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Queen Elizabeth II: Fun Facts About Her Wardrobe

Margaret Minnicks is an online writer who writes about the royal family.

The Death of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96. The information in this article was written during her lifetime. However, all information has been updated.

Queen Elizabeth II and Fashion

While Queen Elizabeth II was alive, she was one of the most recognizable people in England and around the world. She was also one of the most fashionable. Everything she wore had a significant meaning behind it.

She wore bright-colored outfits so she can be easily spotted in every crowd. No other person in the royal family was allowed to wear the same color that the Queen of England wore when they attended the same function.

There are many other fun facts about what Queen Elizabeth II wore. See how many of them you know.

The Queen's hats were designed to her specifications.

The Queen's hats were designed to her specifications.

Hats

Queen Elizabeth had hats to match all her outfits. Her milliner, Rachel Trevor-Morgan, had special instructions for designing those hats. The brims couldn't be too wide to obscure her face. They also could not be too tall. This was to prevent her from getting stuck when she got in and out of a car.

The queen wore each one of her many hats only about 10 times.

She Used Bright Colors Strategically

Queen Elizabeth has had a rainbow of neon colors so she can could stand out in a crowd. She wouldn't be seen in a thick crowd if she wasn't wearing bright colors because she stands stood only 5 feet 3 inches. She said nobody would know who she is was if she wore beige.

The queen and her staff pay paid close attention to her surroundings when choosing what she wears. wore. For example, if she is was planting a tree during an event, she would not wear green because she would blend into the background.

When appearing in public, the Queen's umbrellas always matched her outfit.

When appearing in public, the Queen's umbrellas always matched her outfit.

Umbrellas Matched Outfit

Did you know the monarch carried umbrellas that were trimmed with the color to match the outfit she was wearing? They were clear so she could see and be seen when she carried them.

The $21 transparent Fulton umbrellas have handles and edges trimmed that also matched whatever she was wearing. All her umbrellas were waterproof.

Cornelia James Gloves

The queen was often seen wearing brushed cotton gloves that were 15cm in length. The washable gloves were from Cornelia James Ltd, which had been providing her with gloves since 1947.

She had gloves in different colors and she changed them several times a day. In the evenings, the gloves she wore were made of lighter nylon.

Queen Elizabeth II only wore silk Hermés scarves.

Queen Elizabeth II only wore silk Hermés scarves.

Silk Hermés Scarves

The queen wore only silk Hermés scarves for sporting and outdoor events. They, too, matched her outfits. She was often photographed in floral scarves instead of in a solid color.

Brooches Carried Meaning

The Queen of England had hundreds of brooches. She was almost never seen in public without one on her left shoulder. One of her staffers carefully put them in the same place on her suit jackets.

When the queen wore a particular brooch, it had been selected with a lot of thought. She did not merely wear a brooch for decoration. Every brooch she wore had a special message attached to it.

Her many brooches were given to her or were ones she inherited. She had favorite ones to wear and some she wore less often.

The Queen (in a rare picture wearing pants) owned over 200 Launer handbags.

The Queen (in a rare picture wearing pants) owned over 200 Launer handbags.

Handbags

Her Majesty was rarely seen without one of her handbags on her arm. She owned over 200 Launer bags by the British designer. The minimal cost started at $1,000.

According to The Telegraph, she preferred the Royale and the black patent Traviata because they had long handles that allowed her to shake hands easily. Don't think the handbags were empty. She had some surprising items inside that she actually used, such as reading glasses and a purse hook.

Handkerchiefs

The monarch had a strict handkerchief policy. She always kept a fresh one in her handbag. During the day, she carried a plain white one with the Royal motif.

Not a Fan of Pants

Queen Elizabeth was very particular when it came to how she looked in public. Pants were something she wore in public only eight times. The 96-year-old monarch favored dresses or suits for her formal engagements and was known for her love of bright colors with matching hats and coats.

Queen Elizabeth wore pants during her private time, for leisure activities, at sporting events, or while she was on a holiday. Of course, she wore pants when she rode her horse.

According to tradition, royal women don't usually wear trousers while on duty. Queen Elizabeth kept to that tradition during her 70-year reign.

The Queen (pictured here with Pakistani nuclear scientists in 1960) wore practical heels throughout her reign because she was on her feet a lot and comfort was a must.

The Queen (pictured here with Pakistani nuclear scientists in 1960) wore practical heels throughout her reign because she was on her feet a lot and comfort was a must.

Practical Shoes

Queen Elizabeth was not seen wearing very high heels. She always wore a practical heel that was 2 1/4 inches. She didn't change her shoe style in over 60 years.

