No matter what your opinion of the Royal Family is, you can hardly deny that throughout the decades, each Monarch has been responsible for cultivating their own distinctive look and Identity. It’s well documented that from time to time the Royals have become trendsetters, either by chance or through a cult of personality. Here, I am going to show you a few classics that you can thank the Royal Family for.
The Three Piece Suit: Charles II
After the death of ‘Lord Protector’ Oliver Cromwell, the English public had grown tired of the Puritans and their enforcement of boredom by brutality. They sought to reinstate the Monarchy, bringing the son of Charles the First back from exile in France. When he arrived, Charles II was dressed very modestly, wearing simple clothing without all the bells and whistles which were common at the time. It was the Great Fire of London which would see Charles order his Royal Court to change its dress. After the French watchmaker Robert Hubert confessed to starting the fire, Anti-French sentiment in England was at an all-time high. Charles - in an effort to been seen favourably by the public – gave an order that ‘French Fashions’ were not to be worn in the Royal Court. Charles then ordered that in their place, a waistcoat or ‘Persian Vest’ would be worn, with a long coat and shirt. It is here where the origins of the three-piece suit can be found.
A New Way To Wear Waistcoats: Edward VII
Edward, known as Europe’s Uncle, was famed for his appetite for food, tobacco and fashion. He was often reprimanded for spending too much time with his tailor, spending even more with his tailor than he did with his cabinet! But as Edward grew in size, he found it increasingly more difficult to fit into his many clothes. Eventually, he grew tired of his waistcoat being too tight, and to allow himself a little bit more comfort, he decided to undo his bottom button. Little did he know he had started a trend, which men around the world would imitate to try to look like royalty.
Sports-casual: Edward VIII
Edward VIII The Duke of Windsor is famous (or Infamous) for all sorts of reasons. Whether it be his alleged support of the Nazi Party or abdication and subsequent marriage to Wallis Simpson, he was definitely a controversial figure. However, one thing that isn’t controversial is the Duke’s sense of fashion. He is famous for a plethora of bold fashion choices, including wearing sportswear casually. The Duke was often seen wearing a polo shirt on a hot day which, at the time was most unlike a man of his standing. Despite this, the style has certainly caught on and brands such as Ralph Lauren and Fred Perry, have built themselves on the Duke’s sports casual style.
Double-Breasted: Prince Charles
When It comes to fashion, Charles has always been somewhat of a traditionalist. When he isn’t in full military dress while supporting one of the many Regiments or Corps of which he is affiliated, The Prince has is often seen wearing a suit and tie. In particular, Charles has taken to the Double Breasted suit. Although he hasn’t invented his own unique item of interest, Charles has made the Double Breasted suit especially regal in his old age. The majority of Charles’ suits were made by Anderson & Sheppard, who keep a box of material from each suit of his they’ve made, just in case of emergencies. Charles has been going the Saville Row Tailors since 1983 and is still seen wearing items the tailors made for him as far back as 1985.
Who knows what fashion choices the future royals will make next. Perhaps Prince George will invent a new 3 ended tie, or in his later life Prince Harry will start sporting breeches and paired with a waterproof jacket and suede Chelsea Boots, to create some sort of retro-modern outdoor style which will last for long after it was perceived. Well, whatever happens, I’m certain that the Royal Family will be at the forefront of popular fashion for many years to come.
By Cian Smith