London: brightly colored outfits, matching hats, pristine gloves: Queen Elizabeth II’s look was instantly recognizable, a self-made uniform styled for her role.

During her reign, the monarch experimented with every shade on the color chart, from canary yellow to lime green to fuchsia and navy blue.

Her unparalleled style began with Norman Hartnell, who created the wedding dress for her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947, and was developed over the decades by aides and designers.

Crafted from Dutchess satin and adorned with crystals and 10,000 seed pearls, this watch was a dazzling spectacle for Britain rising from the wreckage of World War II.

Hartnell also made the silk dress she wore at her coronation in 1953. It was embroidered in gold, silver, green and pink and decorated with the coats of arms of the countries she ruled.

The designer later said he drew inspiration from “the sky, the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, and everything else that could be embroidered on a historical dress.”

Hardy Amys was the monarch’s official dressmaker from 1955 to 1990.

“It’s not easy to make a queen’s dress.

Amys first created breezy outfits for her international tour before taking over domestic duties from Hartnell, and was behind the striking pink ensemble she wore at the 1977 Silver Jubilee.

Her look and style for the last few decades has been down to Angela Kelly.

The daughter of a Liverpool dock worker, Kelly joined the monarch’s dresser team in 1993, becoming her personal assistant and senior dresser in 2002, and a close friend.

“We are two typical women,” she once said. “We discuss clothes, makeup and jewelry.”

Kelly had to cut and style the Queen’s hair during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown.

Dress code

Designing Queen Elizabeth’s outfit meant complying with the royal dress code.

“There are no written laws, but there are things like traditional old rules of etiquette and protocol,” etiquette expert Grant Harold, a former royal butler, told AFP.

“She will always wear tights,” he said. The tights are flesh colored and the manicure is pale pink.

“You’ll never see her wearing a skirt, especially at her age,” he said.

Jewelry is brooches and pearl necklaces.

There was a practical side to the Queen’s dress code, even though wearing a hat and gloves in public seemed to adhere to old traditions.

At 1.63 meters (5 feet 4 inches) tall, her brightly colored hat, as well as her see-through umbrella and block heels, allowed her to pick her out in the crowd.

Harold also pointed out that the gloves have another purpose, “do not catch bugs,” given that they had to wave their hands dozens of times.

Kelly sewed extra lining into the Queen’s evening gown to soften the impact of the beads and crystals on her back.

For her everyday wear, a small weight was sewn into the hemline in case of windy weather. Kelly also wore the monarch’s new shoes to make sure they were comfortable.

But the hallmark of her style was the bold colors she wore from head to toe.

Caroline de Guiteau, who curated the 2016 exhibition Fashioning a Reign at Buckingham Palace, said, “The Queen is well known for her block-colored dresses. I use bold colors in my work,” he said.

For Michele Clapton, the costume designer for Netflix’s popular TV series The Crown, her costume “formed the armor, the uniform”.

On weekends at her country mansion, Elizabeth changed her style and was often seen wearing headscarves, raincoats and boots.

“People said they were amazed at how quickly she could be with her corgi in the garden.


Sovereign should be politically impartial, but she got her message across.

For example, Irish clover or Canadian maple leaf brooches may have been worn as a way of honoring her host during official visits.

Palettes often included subtle nods to the country’s colors, like when she visited Ireland in 2011, when she wore an emerald green outfit.

Rumor has it that she also sent secret signals to the staff using square Lohner handbags with short straps, which she supposedly had 200 of them, depending on what she did.

However, discretion was preferred for some tailoring details.

In 2018, luxury lingerie company Rigby & Peller was stripped of its royal warrant after its former owner revealed details of royal bra fittings in a memoir.

Elizabeth attended London Fashion Week for the first time in 2018, sitting next to veteran Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

For the occasion of presenting the inaugural “Elizabeth II Fashion Awards,” she wore a duck egg blue dress and jacket.

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