The Queen's standout fashion moments throughout her life

·Fashion and Shopping Writer, Yahoo Life UK
·15 min read
The Queen served 70 years of great royal style throughout her reign. (Getty Images)
The Queen served 70 years of great royal style throughout her reign. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II lived until the remarkable age of 96. The longest reigning monarch in British history, she spent 70 years of her life on the throne, right up until her death on 8 September 2022.

Having been in the spotlight since birth, the Queen certainly knew a thing or two about dressing for the public eye.

As a young princess, Elizabeth took to wearing the era-defining A-line-style floral tea dresses and pleated dresses, opting for practical tweed and skirt suiting for horse riding and other outdoor affairs.

In her late teens, she graduated to fitted dresses and skirt suits as she took on her duties as a senior royal.

In 1947, she married her late husband, Prince Philip, in a dress that was certainly fit for a future queen. Designed by her go-to couturier Sir Norman Hartnell, it featured a dramatic 13ft train and intricate embroidery representing the flora of the UK and Commonwealth countries.

When she succeeded her father to the throne in 1952, the Queen embraced elegant tulle and embroidered gowns for state banquets and receptions, whilst honing her day-to-day style by enlisting designer Hardy Amies (until 1990).

In her final years, Her Majesty turned to dressmakers Stewart Parvin and Angela Kelly for her instantly recognisable colourful skirt suits, which, according to daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, she wore to ensure she can be seen in large crowds.

We take a look back at Her Majesty's most memorable looks from her 70 years on the throne.

The Queen's standout fashion moments

Her Majesty's final engagement ensemble

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waits to meet with new Conservative Party leader and Britain's Prime Minister-elect at Balmoral Castle in Ballater, Scotland, on September 6, 2022. - Liz Truss on Tuesday officially became Britain's new prime minister, at an audience with head of state Queen Elizabeth II after the resignation of Boris Johnson. (Getty Images)
The Queen pictured on September 6, 2022. (Getty Images)

The Queen wore a tartan skirt, paying homage to Scotland, to officially welcome Britain's new prime minister Liz Truss on September 6, 2022. A coordinating blouse, one of Her Majesty's go-to knitted cardigans and her three-string pearl necklace completed the put-together, but still comfortable, look.

Florals for spring

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen pictured during her first official engagement of 2022. (Getty Images)

The Queen opted for a spring palette with her floral dress, worn for her first official engagement of 2022, as she viewed a display of artefacts from British craftwork company, Halcyon Days, at Windsor Castle.

Pretty in pink

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen at Balmoral in August 2021. (Getty Images)

The Queen was dressed for summer during an inspection of the Balaklava Company in August 2021 as she took up her summer residence in Balmoral, Scotland. She proudly pinned her Royal Regiment of Scotland brooch on her chest as she inspected the regiment.

Signature look

Queen best outfits
The Queen at the launch of the 2022 Commonwealth Games Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace in October 2021. (Getty Images)

A perfect example of Her Majesty's signature look. The Queen dressed in a vibrant deep orange coat dress and coordinating hat at the launch of the 2022 Commonwealth Games Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace in October 2021.

Countryside chic

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen with Prince Charles as he planted the first Jubilee tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty would put practicality first when dressing for the outdoors, and was known for her riding boots and waterproof wax jackets. Whatever she wears, she always manages to look chic, as seen here in a green woollen caped coat with Prince Charles as he planted the first Jubilee tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Summer shades

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London in 2018. (Getty Images)

A little rain didn't stop the Queen from embracing the summer in a pale pink dress coat and matching pink umbrella as she met guests as for her Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London in 2018.

Royal Ascot

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen seen at Royal Ascot. (PA)

The annual horse races at Royal Ascot allowed Her Majesty to push the boat out in terms of colour and pattern. She

London Fashion Week

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen, photographed with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, at London Fashion Week, in 2018. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth wore a co-ordinating pale blue skirt suit as she sat next to Anna Wintour to view Richard Quinn's runway show before presenting him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design at London Fashion Week, 2018.

Signature pearls

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the opening of Mersey Gateway Bridge in June 2018. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty is rarely seen without her three-string pearl necklace and Launer bag. Seen here joined by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex for a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018.

Silk scarves

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park in 2017 in Windsor. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth is also known for her numerous silk headscarves, seen here as she watched her horse 'Barber's Shop' win at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park in 2017 in Windsor.

Vibrant hues

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen at Birmingham New Street Station in 2015. (Getty Images)

The Queen brightens even the rainiest of British days with her vibrant colour choices as she visits the newly redeveloped Birmingham New Street Station in 2015.

Formalwear finesse

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen photographed during a state dinner for Barack and Michelle Obama in 2011. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty looked every bit as glamorous in her eighties as she did in her twenties at a state dinner for Barack and Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace in 2011.

