This summer, the nation’s eyes will be on Meghan Markle, but those in the know are peeking over her shoulder and taking their style cues from her iconic grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. Silver-topped style is cutting edge; it’s time to ditch the pom-poms and pull on the pearls.
Designer Matty Bovan’s AW18 show was inspired by his late grandmother’s wardrobe. He says, “The greatest style lesson I learned from my grandmother? Never let them see you sweat!”.
The Queen’s wardrobe was the inspiration at Erdem, and HRH even attended her first ever London Fashion Week event this year, aged 91, sat on the front row of the Richard Quinn show. She wasn’t there to get fashion tips but to hand out the first “Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design”.
Finding gran-spiration is easy – you can even sift through old photo albums to get fashion pointers from your own relatives.
A simple accessory can make all the difference; try wearing a printed silk head scarf or neckerchief. Choose your allegiance; floral, fauna, polka dots, bold stripes, hawaiin, heritage and primary colour checks; bold colours or pastels. There are endless ways to knot, tie and loop your choice. The classic look? Fold it into a triangle, place along your hairline and knot under the chin. Not brave enough to sport it on your head? Tie it around your bag handle.
Nan chic isn’t pension-bustingly expensive either. Fashion journalist Emma McCarthy has been singing the virtues of the humble net bag, describing them as “spring’s most-wanted arm candy”. I”m not sure I’ve seen the Queen carrying one of these fold-away favourites, but I vividly remember my nanna setting off for the Co-Op and Woolworths with one. The newly-christened granny bag is everywhere; from designer stores to the high street, and they’re also bang on trend for the nation’s continuing commitment to going plastic-free.
A pair of spectacles reminiscent of a long-lost aunt can provide an elegant, understated nod to the trend. Look for those that echo the form of classic NHS glasses – functional, black, brown or tortoiseshell, and reassuringly old-fashioned. They work both for those who need them, and for those who don’t have a prescription. Dutch fashion brand Ace + Tate are keen on a wardrobe of spectacles; “We believe that glasses are not just a medical device but a very personal fashion accessory and we wanted to encourage wearers to own more than one pair, in the same way you would own more than one pair of sneakers.”
To complete the look, find a tweed jacket, a pleated midi skirt, a pair of loafers or “nan shoes” (block heel ballet slippers), pearls and a brooch. Colour-wise, go for Queen Elizabeth’s beloved bright blocks, or ice-cream shades such as lavender. For a more summery look, pull on a simple slip dress – your grandmother would have worn one as an under-slip. This trend is about more than your top layer though, even big pants are cool; Alexa Chung, Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez have all been spotted in pairs of apple-catchers.
“Each generation kicks against the formality of the one before – after all, who wants to dress like their mother?” says Carol Woolton in the Beacons of Cool chapter of her book Vogue The Jewellery. So we’re skipping that generation to the one before; time to become a golden girl.