All The Ways Princess Diana’s Street Style Broke British Royal Family Style Rules

Princess Diana’s street style set the bar high for royal family fashion — although, the queen probably doesn’t think so. In addition to challenging royal ideals through her bold choices and outspokenness, Diana pushed the royal family dress code to new extremes.

Diana’s iconic fashion choices were refreshing for a family that once was viewed as stiff and uptight. She had fun with her clothing and often used fashion to send a message — whether that be to the public or her ex-husband, Prince Charles.

The princess’s street style was a blend of royal family protocol and trend-setting fashion that, in many ways, helped shape royal fashion today. We take a closer look at all the ways Princess Diana’s fashion raised the bar and broke royal family dress code, up ahead.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Princess Diana’s street style often broke royal family protocol. | Fox Photos/ Hulton Archive/ Getty Images

Her clothes were oversized

Charles and Diana married in the early 1980s. At the time, fashion saw a lot of oversized clothing — especially blazers and jackets — that wasn’t exactly figure-flattering. Albeit not fully against royal family rules, it was uncommon for royal women to wear such masculine silhouettes.

She wasn’t afraid to bare her cleavage

The queen is all about modesty, so you can only imagine what she thought of Princess Diana’s street style. The late princess was known for her revealing dresses, which often went against royal family style rules. Not only did she wear low-cut dresses that showed her cleavage, but she also rocked one-shoulder necklines and other risqué cuts.

The ‘revenge dress’

It’s no secret that Diana worked the press — and she knew her best way of reaching them was through style. After Prince Charles admitted to having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, Princess Diana wore a sexy, low cut black dress now known as her “revenge dress.”

Princess Diana and Prince Harry
Diana stopped wearing hats because it was hard to hug children. | AFP/Stringer/Getty Images

She stopped wearing hats

Hats are a big deal in the royal family. The queen expects every member — especially royal women — to wear a hat to all formal daytime events. However, Diana often went against the protocol and at one point stopped wearing hats altogether. According to several reports, the real reason Diana opted to go hat-less was that “you can’t cuddle a child in a hat.”

In addition to hats, the princess also did away with her gloves. She preferred to hold or shake hands with those she visited and wanted to have direct contact.

Short shorts

Showing skin was — and still is — looked down upon in the royal family, but Princess Diana didn’t care. Another way she pushed the envelope was with her short shorts. The princess was spotted several times in short shorts, including spandex bike shorts.

Black clothing

In case of death or tragedy, all royals must travel with a black ensemble. However, Diana took this rule up a notch and preferred to wear a lot of black clothing in general. In addition to black, the princess opted for navy, white, and neutrals — a huge change up from the queen’s bright-colored looks.

That said, Diana also wore a lot of color and often switched up her looks from all black to full color, depending on the event.

Princess Diana
The so-called “people’s princess” wore a lot of black for a royal. | Joel Robine/ AFP/ Getty Images

Trendy styles

The trends of the time did not exactly fit within the royal family protocol, but that didn’t stop Diana from rocking her favorites. Not only did the princess set trends, but she also wore popular styles including oversized, spaghetti straps, and padded shoulders.

Sheer fabrics

As her fashion evolved, Diana started to bend the rules more with rule-breaking fabrics and styles. She was even seen in sheer fabrics — something the queen would never allow.

Skirt lengths

Diana’s rule-breaking didn’t end with cleavage and sheer fabric. She also tested the waters with her skirt lengths. The queen prefers skirts to be no shorter than knee-length. However, Diana often wore shorter hemlines.

Her skirt lines are a great example of how royal style has evolved. Her daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton has also been photographed in shorter hemlines.

Gym clothes

The queen prefers royal family members to look smart at all times. However, Diana went against this and opted for gym clothes — an oversized sweatshirt and spandex shorts — when running errands in the city. That said, at the time the photographs were taken, the princess was technically “off-duty,” which is likely why she got away with it.

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