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Princess Diana, like many royal women before and after her, used fashion as a mode of communication in a era when female members of the Royal Family were more likely to be seen than heard. Her style journey was watched closely as she evolved from the stereotypical Sloane Ranger, to a grown-up princess in an LDB to a divorcee and humanitarian force for good.
Her story and its impact on the Royal Family has forever changed the ancient institution, paving the way for her sons to marry for love, Prince William his university girlfriend Kate Middleton, and Harry former-actress and American divorcee Meghan Markle.
But her positive influence extends far beyond the Royal Family and the borders of the United Kingdom.
The Princess of Wales changed attitudes internationally towards HIV and AIDs at a time when fear of the illness was causing devastation to the lives of those who caught it due to widespread a misunderstanding about how the disease was spread.
Diana shook the hand of a man with the illness in front of the media, challenging taboos about the illness.
She bravely walked through a live minefield in Angola, calling for an international ban on landmines, which leave innocent civilians in war torn countries maimed and dead to this day.
It is no surprise Diana’s style lives on, as does the positive impact made by her life cut short.
“Princess Diana entered the spotlight as a style icon,” Rich Simmons, Lead Stylist Supervisor at Stitch Fix UK told Express.co.uk.
“Whether she was sporting lemon-coloured dungarees on the polo field or on the steps of St Paul’s in her Emanuels wedding dress, her outfits were always something to admire.
“Though she admitted in her 20s that she only owned ‘one long dress, one silk shirt, one smart pair of shoes, and that was it’, and that she dashed out to buy ‘six of everything’ in the run up to the royal wedding, she went on to rule the art of royal dressing.”
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Rich said: “Let’s talk about her off-duty wardrobe. Her casual looks of the 80s were of equal charm – be it her memorable ‘black sheep sweater’, her all-blue ski suits, or her jumpers draped over a crisp white shirt.
“These casual looks defined her true style, and when the world saw her split from Prince Charles, Diana made her own fashion rulebook, communicating her true self to the world.”
Diana’s iconic casual yellow jumpsuit – House of Sunny’s Classic Coverall £105
Diana’s monochrome print statement blouse – Topshop White Flocked Spot Shirt With Organza Sleeve £35.99
Diana’s statement midi dress – Ghost Luna Floral Print Dress £169
Rich said: “Colourful coats then became dresses and tailored suits, as she grew in confidence and took ownership of how she represented herself. Catherine Walker (of whom the Duchess of Cambridge is also a fan) dressed her for most occasions, from banquets to royal tours.
“Her bold choices and her departure from her usual ‘safe’ style was marked when she danced with John Travolta in a blue Edelstein dress. Her off-the-shoulder style inspired a generation, crimsons and pinks were a staple, and polka dots were aplenty.
“Perhaps Diana is the reason polka dots are so everlasting: in fact, several brands we carry at Stitch Fix, whether it’s Mint Velvet or Samsoe & Samsoe, feature a polka almost every season.”
Diana’s “revenge dress” – Gina Bacconi Dania Feather Trim Dress, Black £125.00
Rich said: “Her choice of a black mini dress by Christina Stambolian, which coincided with the airing of a documentary in which Charles admitted to being unfaithful, became an infamous ensemble.
“Oh, the power of an LBD. If you want to make a statement with an LBD, Diana-style, AllSaints comes to mind from our brand selection.”
Diana’s blazer to board Concord at Heathrow in 1997 – Topshop Camel Single Breasted Suit Blazer, £59.00
Rich said: “As the people’s princess became more and more independent, her style only became more iconic. Her shoes became Jimmy Choos, her dresses Dior, and her suits Chanel and Versace. Shapes became slinkier, hemlines more daring, and necklines more revealing.
“It’s a look that Stitch Fix customers are always asking me for help with – how can I nail that trainers and smart coat combo? Brands I turn to are often Whistles, Vagabond, and with a pair of Rag & Bone jeans, well that makes a great Diana-style Fix.”
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