Princess Diana: How the People’s Princess’ style evolved over the years – pictures

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Princess Diana became known as the People’s Princess because she was extremely popular amongst the general public due to her friendliness and the vast amount of charity work she did. She established herself as an icon for many reasons – with her fashion choices being just one of them.

Speaking to, Lead Stylist Supervisor at Stitch Fix UK, Rich Simmons shared how Diana’s looks evolved throughout the years she was in the public eye. 

He said: “Princess Diana entered the spotlight as a style icon. Whether she was sporting lemon-coloured dungarees on the polo field or on the steps of St Paul’s in her Emanuels wedding dress, her outfits were always something to admire.

“Though she admitted in her 20s that she only owned ‘one long dress, one silk shirt, one smart pair of shoes, and that was it’, and that she rushed out to buy ‘six of everything’ in the run up to the royal wedding, she went on to rule the art of royal dressing.”

Millions became inspired by the Princess’ fashion statements with retailers at the time, replicating some of her most worn outfits. 

The stylist explains that Diana was a huge fan of Bellville Sassoon – a high end British fashion salon which was founded in 1953.

Rich explained: “In the early 80s, Diana’s looks were safe as she took on her new role of attending royal engagements. 

“She was often seen in a Belville Sassoon coat and John Boyd hat combo, such as on the day she announced she was expecting her first child. Sassoon made many appearances in her wardrobe, allowing Diana to honour protocol, but also brighten the room with a pop of colour.”

The royal was known for her charity work, in particular, helping children and AIDS charities.

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Princess Diana often added a pop of colour to her outfits when visiting children as it helped to cheer them up, making those visits less formal. 

The stylist continued: “Colourful coats then became dresses and tailored suits, as she grew in confidence and took ownership of how she represented herself. Catherine Walker (of whom the Duchess of Cambridge is also a fan) dressed her for most occasions, from banquets to royal tours. 

“Her bold choices and her departure from her usual ‘safe’ style was marked when she danced with John Travolta in a blue Edelstein dress. Her off-the-shoulder style inspired a generation, crimsons and pinks were a staple, and polka dots were aplenty.”

Wearing an off-the-shoulder dress was not common at that time for members of the Royal Family but Princess Diana had her own fashion style which she opted for on multiple occasions. 

Rich added: “Perhaps Diana is the reason polka dots are so everlasting: in fact, several brands we carry at Stitch Fix, whether it’s Mint Velvet or Samsoe & Samsoe, feature a polka almost every season.”

Diana also regularly wore blouses with a frilly neckline which also became extremely fashionable and can still be seen in retailers today.

After her divorce from Princes Charles, Diana went on to develop a more individual fashion choice that reflected her new independence. 

Her new looks involved more designer pieces and she opted for more daring evening wear including low cut dresses which created a lot of publicity for the Princess which in turn, helped her support her charities. 

The stylist said: “As the people’s princess became more and more independent, her style only became more iconic. 

“Her shoes became Jimmy Choos, her dresses Dior, and her suits Chanel and Versace. Shapes became slinkier, hemlines more daring, and necklines more revealing. 

“She’d be spotted in colourful sweatshirts and bike shorts, a trend that’s made a resurgence recently. 

“A favourite of mine would be her leaving the gym in a tailored red coat layered over sportswear – how 2020 is this?”

Diana became one of the most photographed at the time and earned her enduring popularity.

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