Our resident fashion expert Gail Rolfe muses on how Her Majesty the Queen has shaped British fashion, ahead of her Jubilee celebration.

I can think of almost no-one else who has played a major role on the world stage who always dressed appropriately, never making even a mild fashion faux-pas. Who has consistently dressed with elegance, sophistication and aplomb, in a manner that is faultless, composed and confident. Who always manages to get it so absolutely right whatever the occasion — and, has maintained her own inimitable style throughout her long life.

(Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images)

You may have guessed that I am writing about Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. At 96, she may be an unlikely fashion icon, but it takes an assured woman to determine her look in her 20’s, and almost never stray from a style that has proved unwaveringly successful, allowing only minor tweaks to suit age and a changing figure.

Many may argue that it is easy to always be dressed in an immaculate fashion when your clothes are made for you. But you only need to recall disastrous outfits worn by celebrities, who have both the funds and access to a host of fashion designers, to realise that true style is intrinsic and cannot be bought.

(Photo by Serge Lemoine/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

So, what does this homage to the Queen’s style have to do with us? Well, her enduring loyalty to an established formula has proved to be an eminent triumph and one we could all admire and emulate. I selected a few items that have been a constant in the Queen’s life, and could work equally well for all of us. The full skirted shirt dresses that she embraced back in the 1940’s that showcased her tiny waist; the cashmere cardigans that have been an integral part of life on-duty and off-duty; her unmitigated love for silk scarves, pearls, and a classic raincoat.

Of course, there were so many more things that could have been selected, but these are classics that can be given a new perspective and a contemporary spirit, with that abiding thrill that you will enjoy wearing again and again. To conclude, her trusted style advisor Angela Kelly has said that many outfits are, “adapted and recycled. Typically, the lifespan of an outfit can be up to around 25 years”. Please read the style tips section to see how you can follow the thrifty and sustainable example to lengthen the life of the clothes in your wardrobe.


her majesty

Dress, £220, Jasper Conran

Owing its glamorous appeal to the retro glamour of the 1950’s, this cotton dress with a gently defined waist, full midi length skirt, and long sleeves is a glorious choice for any kind of summer party during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and many more events. It’s a masterclass in looking stylish and elegant with a modern twist.

Espadrilles, £139, LK Bennett

With flat sandals or a contemporary pair of flat-form espadrilles it is ideal for balmy summer days, yet the simple addition of a glorious hat and heels transforms it into the dream outfit for special occasions.

Earrings, £42, Oliver Bonas

Read more in the July issue of Platinum, out now.