When Princess Diana’s death by car accident in Paris was officially announced on BBC One on the fateful morning of August 31, 1997, the world cried over the loss of the ‘People’s Princess.’ She was only 36. In the days immediately following her death, UK was awash with grief as people made trips to Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace leaving flowers to pay their last respects. And 20 years later the world still mourns the loss of such an incredible woman, a style icon and a loving mother of two boys William and Harry.
In the two decades since her death, what is it that still makes Princess Diana so special? In her eulogy, her brother Charles Spencer had said, “Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty.” A global icon, she was glamorous, fashionable, feminine and photogenic with a fairy-tale aura leading a not-so-fairy-tale life.
Here we look back at her passion for fashion and sparkly jewels from the royal jewelry box.
1980-1981 – Coy bride
At the time of her marriage in the summer of 1980 when she was a nursery assistant, she treasured one long dress, a silk shirt, a gold chain with her initials on it and a pair of gold earrings. The royal bride-to-be settled for her iconic engagement ring – an oval sapphire ring set in diamonds and gold — from a selection presented to the couple by Garrard, the royal jewelry. Prince Charles and Diana got married on July 29, 1981. Her lace wedding gown with its puffed sleeves became one of the most famous dresses in the world and set wedding-fashion trends. Among her most treasured jewels was her family’s tiara which she wore on her wedding day.
Style to steal: From delicate tiaras to pendants, her jewelry style from early years oozed sophistication and glam. Take a cue from Diana’s dainty head accessory by opting for short-length tiara teamed with a red-carpet gown. Remember that it should complement and not overpower your look.
Wear delicate and feminine Princess of Diana classy ring with a floral dress or a plain white shirt.
Line the neckline of a dress with a floral brooch in various colors.
1982 – 1984 – Royal Parents
This era was all about bold colors. Diana impressed with her pregnancy wardrobe setting new trends in maternity wear. Her royal wardrobe included V-neck polka-dot blouse dress, summer frock, pastel hued dresses, taffeta dress with bows, maternity white gowns and detailed coats with matching hats. She always had her final say before the actual fittings and worked closely with her designers. She wore a lot of charm bracelets and her particular favorite was one with ‘W’ marking William’s birth and ‘H’ added for Harry. A reminder of her happier times, she stopped wearing this bracelet after 1984.
Style to steal: Standout in the 80s inspired hot pink dress with pearl studs or a blue asymmetrical gown and a pearl-choker.
Add a spark of elegance and glam to everyday clothes in this Diana stud earrings.
1985 – 1990 – Power Dressing
Her sartorial style for royal tours and outings were iconic couture gowns and dresses — a white-bibbed long sleeved calf-length dress to a floral pencil skirt and a white blouse for a polo match to a midnight blue evening gown for a White House State Dinner which made headlines because of her memorable dance with John Travolta. In her laid-back style moments, she preferred high-rise mom-jeans, jumpsuits, track pants, checkered pants and oversized blazers. Some of her bejeweled pieces included a seven-strand pearl choker that was the talking point in the UK in 1985. Originally a brooch gifted to her by Queen Mother she later turned it into a choker. Her other favorite pieces included dangler earrings and the Saudi sapphire suite by the Saudi crown prince (necklace, earrings, and ring) which she wore on royal tours.
Style to steal: Embrace polka-dotted 80’s inspired dress with voluminous sleeves or a chic strapless gown with a bolero. Accessorise with dangler earrings and velvet choker necklace.
Slay it like Diana by turning up in an asymmetrical gown teamed with a delicate choker and a floral dangler.
Combine this anniversary earring with a lacy white top and blue jeans.
1990 – 1997
If she played safe in her early years conforming to the royal dress code, during the early to mid-nineties her confidence in fashion grew. Diana began to make bolder fashion choices. She dabbled in off-shoulder styles and her wardrobe included tailored tank dresses and simple evening dresses. It was the most difficult times as the couple separated in 1992 and by 1994 she was ready to mingle. Her fashion rebellion truly began with her grabbing the attention in Serpentine Gallery party in 1994 wearing the iconic ‘Revenge Dress,’ a body-hugging sexy LBD matched with a choker and pearl earrings. On the other hand, for her charity work, she preferred power suits and simple shirts with rolled up sleeves. Her last public outing was in June 1997 when she visited the Royal Albert Hall for a ‘Swan Lake’ performance in a low-cut mini dress.
Style to steal: Make a powerful statement by wearing a pearl and diamond neckpiece with floral earrings.
Statement floral dangler is a perfect add on to a white midi-skirt or a white boho dress.
A delicate heart earring looks just as good with jeans and a blazer as with glamorous evening dress.
(Guest Post by Sushmita Biswas
Author Bio: Sushmita Biswas is an independent journalist and loves meeting new people and doing creative things. She is someone who likes to see the funny side of life and appreciate the people who make life worth living. She is a go-getter and a firm believer in the mantra: ‘Never say Never.’ When she is not decoding lifestyle trends, she keeps a tab on Bollywood and interviews well-known personalities.)
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