Although Princess Diana’s life was tragically cut short, her legacy lives on in many ways – one of which is her iconic style.
Part of what made her fashion so memorable was her ability to wear a glamorous ball gown one day and an oversized sweatshirt the next, with both looks equally glamorous. Throughout her time as Princess of Wales, Diana developed relationships with designers such as Catherine Walker and Versace, but some of her more casual moments have sparked massive trends, such as the recent resurgence in athleisure. No matter what she wore, Princess Diana embodied a timeless elegance that will continue to have an impact for decades to come.
Keep reading for a look back at some of Princess Diana’s best fashion moments.
Princess Diana in London in November 1980
Princess Diana, then Diana Spencer, was just 19 when she first became romantically linked with Prince Charles in 1980. That year, she was photographed dodging paparazzi near her London home wearing a modest skirt with ribbons, red jacket and red handbag. .
Princess Diana at Buckingham Palace in February 1981
The blue suit that Princess Diana wore for her engagement photos with Prince Charles was quite the roundabout choice. of Royal style in the making The fashion show, which was presented in 2021 at the former royal home at Kensington Palace, revealed that the then 19-year-old had first visited the Bellville Sassoon store but wasn’t finding anything she liked. The sales associate, who did not recognize her, suggested she try the nearby department store.
“You can imagine how Belinda [Bellville] and David [Sassoon] felt when they realized the future Princess of Wales was gone,” curator Matthew Storey told PEOPLE. The princess and her mother ended up going back to the Bellville Sassoon store and chose the blue suit, sparking a years-long collaboration between the brand and Princess Diana .
Princess Diana with Prince Charles in Scotland in May 1981
For her first official photoshoot after their engagement, Princess Diana and Prince Charles posed with their dog Harvey at Craigowan Lodge in Balmoral, Scotland. The princess wore a pink striped sweater with corduroy pants and Hunter boots.
Princess Diana at her wedding to Prince Charles in London in July 1981
Princess Diana’s famous wedding dress is a true testament to early 1980s bridal fashion. The scalloped collar, puffed sleeves and dramatic train are all standout elements of the ensemble, which was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel.
Princess Diana at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in November 1981
Just four months after her royal wedding, the newly crowned princess was already looking the part. While visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum in November 1981, she wore a pale blue Bellville Sassoon dress and a choker necklace.
Princess Diana at a fashion show in November 1982
Princess Diana showed off a playful side of her fashion sense in this blue dress with one shoulder detailing by Bruce Oldfield while attending a fashion show at the Guildhall in London.
Princess Diana in New Zealand in April 1983
While visiting Pupuke School on the north coast in New Zealand, Princess Diana opted for a more subdued look – a pale yellow Catherine Walker suit and a John Boyd hat.
Princess Diana at the London premiere of Back to the Future in January 1985
Princess Diana’s plum velvet dress at the London premiere Back to the Future it might look simple from the front, but the dramatic back makes it one of her most memorable looks. For added drama, she added a long pearl necklace that draped down her back.
Princess Diana at the White House in November 1985
During a visit to the White House in Washington, DC (where she famously danced with John Travolta), Princess Diana wore a black dress, black opera gloves and a pearl necklace.
Princess Diana at the National Gallery in November 1985
For a dinner at the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the princess dazzled in a sequined one-shoulder dress by Hachi. She paired it with diamond earrings, metallic silver shoes and a clutch bag.
Princess Diana in Saudi Arabia in November 1986
For her visit to Saudi Arabia in 1986, Princess Diana wore a green and white dress by one of her favorite designers, Catherine Walker, along with white shoes, a white hat and a white clutch bag.
Princess Diana attends Easter Mass in Windsor in April 1987
In celebration of the Easter holiday, Princess Diana wore a pastel blue coat by Catherine Walker, as well as a white hat and gloves. Pictured here on her way to mass, she holds the hand of her son, Prince William, who is wearing a similar Catherine Walker coat.
Princess Diana at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1987
Princess Diana arrived at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival trembling with glamour. She wore a strapless pale blue dress by Catherine Walker and a matching scarf, as well as blue satin shoes.