All of her black patent work shoes had an added insole for comfort. She never wore tight shoes when they were new. She wore get one of her staffers to wear her new shoes to break them in first. This prevented her from getting blisters.

She wore the same shoes over and over and got them re-heeled when they needed to be repaired.

Her Outfits Were Recycled

Queen Elizabeth recycled her outfits because she was thrifty. Many ensembles were worn more than once. Sometimes they had been altered to look a little different. Her staff kept a wardrobe log to make sure there was significant space between the wearings.

In order to stagger her garments, staffers kept a spreadsheet of everything the monarch owned. They named the pieces and kept notes on them to prevent her from wearing the same outfit or the same color so close together while on official duty.

Clothing Stored at Buckingham Palace

All of the queen's clothes and accessories were kept and archived at Buckingham Palace. They were stored in boxes and cotton bags inside mahogany wardrobes with airtight doors.

The queen's dressier clothes were carefully placed in special boxes that were labeled and indexed. Many outfits worn on special occasions were kept because of their historical value. Periodically her evening gowns from her 70-year reign were placed on display.

The Queen's Fashion Secrets

Extra Shoulder Pad

One of the queen's shoulders was higher than the other. To get a balanced look, she always wore an extra pad in her clothes on the lower shoulder.

Weights in Hems

To keep her clothes from being blown in the wind and showing something embarrassing, weights were sewn into the hem of the queen's garments.

Sizes

The queen's dress size was always kept a secret. Only her staffers knew the size of her clothes. Her clothes are handmade, so she doesn't need to pick a size from a rack in the store anyway. Her outfits were cut and shaped to match a mannequin that was the exact size of the queen's body.

12-Person Wardrobe Staff

The queen had 12 people on her wardrobe staff to make sure she looked great while on official business. Included in the wardrobe staff were three dressmakers, a milliner, and four dressers whose job was to help the queen get dressed and undressed.

Say Yes to the Dress

Her Majesty preferred dresses to skirts. It was easier for her to enter and exit vehicles. Whenever she wore a dress, a coat was worn over it. Her dresses and blouses were made with 3/4 length sleeves to make sure they didn't fall on her plate while she ate.

Zippers

The queen's clothes were made with zippers instead of buttons whenever possible. It was easier and saved time to zip and unzip rather than it was to button and unbutton during several changes in a day. This also helped her change clothes without disturbing her hair and makeup.

Five of the six outfits and all six hats were designed by Angela Kelly, The Queen's senior dressmaker from 2002–2022.

Five of the six outfits and all six hats were designed by Angela Kelly, The Queen's senior dressmaker from 2002–2022.

Angela Kelly: Senior Dressmaker

Angela Kelly had been the senior dressmaker since 1993. She allowed Queen Elizabeth to be quite involved in the clothes that were made for her. The queen picked the fabric and approved all sketches.

One fitting session usually lasted half a day. Up to five outfits were fitted at each session.

Old Clothes Distributed Anonymously

The monarch would wear her leisure clothes until they were no longer useful to her or anyone else. If more life was left in her garment, they were sometimes handed down to others.

When one of the queen’s personal staff needed items for a fundraiser at a church, the queen did not hesitate to contribute a few of her own day dresses for the sale with the stipulation to keep the original owner of the dresses a secret.

When you're the Queen—pictured here in New Zealand in 1953, only a few months into her reign—one of your jobs is to be a fashion icon.

When you're the Queen—pictured here in New Zealand in 1953, only a few months into her reign—one of your jobs is to be a fashion icon.

Sources

Eight Facts About Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe

The Queen's Fashion Secrets

Comments

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on October 14, 2019:

Norman Hartnell by appointment was the Queen's wardrobe creator from the Coronation onward.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on October 05, 2019:

Always garbed to perfection. Not a hair strand out of place. OH ! and the ubiquitous handbag.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 20, 2019:

Dame Mary Quant D.B.E. as well as numerous awards for Design.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 19, 2019:

When the mini skirt was introduced in the mid sixties, courtesy of Mary Quant, it caused a sensation. So much so that the Queen wore them occasionally.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on July 22, 2019:

ELIZABETH REIGNS.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on May 20, 2019:

God save the Queen.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 18, 2019:

Tim, I like writing fun articles. I didn't know about the lower shoulder either and there is no indication which one is lower because of the extra shoulder pad.

I was also fascinated when I found out her size is a secret, and she has a mannequin shaped like her body for fittings.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on February 18, 2019:

Interesting facts about the Queen, Margaret. I didn't know about her shoulders, and that was quite surprising. The last story you shared was funny: no one wanting the dresses. However, I knew about her preference for bright colors (or should I spell that colours.)

She is a wonderful lady and I wish her long life and good health.

Fun read, Margaret and informative.

Sincerely,

Tim