From makeup to hair, from clothes to rich-looking color palette, here’s all about dressing like a lady – your ultimate guide on how to dress like royalty.
Lately, fashion everywhere is becoming very experimental. Modern women keep pushing the boundaries of what outfits are considered “publicly wearable”. From using lingerie-inspired pieces in street style, to pop-culture inspired prints at the runway, to sheer gowns that leave nothing to the imagination at red carpets – the lines between fashion and trash are blurring. And sometimes, these experiments lead to style that’s not at all elegant.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and fashion choices. But if you prefer elegant style to dress like a lady, or just want to upgrade your style to something more graceful, consider this your guide on how to dress like royalty.
You could even use this for just a particular occasion, perhaps meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time, or your engagement party, or a costume party, or maybe a formal occasion where you want to look really sophisticated.
The Complete Guide on How to Dress Like Royalty
What is Modern Royal Fashion?
1. Notice the Fashion of the Modern Princesses
To start thinking about how to dress like royalty, you need to imagine the royals. Now, if you think princesses, you don’t wanna think Disney princesses. You want to think modern princesses. Modern princesses would not wear ostentatious gowns or huge crowns all the time. Nor would they wear ripped jeans or micro-minis with sheer crop tops.
Taking cues from modern day royalty such as Princess Diana, Princess Letizia or Kate Middleton is the best idea. Their fashion is understated yet elegant – a bit of conservative and a bit of modern. Their street style is also sort of formal-wear. You could even be inspired by fictitious characters who represent elites or modern royalty. Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl is a good example, because her fashion was very princess-like at times.
Royal Color Palette
2. Wear a Color Palette Consisting of Pastels and Neutrals
The wardrobes of royal women generally consists of a muted palette. So you mostly want to stock up on neutrals like white, black, greys and beige. You can also combine those with dusty or lighter shades of feminine colors like lavender, dusty purple, baby blue, peach, dusty green, pink and cream. For loud colors like tomato-red, fuchsia, use them sparingly, like in a belt or shoes. Avoid neons.
3. Wear Precious Stone Colors for Parties
You could also wear royal colors, those of precious stones like ruby, sapphire, emerald and amethyst.
4. Keep Your Outfits Monotonous or Add Neutrals
Don’t use too many colors in a single outfit. One outfit should preferably be monotonous, or could have pieces in the same neutral color with just one piece in another neutral or a feminine color.
Pieces to Opt for
5. Wear Tailored or Well-Fitted Clothes
The most important thing to keep in mind that all your pieces should be well-fitted or tailored. Nothing that princesses or royal women of the day wear is baggy or too skin-tight. It should be fit but breathable.
6. Wear Sheath and Flared Dresses, Skirts with Blouses
For day-wear, the best garments to go for are sheath dresses or flared dresses. Or you could pair peplum-tops or blouses with pencil skirts or flared skirts. You could also go for trousers. Outerwear should be formal jackets, knee-length coats or cardigans. For evening wear, it depends on the occasion.
7. Wear Knee-Length Dresses or Midis Casually
Length is very important. Royal women always want to look slightly conservative, so skirts and dresses shouldn’t be too short. They should be knee-length or midis.
8. Wear Long Gowns Formally
For formal occasions, floor-touching gowns are preferable because they have an opulent, more formal look than knee-length or ankle-length cocktail dresses.
9. Avoid Low Necklines and Sleeveless Blouses
Similarly, opt for long sleeves, or elbow-length sleeves. You can also go for sleeveless, as long as the armholes are not big or drooping. Avoid spaghetti straps or strapless tops for day-wear outfits. Evening gowns may be strapless or off-shoulder, although avoid revealing your cleavage at all costs.
10. Avoid Front-Slits or Very Long Slits
Slits are fine if you are wearing pencil skirts, but avoid front slits. They should ideally be slitted at the back. Evening gowns should also be slitted either at the back or at the side. The slit should never be too long. Ideally, for pencil skirts, the slits should be no more than six inches. For evening gowns, slits should not be higher than the knees. The thumb rule is that it should not show any more skin than really necessary for comfortable movement.
11. Opt for Rich and Luxe Fabrics
Fabrics play a subtle but important role in distinguishing the outfit as royal. Use rich fabrics like silk, satin, or delicate lace. Tweed jackets, cashmere cardigans or wool coats should be opted for outer wear. For the summers, wear chiffon or luxury cotton. For sheer or transparent fabrics like lace or chiffon, make sure the inner-lining is of a rich fabric too, like satin or high-percentage cotton blend.
