Style / Fashion

Queen Elizabeth II Wardrobe Exhibition, London

The Palace brings out some iconic pieces for the exhibition.

Jul 23, 2016 | By Vimi Haridasan

Power dressing is one area in which a female monarch can command respect from her peers and is a trick that Queen Elizabeth II knows only too well. Buckingham Palace unearthed 150 of her most memorable outfits and reveals them this weekend, for an exhibition. Titled “Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from the Queen’s Wardrobe” it looks back on her nine decades in the public eye and will run until October 2.

Ranging from her christening gown to the attention grabbing wool-crepe and silk dress she wore to her birthday celebrations just weeks ago, the exhibition shows off how to use power dressing as a tool. “The Queen is well-known for block color dressing using vivid and bold colours to ensure she is easily visible on important occasions,” Caroline De Guitaut, the exhibition’s curator, told reporters.

As the sovereign leader of Britain, the Commonwealth states and commander-in-chief of the British army, the Queen has perfected the art of dressing to reflect her many roles. Even those pops of color that we see her in so often are done so as to help her be spotted in the crowd. Another way she does this is by accessorising — those hats do more than just shield her from the sun, the elaborate trimming helps her to be spotted in large crowds. The monarch’s preferences for headgear range from cloche hats made popular in the 1960s to the Breton style of the 1970s and 1980s.

Every details is well thought out before an event, right down to the color of her outfits. “The Queen’s ensembles are carefully designed to ensure they are appropriate for the climate like the oriental-flower patterned dress Her Majesty wore to a state visit to Singapore,” De Guitaut said. Her wardrobe even takes into account the religious and social practices of the countries she visits, such as her trip to the Middle East in 1979 where she covered up as much as possible to respect the local traditions. “Clothing can do things for women sovereigns that it can’t do for men and the Queen has definitely used that as a tool in her reign,” De Guitaut said.

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