Twenty-five years after her death, Princess Diana’s wardrobe continues to inspire new generations. From TikTok users painstakingly recreating her workout outfits to fashion fans sourcing cult items worn by the late royal, her style remains as influential as ever, sparking magazine photo shoots, designer runway collections and… reissues of his beloved pieces.
Recent movies and TV shows such as “Spencer”, “The Crown” and the HBO Max documentary “The Princess” (HBO Max is owned by CNN parent company Warner Bros. Discovery) have rekindled interest in Diana, introducing her – and her story – to both millennials, some of whom may be too young to remember her, and Generation Zers, who were born after her death in 1997. With “The Crown” in particular , costume designer Amy Roberts’ meticulous attention to detail went as far as consulting with David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the original designers of her iconic wedding dress.
Diana’s Surprising Fashion Moments
However, as with the Netflix series’ reinterpretation of this bridal look – which saw actress Emma Corrin overwhelmed by the heavy 25ft train of the dress, in the middle disturbing music
and eerie snippets from UK media coverage of the wedding – there’s been a shift in how we view Diana’s wardrobe today. While the fascination with iconic outfits, such as her famous Christina Stambolian “revenge dress” (pictured above) or the blue velvet dress she wore to the White House in 1985, remains entirely timeless, young people generations imbibe its look in pursuit of aesthetics.
Scroll through Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok and you’ll notice that one particular part of Diana’s wardrobe has gained new popularity with Gen Z: the sporty and casual outfits of the 80s and 90s – the type she was in often photographed during her visits to the gym. or attend polo matches. The quintessential set includes an oversized sweatshirt, biker shorts, chunky trainers, sunglasses, vintage earrings and a designer bag, an effortless juxtaposition of streetwear, athleisure and glam in one look.
Princess Diana leaving the gym at London’s Chelsea Harbor Club in 1995, wearing an outfit frequently copied by fans from the royal wardrobe. Credit: Anwar Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
“My strongest impression of her style was bumping into her at the Harbor Club,” British designer Amanda Wakeley recalled in a 2020 British Vogue Retrospective
Diana’s style. “She was in her exercise kit and she had put on one of my cashmere sweatshirts with satin cuffs. To me, it was such a perfect picture of her.”
In a highly referenced year 2019 fashion spread
for Vogue Paris, Hailey Bieber paid homage to the trend of logo caps, varsity sweaters and large pearl and gold earrings. “All credit and inspiration goes to the stunningly beautiful and iconic Princess Diana, whom I’ve looked to for style inspiration for as long as I can remember,” Bieber wrote on Instagram alongside a selection. footage from the shoot. “Thank you for leaving behind such an iconic legacy of fashion and style.”
On Instagram, popular personalities like Stephanie Yeboah
, Melissa Soldera
and Liv Phyland
, among others, also followed suit recreating Diana’s style. “We like an outfit that promotes style as well as comfort,” Yeboah told CNN of Diana’s workout clothes, noting that changes to her fashion choices seemed to reflect her growing sense of self-worth. .
“This growth in confidence reflected in your wardrobe is something I resonate with tremendously, being a plus-size person and slowly seeing a change in my (own) wardrobe after getting the confidence boost I’ve had. needed,” Yeboah said in an email.
And on TikTok, users like Taylor Hage shared tutorials on how to recreate particular outfits. A recent video by Hage focuses on a very referenced outfit
worn by Diana at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor in 1988.
Another Princess Diana outfit frequently copied on social media is this: a sweatshirt from the British Lung Foundation (an organization of which Diana was patron), an oversized blazer and a baseball cap that she wore during of a polo match in 1988. Credit: Photo library by Tim Graham/Getty Images
“We’ve all seen that Princess Diana look,” Hage told his audience
1.6 million followers, before offering his interpretation — straight jeans, a neutral crew-neck sweater, a blazer (“if you don’t have one, save one, borrow one from your dad, borrow one from your brother, boyfriend, whatever,” she says, “it’s essential”) and western boots.
