wardrobe was characterised by romantic and glamorous dresses with fashionable, nipped-in waists and full skirts designed by Norman Hartnell. A more simply tailored silhouette took over in the 1960s when the couturier Hardy Amies contributed to her wardrobe, while in the 1970s she embraced a rather more floaty and relaxed style as promoted by the couturier Ian Thomas to match the feel of the decade. With maturity, she has acquired a surefooted sense of what suits her best and how to maintain dignity on the world stage. Even in her mid-nineties, the Queen still commands our attention and remains immaculately turned out.

This sartorial biography charts a woman’s move from wasp-waisted princess to stately national icon and is a must-buy both for the vintage clothes enthusiast and dedicated followers of Her Majesty the Queen. Her fabulous wardrobe tells us much about the times she has lived in, as well as a glimpse into the complexities of dressing for the world stage.