12. Prefer Solid Colors Over Prints
Royal women mostly wear solid colors. If you want to wear prints, they can be small floral prints or polka dots. They rarely wear bold prints like animal prints, or masculine prints like checks, stripes or geometric. If you must wear animal or geometric prints, keep them in the same color family and subtle. Avoid large flashy prints and graphics.
13. Wear Understated Trimmings and Lady-Like Details
Sequins, ruffles or bows are great. But use them only one at a time. Collars are great, too. They should also be understated, just like the rest of the outfit. For example, a ruffle skirt paired with a plain top, or a plain skirt with a sequin-collared blouse, or a cardigan with ruffled trimmings paired with a silk blouse. Too many details should not be used all at once. Every outfit should have a crisp, clean look.
14. Use Belts to Add Structure to Your Outfits
Belts are the most important accessory. Royal women always wear well-fitted outfits, mostly cinched at the waist. Lots of them use broad belts over dresses or skirts. For a more feminine and delicate look, you can go for a skinny belt.
15. Wear Delicate, Fuss-Free Jewelry
Keep it simple, delicate and fuss-free. Wear only one piece at a time, such as a show-stopper ring, or a pendant necklace. Avoid chunky pieces. Instead, wear a multi-strand pearl necklace or tiny precious stone earrings. For evenings and special occasions, you can go for a diamond necklace or long diamond earrings.
Tiaras are worn only ceremonially, such as if you are getting married.
16. Wear Matching Hair Accessories
Lately, Kate Middleton has made a big case for hats, and everyone loves her hats. They have a very rich, royal look about them. Go for hats or fascinators with modern designs that are not too large and have little embellishments. If hats are too much, you can also wear a flower head-pieces or an embellished headband a la Blair Waldorf.
17. Avoid Costume-y Gloves
You can use gloves for very special occasions like galas or so, otherwise they may look costume-y, unless of course, you’re Lady Gaga, or you want it to be that way.
18. Wear Matching or Neutral Pumps Casually
Pumps are your best bet, and they look most ‘royal’. So stock up on the basics – nude and black pumps. You can go for high or low heeled pumps, depending on your comfort. If you must wear flats, opt for ballet flats or toe-covered shoes. Sometimes, you can also wear strappy stilettos or peep-toe heels. Your shoes should be classic styles, so avoid trends like gladiator-sandals or lacy, etc.
19. Wear Embellished or Metallic Stilettos to Parties
Hair and Makeup
20. Go for Minimal and Matching Makeup
For day-time, keep the makeup minimal with light colors. A good concealer and face coverage is a great, but never making your base look too cakey or made up. Wear light blush and highlighter. Avoid cat-eyeliner, instead wear thin eyeliner with mascara and subtle eyeshadow. Wear light lipstick shades, such as pinks, rust, peach, or browns – you could match it with your dress.
For evenings and formal occasions, you could wear rich shades of red, like cherry or burgundy. Although lighter shades are not a bad idea for evenings, too. It’s a good idea to not overdo the makeup.
21. Go for Soft Waves, Chignons or Half-Up Hairstyles
You hair should never be out of place, so avoid the wet-look, bedhead or tousled look. Day time calls for straighened hair or blow-dried into feminine waves. For evenings and parties, wear buns, either plain or braided. You can use hair-accessories and pearl-head pins for your buns. If you have short hair, make sure they are well brushed and not messy.
22. Other Tips:
1. Generally, princesses and royal women are very careful about their public image. What they wear sets the standard for their society and country. So they like to be slightly conservative, and avoid controversial outfits. They also have very deep-rooted traditions of what ‘good’ princesses should and should not do, which largely dictates their behavior.
2. Fashion alone doesn’t make one royal. It’s also your body language and mannerisms. Work on your poise, including your walk and facial expressions.
3. Wear light perfume, perhaps something with floral notes.
4. Keep fit and take good care of your skin. Drink plenty of water and keep your skin moisturized.
5. Don’t wear something you’re not comfortable in. Keep the occasion and the people you are going to be around (or the society) in mind when you dress. Royal women dress their part because that’s expected of them, but not in an effort to intimidate others or make a bold, revolting statement.
So, hope you liked this guide on how to dress like royalty! I’m going to post my ‘royal’ look soon, so watch out for that! And if this guide helped you, do tag me with the hashtag #SlubPrincess when you wear a royal look! I’d love to see your looks 🙂 Yay, so excited 🙂 🙂
Loving conservative yet stylish fashion? Also read: Modest Fashion & Clothing Guide: How to Keep It Stylish Yet Modest
Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion.
Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That’s how it evolved over centuries and that’s how it’s been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]