As the Queen celebrates her 60 years on the throne, and with so many articles appearing in the press, I was inspired by an article in the Telegraph “Queen Elizabeth II: 60 years of impeccable style” by Jane Eastoe, to take a look at what we can learn from the Queen, particularly when it comes to Special Occasion dressing.
When I think of the Queen, I invariably imagine a petite lady wearing a long straight-ish coat over a dress, with a hat. And yet when you look through the archives at pictures of the Queen you can see that although this is her currently favoured style, it is certainly not the style that she has always adopted.
So the first thing that we can learn for Her Majesty is that whatever our age or weight we need to assess our assets – our best bits – and find an outfit that highlights our best features. In the above picture we can see that the Queen had a very tiny waist in 1954 and this dress shows it off to perfection while still being modest – covering the shoulders/upper arms and knees.
The second thing we can learn is how essential it is to be dressed appropriately for the occasion. In this regard the Queen has an unfailing sense of appropriateness. (And one which The Duchess of Cambridge, has already mastered.)
Weddings that start at lunchtime and go through to evening dancing present a particular challenge of appropriateness.
Something suitable for the evening may not be suitable for a church ceremony (and this is probably why the Queen may change up five times a day – to make sure her dress is just right for each occasion).
When it comes to hats – size really matters. The Queen has generally worn hats that still allow her face to be seen. This is a good tip if you are going to have photos taken – you don’t want your face to be partially covered, and of course large brims present problems is you will be greeting/kissing people.
Fascinators present other problems. Some of the large designs, using lots of feathers, can look unnervingly like a dead bird on top of the head. If the colour is too close to the hair shade – it looks as if the hairdresser just couldn’t be bothered – or that you got caught in the wind. This brings us to another key tip – just because you are wearing a hat doesn’t mean you can forget your hair – it needs to be styled to suit the hat.
Of course one of the essential elements of success for special occasions is the colour choice. As we can see in the chart produced by Vogue in May this year – the Queens favourite colour is the colour of communication, blue – being worn on 29% of all Royal occasions last year.
What we can learn from the Queen is that you make more of an impact in a block colour rather than a floral or printed fabric. You certainly don’t want to fade into the borders if you are attending a Garden Party and worse, look as if you’re wearing the lounge curtains!