In the appropriate attire section on job descriptions for royal princesses, beneath crazy hats at weddings, embellished gowns at state dinners and skinny jeans for relaxed photo sessions, there must be a hidden clause.
Skip the fine print about health and safety issues at ribbon-cutting ceremonies and the protocol of disembarking from horse-drawn carriages and you might stumble upon a guide to looking intelligent.
One in every colour. Catherine, Princess of Wales owns the same Alexander McQueen jacket in white, pink, navy, purple and black.Credit:Getty
On the offical occasions where princesses are required to speak thoughtfully on important subjects, tiaras are almost always traded for sensible blazers and jackets, steamed within an inch of their silk lining.
The trend was started by hard-working royal Princess Anne, who adapted her equestrian attire for speeches in the late seventies. The buttoned-up and occasionally unbuttoned approach was put on the fashion map by Princess Diana in the eighties and now the next generation of crowned heirs are tailoring their appearance for intellectual credibility.
A crisp white jacket from Alexander McQueen was worn by Princess Catherine at the rostrum for the inaugural meeting of a business taskforce for early childhood this month. The $2,790 jacket is popular with Catherine, who owns the style in black, purple, navy and pink.
Catherine wears these investment pieces in the style of a blazer, which is traditionally a more relaxed cut than a jacket, leaving them unbuttoned over casual blouses. For a recent trip to a supermarket to film a promotional video for charity, Catherine chose a more affordable textured blazer from Zara, which did not have silk lining and has only been seen in cream.
It’s not just British royalty who choose full cotton, linen or woollen jackets for facing boardrooms (and bored rooms). Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and former newsreader Queen Letizia of Spain all choose blazers for business. Letizia even lent her Carolina Herrera blazer to 17-year-old Princess Leonor for her daughter’s solo outing to the Red Cross.
Royal robes. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Princess Leonor of Spain understand the power of jackets and blazers.Credit:Getty
With Princess Mary playing a strong blazer game in Denmark, Australian royals are rare below the equator but model and current Miss Universe Australia titleholder Monique Riley understands the importance of swapping sceptres and sashes for a blazer when trying to convey a serious message.
“I always find myself reaching for a blazer or jacket when I have an important meeting,” Riley says. “I think they polish off a look and make you feel more sophisticated and put together. They are professional and make it clear that you mean business.”
“On average I wear one three times a week minimum and I always like to carry one in my car in case I have to face a last-minute meeting where I need to look polished and professional.”
While women’s blazers borrow from men’s formal attire, they have evolved into an expression of female strength. Leading Sydney tailor Patrick Johnson recently launched a dedicated showroom in Paddington for female customers to shop his P Johnson Femme line.
“We don’t see a blazer as a mimic or pastiche of menswear,” says Johnson. “A woman’s blazer has a delicate femininity to it but at the same time a striking strength and statuesque profile. A tailored jacket with its lapels and rolled shoulder has a force to it on both men and women alike, but the tuning is different.”
“Women’s blazers differ to men’s in cloth and cut significantly. A classical women’s blazer might use a bulky woollen double crêpe cloth for a stout drape, enforcing clean edges to the shoulder and a more shell-like form. Men’s blazers would typically use a hopsack or basket weave cloth with more movement in the cloth.”
It’s easy to take the princess approach to blazers, as most mix designer and high street labels. You don’t even have to buy them in every colour.
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