The flag at Buckingham Palace has been lowered to half-staff. A eulogy to the demise of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the queen of colour-coordinated skirt suits and fabulous hats.
Woken up by an Instagram notification in the middle of the night, I scrolled down to see the news of the peaceful passing away of the 97-year-old monarch. The news felt familiar to that of a distant relative, there is sadness but it comes from the acknowledgement of their lives and your association, not really affection.
More late night scrolling later I am met with memes talking about the reunion of Lilibet and Diana, opinions on why the Commonwealth shouldn’t mourn the loss due to their colonial history and most widely, royal protocols that are to follow. The queen is trending, and my goodness can you blame the world who has been subject to her rule over the past 70 years?
Even more scrolling (yes, it’s a terrible habit) and I come across posts about the Koh-I-Noor, the stolen gem of India that many are now rallying to be returned. The likelihood of that happening is the same as the Duchess of Cambridge wearing colour to the funeral. Moot discussions apart, the death of Queen Elizabeth is also the end of the era of her fabulous sartorial choices.
So here’s me doing a quick recap of her bright if not bold outfits, fashionable fascinators and sparkling treasures. Take note as rest assured fashion will find a way to bring this back onto the runways.
Fashion has been an intrinsic part of Queen Elizabeth’s time on the throne. The restraint and diplomacy that the Queen displayed in politics were overturned when it came to her colour choices. It was a whole gamut of the rainbow (one colour at a time, worn head-to-toe) with matching accessories and jewels.
The biggest takeaway from this is about finding a signature look and wearing it to death (pun, not intended). This adherence to a uniform-like dress code is a great way to create an image (especially for public icons) and save time from the frivolities of fashion.
The jacketed skirt suit wasn’t always Queen Elizabeth’s signature look, her earlier years showcased a variety of daring silhouettes, for that era. You might be more familiar with her appearances in ladylike floral dresses and sensible shoes but there was a time when she dazzled with her lavish cocktail looks. From embracing Dior’s new look in full-skirted gowns to form-fitted lace dresses, the young monarch was a lot more experimental than we give her credit for.
Another lesson that we can take away from the Queen is not to let your outdoor or athletic pursuits hamper your style. Whether it was horse riding, shooting or simply long walks with her corgis, there was a sharply-cut outfit, preferably in khaki, with sturdy leather boots and pinned-up hair in sight. Throw in a few tartan checks and trench coats, and the Queen’s off-duty looks quintessentially defined by British street style.
The last, and perhaps the most important takeaway from the Queen’s sartorial journey has to be to not let age restrict your penchant for precious trinkets. The diamond-encrusted brooches, scintillating necklaces and attention-grabbing crowns all served as a part of her look well through her later years. More is more, is a lesson that many maximalist, mature fashion bloggers of her generation are following suit.
So if fashion leads you to put on a diadem or perhaps a saturated coloured skirt suit in the months to come, hail the Queen that guided the way.
Hero and Featured Image: Courtesy Shutterstock.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.