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Fashion

Diana, Princess of Wales: Our top fashion favourites


John Mathew Smith/CC/Wikimedia Commons

We’re taking a look back at some of our favourite outfits as worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kristin Contino, Chief Reporter

The ‘Elvis’ dress

Photo: Kristin Contino

This is such an iconic Diana dress and I was thrilled to see it in person at the Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibit at Kensington Palace a few years ago. The high collar on the jacket is what makes this dress stand out and it framed Diana’s face so perfectly in photos. Seeing it up close and how heavily it’s embellished with pearl detail, you can only imagine how heavy the dress must have been to wear but of course, Diana pulled it off beautifully.

Black sheep jumper

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This is probably my favourite casual Diana look and her Muir and Osborne jumper was much-copied by women in the 1980s. Diana wore this to the polo on a few occasions and the irony of having sheep on a sweater made of wool (plus the not-so-subtle message of being a black sheep amongst the flock) made this one of her most memorable pieces of clothing.

Funnily, I found a copy from a department store recently so the black sheep trend is back again, along with many other vintage styles!

Brittani Barger, Deputy Editor

I saw many of Diana’s outfits in person when the “Diana: A Celebration” exhibit was travelling throughout the US. You don’t realise how beautiful some of her outfits were until you see them in person. I would have picked the “Elvis dress” but since Kristin has already chosen it, I will pick two others.

Hachi gown

One of my favourites is the white sequin one shoulder Hachi gown that Diana wore while in Washington D.C. in 1985. It was very much a Diana outfit…not many other royals would dare wear such an outfit back in the 1980s. She had the guts and the body to pull it off. I think if this was an outfit worn today, it would be more of a pantsuit outfit (that I could see Princess Charlene of Monaco wearing to an event).

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Catherine Walker gown for Cannes

One gown I got to see in person when the exhibit was in Cincinnati was the strapless, baby blue Catherine Walker gown Diana wore to the Cannes Film Festival in 1987. I remember seeing it in person with my mom, and we both said immediately how beautiful it was. It had a fitted bodice, and I loved the silk scarf that she wore around her neck to where it flowed backwards.

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Jess Ilse, Editorial Assistant

Like Kristin and Brittani before me, I’d probably place Diana’s Elvis Dress at the top of my list, but I’ll share some other picks.

Green Alistair Blair Dress

Diana wore this beautiful Alistair Blair outfit during an official visit to Thailand in 1988. Here, she’s pictured on a river cruise past the Grand Palace in Bangkok. I love how bold Diana’s wardrobe was and how she played with colours. She was unafraid of taking risks, and the combination of green and brown pattern on top, the green midsection and the white skirt cut a beautiful silhouette.

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Bruce Oldfield Gown for United Arab Emirates State Visit

Diana was stunning from head to toe in this gorgeous Bruce Oldfield gown from 1989. I’m always a fan of royal ladies in red, and this gown features an intriguing pattern that makes it almost shimmer in the light. Paired with the Spencer Tiara and heaps of jewellery, the elegance of this entire look can’t be overstated.

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About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.