Over the last few years, the British royal family has been thrust into the spotlight. Netflix’s wildly successful show The Crown has earned loyal fans, myself included. I sat down to watch every single episode of the historical drama from start to finish—captivated and amazed by Queen Elizabeth’s reign and endlessly fascinated by the unconventional Princess Margaret. But also Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding—and the actress’s meteoric rise to fame. I watched the real-time broadcast of the fairytale wedding as it happened and couldn’t help but think I was experiencing living history. And lately, with interest in the royal family at an all-time high, my Instagram feed has been flooded with photos of Princess Diana—her style more popular than ever.
While I was probably too young to distinctly remember Princess Diana when she was alive, what doesn’t escape me is the fashion legacy she left behind. Looking back at photos of her now, there’s no doubting how iconic her outfits were—and how relevant they are today. But the reason I identify with her goes beyond her clothes—it’s what she stood for. She was a modern woman who picked up her kids at school and fought for the underdog. And though always in the public eye, she wore biker shorts and cocktail dresses with equal ease. Her outfits from the ’80s and ’90s reflect the pieces we’ve seen designers creating again: a mix of everyday items with elevated pieces that fit into the lives of women today. Ahead I’m highlighting four 2018 trends that Princess Diana’s style helped pave the way for decades ago.
Square necklines are suddenly everywhere
A favorite silhouette of Princess Diana’s, dresses with square necklines were one of her go-to silhouettes for an evening out. Clean, minimal, and unfussy, they’re things modern women want to wear today.
The puff-sleeve tops that are everywhere right now
This season is all about turning up the ’80s-inspired volume, which means sleeves are growing dramatically in size. If there’s any question that Princess Diana helped put this trend on the map, just look to Virgil Abloh’s printed satin blouse for Off-White. His collection was timed with the 20th anniversary of the Princess of Wales’ passing, and the top is a spin on one of her most photographed looks from a polo match in 1983.
The way Princess Di wore pedal pushers makes me wonder why they ever fell out of fashion in the first place. Karl Lagerfeld has made a strong case for the polarizing pants—including tweed versions and luxe styles covered in beads in the recent Cruise 2019 collection. And another fan? Jacquemus, who continues adding them to his collections. While they can be an awkward length, even my eye is adjusting to the tricky pants that have landed as a big trend in 2018.