The Royal Wardrobe: wearing the trousers
Why don't royal women wear trousers more often? OK, it's not the most mind blowing question you'll consider today, or in the next half hour, but it is an interesting point. At a time when royal fashion is increasingly seen as reflective of modern style, and that modern style increasingly gives us trousers and pants suits, queens and princesses still seem far less likely than other women to follow the trend. Is it because they just prefer skirts or dresses or is there still an expectation that they'll leave the oh so modern, only really acceptable since the start of the 20th century women wearing trousers for another day?
Which royal wore the trousers best for you this week?
This week, we've had a few forays into the trouser wearing normality that is 21st century dressing so here's a look back. There's a poll with results on Tuesday when we may be one step closer to working out why royal women just don't really wear the trousers.
Queen Maxima gave us what is probably closest to an average working wardrobe this week when she opted for grey trousers for her visit to the King's Games Youth Sports Day in Vehgel. They're matched to a plain white blouse and rather striking white and grey check coat and judging by the huge scarf, it was either freezing or Maxima is still trying to shake off the last of the winters colds like the rest of us. But here's the interesting thing about these trousers. Sports day means sports, which means royals doing, well, sports so trousers are a practical option. But too often, the only time we see royal women in trousers is when they help with movement and modesty rather than being a style choice all on their own. Are trousers still seen as a practical fall back rather than a wardrobe go to?
That question came up again as Crown Princess Victoria visited Japan. We got a lot of looks from Victoria during her four day stay including two trips to the trouser section of her royal wardrobe. The first was for a visit to a fish market in Tokyo, on April 20th, where she opted for plain black trousers, white top and monochrome mix jacket. Walking round a fish market in a skirt isn't really an option - the slippy floor means trainers or wellies and that's never going to work with the posh frock. But we come back to the idea that trousers are really just about practicality rather than style.....
Victoria's second trousers look came at the end of the visit when she travelled to Shiogama in the north west of Japan. On the agenda was a trip to a tuna fishery where wellies were compulsory which meant trousers became a go to. The second part of the day saw Victoria visit sites affected by the 2011 tsunami before travelling to a Shinto temple. The Crown Princess of Sweden chose a pair of black trousers with a white belted jacket that had a rather Japanese air about it. Clever dressing, super stylish and not necessarily about just being practical....
To be fair to Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, she does channel the trousers look more often than most and this week was no different. We got a smart pair of black trousers beneath a green mix jacket for the appearance alongside the rest of the royal family at a celebration for the 77th birthday of Queen Margrethe II. Mary's mixing up all those late winter colours one last time but shall we ask another question. Are royal trousers always neutral or would we ever see a move towards prints and patterns?
Queen Letizia of Spain is up there with Mary flying the royal trousers standard and she's faced criticism for it before. There were eyebrows raised, too, by this week's look although that was caused more by the seriously on trend off the shoulder white top chosen for an awards ceremony in Madrid on April 18th. Letizia kept the trousers plain with a wide leg look in black but the neutral here balances out the headline grabbing top.
There were more black trousers from the Duchess of Cambridge in an outfit which brings us right back to where we started. Are trousers mainly a royal go to for sporty, less formal engagements. Kate went for black trousers with a stripey top as she met people running this year's London Marathon for Heads Together. You can't really turn up to sporty event in a two piece suit with up do - or can you? The way we view royal clothes is increasingly interesting - more focus on what the royals wear mean that their outfits not only tell their story but the tale of how we see them too. They have an image they want to portray but it's informed just as much by how we expect them to look. Would Kate unveiling postbox headbands have looked how we thought it should if she'd gone for a suit? At a time when we all argue that enjoying royal clothes doesn't mean we just see royals as clothes horses, do we need to change our expectations? We all wear the trousers every day - isn't it time we expected royal women to do the same?