A Tribute to Princess Diana’s Most Iconic Looks

It’s a bit of a somber day as today marks the 20-year anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a loss for words on what to write here. For me, personally, Princess Diana is an inspiration. I definitely aspire to live my life with the same grace and poise as she did. Her contributions to humanitarian causes worldwide, as well as using her platform to bring attention to countless social issues, will never be forgotten.

There are going to be many tributes to Diana today and this upcoming weekend. For this post, I wanted to try something a bit different: spotlight some of her most iconic looks and offer suggestions to recreate the outfit for yourself. In doing so, I hope it provides some inspiration to emulate the People’s Princess – not just with her classic style, but also her kind heart.

Gold and glamorous

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During her reign as the Princess of Wales, Diana was nicknamed “Dynasty Diana” by the press for her glamorous style – much like the characters on the television show “Dynasty”, which was popular at the time. Though she was often photographed in practical (though still stylish) outfits while out with her sons or at casual gatherings, she knew when to bring the show-stopping outfits out for events. At the premiere for the 1985 James Bond film “A View to Kill”, she wore a gold lame Bruce Oldfield gown that made her look like the true Bond Girl in attendance.

Recreate It

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Nordstrom (link); Net-a-Porter (link); Forever 21 (link); Macy’s (link)

“The Elvis Dress”

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While this Catherine Walker dress set is one of the Princess’ most famous looks (seen during a visit to Hong Kong in 1989), it was not necessarily her most well-received. Some members of the media mocked the design and dubbed it the “Elvis dress” – which it has since become known by. I truly think it looks so classic and exactly what I would imagine as something for a royal family member to wear. This outfit is also significant as Diana’s style evolved, she began to incorporate jackets and other accessories to compliment her look.

Recreate It

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Forever 21 (link); Neiman Marcus (link); Target (link)

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Saks Fifth Avenue (link); Topshop (link); Neiman Marcus (link)

“The Revenge Dress”

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As a member of the British monarchy, Princess Diana was expected to behave in a certain way and follow the status quo, even if she fundamentally disagreed with it – this expectation was something she struggled with throughout her life. To add to the turmoil, her marriage with Prince Charles was quite dysfunctional and rather toxic, to say the least. While there had long been rumors about infidelity in their marriage, in June 1994, Prince Charles made a televised confession that he had cheated with Camilla Parker-Bowles. As the program was airing, Diana was scheduled to attend an event – she had originally planned to wear another dress, but instead chose to bring out a gown that she received three years prior but previously felt was “too daring” to wear publicly.  This gown, by Greek designer Christina Stambolian, was her way of making a statement without saying a word – a tactic that worked, as it was quickly named the “revenge dress” by the global media.

Recreate It

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Bloomingdales (link); Asos (link); Nordstrom (link); Nasty Gal (link)

Classic blue dresses

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It is obvious that Diana was well-aware of what colors looked fabulous on her – she was frequently photographed wearing gowns in shades of blue that were extremely flattering against her blonde hair and skin tone. These gowns were usually in the shift or sheath silhouettes – she wore them so often that I was unable to find the exact designer for the one pictured above. These blue dresses became one of her signature outfits.

Recreate It

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Banana Republic (link); Target (link); Macy’s (link); Saks Fifth Avenue (link); and one more from Macy’s (link)

And what will always be my favorite….

“The Travolta Dress”

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Diana wore this blue velvet gown to a gala at the White House in November 1985. The dress had an off-the-shoulder neckline and the design had a slight Edwardian feel – making it an appropriate, though still modern, choice for a member of the British monarchy. Many American celebrities were also present at the gala, including John Travolta – as the story goes, once music from Travolta’s film “Saturday Night Fever” began playing, the Princess and the movie star took to the dance floor and glided around together for nearly a half hour. Diana did wear this dress again a few more times throughout her life – shortly before her death, she requested that it be auctioned off for charity. It was sold again in 2013 for an outstanding sum of over $360,000.

Recreate It

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Nordstrom (link); Forever 21 (link); Neiman Marcus (link); Nasty Gal (link)

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Freelance writer. Equestrian. Fueled by coffee. Lover of luxury fashion, college football and used bookstores.

2 thoughts on “A Tribute to Princess Diana’s Most Iconic Looks

  1. I didn’t realize this wasn’t a “national entertainment” type blog until I read your name at the end. Good job, Sarah. Fun article!

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