Winter whites

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen at a Christmas Day church service in Sandringham in 2010. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II understands the power of a tonal outfit as she attends the morning service on Christmas Day at Sandringham Church, Norfolk, 2010.

Royal jewellery collection

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament in 2007. (Getty Images)

Even as she entered her eighties, Her Majesty still championed regal style, wearing the Diamond Diadem made by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell as she arrives at the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament in 2007.

Signature accessories

The Queen Watching The Ceremonial Welcome For President Goncz Of Hungary At The Home Park, Windsor.  (Getty Images)
The Queen at the ceremonial welcome for President Goncz of Hungary in Windsor in 2005. (Getty Images)

Whilst styles may come and go, Her Majesty's trusty white block heels and square top-handled bags continue to reign, here watching the ceremonial welcome for President Goncz of Hungary in Windsor, 2005.

Opera gloves

Queen's fashion moments
The Queen at a banquet in Hungary. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty opted for a light pink gown for a banquet in Hungary, but didn't go without her signature formal opera gloves and royal jewels for the formal occasion.

Style of the times

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen in Berlin in 1987. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty's vibrant yellow patterned skirt suit was indicative of the 80s decade as visited Berlin in May 1987.

Practicality is key

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen in Canada in 1983. (Getty Images)

The Queen adapted her accessories for each season. Seen here wearing a fur hat during a winter visit to Canada circa 1983.

Go-to dress shape

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Kiribati during their tour of the South Pacific, 1982. (Getty Images)
The Queen with Prince Philip during their tour of the South Pacific in 1982. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth took to wearing this recognisable patterned and pleated dress style on her royal tours, seen here with Prince Philip in Kiribati during their tour of the South Pacific, 1982.

Off-duty style

Queen Elizabeth II best outfits
The Queen and Prince Philip during their state visit to Zambia in 1979. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty in comparatively casual wear, wearing a loose shirt and slacks whilst on safari with Prince Philip during their state visit to Zambia, 1979.

Royal tour wardrobe

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen during her royal tour of New Zealand in 1977. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty embraced green in a capped sleeve dress and matching hat during her royal tour of New Zealand in 1977.

Matching brooches

Queen Elizabeth best outfits
The Queen during the New Zealand part of her Silver Jubilee Year Tour in 1977. (Getty Images)

The monarch would match her patterned dresses to her brooches and hats whilst on tour, seen here during her visit to New Zealand part of her Silver Jubilee Year Tour in March 1977.

Penchant for polka-dots

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen during her state visit to Mexico in1975. (Getty Images)

Think the Duchess of Cambridge co-opted the polka-dot trend? Think again. The Queen has been wearing the pattern for decades. Seen here in a yellow button-down dress with a group of local children during her state visit to Mexico, 1975.

Sunshine hues

Queen Elizabeth II best outfits
The Queen with Prince Philip during her Commonwealth tour of New Zealand in 1974. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth opted for sunshine yellow for her and Prince Philip's Commonwealth tour of New Zealand, 1974.

Red carpet glam

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen at the premiere of Murder on the Orient Express in London in 1974. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth opted for 70s glamour as she attended the premiere of Murder on the Orient Expressin a silk turquoise dress with embroidered detailing in London, 1974.

Sleek travel outfits

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen at Balmoral in 1974. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth in a chic and sleek teal skirt suit, with co-ordinating feathered hat in Balmoral, Scotland in 1974.

Neckerchiefs

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen photographed with Prince Philip at Balmoral in 1972. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty likes to match her outfit down to her accessories, including any neckerchiefs. Here with Prince Philip at Balmoral, Scotland, 1972.

Outdoor chic

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in the grounds of Balmoral in 1972. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh are countryside style icons in tweed and gabardine whilst at Balmoral, Scotland, 1972.

Checks please!

Queen Elizabeth ll with her daughter, Princess Anne, during a visit to Turkey in October, 1971. (Getty Images)
The Queen with Princess Anne during a visit to Turkey in 1971. (Getty Images)

The monarch also experimented with patterns over the years, here one of the rare times Her Majesty was seen in houndstooth check with her daughter, Princess Anne, during a visit to Turkey in October, 1971.

At the races

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen during her tour of Australia in 1970. (Getty Images)

Royal tours are where Her Majesty's style really showed itself, whilst chatting with jockeys Ron Quinton and Hilton Cope during her tour of Australia, April 1970.

Swinging Sixties

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits.
The Queen at the airport during the 1960s. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty in her go-to style, a sixties pea coat and hat, with her two corgis at the airport during the 1960s.

Eye-catching colour

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen with Princess Anne at the wedding of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands in 1967. (Getty Images)

Whilst the silhouettes of her coat dresses rarely changed, the Queen would mix it up with vibrant colours, reportedly so she can be seen from the crowd. Seen here with Princess Anne at the wedding of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, 1967.

