Crowning Glory

Princess Diana's Enduring Influence on Fashion
Diana: Royal Style Icon
BY Nastassja Skorski

Princess Diana, the People's Princess, was not just a royal icon but also a fashion legend. Her style evolution from a shy, young bride to a confident, independent woman was a journey that captivated the world. Even decades after her untimely death, her fashion legacy continues to inspire and influence designers and fashion enthusiasts alike.

The Early Years: A Shy Debutante's Style Evolution

The 'Shy Di' Look

When Lady Diana Spencer first entered the public eye, her style was modest and unassuming, much like her personality at the time. She was often seen in pastel colours, high collars, and frilly blouses - a look that was endearingly termed as the 'Shy Di' look. This style was a reflection of her aristocratic upbringing and the conservative fashion of the early 80s.

Credit: Getty Images

However, even in these early years, Diana's fashion choices hinted at the style icon she was to become. She had a knack for accessorizing, often pairing her outfits with statement hats and matching clutches. Her wedding dress, with its 25-foot train, puffed sleeves, and intricate lacework, was a testament to her love for dramatic fashion.

Transition to Royal Glamour

As Diana grew into her role as a royal, her style underwent a significant transformation. She started embracing more glamorous and sophisticated outfits. Her wardrobe was filled with designer pieces from Catherine Walker, Bruce Oldfield, and Versace. She was not afraid to experiment with bold colours, sequins, and shoulder pads, embodying the power dressing trend of the 80s.

Credit: Getty Images

Yet, Diana's fashion was never just about glamour. She had a unique ability to make high fashion relatable and accessible. She often recycled her outfits, a practice that was unheard of among royals and celebrities at the time. This endeared her to the public and set a precedent for sustainable fashion.

The Later Years: A Fashion Icon Emerges

The 'Revenge Dress'

One of the most iconic moments in Diana's fashion journey was the night she wore the 'revenge dress'. On the day Prince Charles admitted to his infidelity, Diana stepped out in a stunning black off-shoulder dress by Christina Stambolian. The dress was a departure from her usual style and a bold statement of her newfound independence.

The 'revenge dress' was not just a fashion statement, but a symbol of Diana's resilience and strength. It marked a turning point in her life and style, as she started embracing more daring and unconventional outfits.

Credit: Nils Jorgensen/Shutterstock
Credit: Nils Jorgensen/Shutterstock

The Casual Chic

Despite her love for glamour, Diana was equally comfortable in casual outfits. She was often seen in high-waisted jeans, oversized blazers, and baseball caps - a look that is very much in vogue today. Her off-duty style was relaxed yet chic, proving that she could make even the simplest outfits look stylish.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Diana's casual style was not just about fashion, but also about breaking royal protocols. She was the first royal to be seen in jeans at formal events, challenging the norms and setting new fashion rules.

Princess Diana's Enduring Fashion Legacy

Influence on Modern Fashion

Princess Diana's fashion legacy continues to inspire and influence modern fashion. Her love for oversized blazers and high-waisted jeans has made a comeback in recent years. Her iconic outfits have been recreated by numerous celebrities, and her style is often referenced in fashion shows and magazines.

More importantly, Diana's approach to fashion - her willingness to experiment, her ability to make high fashion relatable, and her commitment to sustainable fashion - continues to resonate with the fashion world. She was a trendsetter in the truest sense, and her fashion legacy is as relevant today as it was during her lifetime.

The 'Diana Effect'

The 'Diana Effect' is a term often used to describe the impact of Diana's fashion choices. Whenever she wore an outfit, it would instantly sell out and become a trend. This effect continues even today, with many of her iconic outfits fetching high prices at auctions.

But the 'Diana Effect' is not just about the popularity of her outfits. It's also about the way she used fashion as a tool to express herself and connect with people. Her fashion choices were a reflection of her personality, her moods, and her life journey. This personal approach to fashion is what truly sets her apart as a style icon.


Princess Diana was more than just a royal. She was a fashion icon, a trendsetter, and a style influencer. Her fashion journey was a reflection of her personal journey, and her style continues to inspire and influence fashion today. The 'People's Princess' may be gone, but her fashion legacy lives on, proving that she was indeed the crowning glory of royal fashion.

From the 'Shy Di' look to the 'revenge dress', from royal glamour to casual chic, Diana's fashion was as diverse and dynamic as she was. Her enduring influence on fashion is a testament to her unique style and her timeless appeal. As we continue to celebrate her life and legacy, we can't help but admire the fashion legend that was Princess Diana.