I know I promised winter dresses this week, but I got swept up in watching the new series of The Crown and, almost solely for my own amusement, I wanted to see if I could find modern day items that are inspired by some of the costumes from the series. Plus I really enjoyed doing that last week with Harry Styles. Think of it as ‘inspired by’, rather than ‘how to look like’. It’s not just Diana either, although her outfits were really talking to me, but also the Queen, Princess Anne and of course Margo.
We’ll leave out Maggie Thatcher, with the best will in the world, no one really wants to take style tips from her. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive her for taking away those mini milk bottles we used to get at school. Even though they were warm and you had to drink them out of the world’s thinnest blue straws, they were still one of the best things about Primary School. Well, that and Spam Fritters. 1980s style school dinners didn’t have a lot going for them did they? How much nutritional value was there is Luncheon Meat, Canned Mushy Peas, Chips and Tapioca? To this day I still can’t look at a Rice Pudding without feeling queasy.
Let’s stop the school reminiscing or I’ll be off on a tangent again telling you about my ill-fated rats tail hairdo, Electric Blue Mascara, Pixie boots from Freeman Hardy and Willis and that time we set Wayne Leats trousers on fire with magnesium strips in Chemistry. Couldn’t believe how quickly they went up in flames. Must have been all that polyester in Farrah slacks, they really didn’t do well against a rogue bunsen burner..
PATTERN KNITWEAR AND DUNGAREES
Lady Diana Spencer, not only the Queen of people’s hearts, she was also the Countess of Cardigans, The Duchess of Decorative Knitwear and the Grande Dame of Dungarees. Well, actually I don’t know how often she wore dungarees, but she certainly wore them once, and she wore them well. This outfit from the Polo match was one of my all time favourites. I’m not sure how flattering lemon yellow dungarees would be on any of us, but switch out for a denim pair and add a cute knit and pair of trainers and you’re good to go.
1. Gap Relaxed Denim Dungarees
2. Liberty London Rose Gold Alphabet Pendant Bracelet
3. Lorna Ruby Chunky Embroidered Cardigan
4. Hayley Menzies Gloria Floral Embroidered Jumper
5. Nike Court Vintage Trainers
BARBOUR JACKETS (AND OUTDOOR SHOES)
I feel a kinship with the Queen in many ways, my foreign husband isn’t good behind the wheel of a car, I struggle to choose a favourite child, I often repeat buy outfits in various colours, but most of all we both bloody love a Barbour. That quintessentially classic English outdoors jacket that never dates. It will keep you warm and dry whether you are shooting at Balmoral or walking your small dog over the old wastelands by the canal. It will only get better and more comfortable with age AND you can feel slightly regal, safe in the knowledge that your outerwear has the seal of approval from Britain’s aristocracy. My advice to anyone looking for an investment jacket that will never date. Just buy a Barbour.
1. Barbour x Alexa Chung Waxed Jacket (with detachable hood)
2. Barbour Reversible Checked Scarf
3. & Other Stories Oversized Cable Knit Jumper
4. Brora Herringbone Wool Tailored Trousers
5. Grenson Nanette Burgundy Hiking Boots
LIBERTY PRINT AND FLORAL PUFFS
Two more of my favourite things, Liberty Print (or an approximation thereof) and a puffy sleeve. Add them together in one dress and resistance is futile. See my borderline obsession with Justine Tabak dresses for evidence of that. In this weather, throw a cable knit cardi or a chunky old sweater over your girly dress. I imagine that’s was what a young Diana would have done. She’d kick off her court shoes, add some flats, pour herself a Baileys and listen to ‘Save a Prayer’ on repeat. Dreaming of running away to Rio with John Taylor.
1. Doen Laurel Floral Print Midi Dress
2. Somerset By Alice Temperley Bobble Knit Cardigan
3. Rixo Naomi Floral Print Dress
4. ASOS Floral Print Mary Jane Flats
5. Chloe Lauren Scalloped Edge Ballet Flats
TWEED, TARTAN AND CHECKS
I’m not really talking about a 3 piece and a sporran, although, like her Majesty’s handbag, I do wonder what Charles and Philip would be keeping in their Sporrans. Perhaps some Trebor Extra Strong mints, a packet of Woodbines and a copy of the tips page from the Racing Post. We shall never know. What I do know is that I love a good check jacket. Wear 70’s style with some wool culottes, a good pair of knee high boots and a solid chunky knit sweater to keep the chill out.
COCKTAIL HOUR DRESSES
Princess Anne seemed so with it in the early 80’s, she was all maxi cocktail dresses and furtive looks across the room to dashingly unsuitable gentlemen. Now she’s had the same hairstyle for the last 30 years. But I guess it’s true that some women just find what they like hair-wise in early life and never deviate from that path. I must admit though, when my Dad got his MBE (services to music and charity, since you ask) we were somewhat disappointed to get Anne at the ceremony. We were all hoping for The Queen, or as a runner up, Charles. At least it wasn’t Edward or, god forbid, Andrew, that’s something…
FRILL BLOUSES (and maybe a few more tank tops)
I couldn’t leave without this look. Princess Diana pretty much single-handedly invented the Sloane Ranger look. Pie Crust collar, Navy Tank Top, A line skirt. Loafers. Modernise this look by adding a cooler sweater vest, chunky boots and excellent pair of wool trousers. I’ve got these ones from Cos in my virtual basket just waiting and hoping that they go in some kind of Black Friday sale soon. Talking of Black Friday, I might still do my regular annual post with all the relevant discounts and codes on it if I get the time this week. Although a lot have started already. Let me know if that’s useful and I’ll get on it. If you’re a subscriber to my email, I will aim to get it to you on Thursday afternoon.
I will try and do winter dresses or big coats next week and I’ll crack on with a few more gift guides too. I’ve added them to the Gift Guide section on the home page.