The release of the highly anticipated fourth season of Netflix’s The Crown brought with it a renaissance of the world’s love affair not only with Princess Diana, but with her style, as well. As her thespian doppelganger, Emma Corrin, sauntered out in look after look, we were reminded how much we loved the young princess’s courageous fashion choices, and frankly, thirty-some years later, we’re still marveling at how relevant those ensembles seem today.
Diana understood that fashion was more than simply clothing, but instead a tool that could be manipulated and leveraged to her advantage. According to Fashion Snoops’ culture editor, Carrera Kurnik, the reason we identify so much with Diana’s style is because she “used her personal style as a means of authentic and vulnerable communication with others.” If you’ve watched season four of The Crown, you’ll know that she was not often able to speak her mind, so her clothes then became her medium of expression. Examples range from the “black sheep” sweater alluding to her feelings of “otherness” within the royal family, to her iconic and provocative “revenge dress,” as Diana kept a stoic face and let her clothes do the talking.
Her sartorial choices were also employed as a mechanism to promote her humanitarian goals. “When visiting children’s hospitals, it is said she would purposefully wear chunky beaded necklaces for children to play with or soft-to-the-touch fabrics like velvet to welcome people into contact with her,” explains Kurnik. “Part of the reason we think of her as ‘the people’s princess’ is because she so boldly welcomed honest human connection and touch. To see this larger-than-life public figure express these very human emotions through her style made her much more approachable as a royal family member.”
And while her more flamboyant ensembles sent coded messages and turned the heads of paparazzi, her off-duty looks are what we actually want to emulate in 2020. She cherry-picked trendy items of the ’80s and ’90s that are all surging in popularity as of late, from boxy blazers to relaxed-fit denim, not to mention her expert layering tricks. Below we’ve re-created our seven favorite off-duty looks of hers for you to shop immediately.
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