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How to dress like Princess Diana using pieces already in your wardrobe

Words and styling by Lydia Crist

The OG rebellious royal.

Amidst a frenzy of scandal surrounding the royal family, one name keeps reappearing: Princess Diana. The rebellious, widely-loved princess who sparked a fair deal of drama back in the day, is being likened to her son after he announced his decision to leave his royal duties.

Having bought modernity and spark to the royal family, before her tragic death Diana was a major figure during the ’80s and ’90s. Her activism, kindness and charm rendered her adored by the public. Now, as we reach 2020, one thing that remains prevalent in popular culture is her iconic style.

I was one of those kids who always wanted to dress up as a princess. That hasn’t changed. I mean, when princesses wear cowboy boots, oversized sweaters, and polo caps it’s a little hard to resist.

To discover the impact her fashion moments are continuing to have today, all you have to do is punch her name and the word “style” into Google’s search field. Top suggested searches include “fashion”, “icon”, “street style”, “outfits”, and “most iconic”. Acting as a source of inspiration for stylists, celebrities and the public alike, Diana provides us with timeless-badass looks for every occasion. Even without the infamous velvet divorce dress, her clothes flouted royal convention. Everything she wore displayed her adjunct – and sometimes unwelcome – presence in the Windsor tradition.

Recently recreated in Vogue Paris by Hailey Bieber, as well as serving as inspiration for Off-White’s Spring 2018 show, Diana’s famous paparazzi shots continue to infiltrate the minds and screens of fashion fanatics. With the plethora of ’80s and ’90s Diana moments to choose from, I noticed just how much her wardrobe innovations had slipped into my own. So in the spirit of reboots, here is my interpretation of Diana’s most iconic looks.

1. Athleisure

This look really could have jumped off our Instagram feed so it begs the question: What came first, the bike-short or Diana? It’s so current I’m quite confident  I could walk down the street and count the number of people wearing a replication. Before there was athleisure there was just gym wear. What is now a carefully styled ensemble was a literal walk in the park for Princess Di. The Kardashians could never.

2. Yeehaw polo

Off-duty model who? Probably my favourite of the four, this laid-back masculine aura this outfit produces puts it in a league of its own. Pairing a men’s baseball cap embroidered with royal imagery with an oversized blazer? A bit of feminist princess genius. Wearable to the office (which I’ve done) or to the supermarket, no brainer.

3. Royal cricket

I don’t think there has been a single time I’ve worn this jumper where I haven’t been asked if I’m playing cricket. Have these uncultured fools not seen Princess Diana’s paparazzi shots? Clearly not. If they had, not only would they respect my decision, but they would understand the stylistic genius of Diana, and know not to question it. The private school/equestrian cable-knit jumper is slouchy perfection on her: regal casual is a tricky nonchalance to pull off.

4. The revenge dress

Fresh off the back of her divorce to Prince Charles, Diana stepped out in an iconic revenge dress. Did she invent the break-up dress? We could all read the sartorial subtext. Classy yet sexy, her little black dress moment proved she could remain the strong, sophisticated woman she was while adding a little “eff you, Charles and Camilla”.

Don’t let the Princess Diana revenge hype stop here, check out @ladydirevengelooks for all your bad-ass Diana needs.

Lydia is an editorial intern with Fashion Journal. She writes about styling, local fashion and pop culture news.

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