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Queen Elizabeth’s Most Iconic Fashion Moments

 Queen elizabeth best fashion.
Queen elizabeth best fashion.

You may be familiar with the late Queen Elizabeth II in terms of her daywear style—her trademark blazer and skirt that she rarely deviated from in the last few decades of her public life as monarch. But if you go back a bit farther, you might be surprised at the breadth and depth of Elizabeth's style (she was literally photographed from babyhood onward, with the public eye beginning to intensify its gaze starting when she was a teenager). She had an evolving royal style over the course of her reign, beginning with simple girlish designs and evolving into the mature and polished sovereign that would become her signature—not to mention the many bright colors she would deploy in her wardrobe.

As her stylist Angela Kelly wrote in a memoir, "The Queen is conscious that she must be easily visible to as many people as possible when she is out and about, so I choose mainly striking colors that will be easily seen." This is also a fascinating look at how a public figure goes from youth and exuberance to confidence and ease over time: We watched the Queen grow from new ruler to nonagenarian, all with a large wardrobe budget (and some incredible jewels) at her disposal.

Below, 32 of Queen Elizabeth's most iconic fashion moments, ever.

1952

queen elizabeth best fashion 1952
queen elizabeth best fashion 1952

In a sign of things to come, in the same year she became queen, Elizabeth (shown here with two dogs) is at Balmoral in a sharp skirt suit. This style would continue to be extremely popular for the royal in the decades of her rule, as would the color.

1940

queen elizabeth best fashion 1940
queen elizabeth best fashion 1940

Then-Princess Elizabeth sits here at Windsor Castle and, like all teens do, looks a bit bored as she sits over a book (maybe her homework??). There are subsequent photos taken of her outside and on horseback, where she looks much happier. The patterned dress feels girlish but fun.

1942

queen elizabeth best fashion 1942
queen elizabeth best fashion 1942

Riding a bike while at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, this is a classic look for the young princess. She always seemed at home in sporty-casual outdoorsy wear (although frankly I'm quite impressed she can ride a bike in a skirt!)—although she didn't lean towards stripes as much as she got older.

1988

queen elizabeth best fashion 1988
queen elizabeth best fashion 1988

As an adult, Elizabeth seemed at home in riding outfits. While at formal events she was rarely, if ever, spotted in pants, they would be an intuitive choice for the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Great Park. I love the sports coat and added flair in the scarf.

2002

queen elizabeth best fashion 2002
queen elizabeth best fashion 2002

Even in her later years, Elizabeth had sharp "casual" outfits. This is the perfect country attire—she was watching Prince Philip compete in the cross country section of the International Carriage Driving Grand Prix Championships at The Royal Windsor Horse Show.

1943

queen elizabeth best fashion 1943
queen elizabeth best fashion 1943

The Girl Scouts were a fitting place for the Queen (and she became a patron of the organization in later life). The 1st Buckingham Palace Company was formed to enable them to earn their badges, and her sister and mother participated too.

1978

queen elizabeth best fashion 1978
queen elizabeth best fashion 1978

Here, Elizabeth is in uniform for her role as Head of the Armed Forces. Elizabeth was a longtime lover of horses; This picture was from the annual Trooping the Colour (which celebrates her birthday), and it is all the more impressive that she's on horseback in a formal ceremony.

1950

queen elizabeth best fashion 1950
queen elizabeth best fashion 1950

Even though Princess Anne threatens to steal the show in her adorable christening gown, then-Princess Elizabeth looks beautiful (and complementary!) in matching florals. Keep an eye on her headgear; Elizabeth was a fan of hats throughout her public life.

1961

queen elizabeth best fashion 1961
queen elizabeth best fashion 1961

While it might not be in vogue today, the early Queen loved her flower-adorned hats. There are many photos of a fuzzy topper atop Elizabeth's head looking like a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, like here (with Philip in Pakistan on an official tour).

1977

queen elizabeth best fashion 1977
queen elizabeth best fashion 1977

Part of her Silver Jubilee tour, Elizabeth is here pictured in New Plymouth, New Zealand, greeting onlookers in a pretty green and white floral dress. As she would come into her role as a royal, she would wear brighter, more distinctive colors so she was visible to crowds.

2012

queen elizabeth best fashion 2012
queen elizabeth best fashion 2012

Bright colors became the Queen's signature—and she looked fabulous in them! It was traditional to spot the Queen as she came out of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham for Christmas celebrations, and this teal zig-zag coat dress is a dash of whimsy.

1989

queen elizabeth best fashion 1989
queen elizabeth best fashion 1989

Red became one of Elizabeth's signature colors, and she was doing tonal before just about everyone else. Here, she's settling in to what would be her style for decades—sharp suit separates and a coat dress. Royals have been following in her footsteps for decades.

1952

queen elizabeth best fashion 1952
queen elizabeth best fashion 1952

Even in an incredibly high-stakes environment (becoming queen at an early age, seen here with Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth including Sir Winston Churchill), the 25-year-old brings in some flair and unique personal style in a big ballgown.

1954

queen elizabeth best fashion 1954
queen elizabeth best fashion 1954

The first monarch to pay official visit to Australia, Elizabeth is (with Philip) at an official outing there. It's obviously impossible to see in this photo, but the dress is actually a beautiful emerald green and accessorized perfectly with white gloves and topper.

2001

queen elizabeth best fashion 2001
queen elizabeth best fashion 2001

As guest of The States Of Guernsey and in a dress designed by Sir Hardy Amies, Queen Elizabeth looks every inch the royal sovereign. In her later years, Elizabeth would favor shorter (easier to walk in) dresses, but her ballgown era was something to behold.

