Britain

Hall of Fame – Princess Alexandra, Daywear

Thank you to our community member Jane Maple, Princess Alexandratologist, for this insightful post!

Jane’s Thesis

Princess Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel – or as I like to think of her, one of the best Christmas presents ever (that’s where the “Christabel” came from, she was born December 25, 1936) – might be the founding member of the Perfect Beta Princess* sorority.  She shares a lot of the elegance of the current sorority president, Benedikte – with just enough wack-a-doodle Daisy thrown in to keep us on our toes.

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Runners Up

Alix’s day wear is definitely consistent, and can usually be described as: big hat, high neck and longish, straight skirt with the frequent addition of a lot of scarf.  This is one of the best examples of her wedding guest chic from the Wales wedding in 2005.

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There it is: big hat, high neck with scarf and long, straight skirt.  It’s definitely typical Alix, but she makes it look so good.

Here she is at work in 2015, with her regiment, the Canadian Scottish.  (I love this because my father was part of that regiment for many years.)  Big hat, high neck with shawl, long, straight skirt, and elegant as all get out.

Winner

And finally, here she is as a working princess on Garden Party duty, also in 2015, showing just enough wack-a-doodle with her Minnie Pearl hat to entertain the guests.

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* Perfect Beta Princess – Looks every inch a princess but loyally supporting the queen, who is the real star of the show.

Which Princess Alexandra entry is the most excellent in your view?
Britain

Hall of Fame – Princess Alexandra, Evening

Thank you to our community member and Princess Alexandra superfan, Jane Maple, for this post.

Jane’s Thesis

Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy, is a spectacularly elegant and engaging woman who has served her cousin the queen loyally for most of her 80+ years until arthritis forced her to curtail many of her engagements.  She is also the only royal I have ever been cheeky to, which is a whole ‘nother story… but one of the many reasons I adore her.

Alexandra’s evening wear has gone through three basic phases over the course of her long working life.  As a young woman she was often a very stylish mini-me behind her amazing mother, Princess Marina.

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Oddly (or traditionally) enough, she actually had access to more tiaras/bling before she was married.  Her mother left the significant pieces to her sons, but I did find one photo of Alix wearing the Kent Festoon tiara now worn by Princess Michael and one of her wearing her mother’s pearl and diamond bandeau which, apparently, was sold to pay death duties.

Runners-Up

After her marriage, there are some wonderfully romantic portraits of Alexandra dressed and bejewelled as the perfect Beta Princess (definitely a princess, but not the star of the show).  The stuff fairy tales are made of.  I’m sure she wore perfectly good and stylish gowns too, but these are the ones I remember from my ‘Charles and I are both single…’ youth.

And even though this isn’t an ‘evening’ photo, the ultimate romantic Alexandra is this 1972 photo.

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In recent years, her working evening wear seems to be a version of her day wear – just minus the big hat.  And she may be giving Anne a run for her recycling money; the first photo is from 1999, and the second is from 2019.

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Winner

I’m a fan, and I hate to pick just one look from this Perfect Beta Princess, but if I have to, then this one, from 2016, because a velvet evening coat is going to get me every time. (Handbag note: we added another photo of the dress from a different outing, so you could see it in all it’s glory!)

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What is your favorite Princess Alexandra phase?
Spain

Hall of Fame – Queen Letizia, Daywear

Thank you to our guest author, Iselen, for this post! You knew Varela would feature prominantly, and ¡ahí está! – here he is.

Runner Up

The runner-up is from Mr. Sarkozy, president of France, and Carla Bruni’s official visit. This burgundy “tucked dress” by Felipe Varela is her favourite for sure, the outfit she’s repeated the most in her life, even seven years later after she cut her hair. It’s an iconic outfit that Spanish people remember. I’ve chosen this visit because you know how obsessed magazines are with “duels between ladies” and Carla’s visit was highly anticipated, everybody was expecting them to compete to be the best dressed and so on… but they both chose simple outifts, actually, and Letizia played it safe by picking out her favourite and probably most comfortable dress. 

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Winner

Her proclamation coat, something that Spanish people will remember forever, of course. It was a tricky event because times have changed al lot since that “capote” coloured long dress worn by Queen Sofía and nobody had clear ideas about what Letizia was going to wear. We imagined that she was going to choose simplicity and probably short… but everybody was fearing the worst since Varela’s designs aren’t very appreciated here. We all liked it more than we expected although her hair was a disappointment and we all prefer the updo she wore one year later for an event with the Civil Guard. 

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What is your vote for Queen Letizia's Daywear Hall of Fame?
Britain

Hall of Fame – Duchess of Cornwall, Daywear

Thank you to our guest author and community member, Jane Maple, for this Hall of Fame entry! I think you will find it as witty and engaging as we did. (Note: photo of Jane Maple courtesy of Jane Maple. All other photos from Hello and Daily Mail.)

Jane’s Thesis

I love Camilla’s daywear for two quite different reasons.  First there’s the hats – giant concoctions of flowers, feathers and froof.  I love her hats; I wish I had a lifestyle that involved wearing hats, ‘cause I’d really try to give her a run for her Phillip Treacy.  When it comes to hats, Camilla is, for me, that unreachable star.

