Princess Diana’s outfits made a statement ‘without whispering a word’

The Crown: Elizabeth Emanuel on Diana's wedding dress

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Princess Diana could dress for any occasion, whether it be a film premiere red carpet or a casual trip to the gym. spoke to Farrah-May Archer Boadi, Styling Team Lead at Stitch Fix UK, about how Princess Diana dressed for impact over the years.

Daring outfits

Princess Diana wore several daring outfits which were ahead of her time in the 1980s and 1990s, her most notable perhaps being her ‘revenge dress’.

While Diana didn’t comment on her husband’s televised admission of infidelity during her trip to the Serpentine Gallery in 1994, she let her outfit do all the talking.

Farrah-May commented: “From her bouffant, pearl-encrusted wedding dress, to her red carpet, Grace Kelly-inspired blue ball gown – Diana was always turning heads in her fairytale ensembles.

“A look that stands out above all is the iconic ‘revenge dress’; the off-the-shoulder, slinky, ruched LBD, worn by Diana as she stepped out for a dinner at The Serpentine Gallery in London, following the televisation of Prince Charles admitting to his affair.

“A dress that would have been deemed ‘not so fit’ for a Princess, this was the perfect moment for its first outing; it allowed Diana to mark her status as a single and independent woman, without whispering a word.”

‘High-low’ dressing

For royal engagements, Diana was often pictured wearing smart separates and structured jackets.

It can be argued Diana reimagined the usual wardrobe of a royal woman, ditching strings of pearls and frilly dresses for more risque fashionable ensembles.

Diana’s approach to royal workwear is emulated by her two daughters-in-law Kate, Princess of Wales and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex today, with both women known to don suits and tailored blazers for outings.

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Kate and Meghan also often wear jeans for more casual events, something Diana did often throughout her later years.

Farrah-May explained: “Another way in which Diana used fashion as a statement was in her ability to dabble in high-low dressing.

“She did this by not only mixing smart and casual items, but pairing typically masculine silhouettes together with feminine items – an ensemble that is very common today, both in street style, at the office, and on LA it-girls, such as Hailey Bieber.

“As the queen of a blazer-denim combination, Diana was able to subtly assert her power by adopting a style typically seen on men at that time.”

Colour and patterns

Princess Diana sometimes took a playful approach to her clothes, and one notable outfit from her earlier years in the Royal Family has earned icon status.

The fashion expert added: “Over the years, Diana became renowned for her use of colour and pattern, and often used her bold looks as a way to express her emotions.

“A great example is the reputable ‘black sheep’ sweater worn to various polo matches by the Princess throughout the 1980s and 1990s – a frumpy jumper which was viewed by many as a signifier of how Diana felt about her place within the Royal Family – the odd one out.”

Diana also used charity T-shirts like her famous British Lung Foundation one to help raise awareness of causes when she was off-duty.


For the finishing touches to her outfits, Diana knew exactly how to accessorise for maximum impact.

Farrah-May said: “Last but not least was Princess Diana’s treasure trove of jewelled accessories.

“For me, one of Diana’s most iconic looks was in 1985, when she repurposed a stunning art-deco emerald choker and wore it as a headpiece.

“This is one of Diana’s most free, creative and expressive looks that supports her trendsetter reputation – and is representative of how she did things her own way.”

Diana also wore a very expensive and striking sapphire, diamond and pearl choker for her visit to the Serpentine Gallery in 1994.

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