Princess Diana favoured ‘classic’ shoes over ‘casual’ styles

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Princess Diana is one of the most notable modern fashion icons, best known for her classic style that perfectly complemented her slender figure.

The former Princess of Wales rarely put a foot wrong when it came to dressing her tall frame, and her choice in footwear is as much to credit as the clothes themselves.

While Diana donned an array of both heels and flats throughout her lifetime, one style she was rarely – if ever seen wearing was sandals.

In fact, there are just two photographs that show the late Princess wearing summery shoes. One in the form of espadrille wedges and the other, a pair of white peep-toe slider sandals.

Though many royals opt for open-toe and heel-baring designs now, experts claim that avoiding them was a purposeful move from Diana.

According to royal etiquette expert William Hanson, shoes that expose too much of the foot are deemed too casual for working royals to wear.

He told Harper’s Bazaar: “Open-toed shoes are considered informal footwear and inappropriate for formal occasions.” 

Instead, the Princess of Wales would opt for simple ballet flats, brogues and pumps to complete her effortlessly elegant outfits.

On the two occasions that Diana did wear wedges and peep-toe flats, she was attending polo matches. The first instance was in 1981 at Cowdray Park and the other was in 1982 when she was pregnant with Prince William.

According to Diana Clehane, author of the book Diana: The Secrets of Her Style, some of the late Princess’s favourite brands to wear on her feet were Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo.

Interviews between the author and Jimmy Choo revealed how Diana made private appointments with the designer and he would take cases of shoes to her apartment at Kensington Palace.

He claimed: “She was never fussy and never complained… She liked classic styles. She never wore sandals because she did not like them and she knew the queen didn’t either… She was always very respectful of her.”

Beyond the classic closed-toe shoe that she was often seen wearing, the Princess was also fond of the sling-back heel.

Kate, Princess of Wales has adopted largely the same principle as her late mother-in-law, often spotted in Diana’s signature 90s court heels and trendy Chanel-style slingbacks.

Ballet flats and tie-up wedges are other designs favoured by the mother-of-three over open-toe sandals, but that’s not to say she hasn’t worn them in the past.

The royal has donned statement sandals like her glitzy Jimmy Choo “Vamp” heels in 2012, which peeked out from underneath her long flowing gown. 

Other pairs in her wardrobe include silver cage-detail stilettos by Jimmy Choo, specifically the “Mimi 100” design.

Her sleek repertoire of open-toe shoes also includes the Gianvito Rossi Sisely Sandals in Black Suede, which were a favourite of Kate’s in 2016, though have not been worn since. 

This is perhaps down to her more senior role in the Royal Family since King Charles took the throne, and is noticeable in her changing wardrobe.

Since becoming the Princess of Wales, Kate has reserved open-toe designs for only the most glamorous occasions, favouring smart espadrille wedges and trendy sling backs for formal events.

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