As I was doing the research for my last entry about ageism and fashion, I kept discovering sites questioning if Queen Elizabeth II was a fashion leader and icon.
Sounded like my bridge partners. We all recognize that HRH Elizabeth represents our singular continuity and stability in the tumultuous years of the lives of our grand generations. I highly respect her for her position supporting and encouraging multiculturalism.
However, is she a fashion icon?
A Very Young Queen
It is shocking to remember that Elizabeth was only twenty-five years old when she became queen. Younger than the present-day fashion-forward icon, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.
When I was looking at some of the pictures of her when the Queen was young, I remembered how much she influenced what I wore.
Today, Victim of Aegism
The years have passed for HRH Elizabeth, just as they have for us.
Now the Queen is sometimes called dowdy, a victim of ageism just as we are. However, dowdy she is not.
Dressing for the “Office”
We most often see pictures of Queen Elizabeth when she is at work. What I forgot is that she is ever as much dressing “for the office” as I once did with my dark cashmere suits, trench coat and briefcase.
(If you forgot how to enlarge this, go to my post “To the Louvre Museum” and see “Changing size of computer print: Zooming”.)
Many articles state that these bright colors are necessary because the queen is quite diminutive. People want to see her.
These monochromatic colorful outfits help her standout in a crowd or on a podium. Skirts must be 2 inches below the knee and hems are weighted to prevent any “unqueenly” wardrobe malfunction.
An issue of question, and often of humor, is the Queen’s handbag. It seems to always be with her and appears to always be of a similar style. Royal fashion historians report that Elizabeth’s desire to carry a handbag to public occasions appeared right after her coronation. How unregal people thought!
Queen Elizabeth so upholds her own need for a handbag that she even is reported to carry it with room-to-room in her palaces.
The handbags are made by Launer, a historic English luxury goods company, that has the license to manufacture handbags for the queen. Although most are simple black calfskin, some are made according to her dress. She like a light, boxy satchel with an extra long handle worn over her arm so that she is free to shake hands.
You can go to the Launer website and buy a similar bag for yourself. I believe it is called the Royale.
Remember to open the site, move your cursor over the red, right click and open link in another tab. (Tabs are located at the top of your screen. They look like tabs on a file folder.)
What’s in her handbag? Since the Queen does have to carry money or a passport, why does she need a handbag? For the same reason that you and I carry a handbag.
She is reported to keep in it such items as make-up and a comb, photos and small gifts from her children, her mints, nibbles for her Corgis, a crossword cut from the paper, a handkerchief and paper money for the church collection plate.
She also carries one of those big hooks to hang your purse and a spit-activated suction cup with a small hook to hold it under the table. In her own palaces, she has a small hook built into the under-surface tables.
The Queen uses her purse as a signal to her associates. For example, if she puts her purse on the floor, it means, ‘I’m bored, get me out of here.” Most often, the royal bag hangs unpretentious happily from her left arm indicating that all is well.
Queen Elizabeth is said to love shoes. The ones we most often see are her “work” shoes. A square 2 inch heal pump, durable and ready for any challenge on one of her “walk-abouts”.
A queen has to stand a lot and cannot whine about her aching feet. Does she walk all over the palace breaking in new shoes? Absolutely not. She may be considered to be a thrifty royal but when it come to protecting her feet, she hires some else to break them in. So writes The Telegraph.
When it comes to hats, most of the world just do not understand the romance that English women and with their hats. Royal hats must not block the public’s view of a royal’s face. That appears to be the only rule. From there, whimsy and self-expression seems to take hold, even for a queen.
I have not discovered why the Queen almost always is photographed in a headscarf when she is outdoors. Do you know?
So, is HRH Elizabeth II a fashion icon?
There is no question that over the years Queen Elizabeth was, and still remains, a fashion icon.
As she has moved into her grand years, the queen seems to be practicing many of the fashion considerations that I wrote about in my last posting, such as appropriateness to her “job”, comfort and ease.
I think that, of the many articles I read, the BBC site summarized it best. The queen has never tried to be a fashion icon yet, today older women especially women of the Commonwealth do follow her style. Nonetheless about seven years ago, the Dolce & Gabbana fashion show featured all the models wearing below-the-knee tweed skirts, boxy handbags and, of course, headscarves – just the Queen.
If you do some searching yourself, you will notice that some of her fashion pictures have a pink asterisk symbol when you move your cursor over them Click on the symbol and it will lead you to where you can find similar fashions for all age groups.
Recommended Websites for More Information
To open the site,movie your cursor over the red, right click and open link in another tab.