Royal fashion imitation

Em Richardson considers the influence of the Royal family to fashion

Em Richardson
4th April 2020

As someone who is, admittedly, not a royalist, I’ve never really understood the obsession with the clothes worn by female royals. However, I think there are several reasons some women do seem determined to imitate their favourite royal women.

When worn by a ‘real-life princess’, a brand becomes just that little bit more glamorous

It would be easy to say that the majority of women simply love the ‘princess’ fantasy, and want to echo the looks of these real-life Cinderellas. Yet, we need to remember that ‘ordinary’ women aren’t buying the designer ball gowns these women wear to state dinners. They’re actually buying the clothes they wear for their ‘everyday’ engagements. Women everywhere seem to be rushing out to buy the £50 Gap trousers worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, or the £55 Marks & Spencer dress once worn by the Duchess of Sussex. Once a high-street brand has been touched by the royals, it instantly becomes more marketable, with pieces worn by the duchesses often selling out in minutes. When worn by a ‘real-life princess’, a brand becomes just that little bit more glamorous, in the eyes of their many fans.

Female royals are often presented as the ultimate example of grace and femininity

I think another reason women are so keen to imitate royals’ style, even more so than other female celebrities, is the attitude this country shows toward our royal family. Female royals are often presented as the ultimate example of grace and femininity. In the case of the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, the fact they are ‘commoners’ who married into the royal family means the press also delights in portraying them as ‘rags-to-riches’ success stories, regardless of the fact both women came from affluent backstories.

Image Source: @sussexroyal

these women are the epitome of femininity

Within the royal family, roles often seem to be assigned based on gender. Aside from in the case of the Queen herself, women often seem to take a ‘secondary role’. Their husbands often seem to tackle the meatier patronages, while the Duchesses themselves take on the more stereotypically feminine engagements, from releasing charity cookbooks to visiting maternity wards. Again, I believe this adds to the view that these women are the epitome of femininity, and makes some women aspire to imitate their style.

Finally, which royal’s style someone chooses to imitate might say something about their personality. For those who wish to appear conservative and traditional, there is the ever-conservative Duchess of Cambridge. For those with a rebellious streak, there is the Duchess of Sussex, criticised by the British Press to the extent that she has now, controversially, opted to resign from her role as a senior royal.

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