7 Queenly Steps To Personal Style
A Diamond Jubilee Look At Queen Elizabeth II’s Personal Style For Guidelines For Developing Your Own Distinctive Personal Style
5 june 2012 | annebarone.com
The following guidelines for how-to create your own distinctive personal style were inspired reading Guy Trebay’s The Outfits That Say ‘The Queen’ that appeared in The New York Times 1 June 2012 at the time of the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee.
Step 1: Choose A Role Model
Queen Elizabeth had an excellent role model in her own mother who had developed a style distinctly suited to her body and personality even when it was very different than the popular styles of the times.
Step 2: Create A Style That Tells Others Who You Are
In Elizabeth II’s case, she is the Queen. So she set out to define an image of a monarch who took her role seriously and dressed with dignity, a “British” look and with what Guy Trebay calls “a reassuring matronly solidity."
Step 3: Consider Your Body Type
Elizabeth II is short with a generous bust. Even when slim, this is a difficult figure to dress chicly. But she early found styles that worked for her height and proportions. Note that she gains a certain amount of height with her hats, though she seems never to have worn ultra high heels to add height.
Step 4: Consider Your Lifestyle Needs
If you are the Queen, your duties will require that you will spend a lot of time on your feet, shaking hands, being photographed. Her outfits must show up from a distance in a crowd. As the article points out, the Queen has defining blocks of color in her outfits: rectangle of coat, disk of hat, oblong of handbag over low-heeled pumps.
Step 5: Insure No Wardrobe Malfunctions
The Queen's skirts are weighted to make sure they never fly up. (You can weight your own skirts and jackets by sewing in small fishing weights in the hems.) And armholes are cut generously to allow for all her handshaking. Someone else breaks in her shoes to prevent blisters.
Step 6: Choose Clothes Appropriate For The Culture
When the Queen travels abroad, research has been done so that no colors or symbols are used that would be considered inappropriate. Likewise, we can make our life easier — and safer — if we stay within the bounds of what is appropriate to the place. Some of the styles that would be “in style” in Paris, might get me unwanted attention here in North Texas.
Step 7: Let Your Style Evolve
Looking at a book that came from my mother’s library Queen Elizabeth II 1952-1992: A Pictorial Celebration of Her Reign, I can see how early she defined the blocks of color described in Step 4, and these have worked for her even as styles have changed through the years and her own figure has changed from the slim young woman who became Queen 60 years ago.
ACTUALLY, I have been observing Queen Elizabeth II’s personal style more than 60 years. The first “paper dolls” that my mother bought me were not for some film star, but rather for Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret Rose. In my pre-Barbie childhood, it was cardboard figures and outfits that we carefully cut out with our little blunt-point scissors and placed on the figures.
So it was exciting, in 1953 to sit in front of our little black and white TV screen and see that one of my “paper dolls” was now dressed in royal robes and a crown as she became Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
These past few days it has been exciting to sit in front of a computer screen substantially larger that first TV that graced our family living room, and watch (in brilliant color, no less) the festivities of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. Again, it has been fun to see the outfits the Queen and the other royals are wearing and discover some personal style guidelines.
Long Live the Queen
be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone
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