Go-to cover up

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen during a royal visit to the Isle of Wight in 1965. (Getty Images)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Queen Elizabeth truly embraced the A-line pea coat style as her go-to outerwear of the 1960s, seen during a royal visit to the Isle of Wight in 1965.

World-class millinery

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen photographed during her royal tour to Ghana in 1961. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty has a penchant for an architectural floral hat, as seen here on a royal tour to Ghana in 1961.

Stepping into summer

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen in Italy in 1961. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth visiting Italy in 1961 wearing a summery checkered dress.

Festive dressing

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth's first Christmas Day television address in 1957. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth embracing the festive season in a shimmering dress for her first Christmas Day television address to the nation.

Timeless elegance

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen at Royal Ascot racecourse in 1955. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty's blazer and floral dress combination seen here at Royal Ascot, wouldn't look out of place in 2022.

Going with the times

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
He Majesty in Germany in 1953. (Getty Images)

He Majesty embraced the 50s style with a patterned dress in Germany in 1953.

Portrait perfection

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
Queen Elizabeth in an official portrait in 1953. (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth in an official portrait wearing the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

Coronation gown grandeur

Queen Elizabeth coronation
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth during her coronation in 1953. (Getty Images)

For her coronation the Queen wore a design by Sir Norman Hartnell. It was created in the finest white duchesse satin, richly embroidered with the floral emblems signifying the nations of the UK and the Commonwealth.

Equestrian excellence

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen taking part in the Trooping of the Colour ceremony in 1952. (Getty Images)

An avid horse rider, Queen Elizabeth II never passed up the opportunity to take part in the Trooping of the Colour ceremony, seen here in official uniform.

Motherhood

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits. (Getty Images)
The Queen with young Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Windsor Castle in 1952. (Getty Images)

Chic practicality was the theme of Elizabeth's early royal wardrobe.

Senior royalty

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
The Queen with Prince Philip in Malta in 1951.(Getty Images)

The Queen's formal wear in the early days featured a similar silhouette: a strapless gown with a cinched waist and full skirt, that allowed her royal jewels and tiaras to sing.

Official duties

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
The Queen with Prince Philip in Malta in 1949.(Getty Images)

Whilst her skirt suits remained largely similar, the details changed with the times. Like these large mother-of-pearl buttons worn whilst with Prince Philip in Malta.

Beautiful bride

Queen Elizabeth wedding day
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's wedding day in November 1947. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty wore a satin gown with intricate detail on her wedding day by Sir Norman Hartnell.

Engagement portrait

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
In her official engagement portrait at Buckingham Palace in 1947. (Getty Images)

Elizabeth is seen wearing a lilac fitted dress with a sophisticated square collar representing her graduation to a more senior role in the royal family. It still featured a bit of fun though, with small bow detailing to the sleeves and neckline.

The happy couple

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
The Queen with then-Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947. (Getty Images)

Her engagement to then-Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten raised the style stakes even further, opting for her now-recognisable coat dresses for her first outing since the young couple's engagement.

Diplomatic dressing

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
The Queen in South Africa during a royal tour in 1947. (Getty Images)

Diplomatic dressing seemed to come easily to Queen Elizabeth from a young age, seen here wearing a floral dress with her sister Margaret in Durban, South Africa.

Early style signatures

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
Her Majesty with her sister Margaret at Balmoral, Scotland. (Getty Images)

Her Majesty has accessorised with her famous head scarf since she was a teenager, as seen here with her sister Margaret at Balmoral.

Royal teenager

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle in the late 1940s. (Getty Images)

As she grew older, patterned A-line dresses with a cinched waist were a modest yet chic go-to for Elizabeth, seen here at Windsor Castle in the late 1940s.

Young royal

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
The Queen as an early teen at Sandringham. (Getty Images)

Summer dresses were also a mainstay of her royal wardrobe, but frills and bows kept them youthful in her early teens at Sandringham.

Sister act

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose on the Sandringham Estate in 1942. (Getty Images)

Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose were often photographed in similar outfits during their youths, such as here on the Sandringham Estate.

A family affair

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
Princess Elizabeth with her mother and sister at Windsor Castle in 1941. (Getty Images)

Princess Elizabeth with her mother, Queen Elizabeth, and sister, Princess Margaret wearing matching pale pink outfits.

Active youngsters

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret at the Sandringham, Norfolk, in the 1940s. (Getty Images)

Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret with their pet corgis. Warm woollen clothing and traditional tartan was already a part of Her Majesty's wardrobe from a young age.

Like mother, like daughter

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
The Queen with her mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in Windsor, 1940. (Getty Images)

The then Royal Princess Elizabeth with her mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, 1940.

Young royals

Queen Elizabeth's best outfits
Princess Elizabeth with her sister Margaret Rose in the 1930s. (Culture Club/Getty Images)

Princess Elizabeth with her younger sister Margaret Rose as young children in the 1930s.