The original style influencer, Princess Diana grabbed the world's attention with her expertly-tailored and brightly-colored looks paired with diamond tiaras and epic pearls.
It was a see-through skirt that started it all.
Hand-selected by the Queen Mother to marry the future King of England, Diana Spencer was just a shy nursery school assistant when she was photographed by Arthur Edwards in London, 1980, wearing the now-infamous look. With two children in her arms, and back lit by the sun, she was first defined by the silhouette of her legs. It was an embarrassment, sure, but it focused the eyes of the world, and they never left.
Princess Diana married the Prince of Wales, and the public became ravenous for photos. Her style was evaluated and emulated. Today, it continues to have such an influence on women's fashion that it's easy to find pieces to replicate her signature bold, classic style.
During her reign, she promoted British designers including Catherine Walker and Bruce Oldfield. And when the royal fairy tale romance ended in divorce in 1996, Diana's style evolved, and she slipped into more international fashion, including couture Chanel suits and Hermes handbags.
Not only was the Princess tall and statuesque with model good looks, her warmth, blunt-force honesty and philanthropic endeavors captured the hearts and minds of the world -- who forever crowned her "the People's Princess," no matter that she was stripped of her HRH after her divorce from Prince Charles.
Diana stands shoulder-to-shoulder in the history books with fashion icons such as Jacqueline Onassis, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Here, a small sample of the winning looks -- and how to get them -- worn by the Princess of Style, Diana.
A newly engaged Lady Diana Spencer accompanied Prince Charles to Romsey, Hampshire, March, 1981. The 19-year-old was in Romsey to plant a tree (as a large crowd watched) to commemorate the opening of a special exhibition at Broadlands. Lady Diana wore a romantic, high pie-crust collar blouse, and took another step into the style influencer role. The couple's wedding was around the corner (July 29th, 1981) and this charming look, the shy smile and bouquet of lily of valley was the lead-in to a fairy tale wedding. The romantic ruffles and frilled collars are in style today, something Princess Diana's stylist Anna Harvey admitted she didn't see coming. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Diana's stylist of 16 years admitted "I thought it would be just here today and gone tomorrow, like most fashion." Diana's relationship with her stylist of 16 years began at British Vogue, where her sisters Jane and Sarah had both worked. After the engagement was announced, it was suggested and officially decided that Vogue Editor Anna Harvey would help shift Diana's image from nursery school assistant to future Princess of Wales. The rest, as they say, is fashion history.
Princess Diana wore a tartan shirtdress to her first Braemar Games, held in Scotland in September 1982. "I was so thrilled with this look," said Diana's former stylist Anna Harvey told The Sydney Morning Herald, "you have to understand the rules of being in Scotland with the queen, Diana was only 20, so this was pretty and appropriate".
Princess Diana loved her pearls -- not just any pearls, of course, but pearl chokers. The princess appeared in public with nineteen total. According to Leslie Field's The Queen's Jewels, Diana wore a multi-strand pearl choker with a flower clasp, given to her by the Spencer family on her 18th birthday. Diana was photographed wearing it backward and forward, as one can do when the clasp is the best part of the necklace. The bright, cobalt blue gown in one of Diana's favorite silhouettes--a single shoulder style--complimented the jewelry. This 1982 look is considered one of Diana's most stylish moments, because the Princess exposed her shoulder, in a '80s to-die-for taffeta gown at the Birthright Fashion Awards, in London.
Betteridge Jeweler's Estate Betteridge Collection antique 5-strand natural pearl necklace with diamond clasp; $16,000, could be a stand-in for the Spencer family pearls. Go for red-carpet favorite Zuhair Murad's one-shoulder embellished tulle and silk-blend chiffon gown; $7,310 to get this look. Oscar de la Renta's 'Romy' metallic leather sandals; $1,190.
Princess Diana wearing the Cambridge lover's knot diamond and pearl tiara, a wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth in 1981. The tiara dates back to 1914, designed by the Queen's great-grandmother Queen Mary, and features a neo-classical design, with each arch insulated by a pearl drop, according to The Telegraph. Diana wore a silk chintz and organza Gina Fratini evening gown for the occasion, a banquet in New Zealand. According to Tina Brown's Remembering Diana: A Life in Photographs (2017), the April 1983 trip included a stop in Australia, and ultimately kicked of "Di-mania" -- more than 100,000 New Zealanders came out to see the royal couple.
