How To Dress Like A Royal Country Woman
Off-duty style lessons from The Queen to new recruits Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle
The ladies of the Royal Family are frequently photographed in glittering gowns and jewelled tiaras, but it’s their everyday and off-duty clothes that provide us with a real insight into their style and personality.
As leading members of British landed gentry, Royal women are naturally no stranger to country life. From Balmoral to Sandringham, their estates have provided them with a sanctuary and an opportunity to engage in outdoor leisure pursuits largely unencumbered by the prying lenses of paparazzi and devotees.
The Queen has always set the standard for modern country dressing, choosing traditional, well-made, practical clothing, but always worn with her own instantly recognisable stamp of flair and individuality. New Royal recruits Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have shown astuteness in following her example by taking simple, classic country looks and adapting them to suit their age, their era and their personal interests and character.
Whether born to it or learned, the Royals have much to teach about making British country style contemporary and fresh, whatever your age.
Queen Elizabeth II has long epitomised British upper crust country style but it’s a look she has made very much her own, unmistakably fuss-free and full of character, so much so that she inspired a 2008 Dolce & Gabbana catwalk collection with her roomy coats, tweed skirts, sensible brogues and, of course, printed silk head scarves.
Cosy knits, tweeds, macs, quilted and waxed jackets are her stylish stalwarts for horse trials and walking the corgis at Windsor Castle or Balmoral. Her meet-and-greet daywear also belies her fondness for country dressing, often seen in tweed tailored coats and suits, although usually in bright and pastel shades so she can be spotted easily in the crowds. Get The Queen’s look with these pieces from Cordings.
The Classic Coat.
Where there is potential for inclement weather, Her Majesty prefers to opt for a capacious coat, and this one by Schneiders in loden wool offers reliably elegant protection, with a deep back pleat and pockets for doggie snacks.
The British Tweed Jacket.
A keen horsewoman, The Queen has often been spotted in an equestrian tweed jacket, especially in her younger days. The fitted silhouette is both classic and flattering, whether riding across one’s land or striding through the town.
The Silk Scarf.
Those colourful silk scarves favoured by The Queen have a practical purpose, saving her carefully coiffed hair for any later engagement in the Royal diary. With its striking feathers design, this silk scarf finishes any country look beautifully.
The Duchess of Cambridge
A tomboy at heart, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is a natural when it comes to dressing like an English country woman. She had an extensive off-duty yomping wardrobe long before she married into the Royal family (frequently topped off with her signature nifty cowboy hat). Understated and athletic, her must-have outdoor key pieces include: a waxed jacket, a tweed jacket, a fitted longline gilet, skinny jeans or jodhpur-style trousers and a selection of sturdy knee-high riding boots.
Action woman Kate is not afraid to mix it all up a bit and put her own stamp on traditional country wear, for example, swapping her riding boots for combat-style ankle boots. She is adept at keeping outfits tonal in earthy shades of khaki, tan, olive, chocolate and tobacco, occasionally offset with a cool white shirt. Get her look with these pieces from Cordings.
The Shooting Vest.
Kate knows that a fitted waistcoat shows off her tiny waist, and this striking shooting vest would suit her perfectly. She would also love the practical details of those bellow pockets and Alcantara recoil patches. Team with jeans and knee-high boots.
The Slimline Jodhpurs & Knee High Boots
Superbly flattering (and not only on willowy types like Kate), these immaculately cut needlecord jodhpurs add instant style to any off-duty look. They look particularly dashing when worn with knee-high boots.
The Classic Coat Part 2
Both Kate and Meghan understand the opportunity a smart tailored coat gives to add a show stopping finish to an outfit whilst keeping the wearer warm on outdoor engagements. This fashion forward powder blue coat would fit the bill perfectly.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, began investing in heritage British brands including Burberry, Mulberry and Hunter almost as soon as she and Prince Harry became an item, but she too has her own special approach to the traditional country look, bringing a laid-back Californian touch to Royal off-duty dressing.
The Classic Coat Part 3
Perhaps she was missing the Californian sun, but we knew from the start that Meghan Markle loves a luxurious coat for her daytime special engagements. This soft grey style is suitably smart and glamorous.
The Statement White Blouse.
The former Suits actress knows that the simplicity of a white shirt speaks volumes, whether worn with off-duty jeans or elegantly tailored trousers or pencil skirt. The print trim of this cotton shirt adds a playful touch.