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When people think of Princess Diana’s fashion, chances are that two things instantly come to mind: her legendary revenge dress that people still reference nearly 30 years later, and her iconic casual streetwear people still take inspiration from today. However, like her future daughter-in-law, Diana stole the show with her gorgeous, colorful red carpet and royal event fashion.
Seriously, have you taken a look through Diana’s fashion when she was a royal? It’s divine. While her fashion pre and post-royal was also something of a dream, her colorful attire she wore from 1981 to 1996 is something people still take inspiration from in 2023.
Whether it was a gothic gown or a preppy coatdress for a royal event, the Princess of Wales easily rocked so many trends that denied the 1980s and 1990s. Towards the end of her term as a royal, after her separation from then-Prince Charles in 1992, Diana went more daring with her looks: showing more skin and playing around with colors and necklines. Truly, she wowed in it all, no matter the style, color, and trend.
To honor her incredible style and timeless fashion, let’s take a walk down memory lane! Check out Diana’s best fashion moments when she was a royal, below:
Back to Black (1981)
When Diana wore black, no one could ever take her eyes off of her, especially when she rocked this black taffeta dress from The Emanuels.
Radiant in Red (1981)
Not many can pull off polka dots, but Diana always wows in them effortlessly (especially this vibrant Jasper Conran suit!)
Terrific in Tartan (1981)
Something about the British royal family in tartan is just so chic and so right. We still adore this black and red tartan dress designed by Caroline Charles that Diana wore for the Braemar Highland Games.
Gorgeous in Green (1981)
Diana and taffeta are a heavenly combination, and this stunning gown designed by Graham Wren may be one of the best.
Accessorizing Queen (1981)
Not only did we adore this turquoise satin dress from The Emanuels, but we love that Diana accessorized so uniquely by using the $20 million Delhi Durbar Emerald Choker as a headband.
Blue & White Beauty (1981)
Back in Nov 1981, no one could take their eyes off Diana looking angelic in this blue and white Bellville Sassoon gown at the gala recital evening at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Charming in Chiffon (1981)
Over 40 years later, and we’re still not over this red and gold chiffon gown from Bellville Sassoon.
Fabulous in Fur (1982)
We never knew how much we needed to see Diana in a colorful fur coat until now, and seriously, she rocked this vibrant look!
Pretty in Pink (1983)
Diana was the definition of pretty in pink in this polka-dotted pink dress by Donald Campbell, which she paired with a matching hat by John Boyd for her visit to Perth.
Bold in Blue (1983)
During a walkabout in Dunedin, New Zealand back in 1983, Diana donned this blue coatdress that perfectly complimented her radiance.
Kindhearted in Klondike (1983)
Princess Diana dressed in a Traditional Klondike outfit that was truly fit for royalty, back in 1983.
Royal Princess (1984)
Back in Nov 1984, the Princess of Wales looked enchanting in this red coatdress, which she paired with black accessories and a gold charm bracelet, while aboard the P&O cruise liner “Royal Princess.”
Dramatic Diana (1985)
This Catherine Walker creation of a black top, black gloves, and a puffy white silk bottom screams elegance and princess vibes!
Vivacious in Velvet (1985)
When Diana visited Nancy Reagan at The White House, she arrived in style: specifically, this off-the-shoulder velvet black gown from Victor Edelstein.
Confident as Cinderella (1985)
Diana was an IRL Cinderella when she stepped out in this shimmering baby blue Bruce Oldfield gown.
Pink Paradise (1986)
One of Diana’s most iconic looks was this pink ensemble of a chunky sweater and checkered pants. While it’s not red carpet fashion, we just had to mention this!
Colorful Creation (1986)
Okay remember that last dress? Add a little spice (and color) and you get this showstopping red and black evening dress by Murray Arbeid.
Wowing in White (1987)
Diana was the definition of enchanting in this gold-accented white ballgown from Emanuel.
Purple Princess (1987)
Diana gave all the 1980s vibes with this iconic long purple Catherine Walker evening gown.
Dreamy Dress (1987)
This lilac, draped Catherine Walker gown Diana wore to the premiere of Superman IV is as dreamy as it gets.
Polka-Dotted Princess (1988)
Who could forget when Diana stepped out in this black and white spotted dress by Victor Edelstein (and the matching, polka-dotted Philip Somerville hat?!) And who could forget when Kate Middleton recreated this look for the Royal Ascot in 2019.
Monochromatic Mama (1988)
Back at the Royal Ascot race meeting in 1988, Diana donned this white suit with a striped scarf by Catherine Walker, along with a Philip Somerville hat, and truly took everyone’s breath away.
Pretty in Purple (1989)
This light purple dress by Catherine Walker Diana wore at Claridges is exactly what we picture when someone says “1980s princess!”
Barbiecore Beauty (1989)
Diana gave all of the Barbiecore vibes in this vibrant pink and red Catherine Walker suit and matching Philip Somerville hat for her official tour of the Gulf States in 1989.
Magenta Mama (1989)
Diana owned the Barbiecore trend before the Barbiecore trend existed! Seriously, this colorful pink look she wore for the Push 2 wheelchair race at the Marlborough Hotel in London back in July 1989 is the ultimate day-out inspo.
Dark Diana (1989)
Black and red looks are always a hit, and this suit ensemble Diana rocked back in 1989 lives in our minds rent free!
Gorgeous & Gothic (1989)
Back at the The London Coliseum opera performance of The Masked Ball, Diana donned this gothic purple and black ruffled gown that truly showed off how she can do any trend she wished.
Ravishing in Red (1989)
One of the most showstopping looks Diana ever wore was this sparkling red gown from Bruce Oldfield, which she wore at the premiere of When Harry Met Sally.
Elegant Evening (1989)
This pink-and-white Catherine Walker evening gown Diana wore for the performance of Swan Lake in 1989 is as elegant as it gets!
Red Velvet (1990)
For the premiere of Steel Magnolias, Diana turned heads in this velvet red gown, with white appliques all over.
Gorgeous in Green (1990)
For the premiere of The Hunt For Red October, Diana donned her favorite designer Catherine Walker, specifically this satin green gown (which Kate channeled with one of her green gowns nearly 30 years later!)
Heavenly in Houndstooth (1991)
While we adored it when Kate Middleton rocked her version of this houndstooth ensemble, Diana’s red and black houndstooth suit from Moschino will forever be a classic.
Revenge Dress (1994)
You really think this list would be complete without the ever-so-iconic revenge dress? For those that don’t know, Diana wore this stunning black dress from Christina Stambolian after the news of Charles’ infidelity became public knowledge.
Beautiful in Blue (1996)
Diana really showed off her edgy side in this one-shoulder, silk blue Versace gown for the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute dinner dance.