A classic go-to, checked blazers were a favorite of Diana's - especially for polo matches. And the trend has resurfaced this summer.
Try Stella McCartney's "Milly" Prince of Wales checked wool-blend blazer; $1,495, and Michael Kors Collection's ribbed cashmere sweater; $595. Famous her big, blue doe eyes, Diana accented them by using Elizabeth Arden's blue eyeliner and mascara. Elizabeth Arden has discontinued Diana's blue mascara, but you can get the same eyeliner to this day.
The bold look is making it's way back from the '80s makeup vault, too. Emily Ratajkowski wore a carribean blue liner to match her Marc Jacobs gown at the 2017 Met Gala, and Ruth Negga went for a big, blue cat eye at the 2017 Film Independant Spirit Awards.
Princess Diana religiously attended Prince Charles' polo matches. The Prince of Wales, a defensive polo player, was photographed sweatily grabbing Diana for a kiss at 1985 Cirencester, Gloucestershire Polo Match.
Photos of Diana and Charles on the polo field became increasingly popular -- royal watchers became body language experts overnight, predicting everything from perfection to turmoil in their marriage.
Roberto Coin's 18K yellow gold large wide ribbed semi-hoop earrings; $960.
The lifetime skier, pictured here in Klosters, Switzerland in 1986, often took sons William and Harry on skiing holidays. This simple jumpsuit is complimented by a large, plaited headband in matching shades.
Clockwise from top left: David Yurman's "Cable Classics" hoop earrings in 18K gold; $1,550, Balenciaga's oversized quilted shell jacket, $3,250, and Gucci's metallic braided wool-blend headband, $315.
The Princess wore a robe dress to meet Ron Howard and George Lucas at the Royal Charity Film premiere for "Willow," December 8, 1988. This was Princess Diana's first time rubbing elbows with Hollywood royalty, but she quickly made many A-list celebrities friends for life. The Independant reported Hollywood stars Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg attended her funeral.
The Spencer Tiara was famously worn at Princess Diana's wedding. The family heirloom served as her "something borrowed" and "something old", and Diana wore the tiara extensively during her public life. The modified tiara that dates to 1919, was a wedding present to Diana's grandmother.
Clockwise from top left: Costarellos' "Fairy" off-shoulder gown; $2,845, Jude Frances' white gold pearl briolette earring charms; $390, Rochas' clutch bag; $675, and Gucci's pearl embellished bow brooch; $780.
By 1995, Diana transitioned out of the frills of her '80s wardrobe, and started to wear stronger '90s silhouettes - think Caroline Bessette and Gwyneth Paltrow. Full-length camel coats, bright red nails and black, lots of it, signaled a stronger, transparent Diana had emerged. The princess wore this look to the Wales v. France rugby match during the Five Nations at Parc de Princes in Paris, France, January, 1995. Later that year, Diana gave her infamous BBC Panorama interview in which she disclosed her marital problems, her depression and her opinions on the monarchy.
One of Diana's "transformation" looks was this Catherine Walker shift dress, complimented by Versace sunglasses, her favorite Chanel earrings, and Gucci's bamboo top-handle suede handbag. Sticking to tradition, the suede shoes matched her purse.
Red Valentino's bow detail dress; $298, and Betteridge's Estate Collection South Sea pearl necklace with a diamond clasp; $60,000. Composed of 31 fine South Sea pears ranging from 18.9 or 13.8mm in diameter, strung on a silk cord and secured by a diamond and platinum ball clasp pave-set with 6.91 total carats of diamonds. 20" long.
One global icon met another in the Bronx, New York in June 1997. Diana met with Mother Teresa at the home of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. Her pristine look mirrored Mother Teresa's simple, white habit.
Tom Ford's double-breasted wool-blend twill blazer; $2,690, La Perla's jersey bodysuit; $230, Proenza Schouler's two-tone leather pumps; $635, and Tom Ford's coordinating wool-blend twill pencil skirt; $1,250.