Throughout history, fashion has been used to express character. Whether it is to simply enhance appearance, or demonstrate power, intelligence, and ambition, style-leaders recognize that beautiful clothing can articulate ideas more eloquently than speech or pen. Perhaps no other group understands this more than the select world of queens.
For thousands of years, queens have understood that wardrobes make political, emotional, and symbolic statements. With so much power vested in clothing, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that queens rely their closets heavily. Like the green room in a theater or television studio, the dressing quarters of queens is a place to sharpen confidence, style, and presentation. Shelves, drawers, hooks and hangers serve as footmen keeping the royal wardrobe safe, organized, and unwrinkled for maximum impact. Imagine what the closets of these royal women must look like with the abundance of fabrics, buckets of jewelry, and mountains of shoes!
Since most of us will never be able to get a real look inside a queen’s closet, we thought it would be interesting to examine three queens – both historic and contemporary – and take a closer look at how they use their closets express themselves.
Download Your Free eBook That Looks at the Clothing styles of three famous queens. In addition to examining these queens, Closet Factory has also created a cool download guide that showcases three additional queens along with some ideas and tools to help you create your own closet that is fit for a queen. You can download the eBook here.
Royal Fashionista #1: Queen Marie Antoinette
Nearly 300 years ago, Marie Antoinette, the tragic Queen of France leveraged fashion to demonstrate power, independence, and wealth. Not only did this queen love her clothes, she had a deep passion for collecting the richest clothing items as well. Her fashion collection was enormous, using three complete rooms in the Versailles Palace as her closet! She never wore the same outfit twice and often changed her wardrobe three times a day!
Queen Antoinette famously loathed court etiquette, and loved to use fashion and clothing styles as a way to express her independence and disdain for court etiquette. She could effortlessly wear the wildest fashions with the complete confidence of a young starlet. Her style was influenced by the growing commercial and societal relevance of Paris, and began to hire dozens of designers and dress makers. She was fascinated with the latest fashion trends, and loved to use fashion as a way to garner the only forms of respect she understood: wonder and delight, shock and awe, the sincere flattery of imitation. For example, the styles of the eighteenth-century upper-class France included back pleats which hung loosely from the neckline all the way to the floor, and a tightly fitted bodice. The skirt was often open at the front, showing decorative petticoats worn underneath. But Antoinette rarely wore this style. Instead she favored a style of dress called “ à l’anglaise”, that was inspired by male fashion. This style used short jackets with broad lapels and long sleeves. Marie Antoinette loved nature, and loved to be surrounded by flowers. She quickly introduced the micro floral print design to her wardrobe. This affection for blossoms eventually included adding flowers to her hair. It was Marie Antoinette herself that invented the concept creating a crown of flowers and other hair accessories as a distinctive look. Her grand and extravagant hairdos eventually included not only flowers, but also fake birds, green plants, pearls, diamonds, and toy boats.
Although she adored the designs of Paris designer, Rose Bertin, Marie Antoinette also loved to design her own clothing styles, and obviously favored her dress styles over other designers.
Royal Fashionista #2: Queen Letizia of Spain
These days, Queen Letizia of Spain is considered one of the world’s leading style guides. A former television journalist, Queen Letizia became the Queen of Spain after her husband, Felipe, ascended to the throne in 2014. The first thing that makes Letizia stand out among fashionistas is that she instinctively knows how to use color, prints, and great tailoring to make huge fashion statements. Like Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen of Spain knows how to be a shining, elegant example of royal dressing style, but never overdoing it.
Master at Mixing Up Styles
For her part, the Spanish queen is expert at mixing up her styles. She can combine high-end designer pieces with off-the-rack garments as well as Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City”. In addition, she’s not afraid to find something that works and stick with it. She’s even been known to wear and re-wear the same costume twice in one week. The key to her style is to use classic pieces that can be mixed and matched. Some say she could complete her entire reign using only the clothes she currently has in her closet. But above all, she has an instinct for taking risks and practicing the one unbreakable rule of fashion: There are no rules.
Queen Letizia includes Hugo Boss, Altuzarra and (like Michelle Obama and Ivanka Trump) Carolina Herrera as her go-to designers. She often emphasizes a professional wardrobe – pinstriped skirts, blouses, and blazers.
Royal Fashionista #3: Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
Queen Maxima became the Queen of the Netherlands in 2013 after her husband, Willem-Alexander ascended to the throne. Born in Buenos Aires, Máxima studied economics and eventually accepted an investment banking position at Deutsche Bank before accepting a position with the U.N. secretary-general’s special advocate for finance.
With such a button-down background, it was surprising for people to see how quickly this queen adopted a style that was both versatile and elegant. However, with her lean 5’10 frame, and beautifully curated wardrobe, Queen Maxima oozes elegance. She also takes great pleasure in using her wardrobe to the fullest. One day she can don a classic skirt suit and the next day be seen in dramatic grey lace gown with sheer paneling, accessorized with a ceremonial sash and a tiara. She is also prone to metallic peep-toe shoes.
Queen Maxima loves colors and patterns, and she definitely not afraid to mix the up. This can include combining florals, bright colors, and accessories galore all at the same time. Her favorite designer is Natan, and she loves to take an occasion for a simple black dress and turn it into a fun paisley gown that screams purple and pink. Queen Maxima also really understands that every layer of clothing can present a message. She loves wearing beautiful outerwear that is covered with sequins and sparkles. Oh and one more thing. Her majesty also recognizes the power of gold, and she is not afraid to use it in her wardrobe.