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Princess Diana is (still) the style icon we’ve always needed

Looking back at some of her most iconic fashion moments.

An incredible humanitarian and widely known as the ‘People’s Princess’, Princess Diana’s legacy extends far beyond her status as a fashion icon.

Regardless, Diana is also famous for her classic wardrobe and iconic sense of style that we still adore over 20 years later. In fact, Diana was sporting many of the same trends that we are seeing on the runway today, from bicycle shorts (our athleisure queen before athleisure even existed) to tweed jackets, to tailored shirts with strong shoulders and a stunning handbag collection.

She loved a variety of designers including Versace, Jenny Packham, and Christian Dior, to name a few. Diana never failed to fascinate her global audience with her fashion choices, from her first appearance in the public eye as a young aristocrat to her final years as a glamorous star.

The princess would have turned 58 on July 1, so we’re taking a look back at some of her most iconic fashion moments in celebration of her legacy.

Business casual, but make it fashion (1981)

Princess Diana, a white woman with short blonde hair, is wearing a tweed jacket and skirt. She is sitting next to Prince Charles, a tall white man with brown hair, wearing a teal crew-neck sweater and black kilt. Via Getty Images.
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with short blonde hair, is wearing a tweed jacket and skirt. She is sitting next to Prince Charles, a tall white man with brown hair, wearing a teal crew-neck sweater and black kilt.] Via Getty Images.
With its similarity to the modern bomber jacket, the tweed suit that Diana wore on her Balmoral honeymoon exhibited the princess’s ability to live a high-class royal lifestyle while simultaneously tapping into the street style of the 1980s.

Elegant velvet that anyone would love to twirl in (1985)

Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, is dancing in a dark blue gown with John Travolta, a white man with brown hair, wearing a tuxedo. Via Getty Images.
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, is dancing in a dark blue gown with John Travolta, a white man with brown hair, wearing a tuxedo.] Via Getty Images.
The off-shoulder midnight blue velvet dress (dubbed the ‘Travolta dress’) by Victor Edelstein that the princess wore to a White House gala dinner in 1985 screams drama, elegance and class.

Cute and casual in pastel while still royally kicking ass (1986)

Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair is sitting on the ground wearing while wearing a pink striped shirt and white overalls and white boat shoes. She is smiling into the camera. Via Getty Images.
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair is sitting on the ground wearing a pink striped shirt, white overalls and white boat shoes. She is smiling into the camera.] Via Getty Images.
In this photo, taken in 1986 at her family’s home in Highgrove, Diana, a young mother at the time, sported a soft pink pinstriped shirt with white overalls and white boat shoes, for a fresh, classic look.

Untouchable in blue satin (1996)

Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, wearing a blue one-shoulder gown on a red carpet. Via Getty Images.
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, wearing a blue one-shoulder gown on a red carpet.] Via Getty Images.
The princess recognized that off-shoulder and one-shoulder gowns always seemed to flatter her figure, and this electric blue satin dress by Versace is a perfect example.

If Princess Barbie was a dress (1989)

Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, wearing a white dress and cropped high-collar blazer covered in pearls. She is wearing a diamond tiara and smiling into the camera. Via Getty Images.
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, wearing a white dress and cropped high-collar blazer covered in pearls. She is wearing a diamond tiara and smiling into the camera.] Via Getty Images.
Catherine Walker, the designer most closely associated with Diana throughout her lifetime, created this globally famous masterpiece studded with 20,000 pearls. The dress was dubbed the ‘Elvis dress’ due to its high-rising collar.

An upgrade on the classic red dress (1985)

Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, smiling into the distance while wearing a plum velvet dress with a string of knotted pearls in the back. Via Getty Images.
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, smiling into the distance while wearing a plum velvet dress with a string of knotted pearls in the back.] Via Getty Images.
This plum velvet gown that the princess wore to the UK premiere of Back to the Future would still be a beautiful fashion choice today, and that knotted string of pearls in the back adds just the right touch of drama to the look.

The perfect monochrome springtime blouse (1983)

Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, is wearing white jeans with a white blouse with black polka dots. She is soft smiling away from the camera. Via Getty Images.
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, is wearing white jeans with a white blouse with black polka dots. She is softly smiling away from the camera.] Via Getty Images.
The princess sported this chic puffy white blouse with black polka dots for a sweet look while attending a polo match in Windsor, in June of 1983.

The Queen of Hearts and also of pairing unlikely colors (1989)

Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, is smiling into the distance while wearing a purple, red, and white suit combination. Via Getty Images.
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, is looking into the distance while wearing a purple, red, and white suit combination.] Via Getty Images.
Diana wore this vibrant suit combination while touring Hong Kong in 1989. With its sharp tailored details and color blocking, it was a favorite of the Princess (and of mine!).

A fitted dress I would never take off (1997)

Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, wearing a fitted teal embellished dress and smiling. Via Getty Images.
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, wearing a fitted teal embellished dress and smiling.] Via Getty Images.
Following her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana gained new independence and confidence that was also reflected in her style. She began to flaunt a more sleek and sexy silhouette in her evening wear, including this teal embellished fitted shift dress for a gala performance of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall.

The dress that screamed, ‘Charles who?’ (1994)

Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, wearing a fitted off-the-shoulder black dress and smiling. Via Getty Images..
[Image description: Princess Diana, a white woman with blonde hair, wearing a fitted off-the-shoulder black dress and smiling.] Via Getty Images.
Who could forget the iconic ‘revenge dress’? Diana wore this stunning black off-shoulder fitted dress by Christina Stambolian to a soiree on the same day that her husband admitted to infidelity in a televised interview.

We’ve all heard the concept of letting our outfits do all the talking, and this dress made quite the statement.