1983

queen elizabeth best fashion 1983
queen elizabeth best fashion 1983

At a banquet put on by First Lady Nancy Reagan, the Queen met George Burns, Frank Sinatra, and other Hollywood greats in a pretty white and floral gown. There are more famous gowns from her trips to the U.S., but this one's my favorite.

1993

queen elizabeth best fashion 1993
queen elizabeth best fashion 1993

Pink was another of the Queen's favored bright colors, but (in my opinion) she never looked more fun and fabulous than in an event at her official tour of Hungary. With Philip, she accessorizes perfectly with black and white clutch and white gloves.

2018

queen elizabeth best fashion 2018
queen elizabeth best fashion 2018

Elizabeth could not look more delighted as she sits with Anna Wintour—in the front row, of course—at London Fashion Week. She's attending Richard Quinn's runway show (he was about to be presented with the first Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design).

1952

queen elizabeth best fashion 1952
queen elizabeth best fashion 1952

What I really appreciate about the new Queen Elizabeth's style in her early years was her commitment to a great gown. Here at the Empire Theater for the Royal Film Show, this dark gown with collared white contrast front is such a standout for the young royal.

2006

queen elizabeth best fashion 2006
queen elizabeth best fashion 2006

Here to attend the premiere of Casino Royale, and meet the new James Bond (Daniel Craig), Elizabeth looks like Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service M (that's Judi Dench's character, in case you missed it) in this shimmery pink set with contrasting black flowers.

1999

queen elizabeth best fashion 1999
queen elizabeth best fashion 1999

At the re-opening Of The Royal Opera House, the Queen is wearing a fan-adorned gown that just feels so regal. My favorite part is that she's gone with metallic gold shoes and clutch (which is something we didn't always see her do) and is matching to perfection.

1952

queen elizabeth best fashion 1952
queen elizabeth best fashion 1952

Listed only as an "evening function" that took place not long after the death of her father, Elizabeth is dressed as the new monarch in incredibly opulent style. The stole, the necklace, the crown, the flower pattern on the ballgown—it's an impressive signifier of her new role.

2006

queen elizabeth best fashion 2006
queen elizabeth best fashion 2006

Still the impressive monarch so many years later, this look has some common DNA with her very first looks (fur stole, crown, big necklace, white gloves, floor-length sparkly gown). A style icon: always innovating but keeping the base look the same.

1962

queen elizabeth best fashion 1962
queen elizabeth best fashion 1962

Fun fact: Princess Beatrice's wedding gown (she married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2020) she wore a modified version of this dress—it was a loan from the Queen, which feels incredibly special—with the bubble hem replaced with an a-line structure.

1962

queen elizabeth best fashion 1962
queen elizabeth best fashion 1962

At a performance of a Boy Scouts revue, The Gang Show, Elizabeth arrives in robin's egg blue and a lot of tulle. This was still evocative of her early style (big, a-line, eye-catching) but still had some of the color and flair she'd be known for in her later style.

1960

queen elizabeth best fashion 1960
queen elizabeth best fashion 1960

This Ascot outfit (matching with the Queen Mother) wouldn't look that out of place today. In the '60s, the Queen's style was feminine but relatively classic. With the floral pattern and the asymmetric detail, this might be one of my favorite daytime looks of hers, ever.

2018

queen elizabeth best fashion 2018
queen elizabeth best fashion 2018

There can sometimes be an extra meaning in what colors the Queen chose for formal occasions. According to a color theorist for this look (at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding) “Green is the color of growth and rebirth. A person who wears green is the regulator and open-hearted...Green is a highly significant color worn as a sign of respect and intention for the future.” Whether that's true or not, it's still a lovely, bright, eye-catching hue that was pretty standard for the monarch.

1954

queen elizabeth best fashion 1954
queen elizabeth best fashion 1954

At a garden party on tour in Sydney, Australia, the new royal is dressed simply in white lace. This is all classic, from the t-strap heels to the midi length of the dress to the double strand of pearls. Even the hat might be something we'd see at Ascot.

1948

queen elizabeth best fashion 1948
queen elizabeth best fashion 1948

Then-Princess Elizabeth is giving us major style here. It feels very fresh and young (she wasn't even 20 here, so it makes sense) and I love that the clutch matches her hat. Frankly, my favorite part might be that she's wearing platform peep-toe heels.

1947

queen elizabeth best fashion 1947
queen elizabeth best fashion 1947

Many people may not be familiar with Elizabeth's wedding gown when she wed Prince Philip after World War II. It was Chinese silk (which was still in short supply, and she had to use ration coupons!), and it drew comparison to fellow icon Grace Kelly's wedding dress.

2022

queen elizabeth best fashion 2022
queen elizabeth best fashion 2022

At her Platinum Jubilee (70th year of service—the first British monarch to do so!), Elizabeth was still wowing the crowd in her pale blue ensemble. She was 96(!) year old and donning her trademark pearl necklace and earrings, with a jaunty hat—so everyone could see her on her birthday!

1953

queen elizabeth best fashion 1953
queen elizabeth best fashion 1953

There's very few dresses that can compare to Queen Elizabeth's coronation dress. With all eyes on her as a very young royal (and with some very large shoes to fill), the gown has a ton of symbolism about the role she was about to take on—and took months to complete. Like her wedding gown, it was designed by Norman Hartnell, and (believe it or not) she rewore the dress on several occasions. A literal queen.