My other reason for loving her daywear is the complete opposite; it often seems so doable, even for someone who buys most of her clothes at thrift stores.  She’s a year older and several pounds lighter than I am, but I look at her outfits and can realistically see myself wearing something similar.

A case in point is this purple skirt and top which Cams has worn several times.  I looked at that and realized that I could pull something similar together .

Photo courtesy of Jane Maple

Runners-Up

Even the outfits that I know I would have no reason to wear are still so elegant but achievable for other women her age.

I love her approach to hot weather dressing; wherever she is, she will probably be wearing a loose and comfortable but absolutely beautiful salwar kameez.  There have been many, but my favourite is this one she wore to the Hermitage Plantation House on March 21, 2019 during her visit to Saint Kitts and Nevis.

It was harder for me to pick a favourite of her day dresses/suits, possibly because I like most of them.  But, unsurprisingly, I chose this one that she wore to the annual tree trimming at Clarence House because… well… red.  And this is such a wonderful event, that I’m always predisposed to like what she wears to it.

Winner

But the one outfit Camilla wore this year that totally made me sit up and notice was this blue suit with the scalloped hem on the jacket that she wore on .  Uh may zing!

What kind of daywear do you like best on Camilla?
Britain

Hall of Fame – Duchess of Cambridge, Cocktail/Evening on Tour

Thank you to our guest author and community member Robin for this post! I think you’ll find her choices as intriguing as we do.

2nd Runner Up

I love when royals step out of their comfort zone, because I appreciate that it must be nerve-racking when you know your choices are going to be dissected endlessly.  I also am always on-board for a little black dress, and I think Paris is the perfect place to wear one. And I appreciate when a royal wears something I don’t normally like and they change my mind.  

Catherine at the reception, British Embassy, Paris, France, dress by Alexander McQueen, earrings by Balenciaga, shoes by Gianvito Rossi, necklace by unknown designer, ring by unknown designer (likely Balenciaga), belt by unknown designer.  

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This dress was so very chic, in a city known for chic.  The texture and shape were not typical for Kate, but they really should be.  The belt was perfect because it fit with style of the dress and added to the overall look.  Her shoes were a stylish choice, as black court shoes would have made the dress look more business casual than cocktail.  And normally large pearl costume jewelry reminds me of my grandmother going to church, but the asymmetrical necklace was lovely and playful against the black texture of the dress.  

1st Runner Up

I can’t personally do a HOF for Kate and not give her at least one shout-out for her commitment to theme dressing.  If Kate is visiting a country with a known symbolic color or plant, expect her to pull said color or plant into her outfit styling.  And though sometimes I have not been the greatest fan of thematic dressing, I am the first to admit that it is a meaningful tribute to the country and people she is visiting.  To my surprise, I had a hard time picking my favorite- her theme dressing is at its finest on tour.

Catherine at the evening reception, Government House, New Zealand, dress by Jenny Packham, earrings and bracelet on loan from HRH The Queen

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The hand-beading of the fern was extraordinary, and the couture level of the beading ensured this dress was fashion and not costume.  The black and silver color was also a tribute to the national colors of New Zealand.  This was during a time when Kate appeared most comfortable wearing her (glorious) hair down, but it was still curled and pushed off the ‘fern’ shoulder, allowing the bead work to be the focus. I have never forgotten this dress, which is why I finally chose this dress over her recent green Jenny Packham in Pakistan.  I also think it was the rare themed dress that could have been repeated due to the artistry of the bead work.

Hall of Fame

Catherine at the BAFTA Brits to Watch Event, Los Angeles, California, dress by Alexander McQueen, shoes by Jimmy Choo, bracelet and earrings on loan from HRH The Queen

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This is a dress that I love, and I am truly saddened it has never been publicly repeated.  (Privately, she must have put it on once or twice since and twirled around Anmer Hall, right?)  Let me break down my reason for why this was such a perfect ensemble for this tour stop:

  1. The soft color and flow of this dress, with just the perfect amount of sparkle.  I travel to Los Angeles frequently, and it is Bohemian chic central, land of maxi dresses and giant sunglasses.   Of course, it is also Hollywood, home of the Oscars and Golden Globes, where movie stars drape themselves in the latest runway couture and megawatt diamonds. The color, flow and fit of this dress looked effortless, and the sparkle gave just the right amount of ‘wow’ factor.  
  2. The gold sandals and clutch were so very So Cal (this was not a place for court shoes, and gold accessories are always on trend).  Yes, the belted waist- classic Kate, but it worked with the fit and design of the dress.  The diamonds from the Queen- stunning, but not over the top.  And this was a rare evening look where I think hair down was the right choice, as it matched the fluidity of the dress, and the casualness of the West Coast.  As someone who constantly wants to ever so slightly tweak Kate’s style, I would not have changed anything. 
  3. This was the only evening gown look during her first international tour, in a country known for its unabashed Princess Diana obsession.  There had to be tremendous pressure on her and her team.  To me, this dress was ‘modern princess’ but still also very much Kate, and I love that it stayed true to who she is.  It also photographed beautifully in motion- something that I think every royal stylist needs to remember when a royal is only going to be photographed walking into an event.    

Weigh in on Kate's cocktail on-tour wear!