Others have gone even further, with TikTok user @simplesmurf creating a self-proclaimed “Princess Diana Stan acc” – in other words, a fan account dedicated to her. Alongside a plethora of vintage-inspired videos, the user reveals a slice of sweaters
and other separate pieces worn or inspired by Diana, while sharing periodic updates on recent finds from thrift stores and vintage clothing sellers as they expand their collection.
Amid this growing nostalgia for ’80s fashion and pop culture, thanks in part to shows like “Stranger Things” and retro designs from luxury brands like Chanel, it’s no surprise that the wardrobe of Diana has aroused new interest. For fans at the time such as TikTok’s @simplesmurf, who refers to Princess Diana as “the plan”,
the princess outfits are a form of fashion history. “What an Icon”
the user writes in a recent post.
Princess Diana pictured in 1994 wearing a blazer, cream turtleneck and trousers. Social media users have sought to recreate the effortless elegance of Princess Diana’s outfits, citing looks like these as inspiration for “old school” fashion looks. Credit: Tom Wargacki/WireImage/Getty Images
Elements of Princess Diana’s wardrobe have also been absorbed into what TikTokers are calling the “Old Money” aesthetic – an ironic and ambitious style mixing vintage and preppy pieces that seeks to emulate the wardrobes of those who were born into wealth and privilege. Princess Diana was perhaps the ultimate “Sloane Ranger” (a British term referring to London’s Sloane Square area and the stereotypical upper-middle-class women who typically live there), making her a natural fit for “Old Money” Pinterest boards and style inspiration videos.
A powerful inspiration
Pieces that illustrate how Diana challenged the traditional mold of the British royal family – particularly, during the years following her divorce from Princes Charles – also resonate with fashionable young people looking to assert their individuality.
Speaking to CNN last year, fashion scholar Eloise Moran explained the power of Diana’s “revenge dress”, which she wore the same day Prince Charles admitted to adultery. “I think that was the line drawn where she had control, and she was showing it to everyone,” Moran said. “You can really scare people — or intimidate them, or respect yourself, or whatever — through clothes.”
Another outfit that got renewed waves in recent years is a fire engine red knit sweater, with a pattern of white and black sheep, that Diana wore to a polo match in 1980. Widely interpreted as a subtle message that she felt like an outsider – or the “black sheep” — the jumper was given new life when clothing brand Rowing Blazers approached its original designers, historic label Warm & Wonderful, to relaunch the piece in 2020.
This red knit sweater, originally created by Warm and Wonderful and worn by Princess Diana in 1980, has recently been reissued by the brand in collaboration with Rowing Blazers. It quickly went viral and quickly sold out. Credit: Photo library by Tim Graham/Getty Images
At the time, Rowing Blazers creative director Jack L. Carson told CNN
that sales translated to “three months worth of sweaters in an hour and a half” after the article went viral online. (The original sweater is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.) Since then, the pattern has also appeared on tea towels, suitcases and waistcoats.
Diana’s enduring fascination with her wardrobe was also seen on the runway. The late fashion designer Virgil Abloh, for example, cited the late princess as his muse for Off-White’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection. Held in 2017, to mark the 20th anniversary of her death, the show featured Abloh’s renditions of some of her most striking “off-duty” looks, including references to specific outfits including a denim jumpsuit and white cowboy boots, an 80s-style polo shirt, his must-have biker shorts and oversized blazers.
A patterned white top worn by Princess Diana in 1983, reimagined by Virgil Abloh as a look from Off-White’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection. Credit: Getty Images
“He was a strong person who, despite his position, had his own personal tastes,” Abloh said. British vogue
in a 2017 interview, “and it came out through the clothes”. (That same year, fashion search platform Lyst wrote in its annual trends report that “Diana’s style choices have influenced us again,” reporting spikes in searches for her wardrobe basics. .)
“Her personal tastes were far removed from what she was supposed to wear. She’s inspirational,” he said.