Before the Duchess of Cambridge graced us with her fashion sense, the late Duchess of Windsor had already earned her title as a style icon.
Wallis Simpson‘s trendsetting reign began nearly 80 years ago in London, where she was known for her witty humour, dazzling attire and art deco jewellery.
Most royal historians remember her as a social-climbing American divorcée or as The Queen Mother used to say, “that woman”. She later went down in history for winning the heart of King Edward VIII and her style became even more eye-catching and sensational.
Wallis Simpson’s love affair with Cartier
To understand her style it is essential to look back at some of her most famous couture outfits and jewellery. When she married King Edward VIII in 1937, she looked radiant in a figure-hugging Mainbocher gown in a shade later dubbed ‘Wallis blue’.
Whatever she wore soon became sought after and imitated, with her famous wedding dress being recreated by many UK designers inlcuding Stella McCartney.
Another piece that she adored was her flamingo brooch, made by Cartier in 1940, embedded with diamonds, emeralds, rubies, citrines and sapphires which she often worn on the left lapel of her jacket. Cartier designers would make sketches of their creations before it was approved by Wallis and from that point forward she frequently wore large brooches from Cartier.
She once described herself as unattractive saying: “I am not a beautiful woman. I am nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.” Wallis felt the only way she could show her inner self to the world was through her fashion choices and sense of style.
How to achieve ‘Duchess Style’ from the High Street
The Duchess of Windsor’s style has become the must-have look of the season. Think classic and understated.
Her style depicts sophistication with hints of English countryside chic, so find some one-of-a-kind pieces in vintage shops for affordable fashion, or head to the High Street.
To stand out from the crowd try accessorising with a blue leather clutch and diamante enamel bracelets from LK Bennett or tone down the look for daytime by adding a pop of colour with a cardigan.
Pair these looks with art deco inspired jewellery or a faux fur leopard coat from Matalan.
The Duchess of Windsor’s style is timeless and practical allowing you to add more statement pieces to your wardrobe without breaking the bank.