Princess Diana is credited with starting these style trends

When Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially ended their marriage in 1996, after 15 years, Diana was the most talked-about woman in the world. Besides theirs being the most famous divorce in the world at the time, Diana, Princess of Wales, had a style aesthetic that fascinated the public — during her engagement, marriage, and separation, as well as after the divorce.

After a few early stumbles (the ’80s weren’t kind to most women), Diana became renowned for the wit she showed with her style. She honed a rebellious glamour over the years, and there was something joyful about her sartorial choices. It’s why her style still resonates, 20 years after her death on Aug. 31, 1997.

When it comes to her fashion legacy, Diana was a style icon to millions of women. Her evolution from scruffy Sloane Ranger — a distinctive upper-class look of the time — to chic sophisticate sparked and reignited numerous trends. Scroll through for a peek at many of the looks she was behind.

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Her short, textured hairstyle

Diana’s short, textured style was already iconic here, when she carried young Harry on her shoulders in a casual moment. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Her soft shag

When Diana Spencer and Charles, Prince of Wales, posed for photographs on the grounds of Buckingham Palace following the announcement of their engagement, the world was first charmed by her subtle shag. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Her elegant-yet-mom-style hair

As the mother of two, Diana kept a relaxed, elegant, of-the-era style that was attainable for many a young mum. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Her hair: the evolution

As her role evolved after splittling from Charles, Diana’s hair stayed short but became more chic, as she won awards, like Humanitarian of the Year in 1996. (Photo: Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

Draped jacket

Oh, you thought it was so on trend in 2016 to drape your jacket over your shoulders? Here’s Diana doing the casual drape at the Alfred Dunhill shop in Mayfair, 1994. (Photo: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Jacket draping, take two

And here’s Diana draping a structured coat over a floral Donald Campbell dress on her honeymoon in August 1981. (Photo: Kypros/Getty Images)


Pearls are always in style, but Diana gave us major sexy back at the 1985 premiere of Back to the Future in London. (Photo: Keystone/Getty Images)

Pearls, take two

Diana didn’t save the long strands of pearls for movie premieres but wore another string while attending a dinner in Hamburg, Germany, in November 1987. (Photo: Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)

Pearl choker

For this daytime look in 1990, the princess chose a short-and-sweet choker strand of pearls. This classic Sloane-y element is as ripe for offbeat styling as it was then. (Photo: Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)


She wore the choker again, this time a fatter version, with a suit-dress at the Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., to make a speech for the anti-land-mine campaign (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images).

Red nails

After her marriage, Diana grew her nails a bit longer as her style matured and became known for wearing bright red polish. While commonplace now, red nails were long considered a bit unladylike. But Diana often challenged and changed the rules. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Red nails, take two

Here, Diana, Princess Of Wales, combines several of her classic looks: pearls, a choker, and her signature red nails. Her LBD was designed by Jacques Azagury. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Red nails, take three

Here, the princess boldly takes her red nails to daytime, effectively making brights during the day an acceptable sartorial choice for women. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Stripes on stripes

This is a lot of look, but it’s one of the first times we see Diana taking a style risk — in a red-and-white-striped pussy blouse topped with a Bellville Sassoon red dress. No one even noticed Charles on the couple’s Australia visit. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Stripes on stripes, take two

Photographed walking in Canada with Justin Trudeau’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Diana once again drew all eyes, thanks to her boldly striped day dress. Soon thereafter, 20-something women around the globe emulated this look for work or afternoon parties. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Stripes on stripes, take three

In later years, the Princess of Wales wore her stripes a bit more toned-down — or so you’d think until getting a look at her matching shoes. Cheeky!(Photo: Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)


During Diana’s lifetime, more and more women joined the workforce, and they struggled with workplace-appropriate attire. Diana gave them guidance with a series of menswear-inspired suit-dresses, like this early version, by designer Bruce Oldfield. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Suit-dress, take two

In later years, menswear for women became less fussy and overtly feminine. Diana led the way here as well. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Corset belt

Diana was an early adopter of the corset belt, which trended in the late ’80s. This trend popped up again last year on other women, like Kim Kardashian, who were looking to highlight their cinched waists. (Photo: Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

Wide belt

A slightly more pared-down look still highlights Diana’s figure. (Photo: David Levenson/Getty Images)


If you lived the ’90s, you probably wore a few velvet or leather chokers. Diana spearheaded the trend by putting the crown jewels front and center on her neckline. (Photo: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Choker, take two

This look, shot in 1985, predicts several trends before their time — chokers, velvet dresses, and lace insets. (Photo: Maureen Donaldson/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Choker, take three

While in Chicago in her later years, Diana upgraded a simple neckline with an enormous pearl choker. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Color blocking

Mixing two bold colors, known as color blocking, was a signature Diana look. Here she wears a Catherine Walker suit in bright pink and red. (Photo: Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

Color blocking, take two

Catherine Walker suits were a mainstay during Diana’s tenure as the future queen of England. (Photo: Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

Color blocking, take three

The princess is wearing a bold pink-and-purple suit designed by Catherine Walker. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Chunky sunglasses

Another posh look Princess Diana brought to the hoi polloi was her love of giant sunnies. Great for concealing dark circles and disdain for your husband. (Photo: Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)

Chunky sunglasses, take two

Diana in another pair of effortlessly glamourous chunky sunnies. (Photo: Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

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