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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 12:42 GMT
The epitome of glamour?
Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen wears everything with confidence and style, says Vogue

By Denise Winterman
BBC News Magazine

Glamour is not about what you wear, but how you wear it, says style bible Vogue. It has named the Queen as one of the world's most glamorous women. So what can Her Majesty teach us about glamour?

She's got a clothes budget the average woman can only dream of, outfits designed and made especially for her and the odd little jewel and trinket to accessorise any ensemble.

With all of the above, is it any wonder the Queen has been named by Vogue as one of the 50 most glamorous women in the world?

Queen numbers
1. Frame bags are back, and patent leather is the hot look for this winter, says Sasha Wilkins
2. Brooch and pearls are right on trend although to be truly fashionable she'd be piling them on
3. She sticks to a fashion etiquette which has long since gone: never wear gloves in colours. White gloves only; black for mourning
4. For the traditionalists, your hat must match your outfit, but a suitable bag is a suitable bag, regardless of colour
5. Loose-fitting coat perhaps not the best example of the Queen's wardrobe. She tends to opt for a more tailored look
6. Print dress underneath has flavour of pre-Stuart Rose M&S although I'm sure it's made from very expensive fabric
But her inclusion on the list - alongside the likes of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell - has raised some eyebrows. Her uniform of formal dress and coat, sensible handbag and sturdy shoes isn't exactly dazzling. And it's a look she hasn't deviated from for decades.

But according to Vogue it's not what you wear but how you wear it. And the Queen wears everything, from her ceremonial gowns and crown - for state occasions such as today's state opening of Parliament - to her headscarf and brogues, with "confidence and style".

It's what sets her apart in the fashion stakes and is a lesson to us all.

"Real glamour is about sophistication and grooming," says fashion writer Sasha Wilkins. "The queen is not at the cutting edge of fashion, but that's not what glamour is about."

What she has done is stick to one of the key rules of the glamorous - personal style. Regardless of how conservative her look is considered, it is her own and she carries it off with panache. It's not the case for everyone.

"Victoria Beckham doesn't make the list because she doesn't have her own style, she takes a look and copies it," says Ms Wilkins.


"The average woman on the street might think she's glamorous, but few people in the fashion world do."

By contrast, Her Majesty's attitude to clothes is admired in the fashion world, even though it appears to fly in the face of everything it is about. A cursory call around fashion experts yielded not one who doubted her glamour.

Queen Elizabeth II
It's all about the accessories
"I love how the Queen is a bit anti-fashion," says Gerard Wilson, who works with London-based designer Peter Jensen.

"She looks like she's too important to care about fashion, which has a sort of glamour. I like how she combines things, like very ordinary glasses with a massive diamond tiara. It's very glamorous to look like you're not trying."

The Queen is also more blessed than most when it comes to that other fashion tenet - accessorise.

"It's hard not to look glamorous if you're riding down the Mall in a gold, horse-drawn carriage with diamonds dripping off you," says Ms Wilkins.

While fashionistas are not clamouring for sensible hats and handbags to copy her look, the Queen is credited with setting some of fashion's golden rules.

Core belief

"She has a very iconic hairstyle," says Mr Wilson.

"It's very important for women in fashion to have an iconic hairstyle that can be recognised from every angle, take Anna Wintour. I think the Queen was the instigator of this trend."

While Vogue's list is filled with models and aristocracy, the good news for us mere mortals is that glamour is not something you are born with. Unlike things such as beauty it's within everyone's grasp, says Vogue. Although it does concede that it comes more naturally to some than others.

Signature hairstyles: Wintour (left) and Her Majesty
The starting point is having a confidence, a core belief in one's own value, says psychologist Amanda Hills.

"Glamour is linked to a sense of self belief, it comes from the inside as well as what you wear on the outside.

"It follows that if people believe they are worth something they will spend time on themselves, on dressing well and being groomed."

In recent years the word glamour has been abused and now often represents the polar opposite of what it is meant to, say some experts. Glamour models like Katie Price being a prime example.

As a result people often associate "real" glamour with a bygone age, which brings us back to Her Majesty.


"These days so it's easy to forget the Queen was the epitome of glamour when she was young," says Ms Wilkins. "She was beautiful, sophisticated and well dressed. Women wanted to look like her."

Yet what do such lists really have to do with the average woman on the street?

"There's not a huge amount of point of course," says Mr Wilson. "It's a bit of fantasy, imagining you could have their sort of life."

But let's not forget they can also "make you feel inadequate so you go out and buy a new lipstick or something". Glamour is big business after all darling.

Below is a selection of comments.

When we went to see the film 'The Queen', the first thing we commented on were her twinsets and the decor of Balmoral in the film. Always appropriate, never over/under dressed, absolutely agree with Vogue!
Julie, Lincolnshire, England

Please tell me this is a joke.... As Eddie Izzard once pointed out, in the 1960s the Queen was sexy in a 'hard to believe' kind of way!
Anne-Marie, Liverpool

What about the Duke of Edinburgh? He's always beautifully dressed in immaculate tailoring. The Prince of Wales is also a pretty snappy dresser. Let's not forget the chaps!
Richard, Colchester, Essex

The Queen was is the epitome of style.She was beautiful and beautifully dressed when young - just look at the photographs - and now both she and her clothes are iconic. Style is not having to try and always getting it right. That's her. Long to reign over us all!

It's good to see the correct meaning of glamour being made clear - celebs please note. One icon missing from the article, though, is Audrey Hepburn. Naturally I needn't elaborate, but there's no doubt she had her own style and elegance that few have come close to matching.
Dave, Cheshire

The Queen is the most glamourous person that I can think of. More women should copy her attitude towards Fashion. Find something you like, and stick with it. Don't go for every trend that comes along. The most glamourous woman in the world would look horrible in the ugliest of "fashion" dresses. It doesn't matter the name on the dress if it looks horrible!
Larry Obern, Laurel, USA

When I was younger and working in racing I had the honor and privilage to lookafter two of Her Majesty's horses. On the days she used to come and look at her horses more often than not she would be dressed in wellies, waterproof jacket and headscarf and she still managed to carry it off as if she was in her Sunday best.
Paul Howard, Leigh

Glamour is quite different to fashion - that's why Victoria Beckham doesn't make the list. Glamour is about looking good and stylish and fashion, or at least high street fashion, rarely is!
K, Edinburgh

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