Princess Diana had more of an impact on the world than most royalty. And when she died, it was a tragedy felt all around the world.
One of the most surprising ways that Diana affected the world was through her fashion. She was never short of a fashion icon, setting trends and captivating a worldwide audience.
Here are Princess Diana’s biggest style secrets that made her a fashion icon.
Branding with a necklace
Nowadays, initial necklaces are more popular than ever. However, Diana helped put this fashion choice on the map back in 1980.
That’s when she rocked the “D” necklace while visiting her parents’ estate in Northamptonshire. We didn’t see it as much after she became royalty, but she wasn’t afraid to sport this during a polo match in 1985.
Diana rocking bling with her own initial? It’s a big flex, and we’re here for it.
A pop of color
Diana often wore stockings with her immaculate outfits. What made this noteworthy, though, is that the stockings were often colored to match whatever she was wearing.
Red stockings with a red dress, for example, just makes the whole look “pop.” And we’re not talking store-bought colors. Diana had these stockings dyed to perfectly match her clothing.
These stockings were one of Diana’s subtler fashion secrets, but we absolutely love her for it.
‘Time’ for love
Sometimes, Diana’s most iconic fashion moments were not inspired by fashion at all. And the best example of this is when she wore two different watches on one wrist while attending a polo match in 1981.
The reason she did this is that her fiancé Prince Charles was playing, and she wanted to wear his watch while he played. But she didn’t want to take off her usual gold watch because it was a gift from him, so she split the difference and wore them both! This shows how devoted she was to Charles, which only makes it more tragic when he broke her heart.
More stockings to die for
Most people imagine “highly conservative” when they imagine royal fashion. One of the reasons that Diana’s fashion stood out so much is that she found ways to breathe sexy new life into stodgy traditions.
Basic black stockings were a staple of conservative royal fashion. But when Diana wasn’t dying stockings to match her outfits, she was wearing seamed tights that were pretty damn steamy.
That may sound like a small thing, but it gave this famous royal the sultry quality of a vintage centerfold model.
And if you think Diana’s fashion was daring while she was a royal, wait till you see the revenge dress she wore when news that Prince Charles was cheating on her broke!
One of the most sentimental reasons that we wear jewelry is to help remember and honor our loved ones. And Diana carried on this tradition with her famous charm bracelet.
The charm bracelet had three distinct letters on it: H, W, and X. Why these letters? The “H” and “W” honor her sons Harry and William. Meanwhile, the X is a Roman numeral meant to honor ten years of marriage to Prince Charles.
With this charm bracelet, Diana could carry their love wherever she traveled.
When in doubt, pinkies out
It seems like pinky rings are just now getting their due. But while these things have become a modern fashion trend, we can trace it all back to Diana’s trailblazing ways.
Early into her marriage to Prince Charles, Diana would wear Cartier trinity rings as well as her family’s distinct signet ring on her pinky. This allowed her to rock more bling at once while really standing out in photos.
It’s official: Diana had more style on her pinky finger than most of us have on our whole bodies.
Turning things around
You don’t always have to overthink fashion. If you want to do something new, sometimes you just need to look at it from a different perspective.
In one memorable photo, we can see Diana wearing an iconic pearl necklace. However, she bucked fashion convention and wore it backward. While this sounds crazy, it’s just one more fashion innovation that Diana made look natural and amazing.
Perhaps it’s appropriate that Diana’s fashion choice was ahead of its time — she wore this look at the world premiere of Back to the Future in 1985, where she sat next to none other than Michael J. Fox!
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Mixing her gloves
What if you were to wear mismatched gloves today? Chances are that you’d have people reminding you of your fashion “mistake” all day long.
However, Diana chose to wear one black satin glove and one red satin glove to go with this stunning red-and-black Murray Arbeid evening gown. Instead of looking like a mistake, Diana transformed this into a brand new way of coordinating with the flamenco-inspired dress, with its velvet bodice and taffeta skirt.
She wore the look to the America’s Cup Ball at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in 1986, and people have been talking about it ever since. If anything, Diana looks like she could be cosplaying a fancy evening gown version of Harley Quinn!
Hail to the queen
One of the most persistent parts of Diana’s fashion was a brooch that she wore pinned to many dresses. As it turns out, this brooch was her way of honoring Queen Elizabeth.
The brooch has a fancy name: the Family Order of Queen Elizabeth. It features a young Elizabeth in formal wear, painted on an ivory brooch with diamonds and silk on it for good measure.
Not just anyone can wear the brooch: it must be bestowed on female royalty. It turns out Diana was just as impressive to her family as she was to the world!
To coordinate with her outfits, Diana didn’t stop at dying her stockings. On many occassions, she was photographed wearing blue eyeliner to accentuate her blue eyes and match whatever she was wearing
It seems subtle, but this style power move helped make both her eyes and her outfits pop. And this bold fashion risk is the mark of a woman who intends to take control of any room that she walks into.
Black sheep sweater
What’s the biggest sign of confident fashion? When someone is not afraid to wear their personality on their sleeves.
We can see that with Diana and the sweater she wore to a 1983 polo match. The red sweater by Muir and Osborne features rows of white sheep, with one black sheep standing out among them. It serves as a cheeky way of illustrating that Diana felt like the black sheep of the royal family.
And that’s Diana: telling the world how she feels while looking amazing.
Turning safety glasses into fashion
You don’t see many photos of Diana wearing glasses. The reason for that is simple: she didn’t need glasses to improve her vision.
However, Diana made headlines when she was photographed wearing these glasses in 1990. Why was she wearing them? They are actually industrial safety glasses that she wore while touring BT&D Technologies, a factory that manufactures lasers in the town of Ipswich in Suffolk, England.
Only Princess Diana could turn industrial safety glasses into fashion! A picture of Diana wearing these glasses is even on display in the Optical Heritage Museum in Southbridge, Massachusetts.
Whatever Diana wore, people took notice, proving she was the world’s ultimate fashion icon.