In an earlier version of this article, it was reported wrongly that Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Friday. She passed away on Thursday.
For many years now, it has been pretty simple to dress up like the Queen of England – either for Halloween or for laughs at any particular royal wedding or Jubilee watch party. A solid, brightly colored boxy skirt suit with a brooch on the left shoulder, a matching hat (or, for extra credit, an umbrella), white gloves, and a handbag swinging lightly on one are all that are required, according to conventional wisdom. possibly a white wig and the forearm.
Having ruled for more than 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 96, surely wore a uniform. The young queen was renowned for dressing elegantly and sensibly during her early years on the throne when she was in her 20s and 30s. She wore elegant gowns with straight lines and full skirts for formal occasions, and in the daytime, skirt suits and dresses with un-daring necklines and nipped-in waists. And of course, as she grew older, her preference for understated, traditional elegance manifested itself in what is now known as her go-to public-facing attire, which, as many have noted, communicated the stability and consistency of the crown even as the United Kingdom underwent a dramatic transformation in the 20th and 21st centuries.
However, the queen’s attire was consistently associated with deeper meanings; it was thought to express love or support for other nations and groups, or even to impose power when necessary. Elizabeth also contributed to setting a standard for women’s attire that was appropriate for politics because her reign began in 1952, a period before women were frequently seen at the highest echelons of administration in the Western world.
The public’s perception of Queen Elizabeth was described as “clever generally, clean-cut, which I think was really a 1950s thing.” Philip Mansel, a fellow at the Institute of Historical Research in London and the author of “Dressed to Rule,” a study about how leaders have managed their public personas, claims that there wasn’t much fuss.
According to Mansel, the queen’s fashion choices at home varied a little. “In her last photograph, greeting Liz Truss, her last prime minister, she’s very simply dressed in a woolen skirt, woolen jersey, and woolen jacket,” which, for a certain generation of English people, is “exactly like everyone’s aunt or mother.”
But Mansel claims that when she was in public, particularly in her latter years, “I think she always wanted to be two things: reassuring and identifiable.” Her strategy for “trying to reassure people, despite all the changes going on,” was to stand out as a pillar of color.
This “kind of clothing exemplifies values that are homologous or that fit with what one might assume a ruling class’s values to be — those of resistance to change, a desire for continuity, the continuity of their dominant positions, for example,” wrote Malcolm Barnard, author of “Fashion as Communication,” in an email to The Washington Post.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth was known for insisting that attendees at royal functions wear quite formal attire. At a Royal Ascot event in 2002, she once reprimanded a BBC cameraman for not donning a top hat and tails. Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, Camilla Parker Bowles, and other members of the royal family scrupulously adhered to the fashionable-yet-modest daytime clothing code that has been in place since Elizabeth’s mother and grandmother, according to Mansel.
Princess Diana was the only individual, according to Mansel, who made an effort to break the mold. She subtly departed from the traditional royal look, especially when she was married to the future King Charles III, adding occasionally more masculine or feminine elements, such as double-breasted military-style jackets and the sporadic dropped-waist dress.
But Queen Elizabeth, who has been referred to as “a connection between the end of an empire and the beginning of a global liberal democracy,” contributed to the widespread modernization of the look of the affluent woman. In American government buildings and on women in politics all around the Western world, boxy, mid-length skirt suits are still common. Mansel also notes that Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime leader of the United Kingdom, usually carried a purse and dressed in “somewhat formal attire, something like the queen’s.”
The monarch has long been known to include modest, thoughtful touches that reference the local culture when she travels, as Bethan Holt writes in the 2022 book “The Queen: 70 Years of Majestic Style.” The queen thus helped sustain the potent legacy of “fashion diplomacy.” The queen wore a deep green wool-crepe coat and a dress with a matching green print to a state supper on her official visit to Ireland in 2011, according to Holt, when she was eager to mend relations with the neighboring country. She donned a dress with over 2,000 little silk shamrocks on it.
The queen donned a white lace gown with Swarovski crystal maple leaves sparkling across her shoulders to supper in Canada in 2010. When she visited Pakistan in 1961, she wore a dress with a train that matched the colors of the Pakistani flag. In 1983, she met President Ronald Reagan in a dress embroidered with California poppies. In 1999, she showed her love for Scotland by wearing a dress with heather and thistle accents.
Queen Elizabeth, fashion icon? Yes.https://t.co/wYzEUzAy2Y
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 10, 2022
And as Mansel notes, she occasionally made color choices that demonstrated her dominance. She wore red when she met the cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, who is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in the United Kingdom: “To say she was just as holy and sacred, in her view.”
The queen’s unique style of communicating with minute details has become very popular in politics. Princess Diana made a clear nod to the Japanese flag’s rising sun in 1986 by donning a red polka-dot dress there. In March of this year, First Lady Jill Biden donned a royal-blue dress with a sunflower stitched on it to show her support for Ukraine in its battle with Russia. When she was the US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright carefully considered her pin selection. And in the UK, Brenda Hale, the president of the Supreme Court, garnered attention for her decision on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament in 2019 by donning a spider-shaped brooch. Some of us remembered the Who’s song “Boris the Spider,” while others remembered the “tangled web” of lies and deceit in Walter Scott’s 1808 poem “Marmion,” according to Barnard.
The State Department museum houses Madeleine Albright’s “pin diplomacy.”
Of course, there is also a distinct custom of wearing clothing made by a member of a particular community as a symbol of support or deference. First lady Michelle Obama wore a cream-colored strapless gown and a skirt made by Indian American designers Naeem Khan and Rachel Roy, respectively when she visited India in 2009. Ivanka Trump donned outfits created by British designers Safiyaa, Burberry, and Alessandra Rich during a 2019 visit to the UK. The custom can be traced all the way back to Mary Todd Lincoln, who wore clothing created by Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave.
King Louis XIV, who, according to Mansel, “was fascinated with founding the French fashion industry,” contrasted with Queen Elizabeth, who wore British designers’ creations almost exclusively. He, therefore, asked the ladies of his court to make French silk, French embroidery, and French lace, which was superior to Venetian lace, for him to wear.
Gratitude: Queen Elizabeth II performed her duties.
The queen presided over a monarchy known for its conquest and colonization, therefore it is possible to interpret her emphasis on English-made designs as being consistent with the British Empire’s history of advancing its own supremacy.
However, according to Mansel, the queen’s attire wasn’t unusually contentious. Both inside and outside of the United Kingdom, people valued them. For instance, “many French people appreciated her outfits since they weren’t French. They were unique, claims Mansel. They spoke for Britain.
Did Queen Elizabeth have a sense of style?
The young queen was renowned for dressing elegantly and sensibly during her early years on the throne when she was in her 20s and 30s. She wore elegant gowns with straight lines and full skirts for formal occasions, and in the daytime, skirt suits and dresses with un-daring necklines and nipped-in waists.
Does Queen Elizabeth dress casually?
Despite the fact that the British royal family is full of fashion icons, Queen Elizabeth II has been spotted sporting the hottest looks for autumn 2020 for years. Look at her casual ensembles for inspiration for our fall wardrobe.
What hues does the Queen choose to wear?
When the queen appears, people react, especially in places where they weren’t expecting to see her, according to a 2012 Vogue investigation. However, McAndrew claimed earlier this year that the queen is “more into pink and red today.”
Queen Elizabeth the Queen of where?
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) reigned over the Commonwealth realms and the United Kingdom from 6 February 1952 until her death on 8 September 2022. During her lifetime, she was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states and was the monarch of 15 of them at the time of her passing.