Skip to main content

Diana’s style: How her clothes were a superpower

By November 21, 2020No Comments

When Diana, Princess of Wales got dressed, the world’s media searched each thread of her outfit for hidden meaning. She used clothes to help her to communicate, in a life where speaking her mind wasn’t always an option. Here are ten of her most iconic ‘get the message?!’ looks…


The Travolta dress. The revenge dress. The see-through skirt. The iconic athleisure.

Diana, who doesn’t ever need a surname or title to clarify just which ‘Diana’ is being referred to, has a fashion legacy akin to Jane Birkin, Imelda Marcos, Jackie Kennedy… a list you don’t land on without merit.

This year’s season 4 of The Crown is on everyone’s Netflix at the moment, and while Diana’s brother Charles, 9th Earl Spencer says that it’s to be mostly taken as fiction, it’s definitely based firmly in fashion fact when you compare some of the outfits side by side.

Her penchant for a granny sweater was very apparent throughout her life, and they were rarely subtle.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Vogue (@voguemagazine)

She enjoyed a long, slouchy pair of white sports socks, accompanied by a sweatshirt that made a statement. This one? Support my friend, Richard Branson, and his airline.

In a similar vein, her sunglasses collection was nothing short of iconic.

“Everyone loves me, and I’m freeeeee!” This bateau-neck velvet dress was the original – and arguably the best – of Diana’s revenge looks.

There was always much controversy over Diana’s baring of her shoulders. Not a big swing to you or I, but to the royal family… Shoulders were/are not to be uncovered. She played it fast and loose with the rules, to quite remarkable effect.

If you’ve seen The Crown season 4, you’ll know how uncanny the resemblance is with this gold-speckled red dress and the one actress Emma Corrin wears while playing a young Diana. You can see the monarch’s expression here… is she wondering how the hell Diana was permitted to wear the same shade she did? We’ll never know.

1983 saw a huge lean in from Diana to Peter Pan collars – the bigger the better. And here we are, in the year of our lord 2020 and what’s back in shtyle? Big, loud, large Peter Pan collars.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by ♥ (@dianamyidol)

Meanwhile, this pink and gingham combination just needs the addition of roller skates to make it Buckingham Palace worthy, don’t you think?

With growing confidence and growing freedom, Diana’s 90s style was marked by nods to luxury, designers she was personal friends with, and the occasional, carefree cleavage reveal. The sparkly Gianni Versace-designed number graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar in 1991… Photographed by Patrick Demarchelier of all people.

Could we love her any more? Unlikely.

Compiled by @aislingmkeenan