Why I’m still looking to 90s Princess Diana for fashion inspiration

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  • Follow fashion editor Penny Goldstone's monthly fashion musings in this column...

    This month’s column is a little different to the past few, where I contemplated how the lockdown has changed the way I shop, after it stole my fashion identity, and why I’m investing in feel-good dresses this season.

    There is a good reason for it: this week marks what would’ve been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday (a statue is being unveiled in her honour on 1st July), and so I thought it was the ideal time to reflect on how she has inspired my own wardrobe.

    Like many others in my age group, I was too young during the royal’s lifetime to appreciate what a true trend-setter she was, but I’ve since corrected my mistake.

    Many wax lyrical about Princess Diana’s iconic style when she was married to Prince Charles, but those weren’t her sartorial best in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pouffy princess dress as much as the next person, and Diana did Dynasty-style power shoulder gowns like no other.

    She definitely owned the late 80s, but for me, her style truly blossomed in the early to mid 90s, when she separated from Prince Charles.

    Whether it was because she was happier in her personal life, or simply because she grew more confident with age, the royal’s outfit became sleeker, less colourful and more tailored, without losing any of their chicness.

    This is her fashion era that I always go back to. I love the oversized blazers, the square neck dresses and skirt suits, all so of-the-time and yet totally timeless.

    Basically, whenever I need a wardrobe reset, I google her best looks of that decade and immediately sift through my own wardrobe to recreate them. Here are perhaps my three ultimate favourites, and I’ve included some shopping links for you, should you wish to recreate them too!

    princess diana

    I can’t describe how much I love square neck dresses, and Princess Diana is definitely adding fuel to my obsession. This is possibly my favourite dress of hers of all time. The colour, the understated sequins, the cut: perfection.

    princess diana

    Long before slip dresses became cool again a couple of years ago, Princess Diana wore them for her red carpet events, no doubt raising a few eyebrows as well, since royals don’t typically show much flesh.

    princess diana

    Diana was known as the original Sloane Ranger (upper class women living in West London) for a reason, and this outfit is the perfect embodiment of this. I would wear the high-waisted jeans and wide-shoulder blazer any day of the year.

    See you next month for more sartorial musings.

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