Princess Diana at the Guards Polo Club in England in May 1988
Princess Diana’s 1998 appearance at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor is essentially a masterstroke of looking casual yet elegant. She took a simple sweatshirt and jeans and made it her own with cowboy boots, a blazer and a baseball cap.
Princess Diana in Dubai in March 1989
While on her official tour of the Gulf States, Princess Diana visited Dubai wearing a blue and white suit by Catherine Walker and a turban-style hat by Philip Somerville.
Princess Diana at the British Fashion Awards in London in October 1989
At the first British Fashion Awards at the Royal Albert Hall, Princess Diana showed off a slightly shorter hairstyle, as well as a white dress and structured jacket by Catherine Walker.
Princess Diana in Budapest in May 1990
In another moment, Princess Diana wore a pink suit with purple trim during a trip to Hungary, which she accessorized with purple shoes and a purple bag.
Princess Diana in Toronto in October 1991
In the 1990s, Princess Diana began to branch out when it came to the designers she wore. On an official trip to Toronto, she wore a red and white velvet Moschino suit and Philip Somerville hat with black mesh along the brim.
Princess Diana attends Easter Mass in April 1992
Hats are a staple of the royal wardrobe, and it looks like Princess Diana fully embraced the tradition. For Easter 1992, she wore a black hat with yellow trim, complementing her yellow jacket and pleated skirt.
Princess Diana in Cairo in May 1992
Princess Diana looked demure as ever in a brown and white Catherine Walker suit and Philip Somerville hat as she visited the Heliopolis war cemetery in Cairo.
Princess Diana arrives at the Serpentine Gallery in London in June 1994
On the very night that Prince Charles admitted on national television that he had been unfaithful to her, Princess Diana stepped out in what has gone down in history as the “revenge dress.” While attending a gala at London’s Serpentine Gallery, photographers snapped now-iconic shots of the Princess wearing a black off-the-shoulder dress with an asymmetrical hemline and a chiffon train.
Princess Diana shopping in Knightsbridge in October 1994
Even when she wasn’t making a formal appearance, Princess Diana always looked elegant. While out shopping in London in 1994, she opted for a white turtleneck top, white trousers and an olive green blazer. Its canvas and leather backing gave the look a relaxed feel.
Princess Diana at the Serpentine Gallery in London in June 1995
Showing so much skin was bold for a royal, but Princess Diana was a trailblazer. In 1995, she wore a pale blue knee-length Catherine Walker dress to a dinner hosted by Vanity Fair at London’s Serpentine Gallery.
Princess Diana in Italy in September 1995
Drawing on her newfound love of midi dresses, Princess Diana wore a white Versace dress and matching white shoes while attending a charity concert in Italy.
Princess Diana in England in September 1995
For Prince William’s first day at Eton College in Windsor, Princess Diana wore a simple black dress, adding a splash of color with a double-breasted cerulean jacket.
Princess Diana leaving the Chelsea Harbor Club in London in November 1995
Princess Diana’s casual wear continues to inspire fashion trends today, especially this simple combination of bike shorts, a sweatshirt and sneakers. Here, she wears a Virgin Atlantic sweatshirt as she leaves Chelsea Harbor Club in London.
Princess Diana in Argentina in November 1995
It was somewhat rare for Princess Diana to wear pink, but there’s no denying that this bubblegum pink Versace suit she wore during an official visit to Argentina was extremely flattering on her.
Princess Diana in Chicago in June 1996
Princess Diana tried purple on for size while attending a dinner at the Natural History Museum in Chicago. She teamed this gorgeous aubergine Versace dress with matching shoes from Jimmy Choo and a choker necklace.
Princess Diana in Australia in October 1996
For a dinner dance in Sydney, Australia, Princess Diana wore a light blue satin dress by Versace with a matching bag and shoes.
Princess Diana in London in 1997
This mint Chanel suit was a refreshing choice for Princess Diana. She paired it with a pair of simple nude heels and a beige bag as she attended an event in London.
Princess Diana in Bosnia in August 1997
During a three-day visit to Bosnia, Princess Diana proved again that some of her best fashion moments were the simplest. This pair of blue jeans with a clean white leather belt and a brown leather belt is just as stylish today as it was in 1997.